Love is in the air at the Istana as 170 couples celebrate 50 years of marriage

Couples celebrate more than 50 years of marriage during the inaugural Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations at the Istana, on March 17, 2018.
Couples celebrate more than 50 years of marriage during the inaugural Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations at the Istana, on March 17, 2018.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Madam Tay Mui Eng and Mr Bian Sin Teck, who have been married for 52 years, with President Halimah Yacob,  Mr Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.
Madam Tay Mui Eng and Mr Bian Sin Teck, who have been married for 52 years, with President Halimah Yacob, Mr Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Mr Andrew Chew, his son Benjamin, Madam Cheong Geok Pang and Mr Chew Eng Hwa pose for a photo onstage with President Halimah Yacob; Mr Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.
(From left) Mr Andrew Chew, his son Benjamin, Madam Cheong Geok Pang and Mr Chew Eng Hwa pose for a photo onstage with President Halimah Yacob; Mr Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Madam Tay Mui Eng and Mr Bian Sin Teck have been married for 52 years.
Madam Tay Mui Eng and Mr Bian Sin Teck have been married for 52 years.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

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

And on Saturday afternoon (March 17), 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 couples and their family members.

"We actually celebrated our 50th anniversary last November," said Mrs Chew. "Thank God we can 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 love each other through thick and thin," he said.

Another couple renewing their love at the ceremony was 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."