How could he do this to me?
Brother-in-law slashes woman on her face
She took her brother-in-law in when everyone else had neglected him.
But he repaid her kindness by slashing her face, leaving her with a 9cm permanent scar on her left cheek.
"I was always behind him. I was his guiding light," said Ms Priya (not her real name).
"How could he do this to me? I had provided him with so much support and was his good friend."
On March 25 last year, at about 8.45pm, Tyler Jerome Nanda took a 25cm knife and tucked it behind his back in Ms Priya's Sengkang flat.
He approached Ms Priya, who was sitting on the sofa in the living room, from behind and slashed her on the face.
On Wednesday, Nanda, 42, was jailed for three years and 10 months and given six strokes of the cane for causing grievous hurt to his sister-in-law as well as two charges for breaching an expedited order by criminally intimidating his ex-wife (his second) and stepson.
More than a year later, the scar can still be clearly seen running across Ms Priya's left cheek from her lips to her ear. (See report at right.)
The bubbly woman, who works in an insurance company, told The New Paper at her flat on Thursday evening: "It all happened so fast. I was in shock. Blood was gushing out. I did not feel any pain at first. I didn't know how bad it was."
Ms Priya, who is in her late 20s and has a five-year-old son, added: "My husband just hugged me and told me repeatedly not to look at the mirror."
Court papers said that Nanda was upset with Ms Priya because she had gone for a court hearing that involved his first wife hours before the attack.
Ms Priya said she had gone to support a friend who was also involved in the hearing.
"In fact, Tyler had nothing to do with the hearing apart from the fact that his first wife was involved," she said.
He had warned her repeatedly not to go for the hearing.
Later that day, he called her to ask if she had attended the hearing. They had a civil conversation and Nanda did not appear to be angry, she said.
"I did not notice anything was wrong until he slashed me," she added.
Ms Priva and her husband, whom she has been married to for seven years, took in Nanda to live with them in late 2012 after his divorce from his second wife.
"He has always had issues with alcohol. But it was under control after he went for counselling and he didn't seem to drink as much as before," said Ms Priya.
After the separation from his second wife, he became "depressed" and started drinking heavily again, she added.
"But I was always his confidante. I would even gently advise him not to drink with his friends. He talked to me about the problems he was having with his wife."
But their relationship ended with his sudden attack on her.
Nanda has since apologised to her multiple times, said Ms Priya, who visited him in remand after she was discharged from hospital.
She had only one question for him: "Why?"
She said: "I still do not believe it had anything to do with me going for the court hearing. He was not even involved in it."
But till today, his exact motive for slashing her remains a big question mark in her mind.
"Whenever I ask him, he just cries and refuses to answer," she said.
Nanda has written two letters to ask how she is. But she has not replied to them because she is "busy".
While she has forgiven him, she does not expect their relationship to return to what it was when he gets out of prison.
"I will probably smile at him if I happen to see him across the road, but that will be about it," Ms Priya said.
"I know he has said sorry many times, but it is a word that is too common and has lost its meaning."
How could he do this to me? I had provided him with so much support and was his good friend.
- Ms Priya (not her real name)
She is considering plastic surgery
Ms Priya has grown to become comfortable with the scar on her left cheek, but she is still affected by it occasionally.
These days, she wears only light make-up and does not try to cover the scar with concealer.
But she lamented the fact that there is a permanent, 9cm-long scar on her face.
"I was one of those girls who did not have any pimple. My skin was perfect. But now, I have this mark possibly for the rest of my life," said Ms Priya, who admitted to considering plastic surgery in South Korea to remove the scar.
"If I save enough money, I will definitely consider it as I hear the technology is better over there."
She said she had been depressed for a month or so after the incident.
"I would look at the mirror and think about what I had done wrong to deserve this," she said.
"But I picked myself up because of my son. I couldn't let him see me so down all the time. I told myself to be strong and I have done just that."
Her mother helped by caring for her and buying a range of skincare products to help the scar heal.
She also found support in her colleagues. She was petrified of going back to work last May.
"I was scared and nervous about what people were going to say about my scar. But thankfully, they have been extremely supportive. They do not make me feel self-conscious about my scar," said Ms Priya, who was fashionably dressed in a black blouse and a printed skirt during the interview.
A few months after Ms Priya went back to work, she was moved to the front desk where she would meet more people.
"Of course I was scared. So I would angle my head such that the scar was less visible, but I realised it was futile. Some people would ask me about the scar, but I usually made up a story and laughed it off," she said.
"I don't have any other choice. I have to be strong."
She said that her brother-in-law has told her that he would pay for her plastic surgery when he gets out of prison.
But she does not want that.
"I'll be happy if he can find a good job and make a good life for himself when he gets out," she said.