She set him on the right path

She set him on the right path

SINGAPORE - Neither his parents nor the law could change this ex-convict. But one woman did.

She came into his life as his counsellor and turned his unrepentant ways around.

They fell in love and got married in November last year.

Mr Jonathan Tan Siang Huat, 49, had been in jail a total of 17 years and endured 59 strokes of the cane for various offences, including robbery and drug abuse.

He ended up in a halfway house, where he met Madam Lilian Loo, 54, in 2006.

To Mr Tan, Madam Loo, who was then a volunteer counsellor, is a woman with a beautiful heart that is filled with love.

He tells The New Paper on Sunday in Mandarin: "She was very willing to help.

"As we (the drug addicts) didn't have much money, she would pay for food and buy things for us."

Reformed, he later left the halfway house.

But it wasn't long before temptation lured him back to his old ways.

Mr Tan recalls: "She felt that it was a waste. She was determined to put me back on the right path and urged me to change to another halfway house."

He ended up at The Helping Hand halfway house in 2008, where he slowly overcame his addiction.

Mr Tan says: "She is very good to me. She would visit me, buy food for me and encourage me."

He confesses sheepishly that he had always liked Madam Loo from the start, but thought she was married.

He says: "I would secretly pray that my future wife would be like her."

Then three years ago, he found out by chance that she was a divorcee with five grown-up children in their 20s and 30s, and with three grandchildren. Mr Tan says: "I was very happy. This was an opportunity for me."

SLOW COURTSHIP

He started courting her by helping out at the elderly centres she volunteers at.

"I'd help her carry things. And she'd chat with the elderly while I sang for them," he remembers.

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