SINGAPORE - She was completely surprised by the gift from her fiance, and described the surprise as "the best he has done to date".
Ms Ruth Lau, 44, had received a personalised copy of The Straits Times from her boyfriend Mr Roland Tay, 51, with a love poem that he wrote on the front page, including the magical words "Will you marry me?".
Personalised Print, launched on Nov 16 last year, allows readers to publish personalised messages on the front pages of The Straits Times, The Business Times, or Lianhe Zaobao, for any date in advance.
Each printed copy is exclusive, and delivered to the recipient on the actual day of publication.
Mr Tay had planned to propose to Ms Lau this year, but when he saw the Christmas Edition for the Personalised Print service being promoted, he latched onto that idea.
"I decided to propose earlier as I felt it would make Christmas extra special to have a personalised gift that doubles as a token of love," said Mr Tay, "It serves as a significant milestone that marks the beginning of another chapter in our lives together."
Ms Lau, who works in the IT security industry, said she did not expect the gift.
"It took me awhile to pick up on the hints Roland was giving me to check on the copy of The Straits Times delivered to our door on Christmas," she said. "I like how the newspaper design was exclusive, which made the gift private and intimate."
Just like Mr Tay and Ms Lau's engagement, readers have been using the Personalised Print to commemorate special occasions such as milestone birthdays, wedding anniversaries and pets' birthdays.
Sales and marketing manager Rodd Harrison, 57, also used the Christmas Edition for the Personalised Print to mark his son's appointment as head prefect at school, as well as to congratulate his son's piano teacher who is expecting a baby this month.
"It's a fantastic and innovative idea. Nowhere else in the world am I able to do a personalised newspaper like this for publication dates in advance," said Mr Harrison.
For Mr Raymond Lim, an exclusive, personalised and framed copy of The Straits Times together with a cake and a bottle of champagne, was delivered to his office during lunchtime, on his 60th birthday last week.
His wife Julie Tan had pulled off the surprise with the help of his colleagues. She ordered a Daily Edition of Personalised Print, which allows readers to publish personally curated messages on the premium front page newspaper advertisement space, worth between $8,000 and $28,000, of their chosen newspaper and publication date.
"It was unbelievable. Having SPH representatives showing up at my desk with my birthday present followed by my colleagues singing me a birthday song certainly took me by surprise," said Mr Lim.
"It's amazing to have The Straits Times exclusively designed for me, and to see my photo and birthday wishes alongside front page news. Now I have something to look back on to remember the day I turned 60."
Mr Jerry Siah, Head of Product Innovation and Pricing at SPH Integrated Marketing Division, said: "Our readers have used the Personalised Print product in ways beyond what we had initially planned for. We are encouraged by the positive feedback from readers locally as well as people from around the world who have read about it."
Chief Marketing Officer of SPH Integrated Marketing Division, Ms Elsie Chua, said: "Our national newspapers have been serving our readers for a long time. We are delighted that our recently launched Personalised Print initiative allows us to build a new emotional connection with our readers. It provides a platform for our readers to connect with each other, and celebrate important milestones in their lives."
Personalised Print will be having Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day editions, where readers can send personalised auspicious greetings on the front page of Lianhe Zaobao on Jan 27 for $88, or messages printed on the front of The Straits Times on Feb 14 for $199.