lThe Tiger Balm Kings

Escape from Paradise
Escape from Paradise - Kindle Edition - Immediate Amazon Download - Click!!!
Escape from Paradise
coming as a movie!

Thunderball Films acquires option to produce Amazon #1 bestseller Escape from Paradise!!!

International Best Seller!
19 August 2012, #1books on divorce at - AmazonUK!!!
13 May 2011 #5 位 ─ 洋書 > Biographies & Memoirs > Women at -


The movie buzz begins...

Google searches for bai ling up 2400% in past week

(Bai Ling will play May Chu in the film.)

Escape from Paradise has never been banned in Singapore. The book's problems were created by the malicious actions of Helen Yeo and Yeo Cheow Tong. Here is the letter from Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) proving that Escape from Paradise was never banned in Singapore:

From: "Customer Service" <>
To: "John Harding" <>

Date: 19 May 2011 09:23:42 +0800

Subject:[F11016729] Content & Standards- Publications Content CRM:0085067

Dear John Harding,
I refer to your query on the book "Escape from Paradise". Publications are self regulated by the industry, with importers referring them to the MDA when they are in doubt. "Escape from Paradise" has not been submitted to the MDA.
Should you require further assistance, please reply to this email.
Kindly click here to rate this feedback, to better understand your needs.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Escape from Paradise - driven out of Singapore by Helen Yeo.
No longer available in Singapore bookstores thanks to threats from Helen Yeo, wife of Singapore Cabinet Minister Yeo Cheow Tong. She had no court order and no legal basis for her action. Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) has confirmed that Singapore has NO OBJECTION to Escape from Paradise. Nevertheless, effectively banned by the whim of an influential individual, and not by the law! Thanks to the Yeos, 25 copies of Escape from Paradise has also been withdrawn from Singapore's National Library.

(It is available in libraries outside of Singapore, including The British Library in London.)

Read about Helen Yeo's attack on Escape from Paradise in Singapore Justice, and in
The attack on Escape from Paradise by Helen Yeo

Escape from Paradise
Amazon's #1 best seller for six years in Singapore, where it was even rumored to have been banned which is NOT TRUE.

This is the story of a woman's escape from an arranged marriage in Singapore. She comes from the flamboyant Tiger Balm family; her wealthy husband from Brunei with CIA connections .

The difficulties May Chu encountered with corrupt lawyers and judges in Singapore made her divorce extremely difficult. This was further complicated by the wealth of her ex-husband, the owner of X10, the company behind those bothersome pop-up ads on the Internet.

Then there were May Chu's parents, who, although extremely wealthy thanks to inheritance, were extremely selfish. May Chu's epileptic brother was thrown out of the family home at age 15 to live on his own -- with fatal consequences.

May Chu had to work to support herself through secondary school and still managed to succeed in the toughest secondary school in Singapore, The Raffles Institution. Her parents, however, flatly refused to allow her a university education.

May Chu's father was more interested in spending money on his yacht and women, while her mother contributed heavily to The Jehovah's Witnesses.

The adventure takes place in Singapore, Brunei, Australia, England, and the United States, and touches on some powerful people in Singapore, as well as CIA agent Dan Arnold, and the United Kingdom's former Lord Chancellor Alexander Irvine.

From its first paragraph, Escape from Paradise draws the reader into the ambiance of a cosmopolitan Asia never touched upon by any other book ...

Escape from Paradise destroys X10 completely
by exposing its scam.

August 2013 - It takes a long time for the bankruptcy court to disolve a bankrupt company, especially when it owes so much to so many (over 400 people and companies), but it finally happened.

From the Bankruptcy Court: "Over the last several years, X10′s management has worked diligently to operate under very difficult circumstances. Nearly two years ago, its major supplier and shareholder, X10, Ltd., filed for protection under Hong Kong Law. Not only has this stymied the Company’s ability to maintain and grow its business, but also caused disruptions while potential investors looked to purchase the Company’s stock, the single most valuable asset of X10, Ltd."

