This article is taken from Stand 222, 17(2) May - June 2019.

Suchen Christine Lim Mei Kwei, I Love You

Two hours past midnight, Cha-li was sitting inside her grey Toyota, watching the corner house in Sennett Estate. There were nights when she wanted to call it quits, but she didn’t because she’d given her word. Keeping her word was essential in her business. It was what drew women to her. The scarred, the abused, the cheated, the exploited, the rejects, and the victims. Single or married, they came to her at the temple. They knew by word of mouth that her specialty was adultery and infidelity. Not for her the commercial investigations or surveillance of employees or insurance fraud or missing persons. A specialist in unfaithfulness, that’s what you are, a client had told her. Cha-li liked the phrase. It made her feel she was more than a private eye. She was the PI who peered into hearts seething with dark secrets and contradictions. But she was cautious about making any claims. A private investigator deals with hard facts—the what, the when, and the where— not the speculative whys and wherefores. That was what she told Robina Lee, who’d come to see her two weeks ago.

‘Where is Charlie Wong?’ Robina had asked in a peremptory voice.

‘I am Cha-li Wong,’ she answered as confusion clouded the young woman’s eyes. Cha-li was used to such reactions. Before meeting her in person, many people thought her Mandarin name, Cha-li (Beautiful Guard), was Charlie, because they’d expected the investigator to be a guy. Just like they’d expected a guy to take over ...
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