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For Better or For Worse

Looking back over our 37 years of married life, I am proud of our many achievements together. We have built a successful marriage though, at times, we fought like cats and dogs, our numerous ups and downs were mingled with tears and joy. Together we have successfully brought up our 2 children who are now successful in their own career and lives.

When I first met you in Singapore in 1965, I took you to be just a friend. You were Chinese educated and I was English educated and working for Rothmans of Pall Mall (M) Bhd as a sales representative. I was very ambitious then and valued my freedom very much. My job required me to travel constantly on short notice and I was not prepared to be tied down with a family.

As our friendship developed, I discovered that you were very different from all the girls I had known. Your family was poor and from a small village in Perak. You were the eldest and you sacrificed your chance to be better educated in order to help finance your siblings who were young and still schooling.

Your sacrifice, honestly,frankness ... changed my entire conception about you ...
Your sacrifice, honesty, frankness, sincerity and respect for your parents changed my entire conception about you and I wanted to share my life with you. You accepted me for what I was because you had faith in me that I would go very far in my chosen profession.

My parents were very pleased and delighted to meet you when I brought you home to meet them. They commented privately that you were totally different from those English educated girls who were introduced to them.

When my mother died of a motor accident in a car driven by me in 1966, you were constantly by my side when I was lying half dead in the General Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. When my father was very sick and none of his daughters-in-law could tolerate his unusual demands, you displayed patience and understanding to please and to make him happy until he passed away.

After our church wedding in 1967, we had to live apart during the weeks when I was based in Ipoh. You took care of our son and our business. Your employees were happy to work for you and adored and respected you. You were successful in running your tailoring and beauty salon business and I was successful in my career. I was promoted as to the position of customer relations manager of Alfred Dunhill Limited which is part of Rothmans of Pall Mall group and transferred back to Kuala Lumpur.

In 1975 we had our big verbal battle as I had lost all our money in the stock market and could not pay for the renovation of your new business venture in Wisma Central. However I made good for the job done by paying the contractor in installments.

You were faithful, loyal and a good wife but I betrayed you.

In 1975 our second child was born and we were very happy because we had a girl. Then in mid 1975 , I had to pack my bags and leave for Sabah to be Area Sales Manager. It broke my heart to leave and I wanted to resign but with your encouragement, I took the job and was stuck there for 7 years. You were faithful, loyal and a good wife but I betrayed you. I was involved in an illicit affair with another woman and caused you deep sorrow and pain. You sued me for divorce. However I repented and broke off my affair. You forgave me for the sake of the children and the marriage was saved. I resigned from Rothmans of Pall Mall (M) Sdn Bhd in 1982 because the promise to transfer me back to Kuala Lumpur was never kept. Back home we were Amway (M) Bhd distributors and worked very hard to achieve success.

Then in 1985 I discovered that I had a heart problem ? irregular heart beat and I was hospitalized. For the next 10 years, I was totally unable to work and had to stay home to rest. Any strenuous task would cause my condition to worsen. You carried all the responsibility of taking care of me and our 2 children in addition to running your business in Wisma Central, KL . We exhausted all our savings and ran into debts. We shared in the frustration and had our bitter quarrels but in the end we managed to overcome all obstacles and were victorious.

Life would have been wonderful, sweet and rewarding with retirement at our doorsteps. We would be enjoying the fruits of our labor had not you been struck with a cruel blow.

You have been stricken with a disease called Parkinson Plus which is an incurable disease. 5 years have gone by and you have been robbed of your ability to communicate and you suffered from loss of movements and lack of achievements. You are now totally dependant on others.

Do not worry my dearest for I will be always by your side to protect you. I will attend to all your needs, understand whatever you desire because I have known you for these 37 years. I will never forsake or abandon you for the rest of my life because my love for you is true. I am committed to you for the rest of my life because of our covenant. Till death do us part.

 By Jeffrey Lai





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