A Conversation between Siblings (or, Big Brother is Watching You)

We’re sitting around the table, enjoying an ice-cream treat. J is 9 years old, Little E is 6 years old and Thumper is nearly 2 years old.

J: I wish I lived in a Bungalow. Then I could have extra rooms for all my ornaments. Every time I get a new ornament, I’ll put it in a triple locked cupboard. Every week I’ll take out the ornaments and polish them. I’ll have to buy lots of polish. And the front door will be quadruple locked for extra security!

Debs G: Okay.


Debs G: I feel sorry for your wife.

J: Why?

Debs G: Because she’ll have to spend all her time polishing your ornaments.

J: No no no no no. She’s not allowed to touch the ornaments, because they are MY ornaments. She’s only allowed to look at them while I polish them.

Little E: I don’t want to live in a bungalow. I’m going to live in a farmhouse. I’m going to have a cat and a dog to keep me company. And I’m going to marry my friend Ben.

J: WHAT?! Who is this “Ben”? You’ve never talked about him before. Who is he?

Little E: He’s the one who gave me a kiss on the cheek last week.

Thumper: (waving his spoon) NO NO!

J: (enraged) He did WHAT?! Why didn’t you kick him?!

Little E: He asked me nicely if he could give me a kiss and I said ok.

Thumper: (pointing his spoon at Little E) NO NO!

J: You can’t just go around letting weirdos give you a kiss! If he tries to pull this stunt again, you should give him a kick! A BIG KICK!

Little E: He’s not a weirdo! He’s my friend!

Thumper: (frowning) NO NO! NO NO!

J: Well, we haven’t met him, so he’s must be a weirdo or you would have introduced him to us first before letting him give you a kiss! This is nonsense! He’s not worthy of marrying my sister! If I see him, I’m going to kick him!

Little E: That’s why I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to freak out!

J: WHY WOULD I FREAK OUT?! I’m not freaking out at all. I am totally normal!

Debs G: Little E, the next time somebody in your class asks to give you a kiss or asks you for a kiss, you should tell them that you need to ask your mummy and daddy first, okay?

Little E: Okay, Mummy.

J: And then I will find him and give him a kick.


Enjoying ice-cream at Udders Cafe


Engagements and Secret Keeping: A Becky Lee’s Proposal Story

After The Boobook and I had been dating for three months, we started vaguely talking about marriage.

We even went to a marriage preparation course held by the local church, which helped us shape ideas about whether or not we were compatible and whether we could align our individual goals enough to be married. I know that this sounds very rushed, but bear in mind that we had been best friends for more than 10 years before we commenced dating[1], so there was very little that we didn’t know about each other.

Anyway, Australia tends to have jewellery sale seasons sometime around April every year.  So, when the sale season rolled around, The Boobook took me to many stores to take a look at rings. Romantic AND practical[2].

I was shown diamond ring after diamond ring, but I didn’t like ANY of the rings, mostly because they were all plain and sparkly white (and BORING). I did have a good laugh at many of them – my personal favourite ridiculous ring being a giant multi-diamond ring that the sales guy kept trying to hawk us. The diamonds spelled out “Jessica”. I have no idea why he thought that it would be a good idea to sell that to someone called “A Becky Lee”.

After much shopping, we found a store that didn’t immediately take us to the diamond section when I said I wanted a ring.  The lady listened very carefully to what I wanted and then helped us pick out a beautiful white gold ring set with diamonds and sapphires.

Andrew&Rebecca Wedding-117.jpg

Photo courtesy of Photography by Delvene who did all my wedding photos!

Now, you’d think that given how much I cooed over the ring that The Boobook would settle for that ring there and then, but no, he wanted the ring to be a surprise. So, we ended up going to 4 more jewellery stores to look at 4 more sapphire rings (some of which were hideous). Then, he took me to the local EB Games store and left me there while he made his decision.

Three months later, The Boobook and I went to Singapore so that he could properly meet my parents.  He had met my parents before whenever they visited me in Australia, but never for very long.  This time, he was to meet them on their home turf.  Little did I know that in the intervening time, The Boobook had been very busy!

