IPOH: Yew Kar Yee's hands shook with fear as she watched the love of her life being taken away by auxiliary police, who alleged that his bag contained illegal items.
The 20-year-old administrator was with her boyfriend Cheung Chan Choon at the Sultan Azlan Shah airport here, waiting to fly off to Singapore for the Christmas holidays when he was escorted to the security room.
But her worry turned into delight when 30-year-old Cheung returned with a mini-procession from the other side of the airport, dressed smartly like a pilot and holding a bouquet of flowers and a ring.
Accompanied by a band of performers and videographers commissioned to help make the event special, Cheung then got down on one knee to ask for Yew's hand in marriage.
"You've been with me through my ups and downs. Even when things were at their hardest, you never gave up on me.
"You are the one for me. Will you marry me?" he asked using a microphone.
The crowd cheered and applauded loudly when Yew nodded and said yes.
Speaking to reporters later, Cheung said he had been planning the proposal since June.
"A marriage proposal is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I wanted it to be one that she would never forget.
"I found out that no one had ever proposed at this airport before. This was it," he said.
To make the plan work, Cheung had Yew's older sister invite both of them for a short Christmas getaway to Singapore.
"I needed her help so that she could calm Kar Yee down while waiting for me to dress up after being 'taken away'.
"The events company I hired for the plan had connections with the auxiliary police here, so it managed to rope them in as part of the act," he said, adding that the Singapore trip was merely a ruse to get Yew to the airport.
Yew said she was scared and nervous when Cheung was taken away.
"I didn't know what was happening. My hands were shaking the whole time," she said, to which Cheung also replied: "So were mine."
"When I saw him coming up to me with people singing around him, I asked him why he was dressed up like that.
"I'm so happy now. This just shows that he's really special in many ways to me," Yew said.
Around 30 people were involved in Cheung's elaborately planned marriage proposal, which cost him about RM10,000.
Asked if he was worried about rejection, Cheung, who works as an optical shop assistant, said the thought had crossed his mind.
"But I decided that there was no use in being worried. I had to do what I could.
"And it was worth it. I want her to have an unforgettable memory to cherish for the rest of her life," said Cheung, adding that they planned to tie the knot in a year's time.