In 1978, a Singapore couple flew to the United States in a panic. Their son, then aged 24, had embraced what he said was a new religion: Scientology. Their concern was not without grounds. Media reports had cast Scientology as one among a wave of cults that brainwashed and abused converts in the US and Western Europe.
"They said, you are a successful engineer, why are you getting in this thing that's like a cult?" recalls Ong Eng Chowg, now 65. Then working in Dallas, Texas, as an engineer, he later introduced his younger brother Ong Eng Liang, a student, to Scientology in 1983.