updated 6 Mar 2014, 17:32
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Tue, Feb 18, 2014
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Secret squanderers: Taking it one day at a time
by Maureen Koh

Michelle says she also lucked out during that tough period as her husband went on a two-month work stint overseas.

"If he was in Singapore, I'd probably have crumbled and confessed everything."

She also secretly sold off more than half of her branded belongings which included bags and watches.

"It was so painful letting them go. I kept consoling myself that I won't be able to use all of them at one go or that the designs were past season," she says with a grimace.

"But it was still hard and it hurt, you know, like cutting a piece of flesh off."

When her husband noticed that some items were missing, she told him at first that they were kept at the flat.

Later, she told him that she had given them to her sisters, cousins and friends.

She says: "He's so cute, you know, that he'd buy another item to 'replace' what was gone."

Michelle struggles to make monthly instalments towards her bankruptcy estate.

She also has debts with four licensed moneylenders, for which she declines to provide more details.

"But the truth is, I did not declare my bankruptcy status with the moneylenders," she reveals.

A bankrupt may obtain further credit, but is required to disclose her bankruptcy status to the lender if the amount of credit or loan she is getting exceeds $500.

And with the bankruptcy came inconveniences, such as overseas travel.

"Because of this, most times, I'd just find some excuse like I have to work or take care of the children, and turn my husband down when he asks me to accompany him for some of his work trips," she says.

Michelle applies to the Official Assignee in advance for the family's vacations but keeps them short.

She thinks her husband will help her clear most of her debts if she came clean to him.

But she says: "I have hidden it from him for more than a year. I dare not even imagine his wrath if my (bankruptcy) situation is ever uncovered.

"I'm still trying to find the courage to lay the cards on the table. Until then, I am taking it one day at a time."


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