Daily Archives: July 24, 2011

XV. the final excursion that decided my destiny.

I had to make a decision that would determine my proposal location. And I decided to take a risk by heading over to Keppel Bay Marina (KBM) instead. It was a do-or-die choice but on hindsight I was glad I opted for KBM!

I wished the weather was like that. And I'll never forget this guardhouse. Source: streetdirectory.com

It seems as though I never get to do things the easy way. On the last available night for recce, it rained monkeys and lions! And I had just removed my umbrella from my bag the day before! What incredible irony! As I alighted opposite Caribbean @ Keppel Bay, I remember telling the Lord, “Seriously?”

With a heavy laptop strapped on my back, I braved the rain and crossed the road the other side. By the time I reach the entrance of the condominium, I was already drenched. This was no time to be a hero. I tried to find a taxi, but as we all know it, it is impossible to get a taxi at the evening peak hour during a thunderstorm.

I had to think on my feet.

I saw the guardhouse of Caribbean and placed my trust in the goodness of humanity. So I walked from the traffic light to the entrance of the condominium and bravely approached the first security guard I saw. Hope filled my heart as I caught sight of a black umbrella that leaned against the wall beside him.

“Boss, I know this is a strange request, but I’d like to ask if you are kind enough to lend me an umbrella. I’m heading into Keppel Bay Marina for a short while and I promise to return the umbrella in about 30 minutes.” I was practically begging him.

This Malay man was filled with compassion, seeing how this poor fellow (me) was drenched and in need of shelter. He replied, “Sur-”

“What’s the situation here?” His Chinese supervisor barked, and interrupted what would have been a prayer answered. “Sorry, we cannot lend you this umbrella.” Then he caught sight of a broken umbrella (with gaudy flowery patterns, no less) that an old lady had obviously disposed of. “This one, you want?” He asked, as a matter-of-fact.

Would anyone please tell me on how I was supposed to respond? Aren’t we supposed to help our own kind? I lost faith in my race at that instant and I will never forget the cold-hearted look on the face of the bespectacled plump Chinese man in his late 30’s. How anyone could be so unkind baffles me until today.

I could only muster a half-hearted “Thank you”, and walked away completely defeated. It was a double-whammy.

Next chapter: the walk of shame.

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XIV. the other ideas that were rejected.

My first knee-jerk reaction was to return to the Southern-most Point of Sentosa. It was a significant location for Huiyi and I as we shared some wonderful memories there during the time that I courted her (before she agreed to be my girlfriend). I also considered returning to MBC or to the nearby Labrador Park…

She wasn't my girlfriend then... Silly her. :P

But it was already Monday evening when I canned the USS idea and I only had one Tuesday evening left (before cell group at 8:30pm) to recce one last location. Wednesday and Thursday evenings were no-go and Friday was it! I pressed the panic button a million times but honestly, I really thrived on the adrenaline. I am certain I perform better under stress.

And since I was no longer going to propose in USS, I had to find a way to sell the two tickets I bought for Gideon and Caleb to recoup losses. I texted a number of my friends to ask if they were interested but it was too last-minute for anyone to make it. Thank God Lionel came to the rescue and kindly agreed to sacrifice his Friday lunch break to head into USS to help tout my pair of tickets away with minimal loss. He didn’t disappoint and even made a small profit because he managed to sell it at a higher price to tourists who couldn’t enjoy the DBS discount. And to top it off, he even drove to Peony Jade on Thursday evening to collect the tickets from me. I just had to ensure that we did not see him when we were there.

There were other literally sky-high ideas I had considered – to propose on top of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) or The Pinnacles @ Duxton. It was way too costly to do it at the Sky Park of MBS and to request for logistical permission and access would be a nightmare so I took that idea out. When Huiyi and I were at The Pinnacles earlier this year, I also assessed the place and deemed it unsuitable for my proposal because I couldn’t find a single power point in the entire Sky Garden on the 50th floor.

Next chapter: the final excursion that decided my destiny.

XIII. the relentless schedule that week.

I was ready to can this USS idea, regardless of how unique it looked on paper. It simply didn’t fulfill the basic requirement of a sunset. And the last thing I wanted was to compromise on the twin guidelines. And I had only a couple of days left to rethink and redesign a proposal that promised to be just as memorable.

Before I continue, maybe I should provide some context into the kind of schedule I had that week. My hectic calendar multiplied the level of difficulty I had organising this proposal.

I sat for an exam on Monday morning and spent the bulk of the preceding weekend studying for it.

On Tuesday evening, I led bible study for my cell group and had to prepare the lesson.

On Wednesday evening, I led worship for J333 (a church prayer meeting) and had to rehearse for it.

On Thursday, I celebrated Huiyi’s birthday together with her family over dinner and I planned it.

And Friday was D-Day. Spending the entire Friday together in USS meant that I didn’t have the daytime to plan for the evening’s proposal and the night’s engagement party.

AND… I also planned for a surprise birthday party for Natalina on Saturday evening.

AND… I chaired a youth conference planning meeting on Sunday.

AND… This takes the cake… I preached in BOTH youth services that weekend…

It’s an understatement to say that I was on fire. It’s amazing how efficient I was that week. It must have been the grace of God working in what seemed to be the longest, most challenging yet more eventful week of my life!

Next chapter: the other ideas that were rejected.

XII. the two visits before the first visit.

On my first recce trip to USS, I met Rudith there during our lunch breaks. She orientated me to all the locations and explained what I could and could not do The main purpose of this trip was to confirm the proposal hot spots as well as to find places for Gideon and Caleb to camp at while they were capturing the moment. I took lots of photos and videos and sent it to the both of them via WhatsApp so that they could get a visual idea of where they could plant themselves without being spotted by Huiyi.

The plan looked really promising as the Pavilion had Far Far Away in the background and I could imagine that with a sunset added, it would make a spectacular backdrop for an equally spectacular proposal. In my mind’s eye, I got excited thinking about how stunning the photos would eventually turn out.

I tried asking for special passes for their entry since they weren’t going in to enjoy the rides but to just snap photos. USS declined my request, which I could understand. So on my way out, I purchased two tickets for the two of them. I didn’t have a choice, really. So I was grateful that DBS was running a promotion with USS and tickets were sold at a small discount.

But I realised the first problem. Unless Gideon and Caleb had excessively expensive camera lenses, there was no way they would be able to capture close-up shots. The entire proposal would also be seen from only two boring perspectives and none of our facial expressions would be captured.

On my second visit to USS, the main purpose was to enter during sunset to ensure that the spot which I had chosen had the sunset in the horizon, and that the crowd would have started to disappear. Much to my shock and horror (but eventual relief), the sunset actually took place where Battlestar Galactica was and not at Far Far Away! This looked like a plan that was doomed for failure because it didn’t contain the all-important sunset criteria!

Then came the final nail in the coffin – the binoculars were out-of-order! There was no way she would be able to look into her “FUTURE far far away…”

Die. Back to the drawing block.

The third plan was officially far far away from success.

Next chapter: the relentless schedule that week.

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