A Revolutionary Love Story

by Patrick Liew on June 18, 2011

You Must Read This!

Chinese New Year decorations glittered beautifully in the Peranakan Restaurant. Right in the centre of the room, the jade tiger cast a magical spell on everybody – except one.

Towkay neo, Bibik Liam sat on her ‘throne’ beside the cashier, oblivious to the environment. The beauty queen of the town sat almost motionless with her usual icy cold look. She was always deep in thought but more so that night.

“Why?…  Why must you come back to my life?”

Three days back, Liam had received a call from an unmistakable voice – Jose’s. This was the man who had cruelly dumped her and left her life in misery.

It happened on the year she graduated, top of her batch in Business Administration. She was all set to start her business empire. That could have been so if she had not met Jose.

Jose was a fresh graduate in Fine Arts from USA. He was singing along the Singapore River, performing as a student representative at the Busking Festival. Jose was an artiste dreaming to change the world but living most of the time in his dreams. Soon, he will find a new love who will support his cause.

Jose was singing Liam’s favourite song from the 1960’s, ‘You Mean Everything To Me’,


“You are the answer to my lonely prayer

You are an angel from above

I was so lonesome till you came to me……”


When their eye met, it was as if the surrounding did not matter anymore. They were slowly and virtually moving in circles until they were transported out of this world. Two young idealists, their hearts dancing along with the song and in a new found love.

“Jose, I felt I was waiting my whole life just for you.”

Alas, fate dealt a cruel blow on their lives. Liam was the only daughter of a wealthy family, steeped in conservative Peranakan culture. Jose was a poor man on a temporary work permit and would very soon have to return to Timor Leste, a country violently raped by ravages of war.

Liam’s family did everything to stop the young lovers, pouring cruel ice to quench their fiery passion. They even resorted to imprisoning her in the house.

“I love you, Jose, I was ready to die for our love.”

“Come with me to Timor Leste,” Jose had pleaded, “Xanana Gusmao, leader of Fretilin, the underground resistance movement had called for young people to join him to free the country. This is our moment of glory.”

Their love could not be crushed, not in the hands of any mortal man. A plan was hatched. They had to stop seeing each other to allay any suspicion.

“We would escape from this cruel world. I was counting the days… “

‘2/3/1996 – The Old Place’ – that was the signal between them. That was the day they would carry out their flight of freedom.

“Jose, we would start a new life. I would be yours forever.”

The fateful day came. Liam stood at the crowded jetty. Hundreds of people had scurried past her but still, there were no signs of Jose.

Rain was pouring fiercely from the sky, with lighting and thunder in tow. It was as if the heavens were crying for Liam, pouring agonizing tears on her completely drenched body, including the pink polka-dotted dress that Jose loved so much.

The sun had set. Every boat gone. Liam was left standing in tears, alone. Darkness enveloped her like jaws of death, choking her slowly.

There was another stab on Liam’s heart. She was carrying Jose’s baby.

“Why did you do this to me? Why? Why? Why?…”

Liam would have ended her life by jumping in front of an MRT train. She could not face the stigma of having an illegitimate child.

“I would rather die.”

At the last moment, Ah Hock saved her life.

Ah Hock was her adopted abang, a big brother that stood by her through every problem. He had done it for as long as she could remember. What she did not know is the secret Ah Hock had kept from her.

 Ah Hock loved her.

After their quick marriage, Ah Hock did everything to love Liam and to make her happy. But that was impossible.

Time was no healer, and Jose never left her heart. She screamed for Jose in constant nightmares and in pain. She went through one of the worst pits of sorrow any lady could go through.

Liam lost her baby.

Liam knew she could not give Ah Hock what he needed most – her love. So, she worked long and hard to expand his Peranakan restaurant business. She even used the healthy cashflow to acquire a penthouse, right at the heart of Orchard Road.

As the waiters went around taking the last orders, Liam recalled how she had gone to see Jose shortly after the call. She needed answers but she discovered later she could not handle the truth.

Jose was there at the jetty.

Jose was there on February 3, 1996. That’s what 2/3/1996 meant in America. Liam read that date as 2 March 1996.

Whatever was left in Liam’s world crumbled again. Her spirit died a second death that night.

Jose could not help embracing Liam as he persuaded her, “Leave with me because you still love me. The Suharto regime has collapsed. Timor Leste will get its freedom soon.

“We will start a new life together. I love you. I will make up for the lost time.”

Liam has been thinking for the last three days, “Should I stay with Ah Hock who had sacrificed so much for me or should I go with the man I love? What should I do?”

“Good night Liam. Good night Hock,” said the waiter as he closed the door behind him. Without realizing it, everybody else had left the Peranakan Restaurant.

Liam suddenly found herself facing Ah Hock. Tear drops were rolling down his cheek.

Ah Hock’s eyes told her he was fully aware of her anguish.

“How… how did you know?”

“Your nightmares and your screams.”

Ah Hock held Liam’s hands as he poured out his heart to her, “I know you will only love Jose. I also know you will never love me. You will never ever be truly happy with me.

“I will always be a tortured soul in our love-less marriage. You need to go where your heart leads you. Go with Jose. He needs you. And Timor Leste needs both of you at this moment.

“I had sold the Orchard Road Penthouse. I want you and Jose to have the money. I know every dollar counts in your fight for Timor Leste’s freedom.”

Liam was shocked. “How? How did you manage to sell the property? The market has dried up after terrorists bombed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. How can you possibly have sold it within three days?”

Ah Hock looked at her with a gleam in his eyes, “I used HSR. As the number 1 and the largest real estate agency, they serve more buyers and sellers.

“HSR has more property listings in their database than any other company.

“HSR has also transacted the most number of properties in the industry.

“HSR stands for results.”

(On May 20, 2002, Timor Leste raised its own flag and declared its independence. Many brave men and women had fought and even died for its freedom. Many companies have also contributed to create history).

Yes, I can feel your tortured soul. I read the email too. 

Now’s the time for you to share it with your friends. Friends should go through the same experience too. 

Forward the email now. Just remove my name from it. I don’t want to be killed for it. Ha!


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