Chung Hin Chew, the man behind X10, fled Brunei for Singapore and now lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia.

Shareholders of note who lost their investments in X10 Wireless were Kim Eng's Douglas Ooi (step-nephew of Singapore’s ruler, Lee Kuan Yew) and Singaporean Low Kee Cheong.

How to contact

X10 Bankruptcy
620 Naches Ave SW
Renton, WA 98057

Oct 21, 2003 - X10 Petitions the US court for bankruptcy, owing an estimated $10,259,812.43 to creditors, including Microsoft and Google!

Oct 7, 2003 - X10 loses a $4.3 million lawsuit for "using" another firm's software without paying for it, and for stealing the company's proprietary technology!

Sept 26, 2001 - X10 withdraws its IPO registration from the SEC! X10's parent company is in Hong Kong, and owned by a front in Bermuda. This was after the SEC received a copy of Escape from Paradise.

The Singapore Women's Weekly

An article about Escape from Paradise was published in the October 2002 issues of The Singapore Women's Weekly and The Malaysian Women's Weekly.
Click for PDF.

The Book Reader

And this story, of the underside of paradise, has stories within stories as a woman manages to break free from a web of wealth and power in the dictatorship of Singapore and escape to America where the word 'freedom' takes on special meaning...She comes up against the Singapore legal system -- which may be legal, but its has a lot of hidden agendas...Americans have a saying: luck is a lady. And this lady and her subsequent husband have written a somber, very human tale of a woman's remarkable journey.

Click to see inside the book!

Escape from Paradise
Now, available in Kindle and Paperback! Free Kindle if you purchase the Paperback. After buying the Paperback, go for the free Kindle!

Also available from Amazon UK, Canada, China, France, Germany & Japan.
All five-star reviews on Amazon!

Book signing in El Centro, CA
March 7, 2013

Safe in America
May Chu with her son, Warren, in California on August 22, 2013

The authors
and more great reviews

John & May Chu Harding

May Chu, pictured on the cover of the book now lives in California with her husband and co-author, John Harding.

John, an American, was the only westerner to be a member of Singapore's Civil Service in recent history. He was in charge of Singapore's Inland Revenue computer operation.

Escape from Paradise
Available Worldwide!

On Sale in Australia

also at
The Nile
(free shipping)

(read inside the book feature)

Click for Excerpts

Write us at

Escape from Paradise
More about
Escape from Paradise!

Click for the book's
Press Kit (PDF)

Bookstores! Escape from Paradise is distributed by The Ingram Group (US) Bertrams (UK), Whitaker (UK), Baker & Taylor (Asia), and Bowker's Books in Print

©2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 IDKPress


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Amazon Reviews
all 5-star
Charming. I love this book, completed it in a day!
Amazon review, Teng Kie Zin (Singapore)
Brilliant Book! Just can't stop reading!Amazon review, WL Soul (Singapore)
On one of my visits to Singapore, I started reading this book just before I had to be admitted into the hospital for an emergency surgery. This book was so hard to put down that in my weakest moments after the surgery, I was so deeply engaged in the book to want to finish reading to the end. I finally finished reading it before my one-week's stay at the hospital in Singapore. A few of my visitors advised me to put this book away because it was banned in Singapore. I highly recommend every Singaporean who aspires to know the truth to read this book. Once you start reading it, be prepared that it will be so hard to put down.

A. LIM ,Seattle, WA, March 29, 2010

I read this book. I could not put it down even for a minute.

Read this book, because one learn so much from it.

I wish a Movie can be made out of it. It breaks away from the type-casting of all people.

Amazon review, Tammy (AZ, USA)
I read the beginning of your book and absolutely fell in love with it. I read it till mid night and dreamed about it so when i woke up, I felt like I haven't stopped reading it. I share some of it with my mom who said she would like to flip a few pages to see what it's all about and now, she said she couldn't let the book down ;-) so I guess I will be finishing the book after my mother. T. T. Wisconsin, USA
(April 28, 2010)
“I just ordered three more copies of your book to distribute as Christmas presents

Thank you so much putting this absoloutely devastating piece of work. I was fighting hard between my work day, studies and project work just to find every concievable moment to escape into your world. I was driving down the streets and just could not stop imagining you fleeting from apartment to car with bags in tow...ahahah brilliant simply brilliant.