First, he had been in contact with Debs G to determine how much of a show he could put on when proposing[2].  Then, he got in contact with my best friend, Minako, in order to arrange for a proposal venue and a plan of action.  I believe these E-mails had the subject “Singapore Covert Ops – For your eyes only”.  It was all very hushhush, you know?

While we were in Singapore, The Boobook asked the Aged P for my hand in marriage after dinner one night.  The Aged Ps were very happy to give their consent and planning began immediately for our engagement party to be held while we were still in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Minako gave me a call and said that she’d like to meet us both so that she could, and I quote, “Get to know your boyfriend.”  She suggested Clarke Quay as a place to meet.  This surprised me somewhat, because Minako is not normally the type to hang out at overprised, touristy places like Clarke Quay, but she promised me that we were only going there because there was “a really great tonkatsu restaurant there”.  Since I trust Minako’s judgement on food, we agreed on a time (the evening) and date (this weekend) and I promised to take The Boobook there.

On the appointed day, The Boobook stated that he would like to go sightseeing before we met up with Minako.  So, we spent the day in all the most romantic places he could think of.  We started the morning taking a stroll in the Botanic Gardens, where we looked at the beautiful Orchid Gardens, then promptly got lost and ended up walking about 12 km just looking for the exit.  We strolled down Orchard Road and even did one of those Puzzle Rooms (we did, in fact, do the Teddy Bear room that very day!) that everyone was talking about!  Instead of taking the MRT to Clarke Quay, we took the ferry down the Singapore River.

Minako was waiting for us at the last stop.

We bought some bubble tea and started strolling down the Singapore River aimlessly.  I was happy to see my best friend again, so we fell to chatting gleefully as we walked.  Minako turned to one of the bridges and started crossing it, so I followed.  When we got to the centre of the bridge, The Boobook got down on one knee and…

…Minako caught it all on camera.

It wasn’t the smoothest of proposals.  He got the ring box upside down and the ring wouldn’t fit on my finger because I was a little swollen from the Singapore heat, but it was sweet and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our engagement party was a few days later and well, the wedding was a few months after that.

The pork was delicious, by the way.  We also had a few ciders to celebrate.

This post is part of the Proposal Stories blog train hosted by The Chill Mom. If you would like to read some more romantic stories, just click on the button below!

proposal story

The next stop on your blog train is Adeline from www.adesays.com!

Adeline is a mum to a little boy. What started as a blog to document her passion in sewing women apparels has now evolved to include her motherhood journey of ups and downs, joy and challenges. She had wanted to keep her proposal story private but spurred on by all the love stories shared by others that she had to join in the fun. Click on to read about her love story.

[1] A summary of this relationship can be found here[a].

[2] I’m an accountant, okay? Saving money is like SUPER-DUPER romantic to me!

[3] According to Debs G, she told him that I would probably like “something over the top that doesn’t involve negative emotions, but not too over the top, as that would stop being sweet and start being cheesy[b].” I do believe she also told The Boobook “No Jumbotrons”

[a] What?!  I only just got married – I may as well get my money’s worth on all the videos that I paid for!

[b] I blame Debs G for The Boobook not proposing in Disneyworld as a result (too cheesy).

Debs G’s Marriage Proposal Story

There’s a running joke within Singaporean circles that an unromantic method of proposing involves the guy just saying casually, “Eh, when are you free? Let’s go and sign for a flat.”1. No surprises of candlelit hearts, no rooms strewn with roses, no treasure hunts with a diamond ring as a prize.

Well, this is precisely how the Aged Ps got engaged. They decided together that it was time to take the next step, so they went engagement ring shopping and applied for a flat.

If you ask me, I have always felt that this is the most romantic way to become engaged. It’s the simplicity of it all – when two people are so deeply in love that moving together into the next phase of their relationship just happens naturally with no hesitation or uncertainty.

My family is a very big proponent of the ‘friendship-courtship-engagement’ route to marriage. So for me, my potential dating pool consisted solely of people whom I already knew were good and faithful friends. I would only consider dating someone whom I could seriously see as a potential marriage partner. This means that for me, the decision to enter into courtship with the Barn Owl was the big one, mainly because of the intercultural aspect of our relationship.

I wasn’t at all worried about how my parents would react to the Barn Owl as a potential marriage partner. Our family is not new to intercultural relationships. The Aged Ps themselves are from different cultures as you can see from the different formalwear that their moms chose to wear on their wedding day.

