Child of deadbeat dad who left Ireland for new lover says, ‘I don’t want him back in my life’
Cho ‘Simon’ Cheung escaped with a fine at Ennis Circuit Court last November after pleading guilty to abandoning his children
A young woman whose father abandoned her to be with his his new lover in Singapore has said he broke her heart and “I don’t want him back in my life”.
Cho ‘Simon’ Cheung escaped with a fine and a suspended sentence at Ennis Circuit Court last November after pleading guilty to abandoning his children.
His daughter, Ciara, told the Sunday Worldhow she didn’t expect him to return here after leaving their Co Clare home in 2016, saying he was going to Dublin for a job when she was 11.
Incredibly, the articulate art student said she doesn’t hold a grudge against her biological father despite the mental anguish and damage caused by his sudden disappearance.
“My dad left, but he would lie and say ‘I’m coming back’, but he didn’t. I obviously trusted him because I was so young; he said he was going to Dublin for a job. He broke my heart as well. I don’t want him back in my life.”
At his sentence hearing last year, Cho Cheung’s defence counsel said he was “extremely ashamed and embarrassed” and hoped some day he might be able “to mend the relationship he had with his family.”
“I did expect some type of apology from him – but however many times he will apologise, it will never get rid of the agony he put me through,” said Ciara.
“I don’t have a grudge against him, I just simply don’t care about him, I’ve moved on from the past and accepted what has happened, and there is nothing that can be done to mend it.”
The impact of her abandonment on Ciara’s life, both mentally and physically, has been a huge burden for such a young person to have endured.
She and her then 15-year-old brother were taken in by an aunt at the time, but later went into foster care when it became apparent their father wasn’t coming back.
When Ciara’s mother left Ireland in 2007 to return to Hong Kong, her grandmother arrived to help out.
But, by autumn 2016 – and by then in her mid-70s – her granny returned to Hong Kong, briefly coming back in November 2016 shortly after her father left.
Ciara said she “didn’t mind” what sentence her dad got, and having fathered two new children with his new partner, she thought at the time “he can’t just go to prison, just closing the whole circle again.”
She speaks about what she went through with the wisdom of a person much older than her 18 years, forced to grow up sooner than a child should have to.
“I know that everybody on this earth is going through something whether it is small or big. I’ve been suffering for most of my life. I’ve had about two years of peace.”
But she said it’s important for people going through such mental anguish to realise that it won’t always be that way.
“I can guarantee there is going to be peace at some point, whether it is peace that is just for a couple of days, a week or something, this pain is not going to keep going on for the rest of your life — it is going to have an end.
“Life isn’t hopeless, there is always a reason to be living, even if it is just for yourself or for a friend or something.
“You are here for a reason and don’t ever think you are not worth it, because you definitely are, even if it takes you years to realise that. I’m still working on that, though.”
With her 18th birthday just past, Ciara says secondary school was difficult and that some people who would have had no idea what had been happening to her “put her through hell”.
She said she was surprised to find herself shocked when the case featured widely in the media but was glad that it was out in the open.
Because she was so young when her dad left, she had not told even her closest friends about what she had been through.
“It was more of a shock the fact that my name was out in the public and some of my friends texted me ‘I heard your story on the radio’ and I was like ‘oh my God people are hearing it’.”
Now she is looking forward to getting on with her life, continuing her college education.
“I feel I always have to be the one standing up for myself, or standing up for other people. I’ve never had time to rest and I was so young and I am still really young,” she says.
“I have found so many more people to talk to and made so many friends and it made me realise that I can finally rest now I don’t have to constantly be alert.
“I have fully acknowledged that I am not by myself anymore, I am surrounded by the most kindest, caring and amazing friends and family, and I could not ask for more.”
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