Thursday, 10 October 2013

Confession from a friend: From millionaire to taxi driver, no thanks to lust

While waiting for Azman to fetch me after lunch at The Gardens just now, I bumped into a familiar face that I have not met for some years now. Despite his greying hairs, hunched back, wrinkles and a not so well groomed look which was a far cry for his heydays as an astute property investor and well known general insurance agent, I can still remember him. I called out to him and he recognized me instantly.

“Hey, Miss Loo, you looked great, what are you doing here, shopping?” he asked.
“What are you doing here then Sunny (not his real name)? Where have you disappeared to?” I asked him in return.
“I am working, as a taxi driver now,” he replied.
“What actually happened? You disappeared from public view, I dialed your number 2**88888 and another person picked up. A new family moved into your bungalow. Do you have time, let’s go for tea nearby!”
“Are you sure you want to have tea with a poor old man like me? I am no longer the Sunny you knew that wine and dine at JW Marriott Hotel.”
 “Come on Sunny, I am not a fair weathered friend, otherwise I would pretend I do not know you just now.”
When I knew him at a private jewelry preview lunch some years back, Sunny was on top of the world with a nice portfolio of prime properties across the region, stocks, treasury bonds and a steady passive income from his general insurance business. Above all, he was blessed with a hardworking wife that handles most of his insurance business and two teenage kids.
Though I do not like his wife whom I regard as opportunist and her manners which does not quite belongs to the group of high society ladies that I am also acquainted with but Sunny and I hit off instantly. We would talk about properties, stocks, commodities, politics, travel and almost everything under the sun during our afternoon tea sessions and occasion dinner. However, after a while, Sunny slowly disappeared. When asked, the reply will be he is busy doing business in China. Soon, Sunny became a persona nan-grata, forgotten by everyone.
We head off to Starbucks and after a few sips of iced lemon tea; he started to reveal his story to me. He was influenced by his friends to keep a mistress in China. Since Sunny is English educated and know no Mandarin, it will be helpful for his investments in China if someone can do the translation job and manage the properties for him, his friends reasoned. Besides, how can a successful man like him not having a beautiful mistress to show off?  He was introduced to a girl from Hangzhou who worked as a part time escort while still studying in a university in Shanghai. Her real background was not checked by him for at that time lust took over his senses. She became his mistress.
Soon, he bought her a house at the prime area of the old French concession in Shanghai and a Ferrari. He took her for holidays everywhere, buying and entertaining her every whims and fancy. He began to neglect his investments and his family in Malaysia.  As the months passed, he began channeling more and more money for her in China. Suspecting something amiss, his wife hired a private investigator but she did not confront him.
In return, she began to plan for her and the kids to migrate to Perth for the sake of their education, she gave the excuse. Thinking that with his wife away in Perth, it will be easier for him to be with his mistress, he consented and began selling his properties and investments for his wife to move. It is a very smart move on her side for she just took all the money that he can fork out, register all the properties in Perth under her personal name. When she finally settled down in Perth and after taking all the money that is remaining of him, she divorced him.
He did not felt any remorse for divorcing his wife. In fact he felt rejoiced for he can now concentrate on his young, beautiful and seductive mistress. Soon, the mistress began asking for even more money under the pretax of investment in China and other sorts of stories. Too blinded by lust, he just gave everytime she asked for. However, a letter of demand from the bank for payment one day just woke him up from his fantasy. It was then that he realized his bank account is negative with a few outstanding loans. When he turned to his mistress for some money back from China, she just disappeared. Never to be seen again.
Sunny is lucky that his mother have some savings from the money that he gave her during good times. With that he settled some of his loans; his bungalow was auctioned off by the bank. From a filthy rich millionaire, he is now a taxi driver, all because of lust. Anyway, Sunny's story is nothing new. For millennia, kings, heroes, politicians, millionaires, no matter who they are, became zero just because they can’t pass the test of lust. There is even a Chinese saying that 英雄难过美人关。
After listening to Sunny, on the way back, I asked myself this philosophical question: who is to blame?

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