Thank you for letting me escape the SINGAPORE you contextualised so comes at a tipping point in my life.“ A reader from Singapore, August 25, 2010

Singapore's Today newspaper

Escape from Paradise was featured on the front page of the December 2, 2002 edition of Singapore's Today newspaper. Click to read.

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.
It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.
“It's quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.
Bought the book from Select this weekend and can't put it down! It's a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days!
Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That's the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei's latest film is The Blue Mansion - Click for the trailer!
This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore -
Mr. Seow's Review..
The single best book I have read so far!

Yes, it is really that good. This book is full of real life amazing stories. If you have heard about Tiger Balm, find out more about the Aw family stories here. The book is full of humor too which make it not boring and reading it was like having May Chu sitting next to me telling her life stories after a good dinner. Another good thing is, the stories are not predictable unlike drama you watch on TV. Life itself is unpredictable. It also shows that the world do not operate the same way we think even more so from a tycoon family.

It is THE book I would suggest anyone from any walk of life to read it regardless where you live or your ethnic group. I finished reading this book in 2-3 days, I cannot put it down and if not because I need the light off so my family can sleep I am sure I can finish it in 1 day.

By Joven Chiew S. H., Singapore, April 12, 2012

It's Un-putdownable!Jacob George, Singapore Activist & Writer
Singapore Confidential at its Best. Barnes and Noble.
I love your book and you should continue writing. I have recommended to some friends in Beijing since I left Singapore in 2003...I am a Hakka too and what you have said about the Chungs is accurately true...I told a friend, it is like watching "The Last Emperor (your life from a super rich family) and Joy Luck Club (your marriage life)" mixed into one, Singapore version. Make it into a movie, please!

I am a creative designer and if you need any illustration for your new projects, I will gladly do it for free. What we are doing is not for us, but for future generation, either for their enlightenment or research studies.

I am living a peaceful life in Beijing now, doing some projects with Beijing International Studies University. Unfortunately, I can't reply your message earlier as Facebook is banned in China. A reader from China, January 27, 2011

I've read your book now, and it's a gripping story. I'm glad you found the strength and support to run away. John comes across as a real knight in shining armour, and that's wonderful. Men who are decent and intelligent and interesting and capable are soooo hard to come by.

I find it incredible that someone of my own generation, living in a technologically advanced and presumably modern country like Singapore could have been treated in such a way as yourself... the attitudes surrounding you were medieval! To deny you a university education and to treat you as nothing but chattel and an ornament is preposterous, and the parental neglect of both you and your brother is appalling. It is a testament to your strength that you have made a different life for your sons. Patricia B. , England October 28, 2010

“I finished the whole book in one day... I'm still trying to digest what I read.“
A reader from Malaysia, October 23, 2010
“I enjoyed tremendously (reading more than 3 times) “Escape from Paradise” In our former solicitor general Francis Seow's words - an unstoppable reading and beats “Dallas.”

It's the most interesting book I've ever read, because the characters were so REAL, and having grown up in good old Singapore during the 50's much of what is in the book, places and people, brings vivid memories to me. It's so nostalgic.

How I wish more writers would write like her! My special tribute to May Chu and John Harding.”
Raymond W. (April 25, 2009)

...As a Singaporean I strongly identified with your book because it was so real to me. Never have I felt that level of connection with any other book. I was rivetted from the start to the finish. Your book held my attention captive and for me it falls into the category of books which are "unputdownable".
Jeanette, Sept. 13, 2008

