Yvonne also took leave for the day to provide another helping hand. I involved her for two main reasons. I wanted Huiyi to share this precious moment with her best friend, and I needed someone to safeguard the equipment at the pier while Gideon and Caleb waited for me to arrive. They were camping in the gents where I was going to change into my evening attire.
By the time I hopped into the Subaru, the crew reported their 100% readiness for Project Will-You-Marry-Me. The placards were pasted onto the railings, the guitar was in place, and the camera crew was in position. This was it – now we were only waiting for the stars of the show to arrive!
I drove into the clubhouse car park and parked at the first available car park lot I found because I was afraid that Huiyi may recognise Gideon’s car. Thank God he’s a smart boy – he parked in an obscure lot. We gathered our barang-barang, and I took my time with this because it was crucial that I didn’t miss out on any item, and exited the car for the lift lobby.
We had to change into our evening attire as we were in still in our sweaty and smelly USS tee-shirt and shorts. I managed to persuade her into wearing that Zara blouse; a week ago, I asked her why I haven’t seen her in that blouse for such a long time. I even pretended to lament, “Such a nice and expensive top, but yet you don’t wear it often enough…” She said she had already put it aside for Perth. Yes, she had also intended to wear that blouse for the proposal that she thought I was going to execute in Perth.
I frowned and told her that she has more than enough time to get it washed and packed for Perth. I persuaded her to wear something nice at Privé since it was a high-end restaurant. Again, she obediently complied with little resistance. I think it’s because every girl would want to look good on her birthday. Dining at a posh restaurant was my excuse to change into something pretty.
Next chapter: the change parade and the final countdown.
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.