Family, Health, Work & Money

Scammed of a million dollars, her father almost lost his mind. But he found an even greater treasure

By Janice Tai , 8 November 2023

It started with the Rubik’s Cube.

The year was 1990 and the twistable 3-D puzzle was the toy of its time. It challenged children, teens and adults all over the world to transform each side of the cube into one of six colours. 

So when a German man – the business partner of a friend – approached Sun Juinn Yee’s father to help pioneer a spherical version of the Rubik’s Cube, her father saw it as a golden egg of an opportunity.

Their new product would be called the Magic Ball.

The Magic Ball looked like the above but had six coloured sectors.

Her father had no formal education but was enterprising and hardworking.

He was always looking out for “lobangs” (opportunities) to earn money to support his four children.

Juinn Yee’s father once sold cane furniture and provided ship maintenance services.

Juinn Yee noticed her father getting more and more excited about his new venture.

At that time, she had just graduated from university and was working as an engineer for a multinational technology company.

Her father was always looking out for “lobangs” to earn money to support his four children.

“He often shared with me about the potential massive interest for the Magic Ball from all over the world,” Juinn Yee, now 55, recalled.

“Dad felt really proud that someone as uneducated as himself would be asked to become the finance director of the company.

“His German partner assured him that he did not have to do much except endorse bigger payments to vendors.” 

The unravelling

Everything changed one Saturday afternoon in June 1991.

Juinn Yee saw her father opening a letter that came via registered mail.

His hands began to tremble.

As he could not read much English, he passed the letter to her and asked her to help him read it.

It was a letter of demand from a bank.

Juinn Yee’s father in the early 1990s, just before he was hit by the scam.

“Dad had signed a credit line for the company with the other house he owned in Springleaf Gardens as collateral.

“The total amount drawn by the company had reached the valuation of the house. And the bank was asking for full repayment to be made in 30 days, or it would take possession of the property,” said Juinn Yee.

Her father didn’t know about the withdrawals.

Just like that, her father realised that he had lost the dream house that he had slogged and scrimped for.

Just like that, her father lost the dream house that he had slogged and scrimped for.

Juinn Yee later learnt that her father’s German business partner and another friend had made her father sign a letter giving consent that withdrawals on the credit line did not need his signature.

She also found out that her father had emptied out all his cash savings. He had also borrowed money from relatives to give to his German business partner to tide over apparent cash-flow problems.

Her father had been led to believe that once the cash-flow problems were resolved, production of the Magic Ball would begin and the promised returns would finally become a reality.

“I was shell-shocked. Dad had always been a very careful man,” said Juinn Yee.

“He often got a trusted friend to help read documents before he signed them. He sometimes asked for my help too.

“But he had trusted his German business partner fully, and had signed documents that were detrimental to his interests.”

Later on, she found out that the withdrawals made against the property were mainly for credit card payments for luxury items such as branded watches, diamonds, fine dining, cruises and holidays. They had nothing to do with the business.

Their lives spiralled into chaos and darkness.

Withdrawals made against the property were mainly for credit card payments for luxury items such as diamonds and holidays.

Their home phone rang non-stop as creditors kept calling. It turns out that the secretary had directed all the creditors to their home since Juinn Yee’s father was the “finance director”.

Strangers hung around outside their gate all day as creditors hounded them for payment.

Her father’s German business partner was nowhere to be found; their calls to him went unanswered. The friends who had introduced her father to the German man avoided them.

“Dad became a different man. He had totally believed in his German business partner – and lost everything,” said Juinn Yee.

“The shock was so severe that he went into a panic state. He was sleepless and unable to eat.” 

Role reversal

Almost overnight, Juinn Yee and her father’s roles were reversed and she became the parent.

Initially, her dad behaved like a lost and frightened child.

But very quickly, he sank into a full-blown mental breakdown and was admitted to the psychiatric ward at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Very quickly, her father sank into a full-blown mental breakdown and was admitted to the psychiatric ward.

He was diagnosed with clinical depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Juinn Yee found herself taking on a torrent of matters in which she had little experience – caring for a mentally ill father and dealing with creditors summoning him to court.

She found that there was no one she could turn to for help – except the Christian God she had come to believe in after wrestling with existential questions in her teenage years.

Yet she did not really know Jesus. Going to church had been taboo as her relatives were of a different faith.

But during this crisis, prayer was like air to her lungs.

“It was my lifeline. I needed strength to get up the next day, to go to the next lawyer, to attend the next court hearing.

Juinn Yee found herself caring for a mentally ill father and dealing with creditors summoning him to court.

“I needed guidance in pleading with the creditors, strategies to calm Dad down, and a sound mind to decide if Dad should receive electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) at the hospital,” said Juinn Yee.

“In God’s exceeding mercy and grace, He heard all my cries for help and direction. He sent many people – from a psychiatrist to pro bono lawyers – to help me.

“I barely slept five hours each day, working while sorting out Dad’s legal matters, and caring for both my father and mother-in-law who were in hospital at the same time.

