Is love or money the attraction?


THIS could be an amusing tale, but it is not. In fact, it’s a sad tale and also a true one. I call it sad because we hear of many such cases.

You have a man marrying the woman of his dreams and then the marriage turns into a hell. Here, is a story of a man who was forced to sign away everything to his foreign wife.

However, before I go on to the story, I’d just like to bring up an anecdote told to me by a lawyer several years ago. She said that she had seen men in their 50s with balding pates and protruding tummies, declaring to her that there were still women who found them attractive.

She added that the women were attracted all right, but not to the men. Little did the men realise – until too late – that the women were attracted to their tidy savings in their EPF accounts. Yes, indeed, that’s the attraction. So be warned!

Now on to this story which actually happened in Singapore in 2008.

A woman wanted to ensure that she was the sole benefactor of her husband’s property in case of any mishaps. This just-married woman from China wanted her husband to write his will, sign an agreement and buy insurance.

According to the man, after being married for a month, she forced him to leave all his assets to her and help her apply for a permanent residence status in Singapore. She even used his name to secretly open a massage parlour.

“Obviously, she married me not because she loved me. Not only did she secure all benefits to this marriage, she exploited me and opened a massage parlour. I’m worried that if I continue to be with her, I may be pushed to violate the law,” he said.

Tan (not his real name), 48, was a factory operator who met his wife in 2006.

When they met, she was working at a massage parlour in Chinatown. She had come with her 10-year-old daughter to Singapore. She had approached Tan on the street to offer her massage services. They reportedly went to a hotel together after that.

Mesmerised by her beauty, he would visit her in Chinatown every week.

The two grew intimate and in September 2008, they registered their marriage. Soon afterwards, all hell broke loose for him.

He said that his wife made seven demands:

  • That he write a will with his wife and her daughter as the only beneficiaries.
  • That the house title be in her name and her daughter’s. Any member of his family, including his ex-wife and children, would not be allowed into the house.
  • That he sign an agreement, promising her ownership of the house.
  • That he help her apply for permanent residence as soon as possible.
  • That he buy insurance, with her as the beneficiary.
  • That she would keep the marriage certificate.
  • That he submit his identity card and CPF (Central Provident Fund) account number to help with the opening of the massage parlour.

His wife used his name and documents to open a massage parlour and then hired masseuses without work permits. When he went to cancel the licence of the shop, she got very angry and threatened him with a knife. His wife also squandered his lottery winnings of over S$100,000. He even applied for a credit card and a personal loan for her and is now burdened with debts.

He tried getting a divorce but because they had been married for only a short time, his request for divorce was rejected.

Now, isn’t all this so very sad? I’ve nothing to suggest on how he can get out of this predicament. However, if there is ever a moral to the story it is this: When you are wealthy, be careful of flaunting too much to the people around you, lest you become prey to your own weaknesses.

Retiree Quah Seng Sun is a personal estate planner.

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