She was working as a receptionist at a hotel in Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island, Indonesia, where she eventually fell for its Singaporean manager.
In 1986, Indonesian national Evy Taher moved to Singapore to marry him and start a family together.
But their relationship started to unravel and she filed for divorce after 11 years of marriage.
Ms Taher and their four children continued to live with him under the same roof for the next two years as they had nowhere else to go.
But things eventually came to a head and she had no choice but to leave, the young ones in tow.
She said her oldest child was 14 at the time and the youngest just five.
A housewife then, Ms Evy panicked. She had no money, no resources and no family in Singapore.
She eventually got a job as a beauty therapist, earning about $1,500 a month. She shared a rented room in an HDB flat with her kids for two years.
Now 49, the single mum told TNP: “I couldn’t even take any of my personal belongings because we couldn’t fit everything into one small room.
“I just took some clothes, my children’s school uniforms and books, and we moved.”
Ms Evy barely got by after paying a rent of $900 every month.
Thankfully, their landlady helped out with meals and Ms Evy’s oldest son would look after the younger siblings when she was at work.
Things eventually improved and the beauty specialist, now a Singapore permanent resident, has settled into a bigger rented flat.
“Things are much better because my children – aged 27, 26, 21 and 18 – are grown up, so they help out financially,” she said.
“All of them are good. I’m grateful to have them because they never made things difficult for me.
“After polytechnic, my oldest son started working and now he’s an executive in an IT firm.”
Ms Evy, who has lost contact with her ex-husband since moving out, added: “Through the downs in my life, I have emerged stronger and more patient.
“I believe that through the hardships, I will gain success in future.
“Through Classic Mrs Singapore, I want to inspire women with my story and show them that you can overcome all obstacles in your life and emerge as someone successful.
“I want to show women that you don’t need a husband to be the best you can be in your life.
“I have learnt that independence is very important.”
This story was originally published in The New Paper. For more stories like this, head to www.tnp.sg.
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