“But I never felt exhausted. It was as if I was drawing from a supernatural tank,” she said.

The visions

An answer to Juinn Yee’s cry for help came in the form of a close Christian colleague. Theresa prayed with Juinn Yee, and went with her to every lawyer’s meeting, court hearing and every hospital visit to see her father.

Without divulging details of the crisis, she asked her small group members from church to pray for Juinn Yee’s family. 

Sun Juinn Yee

Juinn Yee’s close colleague, Theresa (left), accompanied her and prayed alongside her during the ordeal.

As Theresa’s small group prayed for Juinn Yee’s father and the family, one of its members, Mike (not his real name) began receiving visions from God.

Mike saw a Caucasian man standing behind Juinn Yee’s father and described his appearance in detail: He had a beard, wore gold-rimmed spectacles and a Rolex watch. He had a silver pen in the pocket of his white-sleeved shirt, and he towered over her dad.

A symbolic representation of the first vision: A Caucasian man towering over Juinn Yee’s father.

He asked Theresa to ask Juinn Yee if there was such a person in her father’s life.

Up to that point, Theresa had not given details of the family’s crisis with her cell group. 

“God’s Spirit revealed to Mike that the German man was controlling Dad and that Dad was fearful of him.” 

“When I heard the vision, I knew it had to be the German business partner, as he was the only Caucasian my Dad was in touch with,” said Juinn Yee.

“God’s Spirit revealed to Mike that the German man was controlling Dad and that Dad was fearful of him.” 

Juinn Yee had never seen the man before. But when she asked her dad about it, he confirmed that the German man indeed had a beard and wore gold-rimmed spectacles and a Rolex watch.

Later on, when she finally saw the German man at court hearings, his appearance was exactly as what the vision had described – and he wore a long-sleeved white shirt.

“I was stunned,” said Juinn Yee.

“But the incident shed light that perhaps Dad had carried out all of his partner’s demands out of fear.

“I began to be filled with an inexplicable peace as I knew God was with us.” 

Chanting at 3am 

During that time, her father started knocking on her door at 3am every night for a week. Distressed, he told her he was being tortured by loud chanting in his ears.

“He would say, ‘I don’t know what to do, I am very confused. Help me, the sounds are just repeating and repeating and it is driving me crazy’,” said Juinn Yee.

Her father knocked on her door at 3am every night. Distressed, he told her he was being tortured by loud chanting.

“I could not hear anything, so I thought it was his imagination.” 

Shortly afterwards, Mike called and shared that he had received a second vision while praying for her father.

He had seen a religious leader – robed and with a gold sash across his chest – chanting.

Second vision: A religious leader, robed and with a gold sash across his chest, chanting.

“He asked me if Dad wore something like a pendant on his neck, and asked me to take a close look at it. But Dad was a simple man. The only thing he wore was his Seiko watch. He had never worn any necklace in his entire life,” said Juinn Yee.

“Mike then asked if there was an object that Dad liked to wear or carry close to himself. I knew instantly he was referring to an agate stone pendant.

“God had given Mike a word of knowledge that the pendent was exerting demonic powers over Dad’s mind.”

“Dad had received it from a religious leader that his German partner had invited to bless the company during its official opening ceremony.

“Dad had often admired this pendant and told me how good the grade was and how well it was carved,” said Juinn Yee.

“God had given Mike a word of knowledge that this object was exerting demonic powers over Dad’s mind. We needed to remove it from him.” 

A word of knowledge is a spiritual revelation about a situation that the person wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

Juinn Yee found the item. Carefully inspecting it, she saw a metal plate on the back of the pendant. On it, was a picture of a religious leader in a sash similar to the one that Mike had described. There were carvings of a script on the sides.

Mike went to the National Library to research the origins of the religious group depicted on the back of the agate pendant.

“He found out that a particular sect was robed in the same way,” said Juinn Yee.

What made devotees of this sect stand out were their chants at 3am each morning, she said. 

She realised it was no coincidence that her dad had been hearing the chants at that particular time.

“Each vision came in perfect timing and protected Dad from further harm.”

“I prayed over Dad, and we discarded the pendant.

“From that night onwards, Dad never heard the chanting again,” she said.

“I realised that things had transpired in the spiritual realm, and I felt assured that God was fighting this with us.

“I was awed and excited that this God is powerful and He was reaching out to us in such miraculous ways,” she said.

The following day, Mike called her urgently. He had received another vision.

Timely protection

Mike saw her father dressed in an ancient Chinese criminal’s outfit and locked in a pillory.

As he knelt before the imperial judge, he pleaded for the judge to throw him a wooden token that had the Chinese character for “decapitate” written on it.

The judge had not started hearing the case, but her father was already crying and asking to be executed.

God’s Spirit revealed to Mike that Juinn Yee’s father might be suicidal.

God’s Spirit revealed to Mike that Juinn Yee’s father might be suicidal. Mike advised her to be vigilant and to watch him closely.

