Daily Archives: July 30, 2011

XXXVI. the professional post-production pace.

An amusing moment was when Huiyi suddenly recalled our parting words to Gideon, Caleb and Yvonne at KBM, before we started dinner. What she didn’t know was that Gideon and Caleb drove to a coffeeshop in Bukit Gombak (the Chargrill one!) not just to have dinner but to furiously edit the photographs and the video that they just captured.

One of the key reasons for throwing a party was to screen the video and photo slideshow of the proposal at KBM. I wanted all who were present to see what transpired; and it was became a highlight for everyone, including Huiyi and myself. We watched this video after I gave a speech and it caught Huiyi by surprise too.

The crew was superb and they delivered as promised. And get this, they were furiously editing away on their laptops while they were still soaked in sweat and rainwater! Now, that’s what I call dedication. That’s what I would salute as commitment.

That, my friends, is a no-questions-asked kind of brotherhood. And it still leaves me in a state of indebtedness even as I jot it down. Their effort to bless Huiyi and I was second-to-none.

It was then that I saw how these professionals got personal with me. And this time, I’d much rather settle for the latter.

When you view the video again, bear in mind that it was produced by two remarkable men, on two empty stomachs, within two hours, and under the most unpleasant physical conditions.

They truly went all the way for Huiyi and I. Thank you, Gideon and Caleb – I will never forget your love!

Next chapter: the analysis of the video.

XXXV. the entrance of exuberance.

As we entered the function room, the air-conditioning suddenly hit us and we nearly stumbled into the glass door. Huiyi almost tripped as she asked if she was at her function room. And as soon as I gave her a cursory reply to distract her from our grand entrance…

“SURPRISE!!!” Everyone screamed at my cue to perfection!

See the video of her shocked reaction here.

And I kid you not. She literally shook and practically got the shock of her life when she opened her eyes. It was quite a sight!

She expected one present from one person, but she was greeted by nearly 40 people instead. I gathered both sides of the family, her closest girlfriends, my closest man-friends and our beloved cell group. What a gathering!

But seriously, how could I ever allow her birthday to pass without a birthday party? I saw absolute delight on her face as she celebrated with the some of the people she was most intimate with in her 24th year on Earth.

See how she was nearly presented her cake by the wrong guy here.

They were ready to see her through a new phase of her life.

“Okay, this is the final part – I have no more surprises after this.” I told her and her parents (who found out about this party just 15 minutes ago) as I finally began to unwind in my mind.

I have never been happier telling the completely honest truth.

One by one, our friends approached my mother, her parents and the both of us to congratulate us of our engagement. We were flooded with handshakes and hugs, and it was such an unbeatable feeling.

Throwing a party to celebrate this moment proved to be a wise choice after all. And I was pleased with my decision to go over-the-top. I gave a short speech after the birthday cake and song presentation to thank everyone for turning up as well as to give credit to our friends who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this proposal so successful.

It was joyous time of merry-making, congratulatory conversations and re-telling of the entire day’s worth of memories. Huiyi and I individually and together, felt the love in the room for the both of us. We felt so blessed to be so wonderfully supported.

(By the way, every ice-cream flavour was generally well-received except the ginger and sesame tubs. I was so tickled by the younger ones lamenting about my peculiar choice of flavours. But I digress…)

I am intentional in almost everything that I do. And one of the reasons why I wanted to throw a party for Huiyi was to show her parents how well-loved and supported we were.

I also wanted both sets of parents to interact in the midst of our friends, just as I wanted Maisie (and her boyfriend, Bryan) to get to know Xianyi (and his girlfriend, Eileen) a little better.

Having this precious group of people turn up was extremely meaningful and significant for us. More importantly, I wanted to show Huiyi’s family what a Christian community was all about.

And I think we managed to achieve it.

(While you await the final few entries to be published, click here to read Huiyi’s perspective of the party!)

Next chapter: the professional post-production pace.

