By: Michael Han
Today’s news is about a fatal stabbing. The wife, Vivien Teoh, a MSF senior human resource executive, accidentally killed her husband over an extramarital affair she admitted to him in an argument.
The judge sentenced her to one-year imprisonment for causing grievous hurt on grave and sudden provocation. As the sentence was backdated to the time she was held in remand last year, Vivien could be released soon.
While the deceased husband’s parents were upset and cried “unfair” and accused Vivien’s family members of being “inhumane”, Vivien’s lawyer Yusfiyanto Yatiman said “his client was under an acute stress reaction and adjustment disorder at the time.” Further, he said “she had been under emotional abuse from her husband for an extended period of time and that his sexual behaviour was perverse.”
The end of Vivien’s marriage was a slow boil of emotional estrangement, mental abuse, apathy and neglect, and marital betrayal. All these culminated to that one fateful night where she “had locked herself in the master bedroom with her 14-month-old daughter, and refused to let her husband in.”
They were already sleeping in separate bedrooms in preparation of a divorce.
What emerged that night was a struggle between Vivien and her husband when the latter grabbed her phone to read her text messages. He suspected that she was being unfaithful to him. It reports that “she then went to the service yard, closed the folding doors and shouted: “Help, my husband is trying to kill me!””
Armed with a knife himself, the husband “kicked the door open, causing the baby to fall and hit her head.” He then demanded that she confesses to the marital infidelity. When she did, her husband flew into a rage and screamed that “he would kill her, their daughter and himself.”
After repeated struggles, the couple with the baby ended up in the master bedroom, and both of them were brandishing a knife.
In the room, the “husband and wife circled each other and when he kept on advancing, she swung her knife wildly at him, inflicting wounds including one that penetrated his heart.”
The husband died the next morning of “11 stab wounds on his torso and interscapular region”.
Lesson? Just one, and it has got to do with a subject in desperate need of more attention and help in our country.
Let’s admit this first, marriage matters. It matters a lot. Confucius was right all along. The foundational unit of a country is the family. You neglect the family unit at your country’s peril.
Take away the family, and the social fabric of the country comes apart, it splits at its seams. And however incorrupt or competent our government is, the center will not hold.
Locke’s social contract is not just between the state and the individual. It is more importantly (and specifically) between the state and each family. And what happens within the family, be it some domestic altercation or covert marital indiscretion, affects the country as a whole.
One divorce is a social aberration. But an upward trend of divorces is a dreaded bellwether that the political credibility and stability of the country is under serious threat.
The statistics speaks for itself. “Last year, 7,522 married people split up and this was the third-highest annual divorce figure on record. It was a 2.9 per cent increase from 2014, which saw 7,307 people dissolving their marriages.”
It is said that the sin of the father passes on to the child. But let me tell you that the death of a marriage destroys the child. The child becomes emotionally unstable. She becomes depressed. She becomes broken within with no emotional vocabulary to express without.
She rebels against authority because the only authority she has come to respect has gone rogue. She distrusts relationship because the only relationship that once provided her a safe harbor, a stable refuge, has been torn apart by the storm of a divorce. And she lives with anxiety, hatred and unforgiveness because actions speak louder than words and the only behavior she knows and tolerates at home is found in the bitter acrimony between the ones she loves and emulates.
Yes, there is surely life after a divorce, but my point is not so much about the divorce rates, appalling no less, but my point is about saving the marriage. Saving each marriage that is.
My point is about putting our marriage and children at the pedestal of our lives, and not our career, our carnal desires, our worldly ambition, our earthly possessions, and our pursuit for individual freedom, fame and power.
There might be a season for everything, that is, to laugh, to cry, to work and to rest, but the season for love and commitment, responsibility and mutual trust lasts both lifetimes when the couple take that marital oath and promise each other that together, they will create a family, protect it with their life, behold it as sacred, and pass down this resilient legacy of love, faithfulness and hope to their children and their children’s children.
So, Confucius was right after all. The foundational unit of a nation is the family. Each of them makes an enduring difference.
As such, a wise government will do everything within his power to keep this sacred union together. Because what is at stake is not just a busy judiciary concerned with splitting assets in a divorce, or a once-loving couple becoming social enemies by a stroke of a pen, or the occasional fight between them to vary custody, maintenance and visiting rights.
But what is at stake is our children. They are our responsibility. They learn what they observe. They are affected by what happens to them. They will one day walk down the aisle, start their own family, and have their own children. And the last thing we as parents want them to learn from our words and deeds at home is that when the going gets tough, we merely act tough and give up.
Republished with permission from Michael Han’s FB.