Juinn Yee and her family members hid all the knives and scissors that could be used to self-harm.

The next day, her father indeed came to her to say he was sorry and that he had let everyone down.

“He said that he deserved to die as he had made an unforgivable mistake. He also said that he was too ashamed to live and it was better if he were dead,” she said.

“Her father also said that he was too ashamed to live and it was better if he were dead.”

She took her father to a psychiatrist. He was assessed to be suicidal and was warded for a month.

“Each vision came in perfect timing and protected Dad from further harm.

“God indeed goes before us, and He is always a step ahead,” she said.

During that time, Juinn Yee sold off their Springleaf Gardens house, paid off the bank debts and wound up the company that had been declared bankrupt.

Their family lost close to a million dollars in the scam.

Given her father’s mental state, the family decided not to pursue the case further as her father would have been required to testify in court against the German man. Instead, they prioritised his recovery.

The only key to freedom

When Juinn Yee’s father was discharged from hospital, Mike had one final vision.

He saw her father chained and locked in a pillory, but there was a key next to him. The word he received was: Jesus is the only key.

A final vision: Juinn Yee’s father locked in a pillory, with a key next to him.

He explained to Juinn Yee that Jesus is the only key that can unlock her father’s chains and set him free.

It is because Jesus has already taken the capital punishment for her father by dying on the Cross for him and all of us. Jesus alone is able to wipe away all of her father’s guilt and shame.

The whole small group came to Juinn Yee’s home to pray for her father. It was the first time she had met them – including Mike. 

“That day, my faith in God was sealed and it was no longer just an intellectual faith.”

They sat in a circle around Juinn Yee and her father and started praising God. As they prayed, God’s Spirit came upon them.

“The atmosphere changed. It felt like it was charged with electricity,” Juinn Yee said.

“I was filled with God’s Spirit and I broke down in tears. It was the first time I had cried since that Saturday afternoon when the postman came with the registered letter.

“I felt the weight of the burden I had been carrying on my shoulders in the past months roll away,” said Juinn Yee, who was in her mid-20s at the time.

“As I surrendered our situation to God, I was shaking under the power of God’s Spirit. I turned to Dad and hugged him tightly. As I shook, Dad also started shaking. Then, he wailed. It was as though the floodgates of his sorrow had opened. I had never seen my Dad cry before,” she said.

God’s love and a supernatural peace swept over them and they both quietened down.

God’s love and a supernatural peace swept over them and they both quietened down. The floor was wet with their tears.

“I felt refreshed and renewed, and I knew that I had encountered God in person,” she said.

“That day, my faith in God was sealed. It was no longer just an intellectual faith.

“This God is real, merciful, powerful and living in our very midst. He is not some distant God to be feared,” said Juinn Yee, who is now married with two adult children.

Juinn Yee with her husband and their two children.

After his encounter with God, her father retreated into his room.

Theresa later told him about Jesus, and he invited Him into his heart that very day – six months after the scam hit him.

Healing and restoration

Healing and restoration took place over the next few days for Juinn Yee’s father.

His moods began to stabilise. He no longer called his daughter every five minutes out of anxiety.

“It was a miracle to see how far he had come when doctors recommended ECT to the time he was healed.”

After a few months, his medication for depression and anxiety was reduced and then stopped. He no longer needed to see the psychiatrist. 

“It was a miracle to see how far he had come from the time the doctors recommended ECT (though we did not allow him to go for it) to the time he was healed.

“That powerful touch of God’s Spirit had healed him of the tremendous psychological trauma,” said Juinn Yee.

Sun Juinn Yee

Juinn Yee (centre) later took her parents for a holiday in Beijing, China, where her Dad visited his siblings.

After a holiday in China, Juinn Yee’s dad was back to his good-natured self.

He started working at a relative’s crystalware shop, and later enjoyed his retirement by spending time with his grandchildren.

Juinn Yee’s father continued to work in a relative’s crystalware shop after recovering from the scam.

With his grandchildren in his later years.

Just six months before he died, he was baptised in January 2019.

Juinn Yee’s faith journey continues.

She was a staff and board member of Petra Community for four years. Then she stepped down to engage in other pursuits, including active volunteer work with migrant workers and translation work for churches.

Juinn Yee’s father was baptised by pastors from RiverLife Church six months before he passed on.

Sun Juinn Yee

Juinn Yee with her father in 2018, a year before he died.

“God knows each of us intimately and, in His desire to reach us, He works in different ways,” she said.

“He knew that I needed to encounter the work of His Spirit through Mike’s visions, and to be overwhelmed by His power that afternoon when the small group came to pray for Dad.

“Not only did God completely heal Dad from his severe mental illness, He restored him and saved his soul.

“God is near to those who choose to believe in Him, and He sets us free to live on this earth in His power.”

This is an excerpt of an article that first appeared in Salt&Light.

If you would like to know more about Jesus, click here to find a church near you.


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