'I told Madam she might find herself homeless'

Madam Chung's former employees (from left) Ms Surti, Mr Jarudin and Ms Yuliani. Mr Jarudin said he knew Yang was trouble the moment he moved into the Gerald Crescent bungalow in 2009.
Madam Chung's former employees (from left) Ms Surti, Mr Jarudin and Ms Yuliani. Mr Jarudin said he knew Yang was trouble the moment he moved into the Gerald Crescent bungalow in 2009.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

When former tour guide Yang Yin moved in to live with 89-year-old widow Chung Khin Chun at her Gerald Crescent bungalow in 2009, he claimed it was to take care of her.

But both of Madam Chung's maids then - Ms Yuliani, 48, and Ms Surti Teguh, 45, did not see any sign of this.

While he started to take control of the running of the bungalow, including keeping a tight rein on expenses, he spent little time with the elderly woman, said Ms Yuliani, who had started working for Madam Chung in 2001.

He would wake up at about 11am every day, then read the newspapers and walk around the garden by himself. Other times, he was on the computer, she said.

Ms Yuliani was eventually fired at the end of 2012. Yang told her that Madam Chung no longer had any money to pay her. "I cried after hearing this," said Ms Yuliani, who now works for Madam Chung's niece, Madam Hedy Mok.

In 2013, Yang moved his wife and two children into the bungalow. "Yang and his family would go out to eat once every week but they never took Madam Chung along," said Ms Surti, who had been working there since 2007.

 
 

Madam Chung's personal driver of more than three decades said he knew trouble was brewing when Yang moved into the bungalow.

Mr Jarudin Mustafa, 82, told The Sunday Times that Yang gradually took control over the running of the household.

He advised his employer, whom he addressed as "Madam", that if she continued to let Yang live in her bungalow, she might one day find herself homeless. "When I told her, she didn't believe. She said: 'Are you sure?' "

Speaking at the Gerald Crescent bungalow yesterday - the first time he was back there after quitting, Mr Jarudin described the widow and her late husband, Dr Chou Sip King, who passed away in 2007, as a kind and caring couple.

He fondly remembers how he and his son, Imran, used to help Dr Chou make the mini-sculptures and figurines displayed on the bungalow's front porch. They would spend hours each week painting and putting pieces of cement and styrofoam together. When Hari Raya came, the couple would give him a month's bonus. They also gave him groceries like fish and vegetables to take home.

But things were very different with Yang around.

For one thing, he became unhappy whenever he saw Madam Chung giving groceries to Mr Jarudin. Also, when shopping for groceries, Yang would buy items in bulk. Before, it was Madam Chung's long-time friend, Madam Chang Phie Chin, who would decide how much to buy and she would spend only on what was needed.

Because Yang spoke in Mandarin, there was a language barrier between him and the driver. Still, Mr Jarudin knew Yang was not happy with him. Yang added some blindspot mirrors to the car and would mumble in anger when Mr Jarudin wanted to re-adjust them.

A few months after Yang moved in, Mr Jarudin told Madam Chung that he wanted to quit. Even though he had enjoyed working for the widow and her late husband, he felt unhappy with how things were under Yang.

Madam Chung gave him a gift of $50,000.

Yang had claimed in an affidavit that Mr Jarudin was sacked after trying to strangle him.

The driver denied this, saying that he had never touched Yang.

Carolyn Khew

Toh Yong Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline ''I told Madam she might find herself homeless''. Print Edition | Subscribe