Couples renew marriage vows, share love stories

These couples were among the 90 pairs who renewed their wedding vows at a Singapore Bicentennial celebration event held at Teck Ghee Community Club yesterday. The newest married couple tied the knot two months ago, while one couple has been married f
These couples were among the 90 pairs who renewed their wedding vows at a Singapore Bicentennial celebration event held at Teck Ghee Community Club yesterday. The newest married couple tied the knot two months ago, while one couple has been married for 65 years.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore Bicentennial event in Ang Mo Kio also highlights how weddings here have evolved

Retired deliveryman Goh Kong Beng, 72, first met his wife at an open-air cinema in Kim Chuan Road in the 1960s.

"All we did back then was exchange glances," he said in Mandarin with a laugh, recounting how it was a Hokkien movie on the Chinese legend Hua Mulan.

They bumped into each other a few more times at the movies before Mr Goh plucked up the courage to ask her out on a date.

The couple tied the knot when they were both 21 and have been married for 51 years.

They were one of 18 couples whose love stories were shared at a Singapore Bicentennial celebration event held at Teck Ghee Community Club yesterday.

Organised by Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West SMC, the event highlighted how weddings across the different ethnic groups in Singapore have evolved over the years.

More than a dozen booths and exhibits showcased traditional wedding costumes, snacks and customs - some of which are still fixtures of modern weddings.

DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS

My father had hoped that I would marry a Chinese man. He was worried about the differences in our cultures. And if I were to marry Danni, how our children would grow up, and how they would see themselves, their identity. But I told my dad, 'Look at me! I'm a product of both of you'.

MS ALLISON REBECCA KHOO KIM GUAT, a Chinese-Eurasian whose husband Danni Jay Luke Danis is Ceylonese-Eurasian.

 
 

These included the tea ceremony set for Chinese weddings, as well as dates and rock sugar cubes that are handed out at Indian weddings.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who attended the event, said the traditions and customs that the country's forefathers brought with them have enriched Singapore's culture as a whole.

"Of those customs, the wedding ceremony is one of the most important for each one of us in our lives," he said.

"Each ethnic group has its own set of wedding customs. The wedding ceremony represents the traditions of our forefathers that are worth remembering and passing on to the future generations."

He cited examples across different dialect groups within the Chinese community - such as having a roasted pig for Cantonese weddings and receiving the bride before dawn for Teochew weddings - to illustrate the "colourful traditions" that have "deepened Singaporeans' sense of identity and culture".

He also congratulated the 90 couples who renewed their wedding vows at the event. The newest married couple tied the knot two months ago, while one couple has been married for 65 years.

Mr Danni Jay Luke Danis, 30, and his wife Allison Rebecca Khoo Kim Guat, 32, were the newly-weds there. Ms Khoo, who is Chinese-Eurasian, said her parents initially had "a few objections" to the relationship due to concerns about the couple's different racial backgrounds. Her husband is Ceylonese-Eurasian.

"My father had hoped that I would marry a Chinese man. He was worried about the differences in our cultures. And if I were to marry Danni, how our children would grow up, and how they would see themselves, their identity.

"But I told my dad, 'Look at me! I'm a product of both of you'," said Ms Khoo, whose father is Chinese and mother is Irish-Eurasian.

She added that it was inspiring to see the other married couples. "Here we are, two months, and some of these couples have been married for 51 years. It's amazing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2019, with the headline 'Couples renew marriage vows, share love stories'. Print Edition | Subscribe