Daily Archives: July 21, 2011

VII. the first group of people involved.

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I was serious about this absolutely cheesy but wonderfully romantic and heart-melting idea, and had already briefed Andrea, Ling Zhi and Yvonne of this elaborate plan over the phone. I requested for them to take half-day leave to ensure that they would appear at her office at 6pm. They agreed and her best friend, Yvonne, was exhilarated with this concept. Three 15-minute phone calls later, the three of them, who grew up with her, knew exactly what they had to do for the evening.

Then I called Justin, one of the media staff in my church, to ask if I could rent the church’s portable sound system (which incidentally is what they use to conduct funeral services) for that evening. He said that it wasn’t a problem but left me with a disclaimer that I remember until this day. “Just pray that no one dies that evening,” he said with a wry smile. Then I quickly familiarised myself with setting up and operating the equipment. No pun intended, but it was all systems go for me.

Gideon, another close buddy, together with Caleb, one of the boys I mentor, played huge roles in the entire proposal. They were practically my five senses and I’d even call them my sixth sense because they updated me with ground information that I needed to know without actually being present. And Gideon and Caleb generously agreed to be the event photographer and videographer respectively without charging a single cent. (I gave them a token of appreciation of course..)

More details on their pivotal roles later. For now, they also agreed to double up as the men who chauffeured the sound equipment from my church in Tanglin Road to MBC and to set it on that little knoll, so that by the time I arrive, the stage would be ready for Joey Asher Tan to croon and sing his status away…

All right, I shall caution you first… It’s going to get a little confusing from here because every element of the proposal is integrated like spaghetti. Stay with me – this is where the story gets exciting!

Next chapter: the secret weapon – her birthday. 

VI. the second idea – Mapletree Business City.

Wei Kurk, one of my buddies, works in the same vicinity as Huiyi. Her office is located in PSA building, at the end of Alexandra Road closer to the entrance of Labrador Park. Kurk told me that he once saw how the sun set in Mapletree Business City (MBC). I was convinced of it and could almost imagine the brilliance. For as long as I live, I will never get sick of admiring God’s magnificence through a sunset and sunrise.

I googled “Labrador Park sunset” and “Pasir Panjang sunset” and confirmed that this was indeed a viable venue. (The other places I had considered were Pandan Reservoir, Marina Barrage and that open field behind Blackmore Road.) In that month, I intentionally made regular trips to Huiyi’s office to pick her up after work, but also to check out the sunset environment, and the distance and time taken to walk from her office to the proposal venue, which was around 200-300 metres away.

The original plan was to get Huiyi’s closest girlfriends to spring a birthday surprise for her at her office right about the time she knocked off work. (Of course, I would need to involve her colleagues whom I barely knew, but was confident that they would be more than willing to help.) Everyone in the office would create a ruckus and tell her that her girlfriends are about to whisk her away for a girls’ night out. Then they would lead her to the proposal venue – a tiny man-made knoll (pictured above) in the centre of the MBC atrium, where she would (please indulge me) hear the sound of the soulful-stirring voice of her fiance-to-be, serenading her from a distance away, singing the song that he courted her with.

And as she walks up the little green hill, I’d be there waiting, drawing her in with my melodious music… And as I finish the song, (by then, a small crowd of white-collared executives would have gathered to check out what was going on,) I’d leave my microphone stand like a rock star, put down my guitar in style, and get down on one knee (and melt the hearts of all the women in our line of sight) to ask that status-changing question.

Yes, I was fully convinced of this absolutely brilliant plan! There was no way I could fail!

Next chapter: the first group of people involved.

V. the first idea – Perth.

I proposed to Huiyi on her 24th birthday (15 April 2011), but in the last quarter of 2010, after I confirmed with Chin Seng and Ervina (our mentors who migrated to Australia) that Huiyi and I would take a holiday in Perth in April 2011, I also informed Chin Seng that I might propose in Perth. He gave me his fullest support and graciously opened up his home to house us during our short stay there.

One of my closest friends, Liang Zhi, also resides in Perth and he was the one who got me started on photography. So I knew I could count on my three favourite Singaporeans in Perth to play the role of paparazzi for my engagement. I was seriously considering proposing in Perth and had sussed out possible proposal locations as well as Perth’s sunset and sunrise timings.

But I decided against it because there were just too many factors out of my control. Sure, an overseas proposal was special and romantic, but it was surely unrealistic too. Our hectic schedules didn’t allow us to plan our Perth itinerary in advance and not knowing where we were going to be on which day or what we were doing was risky. A lack of knowledge of the traffic conditions, a shortage of proper recording equipment and just a general scarcity of resources counted against me. And not being familiar with the proposal venue especially, proved to be my deciding deterrent.

Therefore, I canned the idea of proposing in Perth despite its allure but I used this vacation as a decoy to devastating effect.

In our conversations about Perth, I stealthily revealed how Liang Zhi was an accomplished photographer and how Chin Seng and Ervina owned a DSLR. As we scoured Lonely Planet for places to visit in Perth, I playfully but shrewdly hinted to her those places with great views of the sunset and sunrise. I was sure she got the hint. I reminded her to pack that denim blouse from Zara that I bought for her last year and assured her that the photographs would look amazing with that light blue fabric draped over her.

Well, let’s just say the proposal could have taken place in any of the following locations:

The clincher was this, “After we’re back from Perth, the first thing we should do is to start a joint bank account, okay?”

She nodded with excited anticipation. I smiled at her with a I-know-you’ll-love-the-proposal-I’m-gonna-blow-you-away-with-in-Perth look in my eyes. In my head, I knew I had fully convinced her of my grand proposal that was never going to take place in Perth.

And I did this a few times – never intentionally, always incidentally. But I was intentionally incidental, if you know what I mean.

Now, I can finally concentrate on planning the REAL proposal…

Next chapter: the second idea – Mapletree Business City.

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