Escape From Paradise by John and May Chu Harding is an enthralling read. Written in May Chu's autobiographical voice, the reader is immediately transported into the coddled lives of incredible wealth and excess in this branch of the Haw Par family of the Tiger Balm ointment fame in Asia. It is the harrowing account of a beautiful woman's fairy tale beginnings gone awry, from her cosseted childhood in Singapore, to divorce proceedings and a timely escape from paradise. May Chu and John Harding show enormous courage amid distress in their harrowing breakaway against the electrifying intrigue of the Chung family conglomerate, with its deep reaches and bottomless pockets. This first person recount of an incredible experience is an eye-opener for readers who have neither been as privileged, nor encountered the lop-sided legal system in Singapore in which women's rights are trampled. This book is an exposé of the betrayal commited by its dramatis personae, their personal and business foibles publicly undressed and summarily skewered with candour and sometimes with humour. No one is spared from the authors' wry description: the controversial ex-husband and in-laws, duplicitous divorce lawyers and government officials, dysfunctional family members, and their dealings with the authors and in the business world spanning the globe are recounted with refreshing honesty, courage, and some outrage.

May Chu is a detailed observer of people and their personalities, posessed of a keen mind and a sharp wit. Her voice clearly articulates the events of her day. She has spent years preparing to write this book and it is an indictment of the frailties of her family, of the spurious source of wealth resulting from under-the-radar business practices, of the failure of the legal machinery to adequately protect the rights of Singaporean women in the divorce court. The narrative in Escape From Paradise flows seamlessly, events are described with clarity, proof is provided where possible in photographs and document excerpts, and the entire book is handily sewn together in John Harding's skillful prose. May Chu and John Harding tell the truth as they experienced it, and let the chips fall where they may. Ivea Mark, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 22, 2013

The Cast of Characters
Hin Chew Chung S P Chung Daniel C. Arnold Hin Chew Chung Alexander Irvine Jackie Lee Helen Yeo Cliff Robertson John Harding
The ex-husband, Hin Chew Chung, who is spending a fortune on those annoying X-10 pop-up ads your getting on the Internet. He was detained by the Brunei police for one full year. The revelations of Escape from Paradise derailed X10's NASDAQ IPO.

In October 2003, X-10 lost a $4.3 million lawsuit for failure to pay, and for "bullying" a supplier. X-10 has now filed for bankruptcy!


Where did Hin Chew get all the money? He probably got it from his father, Brunei tycoon, S. P. Chung. S. P.'s ranch in Australia was bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island! He even managed to attend a party with George Bush Sr. in Washington.


S. P. Chung has a connection with Dan Arnold, ex-CIA Chief of Station in Thailand, now a Washington lobbyist representing Burma, and ex-campaign worker for George Bush, Sr.


The Chungs had dealings with the Sultan of Brunei, who "detained" the ex-husband in Brunei for a year, while father, S. P. Chung, was on the run.

"Pehin Isa, a tall, handsome, and friendly man, dressed traditionally, welcomed us into his immense house... "


The current Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Irvine was hired by ex-husband, Hin Chew, to sort things out. This was immediatly after the meeting with CIA's Dan Arnold. Derry Irvine was a Queen's Counsel then, and pal of Tony Blair & wife. Did he and pal, QC Richard Field, have CIA connections?
Was Derry Irvine's firing due to revelations in Escape from Paradise?


May Chu's father, Jackie Lee, was wanted by the Singapore police for fleeing Singapore, vanishing with his millions. He's an heir to the Tiger Balm fortune. He lost it all.
He now lives in public housing in Singapore, and has had a leg amputated for medical reasons.


Jackie Lee used the law firm of Helen Yeo, wife of former Singapore Cabinet Minister Yeo Cheow Tong, (now fired, thanks, in part to our book) to sell his Singapore properties for millions, while his divorce from his wife was still in progress. (Friends in high places?)
(Here's Mabel, in Singapore, with movie star, Cliff Robertson.)

Her husband, Jackie Lee, sold the family house and fled from Singapore to avoid paying his beautiful wife, Mabel, her million dollar divorce judgement.

Mabel now lives in public housing in Singapore, and spends her days passing out pamphlets for the Jehovah's Witnesses.


In the midst of the turmoil, on a trip to Los Angeles, out pops the "Movie Star."