Intercultural marriage

The Aged Ps Wedding – cheongsam vs sarong kebaya

The Barn Owl and I had been dating for nearly a year when the Barn Owl had to go away for work experience. We were chatting on ICQ (this was waaaaay before the magic that is Skype), missing each other dreadfully, and it was during this conversation turned towards relationship matters.

We mutually agreed that it would be possible to take our relationship forward towards marriage but before we did so, we would consult our parents and friends. The Barn Owl wanted to talk to his dad for advice and I wanted time to prepare my parents. I told the Barn Owl that he would also need to have a discussion with my dad. Additionally, I wanted to talk to trusted friends and mentors who knew the both of us well.

This delay was not because we were incapable of making this decision on our own. We just wanted to make sure that all the important people in our lives were in agreement with us and supportive of our decision to take the next step in our relationship. We also wanted to make sure that nobody had any objections or concerns that they felt we needed to address.


At our engagement ceremony

Several months later, The Barn Owl made a trip to Singapore and it was during this trip that he had a long chat with the Aged P about our plans for the future. The Barn Owl was very nervous about this trip for the following reasons:

1. Although I had gone through great lengths to prepare the Aged Ps and had some idea of what their expectations would be, The Barn Owl wasn’t completely sure that they would make things easy for him. (This was made worse by reason #2)

2. The pastor of our church at the time was an Englishman who had a Singaporean wife. He took great delight in regaling The Barn Owl with his own personal experience dealing with Singaporean Parents which involved being thrown out of the house and barred from seeing his beloved for several days due to some error of communication.

In the end, I think my dad just wanted to make sure that I had graduated from university first before getting married (the Barn Owl and I had several classmates who were already married). He also felt that it would be appropriate for both sets of parents to meet in advance of the engagement. The Barn Owl felt that these were all reasonable expectations. This was also when the Aged P gave the Barn Owl a very special book about love that he had been given on the occasion of his own engagement! Awwwwww….

We went engagement ring shopping together the very next day, and by the end of the week, the Aged Ps had made plans to visit the Outlaws in the UK over Christmas.

We also picked out a date for our engagement ceremony, which would be in summer the following year and held in the Outlaw’s home. This was going to be an important part of our engagement as we wanted both our families to understand that we would always involve them in our lives. It was also because we knew that our wedding would be held in Singapore (to accommodate my large extended family)  and we wanted the Outlaws to have the pleasure of hosting this special occasion.

Our engagement ceremony was a very quiet affair, just The Barn Owls parents and mine (and the Barn Owl’s big sister who was able to pop down for the weekend). We sang a few songs together and each of our moms read a verse from the Bible, then each of our dads said a prayer for our relationship. Then our families retired to the garden for tea and cakes, whilst The Barn Owl and I changed out of our fancy attire and went for a quiet walk.

The Barn Owl brought me to the most beautiful part of his little village, a wide grassy meadow next to a river, where he gave me the engagement ring that we had chosen. I also had an engagement present for him – a shiny new watch. I won’t tell you exactly what we said to each other but only that we sealed our promises with a kiss.


Managed to capture the moment using our trusty remote controlled camera!

This post is part of the Proposal Stories blog train hosted by The Chill Mom. If you would like to read some more romantic stories, just click on the button below (or you can pop back on Friday – A Becky Lee will be sharing her story then!)

proposal story

The blog train continues tomorrow with the lovely Irene from AhSoh.com.

AhSoh.sg Profile PhotoOn the contrary to the image of your typical auntie, AhSoh very much into Consumer Technology as well as Photography. You won’t find hypocritical parenting and marriage advice here, coz AhSoh is real. She shoots her mind and she rants!

If you want a good laugh, here’s really where you should be. Take a glimpse of the proposal of between Singapore’s most unknown AhPek and AhSoh. Confirm + Guarantee! We promise there won’t be any crappy “would you buy HDB with me” kinda proposal, coz AhPek is too practical for all that FLUFF!

1. This is because only families are eligible to purchase a new flat in one of the housing estates built by the Singapore government, and couples who apply for a flat together have three months to produce a marriage certificate once they receive the keys to the flat.