#Stayhome reads: A uniquely Singaporean romance, and other inspiring tales of love and hope

SINGAPORE - Mr Joseph Tan and Ms Miki Lim first met as rebellious and aimless teens, who led "havoc" lives.

Over the years, the couple spent time behind bars, not once but several times. In fact, they were nearly hanged for their drug offences. Their marriage ended in divorce in 2003. It took them more than a decade before they turned their lives around and decided to have another go at couplehood.

The story of the couple, who got a second chance at life and love, moved many.

Here are other stories that have tugged the heartstrings of readers over the years, from a uniquely Singaporean interracial romance that captured the nation's attention to a man who bounced back from multiple amputations to inspire others.

She said yes to her boyfriend's final gift of love by his hospital bed

Ms Koh Soh Kuan and Mr Pang Ming Kwong first went steady when she was 41, and he was 50. She was drawn to his hard-working and down-to-earth nature, and he to her simple heart and willingness to listen. But Mr Pang never felt the need to settle down.

"He kept telling me that many marriages ended up in divorces and I was disappointed, but I knew marriage cannot be forced," said Ms Koh.

That was until 2017, when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and doctors said he had only a few years to live. The following year, he held her hand beside his hospital bed and proposed. She said yes.

She never gave up on him. Even till the very end, when the doctor was penning down his time of death, Ms Koh pleaded with the doctor to save him.

MS KOH OPENS UP ABOUT THE MAN SHE LOVES

A uniquely Singaporean love story that broke cultural and racial barriers

When Mr Koh Leng Kiat died at the age of 83, his Indian stepchildren and his biological children conducted his funeral the traditional Taoist way even though they had little knowledge of how to do it.

This simple gesture became a symbol of the love between Mr Koh and Madam Meena Jaganathan - one that had blossomed over time and grew from strength to strength, despite their language and cultural differences.

Mr Koh had met and helped Madam Meena - a widow left to raise eight young children - in the late 1960s when they were working at the same construction company.

Slowly but surely, they fell in love, got married and went on to build a tight-knit family of their own. Over the years, they celebrated the different cultural holidays and used a variety of languages to communicate.

FIND OUT HOW THEY FELL IN LOVE AND BUILT A LIFE TOGETHER

A multiple amputee finds new hope in helping others

In early 2017, Mohamad Hasri Abu Hasan succumbed to a nasty bug that left him feverish for two weeks and caused a discharge of pus from one ear.

He soon recovered, but that was only the start of his nightmare. One morning while having breakfast, he suddenly could not see.

It took months and countless painful tests before doctors determined that he was suffering from a disease caused by inflammation of blood vessels. And in the process, he had to amputate both his legs and five fingers.

Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he was up and about on his two prosthetic legs, inspiring and encouraging those who have been dealt a similar fate.

HERE'S HOW HE FOUND THE WILL TO BOUNCE BACK

What would you do to get a second chance at life and love?

Mr Joseph Tan and Ms Miki Lim were both damaged souls who had spent time behind bars, not once but several times, for crimes ranging from drug trafficking and consumption to vehicle theft and robbery. In fact, they were nearly hanged for their drug offences.

With no money when they first planned to get married in the 1980s, Mr Tan robbed and made off with $100,000 worth of jewellery from a goldsmith's shop. Over the years, resentment crept in as the married couple's lives spiralled out of control.

Ms Lim asked for a divorce in 2003. The subsequent years saw each trying to start life anew, with the turning point for Ms Lim a call from one of their three sons while she was awaiting trial. "You mean I have to visit you in prison again?"

The pair reconnected, both bent on making things right this time, and walked down the aisle for a second time.

READ HOW THEY TURNED THEIR LIVES AROUND TO START ANEW

She lost her teenage son to suicide and slowly learnt to find peace

For weeks after her teenage son died by suicide in 2018, Ms Elaine Lek wore thick jackets as she felt cold even in boiling weather. She suffered from panic attacks and rashes, and could barely taste her food.

Her son, Zen Dylan Koh, had died a month before his 18th birthday.

But despite the tragedy and pain she feels when recounting Zen's death, she now hopes to break the silence around the taboo subject and encourage discussions about mental health and self-harm.

In 2019, together with five other bereaved mothers, she launched an advocacy group, PleaseStay, to raise awareness of youth suicides.

SHE OPENS UP ABOUT HER LOSS AND WHY SHE WANTS TO HELP OTHERS

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