Love in the air at the Istana

Senior couples reciting a love declaration in front of guests at the Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations at the Istana yesterday. President Halimah Yacob was the guest of honour at the event.
Senior couples reciting a love declaration in front of guests at the Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations at the Istana yesterday. President Halimah Yacob was the guest of honour at the event.ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Mr Bian Sin Teck and his wife Tay Mui Eng, both 74, will be celebrating their 52nd anniversary in June.
Mr Bian Sin Teck and his wife Tay Mui Eng, both 74, will be celebrating their 52nd anniversary in June.

Inaugural event honours 170 couples who have been married for at least 50 years

They first said "I do" to each other in November 1967.

And yesterday afternoon, Mr Chew Eng Hwa, 78, a former banking executive, and Mrs Belinda Chew, 77, a former nurse, renewed their commitment to each other.

The retirees were among 170 couples who were celebrating over 50 years of wedded bliss at the inaugural Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations, organised by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and supported by the Registry of Marriages and the Registry of Muslim Marriages.

The pairs of lovebirds received commemorative medallion-coins and commemorative marriage certificates from the guest of honour, President Halimah Yacob, during the event held at the Istana.

There were 1,200 guests at the event, comprising the senior couples and their family members.

"We actually celebrated our 50th anniversary last November," said Mrs Chew. "Thank God we could be together for so many years, and live until such an old age together."

Their son, consumer electronics marketing executive Andrew Chew, 47, said he was very touched watching his parents renew their vows. "I think they are a great example for us to follow. My wife and I have been married for 12 years, and, of course, we are hoping to follow in my parents' footsteps. They have loved each other through thick and thin," he said.

Another couple renewing their love at the ceremony were Mr Bian Sin Teck and Madam Tay Mui Eng, both 74. They will be hitting the 52-year mark in June this year.

The secret to a lasting marriage is to accept not just your partner's positive aspects, but weaknesses too, said Madam Tay. "Every couple will argue, that's for sure," she said in Mandarin. "Everyone has a weakness. I love his strengths, so I have to love his weaknesses too."

In her speech, President Halimah shared that she and her husband met in university almost four decades ago.

"All marriages have their ups and downs. They are not always smooth sailing. But this is precisely why it is meaningful. A marriage is a journey, and requires commitment and hard work," she said.

"Many of us put in the extra hours at work to leave a positive impact on the people we serve. We should, all the more, make the extra effort to work at our marriages."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Love in the air at the Istana'. Print Edition | Subscribe