Taiwanese finds S’porean mum after nearly 40 years, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Taiwanese finds S’porean mum after nearly 40 years

For nearly four decades, Ms Wang Wen Lian did not know if her son Hsu Hu-chin was alive.

She did not know where he was, or whether he was safe. All she could do for him was pray.

She had left Taiwan, the place of her son’s birth, in the 1980s when he was just a toddler, to return to Singapore because of some family issues, and lost contact with him.

But her prayers were answered at last when she finally saw her son, now 42, over a Zoom video call on Dec 21.

“How are you, Hu-chin? Mama has really missed you,” Ms Wang said on that call, her voice cracking. “Even though it’s been 40 years, I’ve prayed every night for your well-being.”

Leaning forward to take a closer look at him on the computer screen, she added: “You look a lot like your father.”

This story of a reunion between mother and son began earlier in December, after Mr Hsu contacted The Straits Times seeking help to look for his long-lost Singaporean mother, who is now in her 60s.

It was a last-ditch attempt by Mr Hsu to find his mother, after previous fruitless efforts to look for her via social media and her past employer, Singapore Airlines, where Ms Wang worked as a stewardess in her younger days.

The Dec 15 ST article, which had old photographs of mother and child, immediately caught the attention of Ms Wang’s nephew in Singapore, who went on to alert her.

Both Ms Wang and Mr Hsu agreed to ST arranging a meeting between them over Zoom on Dec 21. The duo approached the call with apprehension, each wary that it could be a scam.

Ms Wang asked Mr Hsu to verify some personal details, including the date, time and location of his birth, and the names of his relatives. When she was finally satisfied, she blurted out, laughing: “That’s right, you’re my son!”

Later, Mr Hsu called Ms Wang “Ma” for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The video call went on for 40 minutes, and both mother and son caught up – using a mix of Mandarin and Minnan dialect – with what had transpired through the years.

Mr Hsu told his mother about his difficult childhood, with the family moving homes often to avoid creditors as his father borrowed from moneylenders for his failed businesses. The elder Hsu died in 2018.

He also recounted issues that the family faced because of his father’s behaviour and superstitions.

“(Your father) began walking down this path since you were born,” said Ms Wang, referring to her former husband’s superstitious beliefs.

“He was in the wrong, not you. It’s never been your fault.”

ST had previously reported that Ms Wang left Taiwan for Singapore after Mr Hsu’s father went to jail for three years for failing to pay his creditors. During that time, there were disagreements between Ms Wang and her in-laws.

Ms Wang, who declined to give ST specifics as to why she left Taiwan, told Mr Hsu that after she returned to Singapore, she focused her attention on working to provide for her ailing parents, and so was unable to return to search for him.

She wrote to her son and her in-laws in an attempt to keep in touch, but did not get any replies.

“I wished I could have been by your side,” she said.

She told him that she had returned to Taiwan about 10 years ago to retrace her steps, but was unable to find any familiar faces or locations. So much had changed since she was last there, she said.

Mr Hsu told his mother he was now a systems engineer and that he got married in 2020. He also said he and his family had plans to move to Tokyo for work after Chinese New Year.

She later asked if he was happy that he had finally found his mother.

“I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted from my heart,” Mr Hsu replied.

For Ms Wang, the days leading up to the call were an emotional roller coaster, and she told ST that she cried when she first heard news of Mr Hsu.

“A lot went through my head as this reopened a closed chapter in my life. I was flooded by emotions and couldn’t sleep for many nights after,” she said. 

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