XXXIV. the walk of anticipation.

As we drove past the guardhouse into the premise, I saw the function room teeming with life. Helium balloons, cutout letters, tubs of ice-cream, jars of tidbits and our closest friends most importantly, filled every inch of the 150 square-metre room. I could practically imagine their cheerful chatter and heightened anticipation while they patiently awaited our arrival for the last 45 minutes.

Keith, Melody and Yixian, amongst many others in my cell group, were exceptional helpers. They were my willing hands and feet in the function room and were resourceful enough to make magic out of the limited materials I purchased. I was never good with crafts so I was exceedingly grateful for their innovation and creativity. But above all, through their dedication to help us complete this perfect evening, I felt their genuine love for Huiyi and I.

Well, if there was only one mistake I made the entire day, it would be parking at the ground level instead of in the underground car park. Normally we would park the car in the basement so when she didn’t feel the car move down a slope, she raised an eyebrow.

Strike one. Ah, whatever. I am just 50 metres away from the function room and I had to continue to play it cool.

“Keep your eyes closed!” I reminded her to keep her promise as I exited the driver’s seat to head over to the passenger’s seat to usher her out of the Subaru.

“Careful, your head… Don’t open your eyes… Just follow me…” I repeated the same three magic words from earlier in the evening.

She was probably expecting me to lead her to her birthday present, since she hasn’t received one from me.

We walked along the stony path in the direction of the function room and there was a theatrical silence as we approached it. I didn’t even need to put my finger to my lips because everyone instinctively knew what they had to do.

It would take a complete moron to mess it up at this stage.

Next chapter: the entrance of exuberance.

XXXIII. the drive back to Lakeholmz.

Stop! (: Before we drive to Lakeholmz, click here to find out what went through Huiyi’s head during dinner at Privé!


It had been an extremely exhausting but entirely eventful day by the time we were done with dinner. And she was ready to head home. But I was just about ready to put part two together.

Of course, she has absolutely no clue what was going to come her way. As our clothes drenched from the rain began to dry, we packed two sets of barang-barang into one huge Privé paper bag.

I paid for dinner and we walked out of the restaurant hand-in-hand in absolute bliss; I was still getting used to feeling the engagement ring on her left finger in my right palm.

The feeling was surreal – both of us could barely believe that we were really engaged, and in such a dramatic fashion. It felt like a scene plucked out of a Taiwanese drama serial. And yes, I was delighted to have successfully executed a proposal that the two of us would remember for the rest of our lives.

The drive home was relaxed. As I took the wheel, I remember Huiyi asking me how I managed to pull everything together. She ran through the day’s events in her mind, from when she picked me up in the morning, to how I convinced her that I was in USS for the first time, to how she never saw it coming.

I felt wonderful, encouraged and absolutely proud of what I had done. She must have given me a million pats on the back for my gargantuan efforts. The result was more than worth the effort.

Even though I was drowning in her words of affirmation, the main thing on my mind was to transit from the car to the function room without giving the next part away. And I was fast running out of ideas on how to piece this jigsaw together…

I couldn’t use the blindfold trick anymore – not just because I’ve already used it but also because the blindfold had been chucked away somewhere in the boot; it was physically impossible for either of us to retrieve it now. Lakeholmz was just another traffic junction away and I was getting panicky and desperate.

I couldn’t whip up another story anymore – I had run out of deceptions, inceptions, interceptions and I had no exception but to tell it as it is. My content was straight-forward but I found the last morsel of wit in me to weave it as romantically as I could.

I ended up with this feeble attempt.

“Dear, I have one last surprise for you at your place. And I need you to cooperate with me. You must promise me to keep your eyes closed until I tell you to open it.”

I swear it sounded more schmaltzy in real life.

“You mean it’s in my room? Aren’t my parents at home? You mean they know about it? So weird – they are going to see walk into my room with my eyes closed!”

She jumped to a thousand assumptions like a curious 10-year-old girl. I could sense her excitement; she had every reason to considering she just got proposed to in such a dramatic fashion.

“Well, yeah it is…” I mean, it’s her function room, isn’t it? “Okay, no more questions. It’s a surprise.”

Yes, that was the only riposte I could manage.

Next chapter: the walk of anticipation.

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