There were more cultural shocks to come. When she showed her prospective mother-in-law, who was Peranakan, the lovely pale blue linen suit she planned to be married in, the latter exclaimed: "Oh, no, pale blue is for mourning."
After the wedding, Wee decided to pierce her ears so she could wear her many wedding gifts of earrings. But her father-in-law, a doctor, declined to do the piercing, saying "doctors make a mess" of such things.
Which was why she wound up on a kerb in Arab Street, where a jeweller there rubbed her earlobes with ginger.
"It was the upper end of Arab Street, where no visitors went. Seeing a little ang moh sitting there having her ears pierced really was street theatre."
As she recalls in her witty, sharply written and winning memoir, A Tiger Remembers, in those days, diamonds were not only a girl's best friend, but also a measure of her social worth, and so anyone content with costume jewellery - such as women in Britain - was frowned on for "a wild waste of money".
After such hiccups, she drank deep of society here as a pioneering social worker, helping the needy in the slums of Chinatown - including once finding shelter for a woman in bloodied clothes. By 1970, she was advising the Juvenile Court on how best to protect children in danger.
She has captured acutely all her observations of bygone Singapore "that are not in the history books" in 17 short, handy chapters.
In scope and feel, her recollections are as evocative as those in Singaporean Ruth Ho's 1975 book, Rainbow Round My Shoulder.
Wee, an alumna of the London School of Economics, notes that, as her late professor Raymond Firth advised, "theories die, but good descriptions of social lives remain valuable".
Just a minute
1. Ann Wee has, with her debut book at the age of 90, plugged a big gap in historical accounts of Singapore by giving readers insights into how fraught yet inclusive communities here were after World War II and before Singapore achieved First World status. Hers is a world in which Hindu families rejoiced at welcoming a Chinese baby into their fold as the baby had no caste; where 42 per cent of those eligible for marriage were men, as they struggled to save enough to settle down; and where villages were built around dialect groups.