updated 15 Jun 2012, 22:13
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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
The New Paper
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People will never forget your shame
by Maureen Koh


Who are they? What do they look like? Got picture?

Such is the buzz online and in coffee shops ever since three women were named in the sex-for-contracts case involving former Singapore Civil Defence Force commissioner Peter Lim Sin Pang on Wednesday.

The three women, two of whom are married, have been avoiding the media glare, even as netizens trawl the Internet for pictures and more news on their lives.

What must it be like for the three women?

One woman knows. She knows what it feels like to be in the centre of a sex scandal, and what it is like being THAT woman.

Ms Chu Mei-feng is the former Taipei city councillor who fell from grace in December 2001 after she was secretly filmed having sex with her married lover, Mr Tseng Chung-ming.

In a telephone interview from Taipei, Ms Chu, now 45, says she knows what it’s like to be forced to go into hiding.

“People just don’t forget,” adds the ex-director of Hsinchu City’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs in fluent English.

“The media remembers. There’s no such thing as yesterday’s news.”

She recalls what it was like to be hounded by the media.

“Everywhere you go, there’d be at least four or five cameras following you,” she says.

“I could hardly breathe. People forget that I was the victim. My loved ones were disappointed with what they felt was a misdeed.”

Ms Chu has this advice for the three women: “It’s going to take a whole load of courage to face the people.

“You cannot avoid it. You should not avoid it. And when your faces start getting plastered on the front pages of tabloids, you are going to hate the media.

“But remember, they have a job to do too.”

That realisation, says Ms Chu, struck her only “one day very, very much later”.

The road to recovery will take a long time, she adds.

“No matter how we view it, Asians remain conservative. Few take kindly to women caught in sex scandals.”

She reiterates a point she made in an earlier interview with this newspaper: “I was not the first. And he or she will not likely be the last.”

Says Ms Chu: “People in power – be it politicians or even in this case, some chief – will always be closely watched.

“Remember, you have your supporters, so of course, you’d have your detractors.”

The video of Ms Chu, then 35, having sex with a married man was recorded and distributed by her ex-boyfriend and others. Tsai Jen-chien, a former governor of the northern city of Hsinchu, and 10 others were indicted on charges of invading her privacy.

Still, the stigma remains. Even today, more than 10 years after the incident, Ms Chu continues to be besieged by the media.

Like when she was out in town to catch Snow White And The Huntsman with her husband Yu Shuang-lun.

She laughs, then adds: “Fortunately, it’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to.”

Ms Chu married Mr Yu, 57, a Hong Kong businessman and former stuntman two years ago.

She gave birth to a baby boy in June last year and they recently celebrated little Ah Ben’s (her son’s nickname means “little silly” in Mandarin) first birthday.

It’s Ms Chu’s second marriage and Mr Yu’s third. She divorced her first husband, a mainland Chinese man, who is 10 years younger.

Says Ms Chu: “See, that’s my private life and yet people want to know. They are interested in knowing when I get married, when I get a divorce, when I remarry.

“If that’s not enough, they also want to know when I have a baby. And the latest question that has been asked: Am I pregnant again?”

She laughs again, and declines to confirm if she’s pregnant.

“But I can tell you, like what I told the Taiwanese media last year, my baby was conceived naturally, and not by artificial insemination.”

Life is good now, says Ms Chu, who’s delighted with the “little stuff that makes my life complete”.

“Ah Ben, for one, takes up so much of my time,” says Ms Chu, who has relocated to Shenzhen, China, where Mr Yu runs his business. “We returned to Taiwan only for a holiday and as it is, there have been requests for interviews and TV appearances.”

Ms Chu stopped working as a news anchor after her three-year contract with Macau Asian Satellite TV (MASTV) ended in March 2010.

She was reportedly paid an annual HK$5million (S$1m) fee.

She says she has no concrete career plans.

“For most of my life, I’ve been interested in power and climbing up the ladder of success,” says Ms Chu.

“I didn’t know that being a ‘xiao nu ren’ (docile woman in Mandarin, literally means ‘little woman’) can be such a bliss.”

She says: “It feels so wonderful to be able to leave everything to my husband. He is the decision maker in our family.

“That kind of feeling is just too beautiful.”

Ms Chu adds: “I wrote in my book (The Confessions Of Chu Mei-feng, in 2002) that ‘I still cherish hopes for true love. I hope that after all the dust has settled, I can still fall in love again’.

“That hope is now a reality, thank God.”

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This article was first published in The New Paper.

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