SINGAPORE - Their marriage has lasted more than 62 years and last night, they exchanged vows again - for a third time.
Mr Lim Thiam Lye, 81, and Madam Toh Kwee Eng, 80, were the oldest and longest-married among 21 couples at the fifth annual vow renewal ceremony organised by the Family Life Champions of the Boon Lay, Clementi, Pioneer, Yew Tee and Yuhua divisions.
Held at Orchidville, an orchid farm in Sungei Tengah, it was a night of jubilation for the Lims, who had extra reason to celebrate, as two generations of their family renewed their vows.
Mr Lim's son, Mr Lim Thiam Seng, 55, and his daughter-in-law, Madam Ong Leng Leng, 47, also reaffirmed their commitment to each other as husband and wife for a second time.
For the last 27 years, Madam Ong has cooked for her husband and three grown-up children every day. "When you are doing things for the people you love, for your family and children, you will never feel tired," said the make-up artist.
She draws inspiration from her in-laws' relationship, noting that the older pair still operate a 30- year-old convenience store in Bukit Batok.
"Their relationship is based on compromise and they bring out the best in each other," said Madam Ong.
"That is what I believe all good relationships are founded upon and I hope my kids will enjoy similarly long and beautiful marriages."
There to witness the exchange of vows were 400 relatives and guests of the 21 couples, along with Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, who is also the grassroots adviser to Tanjong Pagar GRC.
In his opening speech, Mr Chan announced that activities and campaigns will be launched throughout the new year, aimed at fostering closer family ties in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the United Nations' International Year of the Family (IYF).
Organised by the ministry and its partners, this year's events will mainly coincide with holidays such as Chinese New Year, National Day and Christmas, as well as other special occasions.
Couples getting married on Valentine's Day at the usually formal Registry of Marriages will get to take instant pictures at photo booths.
Next month's Chingay Parade at the F1 Pit Building will also feature a Singapore Celebrates Families float for the first time.
"Regardless of our position in life, the family will always remain the cornerstone of our Singapore and we hope that in time to come, this will continue to be so," said Mr Chan.
"As we go forward, many of our families will become smaller, but not withstanding that, we must always go back to our roots where we celebrate the family not just as our individual families but also as an extended family where we take care of uncles, aunties. This way, we can build a truly inclusive society for the whole of Singapore."
More information on IYF events can be found on www.iyf2014.sg and the FamilyMatters Facebook page. Singaporeans can win Chingay tickets for a family of six by sharing their special family moments on the FamilyMatters Facebook page from today until Jan 12.
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