For retired electrician Woon Koon Beng and his wife, Madam Wong Lan, this year is a special year not only because of SG50, but also because it marks their 50th wedding anniversary.
Mr Woon, 69, and Madam Wong, 64, were among 50 married couples who ushered in the new year by renewing their marriage vows before their friends and family, in celebration of SG50.
The ceremony was organised by the People's Association Family Life Champions of Ayer Rajah, Boon Lay, Clementi, Pioneer, Yew Tee and Yuhua.
The event, held at Ban Heng Pavilion restaurant at Harbourfront Centre, aims to celebrate marriages and foster closer familial ties in the community.
Mr Woon and Madam Wong, who have three sons, say that honesty and trust were essential in their long-lasting marriage.
"Marriage is not easy, there's no secret to making things easy. Both parties must understand and appreciate each other," said Madam Wong in Mandarin. "We do argue occasionally. Even though we both have quick tempers, we resolve things very quickly."
This is the sixth year the People's Association Family Life Champions have organised such an event, which is held annually on the first day of the year.
The event this year, titled Cinta Sayang Love, had a Peranakan theme to add a slice of local flavour to commemorate SG50.
In her welcome address, Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development, urged the couples to remember the importance of family.
"A strong marriage is the foundation of a healthy family," said Ms Low, who is also the Mayor for South West District. "We now have to navigate new gender roles and expectations... We must all continue to keep the passion of marriage alive."
That was a message which another couple renewing their vows, Mr Low Aik Boon, 71, and his wife, Madam Kee Ka Hai, 70, have clearly taken to heart in their 53 years of marriage.
Said Madam Kee of her husband: "He's still a romantic man. He buys me flowers every year for our wedding anniversary."
Their daughter, Madam Lynndal Low, 50, was also there to renew her marriage vows with her husband, Mr Francis Woo, 55.
"I learnt from my parents that for a marriage to last, it needs trust, patience, respect and honesty," said Madam Low.
Besides the renewal of vows, the event included the setting of a new record in the Singapore Book Of Records for the most number of people making mocktails.
The 650 people at the event, comprising the 50 couples and their friends and family, each shook up a concoction of red date longan tea - a Peranakan speciality.
This article was first published on January 2, 2015.
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