Thursday 2 December 2021

Man who duped women into sex won a couples contest organised by Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports 12 years ago

You may have read about De Beers Wong, who pretended to be an agent for rich "sugar daddies" and duped at least 11 women into having sex with him.

In April, he was sentenced to 3½ years' jail and fined $20,000. He appealed.

Yesterday, because of his appeal, his jail term more than doubled from 3½ years to eight years and five months.

Weirdly, long before his unsavoury crime, he has appeared in the newspapers for more wholesomely romantic (and now rather ironic) reasons.

This was published in The Straits Times on 13 May 2009:

By his own admission, Mr De Beers Wong, 28, is short, tubby and all business – even aloof – while at work.

For the past nine months, he has been romancing Miss Megan Kong, 25.

She is willowy next to him, and also the “angel” liked by everyone in the same office for her warmth and friendliness.

The couple admit they are like chalk and cheese.

As Miss Kong said: “Our colleagues were very shocked when we first got together as we are so different, but we can really communicate.”

The insurance agents are “beautifully imperfect” – exactly the type of couple the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) is looking for in an online contest.

It is no ordinary contest, though. Behind it is the serious business of persuading Singaporeans to get married and have children.

So what does being “beautifully imperfect” have to do with anything?

Everything, said Mr Richard Tan, MCYS’ director of communications and international relations. He cited a 2007 study’s finding that most young Singaporeans did want to get married, but were not doing so, they said, because they had yet to meet their Mr or Miss Right.

But what, exactly, is “right”?

Enter “beautifully imperfect”: The drive aims to inspire marriage-minded singles to find that special person based on character and personality, instead of applying society’s checklist of beauty, wealth, education and family background.

“The person who is not perfect as defined by the world around us may turn out to be the perfect husband or wife,” he said.

To reach out to young, “wired” adults, MCYS tapped the popular social networking site Facebook – the first time it has done so to run a contest – and started a “beautifully imperfect” group last month.

Reach them it did. In just over a month, more than 14,000 people joined the group, and more than 370 couples signed up for the contest.

The hunt for “beautifully imperfect” couples – all 10 winning pairs will be unveiled on Saturday – is part of a drive which has included a commercial about a family that was anything but perfect, but bonded in love all the same.

The commercial, which just ended its run on TV, showed an Indian wife eulogising her dead Chinese husband at his funeral and talking in endearing terms about his snoring and breaking wind in bed.

To get Singaporeans to think of marriage and children, the Government has pumped in big money in recent years, handing out Baby Bonuses and promoting work-life balance, among other moves.

But challenges could still thwart the Government’s mission. The baby shortage aside, divorces are still going up by the year, with 2007 logging a record 7,226 divorces and annulments.

Ask Mr Wong, and he can give you an earful about imperfect relationships – of the ugly kind. He has been through an annulled marriage – his then wife refused to have children – and had almost given up on relationships.

For Miss Kong, the relationship was nearly a non-starter. She had to handle office gossip about her dating the boss’ son, but her heart was won over by his “sweetness and maturity”.

Mr Wong, drawn to her selflessness, said: “Recently, I wanted to buy her a $600 ring that she really liked, but she said ‘no’ as she could afford to buy it herself. My ex-girlfriends would have said, ‘Please buy it for me now, thank you’.”

Miss Kong no doubt thinks her boyfriend’s dad did right to name him after the famous diamond company.

She said: “De Beers is the biggest diamond in my life.”

A diamond in the rough, perhaps, but beautifully imperfect in her eyes.

The couple was featured again in The New Paper on 17 January 2010:

She’s slim, he’s a bit – shall we say chubby? Some of their friends call them “Beauty and the Beast”.

But Mr De Beers Wong, 28, and Ms Megan Kong, 25, feel they are perfect for each other.

And it seems that netizens agree.

Mr Wong and Ms Kong are one of the 10 dating couples voted as “Beautifully Imperfect” in a Facebook contest organised by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports last year.

Indeed, they are the first of the 10 to get engaged.

The contest was open to all couples, who had to post their pictures on the Facebook page. Some 370 couples took part. The 10 most liked couples won $400 each. Mr Wong and Ms Kong were one of these couples.

Mr Wong and Ms Kong have been colleagues in an insurance company since 2003 and have been going out for 1½ years. Mr Wong proposed to Ms Kong on 18 Nov last year.

It was an unusual proposal.

That day, Ms Kong was supposed to meet a friend at Ion Orchard. Mr Wong got 30 strangers to each give her a rose.

Meanwhile, two of his friends recorded everything with cameras.

When she later turned her back to the cameramen, Mr Wong surprised her by approaching with a 20-rose bouquet and popping the question.

She said yes. They will be getting married this year, on 29 Dec.

Ms Kong said Mr Wong was “beautifully imperfect” because of his idiosyncrasies which she found strange at first.

For instance, he hardly spoke while he was eating, regardless of whether he was in a group or just with her.

This made conversation difficult at first.Mr Wong said he did not like to talk during meals as he wanted to enjoy his food.

Ms Kong said: “It was quite strange at first. But then I got used to it. So when we’re eating, I just do all the talking and hope he listens!”

So when does he do the talking? Mr Wong exclaimed: “When she drives!”

Ms Kong is always the one behind the wheel as Mr Wong does not have a driving licence.

It is through laughing with each other, even through the bad times, that they got closer.

So what do they like about each other?

Ms Kong said: “There are definitely times when people upset you, and it’s good to know you always have a safe space to come back to.”

As for Mr Wong, he is “lucky to have found someone I love unconditionally and who loves me back the same way”.

Ms Kong said: “Our relationship is based on trust and devotion. I know there’s a tendency to just try to look for the richest or most good-looking person, but we’re not like that. We accept one another for who we are.”

Then she added: “But I think he’s very adorable. Even my grandmother thinks so.”

Mr Wong wrote in his caption for their photograph in the contest: “The most beautiful thing that has ever happened in my life is to have you (Ms Kong) in my arms and knowing that you love me as much as I love you...

“Inside, I built a wall so high I thought it (would) never fall, one touch (and) you brought it down.”
There is a lot to unpack there.