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'My heart was broken': Woman learns of death of first love upon her return to Singapore, seeks information about him for closure

It had been decades.

She hoped to locate someone she knew a long time ago after returning to Singapore but found some distressing information instead.

"It was with unspeakable shock and profound sorrow that I learnt of the untimely demise of a long-lost friend," said Stomp contributor JC.

But as she revealed, Ong Meng Cheong was more than just a friend, even though she has not kept any photos of him.

"We met on the campus of then University of Singapore in 1975," recounted the Stomp contributor.

She was studying to be an accountant. Meng Cheong, who was from Raffles Institution, was completing his second year as a law student.

"We were married (registry only) several years later in California when I was a graduate student there.

"In 1979, I confessed to him I had lost my virginity. I did not understand how traumatising the revelation was to him. He went ahead with the marriage registry but later said he was under tremendous emotional pressure.

"He wanted a divorce after I returned to Singapore in 1980. For the divorce filing, he came to my house to sign the paper. The divorce was finalised in 1981."

The Stomp contributor said: "I've never even met his family or friends — although they knew of my existence through phone calls — except for his mother. I visited her in 1980 when I was back in Singapore. I visited her against his wishes as I had bought her a handbag and a box of American ginseng.

"One October afternoon in 1983, he called me while at work. It was a very beautiful conversation which I still remember very vividly to this day.

"It started with him saying he was very sorry for what he had done and asking me for my forgiveness for the way he treated me after my return in 1980.

"When I told him I had married six months earlier, his last words to me were: 'So I cannot see you anymore?'

"After the call, I cried at my desk. I'm sure he did too, with a broken heart."

In 1985, the Stomp contributor and her husband moved to the US.

Fast forward about 37 years.

"In November 2022, during a visit to Singapore, we stayed with a family member who had moved to two streets away from the street in Katong which I used to write to while I was in California. The proximity triggered many fond memories of my first love."

That first love was Meng Cheong. Hoping to see him again after four decades, the Stomp contributor tried to find him.

"The first piece of info I found upon googling his name was a Singapore Law Gazette announcement of his own law firm Ong Meng Cheong & Co in June 2005.

"I then came across three publications showing escheated unclaimed monies paid in 2010 and in 2013 due to his estate."

The certified public accountant knew what that meant — Meng Cheong had died.

"My heart was broken," said the Stomp contributor, who turned 70 in April.

"The words 'estate of' are still popping up in my mind's eye.

"I now understand how he must have felt in October 1983 to know he wasn't able to see me again."

She told Stomp: "I'm trying to reach out to his next of kin, family members, friends, colleagues or acquaintances for closure."

If you knew Ong Meng Cheong, kindly contact Stomp at [email protected] or WhatsApp 9384 3761.

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