HONG KONG - In a rare interview, Jasmine Tan, the Singaporean wife of Hong Kong film star Chow Yun Fat, relived the rainy day in 1992 when their daughter was stillborn. She said it took her seven years to get over the pain of her loss, before the couple then transferred their love to the disadvantaged.
Her interview with Apple Daily is being released in 15 parts, the first of which was out on Monday (Oct 30).
In May 1992, the couple had been married for more than five years and were expecting their first child. But one night, the baby was less active than usual and Tan recalled asking Chow: "Why is our daughter so well-behaved today? She isn't kicking my belly."
"It was only one week from the expected date of birth," Tan, now 57, remembered.
The next day, it was raining heavily. Her husband accompanied her to Mong Kok, where they waded through knee-high water to reach a clinic. She said: "The doctor didn't tell me much, only saying: 'You have to be admitted to hospital.' I saw the doctor's expression, something seemed to be a little wrong, but I didn't know what it was."
St Teresa's Hospital was a short car ride away, but she began to worry and pray for her daughter. There, a scan showed her baby had been strangled by the umbilical cord, but neither the doctor nor the nurses would break the news to her.
Wiping her nose and looking up, Tan recalled how the doctor called Chow into the room and said: "Would you rather talk to your wife yourself?"
Her husband then told her: "The doctor says, let's have surgery."
The doctor and nurses were all sad for her and hoping to spare her the pain of pushing out the stillborn baby, but she insisted. "I said, 'In any case, I have to go through the process, I've carried her for so long,'" she told Apple Daily.
After the baby was stillborn, the nurse whisked her away, because Chow did not want Tan to see the child and suffer. But she said she insisted on seeing her daughter for the first and last time.
What Chow did next was the most memorable thing he had done for his wife, she once told The Straits Times in 1997. "He stayed at my bedside for five continuous days," she said then. "He didn't go home and he didn't shave. We slept together in the same hospital bed."
In her interview with Apple Daily, she spoke of what she was feeling inside then. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't cry, I didn't cry," she said. Instead, her mind replayed one line repeatedly: "Why me?"
"Why did this happen to me? I didn't understand the reason until seven years later, or even later," she said.
Chow, 62, and his wife remain childless. The couple have since strived to do more for the community and often make private donations, said Apple Daily.
Tan said: "Till today, I still think about our daughter."