THE WIFE - There were tell-tale signs
What happens when a family breaks up because of infidelity? A couple share what they had to go through when confronted by betrayal. And the mistress caught in the same storm gives her side of the story
When she saw the news update of a friend liking a photo on Facebook, she thought the couple locked in an embrace looked very familiar.
She also recognised the name of the woman who had shared the photo.
With a pounding heart and trembling hands, she clicked on the photo and confirmed her worst fear.
Madam Eugenie Yong, 29, recalls that dreadful moment: "I think deep inside my heart, I knew the answer. There were tell-tale signs that I had been trying to ignore for nearly six months, signs that said my husband was cheating on me."
The photo forced her to face the truth, says the administrative executive with a wry smile.
"It's like, you feel there's this growth on your body but you dare not go and have it checked because you are worried it could be cancer," Madam Yong explains.
"But I could no longer play dumb with that photo of my husband and his then-personal assistant. The intimate smile, the glow in the woman's eyes and that hug. Any idiot could tell they were lovers."
As she went through the woman's Facebook photo albums, Madam Yong says, she began to "screengrab, download and save each and every incriminating photo".
She says: "It was so painful and my heart bled, but I had to do it because I didn't want any denial or excuses. I kept quiet for nearly six months and I'd be a fool to continue that even for another second."
When the last photo had been saved, Madam Yong approached her supervisor and told him she needed to take urgent leave.
"I was so calm that my boss was actually very concerned, he kept asking me if everything was okay," she says.
"I could barely talk much and just nodded my head."
After she left the office, she walked into a cubicle in a public toilet.
She says: "We were living with my in-laws, so I couldn't return home. I also didn't want to alarm my own parents by going to their place."
Inside the toilet cubicle, she placed the seat cover down and sat on it.
"I then pushed one fist into my mouth and cried my heart out, flushing each time I thought my cries could be heard."
Tears fill Madam Yong's eyes as she takes us back to that day in November last year.
She says, as she struggles to keep her composure: "I think I was inside for a good 30 minutes, but when I walked out of the toilet, I told myself I had to be strong."
She is grateful that they do not have any children even though they had been married for about seven years.
"It was just a mutual decision when we got married and no one (either set of parents) really bothered us about it," she says.
After she left the toilet, she called her husband to confirm that he was in the office.
She says: "My family members, my friends and even the counsellor have asked me why I decided to confront them at the office.
"Looking back now, I think I wanted to be able to keep my emotions in check. I'd probably have gone insane if it had been at home or at the woman's place."
Madam Yong took a taxi to her husband's office, praying silently for calmness and strength during the 20-minute journey.
When she reached the office, Mr Charles Ng says he "just knew it" when he saw his wife's ashen face.
In a separate interview, he tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I'd probably have been able to handle it better if she had come screaming her lungs out.
"But Eugie didn't. She walked up to me and all she said was, 'I think you have a lot of explaining to do. I suggest you and your PA ask for some time out and let us get this over and done with'. That was worse." (See report on Page 4.)
The three headed down to a cafe at the lobby of the office building "to thrash things out".
Madam Yong says: "People who saw us that day would probably have found us to be quite strange.
"It was evident there was a lot of anger, hurt, remorse and what have you, and we were talking in controlled voices."
Madam Yong tells this reporter: "Since you will be speaking to my husband, I'd leave him to tell you why he strayed. Let him decide how much he is willing to share."
After the more than two-hour session that day, she went back to their five-room HDB flat, packed a bag and left without saying anything to her in-laws.
She says: "What could I say then without hurting them? I didn't want to force them to take sides, especially because my husband is the only child and he is very filial.
"Our marriage breakdown was our personal problem, and if we had to work things out, it'd have to be us. No one can really help us in that sense."
But Madam Yong's mother blew her top when she learnt of the affair.
"My mum was furious. She even slapped my husband when he came by to apologise to my parents.
"She also objected to our reconciliation when I told her that I wanted to give ourselves and the marriage another chance. She wanted me to proceed with the divorce, she kept telling me that the hurt will take a long time to heal."
Madam Yong acknowledges that she had been tempted to take the easy way out through a divorce. But after a series of counselling sessions, she had a change of mind, and heart.
She says: "I realised that I still love my husband. He was remorseful and filled with so much guilt. He also didn't lie to me by claiming that it was a moment of weakness.
"In fact, till now, he says he began the affair because he fell in love with her. Somehow, that made him less callous. I know that he still thinks of her sometimes and he admits as much. But he's trying his best and I am willing to give him the time he needs."
"The intimate smile, the glow in the woman's eyes and that hug. Any idiot could tell they were lovers."
- Madam Eugenie Yong