updated 22 Jan 2012, 16:34
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Tue, Nov 08, 2011
The New Paper
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I left my perfect beau to be happy
by Maureen Koh

Love may be what makes other people happy but, as Miss Rachel Ong tells it, she's perfectly happy without.

This, even though her ex-boyfriend seems as if he was lifted off a romantic novel.

He was rich and splurged on her. He doted on her and was perfectly attentive. He zipped about in his Audi A3 and played chauffeur to all her outings.

He was also romantic and would spring little surprises, like gifts or flowers, on her. And most of all, he showered her with all his love.

Yet after five years of living together, Miss Ong had this niggling doubt that "something simply wasn't right".

"Seriously, another woman would definitely feel protected and cherished," says the 29-year-old sales operations manager.

Miss Ong, who describes herself as a "logical person by nature", says she followed her heart this time.

"Otherwise, I'd not have called off the relationship. It's actually quite scary if you really think about it, giving up love and everything."

The live-in relationship began despite her parents' objections, she recalls.

Barely a year after dating, she moved out of her parents' four-room HDB flat and moved into a rented apartment. Shortly after, he bought them a private apartment in Balestier.

But gradually, her red-hot love for him cooled.

Miss Ong says: "I could not quite put a finger on it back then, only that something was not right and that I was unhappy."

Last December, she came across a travel catalogue introducing WWoof Japan, which offers ccommodation and all meals in return for travellers assisting hosts on farms, lodging establishments and ski resorts.

Miss Ong recalls: "On a whim, I sent an e-mail to several farms to see if there were any vacancies. Only one responded."

It was an organic farm in Yamanashi, Japan.

She confirmed the trip at once before approaching her then-boyfriend.

"I asked him if he'd like to go with me but I'd anticipated that he could not make it (because of the Christmas holidays)," says Miss Ong.

She took advantage of the farm's peaceful environment to reflect on her life.

"I can still remember that particular night when it hit me that there are still so many aspects of my life that I've not explored.

"And from the trip, I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I wanted to travel to experience what life is really like."

Just to be certain, Miss Ong sent a message to her ex "to ask if he missed me". And when he replied in the affirmative, she knew at once that "the relationship was over".

She says: "My feeling was totally different, unlike in the past when such messages would send my heart fluttering."

Miss Ong did not waste time. When she returned to Singapore, she sat him down for a heart-to-heart talk.

He asked that Miss Ong give their relationship another go.

But a day before Chinese New Year, she made up her mind and told him she really wanted out.

Miss Ong remains friends with her ex and her affection for him is evident.

She says: "He's really a good man."

He helped choose the Volkswagen that she now drives.

Miss Ong says: "I had to get a car because I now don't have someone to chauffeur me.

"He wanted to make sure that I got a car that suited me."

In September, Miss Ong went to another farm, this time in Hokkaido, also in Japan.

She says: "It was to celebrate my birthday - the first that I'd be spending alone." To her delight, she had a wonderful time.

Miss Ong, who leaves for a holiday to Vietnam today, adds: "I'm truly happy now.

"What is happiness? It's knowing that you are living your life the way you should."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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