Hitting pinata with her ex's face highlight of party

When Madam Daisy Lim, 36, got married five years ago, she did not have a hen's night because she felt that it was "too Westernised".

Last November, she checked into Marina Bay Sands hotel and celebrated her divorce in style - complete with wine, dance and a strapping stripper.

The IT resources director paid party planner Happy Moments $5,000 to put the night together. The money did not include the one-night hotel stay.

Madam Lim told The New Paper that a friend had suggested it after "I got drunk six nights in a row". She said: "I was hurting badly and I guess I wasn't ready for the divorce."

Madam Lim admitted that she first thought the idea of a divorce party "sounded totally ridiculous".

"But I needed a reprieve from my own agony. I needed to take my mind off the divorce," she said.

Madam Lim did some research online, called up four party planners and compared notes before she picked Happy Moments.

On the day of the party, she left the room to the organiser after she had checked in. SASSY SINGLE

When she returned at 6pm, she found a 2m-long banner hoisted across the wall: "Say Hi To Your Freedom".

A male stripper, who was dressed in a suit, presented her with a sash that read "Sassy Single Suddenly".

He also handed her a rod and pointed to a donkey pinata hanging from the ceiling. Plastered on the head was a 3-D mugshot of her ex-husband.

Madam Lim said: "Despite spending $3,000 on the stripper, hitting the pinata was still the highlight of that night.

"I don't think I had cried and laughed so much, all in one night."

Her friend, who wanted to be known only as Elise, said: "It's not like Daisy recovered miraculously after the party, but by the next morning, she was at least calm and could tell us more confidently, 'I'd be able to get that man out of my system.'"

Madam Lim said: "Well, the divorce party made me realise that I have friends who love me very much, and that life can still be beautiful."


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S'pore man spends $52,000 to celebrate end of 6-year marriage

On the day his divorce became final, Mr Jeremiah Teh invited six friends for an eight-course dinner, followed by a night of revelry.

The total bill came up to nearly $52,000, of which "only $5,000 was spent on dinner and wine" at a classy French restaurant, he said.

The rest of the money was splurged in Tiananmen KTV & Lounge, a popular nightclub at Havelock Road. The businessman told The New Paper: "It's not that much (money) if you work out the sums - $10,000 for each year of suffering."

Mr Teh, 44, had been married for nearly six years by the time the divorce was finalised.

Miss Wei-wei, 28, a mamasan at Tiananmen who helped to host the party, recounted how Mr Teh's friends even ordered a two-tier cake with the words: "Finally free. Ditched the b****."

On the cake were six candles - one to represent each year of his married life.

Miss Wei-wei said: "One friend even requested for the Chinese New Year ditty Gong Xi Gong Xi and had my girls perform it."

Another highlight of the party had Mr Teh placing his wedding ring in an empty whiskey bottle and urinating into it, to the applause of his friends.

While Mr Teh's party was the most elaborate that she has hosted, Miss Wei-wei noted that there has been an increase in requests for divorce celebrations in the last two to three years.

She said: "We used to host only two or three every two months. But we get an average of four parties a month now."

About half of her clients belong to the same circle of friends. Mr Teh had attended the divorce party of a friend on a yacht three years ago.

"My friend invited a whole bunch of people, which included two mamasans from here (Tiananmen) and their entourage, when he got divorced," he said.

"Everyone enjoyed themselves so much, even though they got drunk and puked all over." Three out of five party planners approached by TNP said they are getting more enquiries and requests for divorce parties.

Happy Moments' business manager Sally Woon said her five-year-old company organised 20 such parties last year.

She said: "When we started out, there were fewer than 10 inquiries in a year and we planned only about five or six."

One significant difference of divorce parties nowadays - the men want them too.

Ms Rachael Lee, who runs You Can Party, said women were her main clients for such parties previously. "But more men are calling up to ask about rates for our packages now," she said.

Her company's packages start from $800 for a party of four to six women.

"Just think a regular party with good food, drinks and music."

CLEANSING RITUAL

Giving an insight into this trend, psychologist Richard Lim said that some divorced people see the party as a cleansing ritual to put their past behind them.

Mr Teh agreed and said: "I suffered for six years in a bad marriage and the party was a good shout-out to indicate that those days are over.

"It's like wiping the slate clean so I can start my life as a bachelor again.

"Of course, not everyone needs to spend the kind of money I did but I could afford it, so it's fine."

He added: "But for those who can't afford to splurge, there's nothing to stop you from heading to the kopitiam and toasting your new status with a beer."

maureenk@sph.com.sg


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Divorce parties help with moving on

Divorce parties may not have caught on entirely in Singapore, but they have "gone mass market" in the US. One party planner there said that her divorce party business has tripled since 2003.

In a recent report on Fox News, party planner Glynda Rhodes, who has a website called Divorce Party Planner, said: "There are celebrations for everything. Why not celebrate 'I made it through, I survived'?".

She has planned divorce parties, which start at US$1,000 (S$1,300) and can go up to US$5,000.

In Japan, couples also hold their own version of a divorce party - by dressing up in their wedding gowns and using a hammer to smash their wedding rings.

Three out of five party planners here told The New Paper that most of their clients are working women in their 30s.

Happy Moments business manager Sally Woon said the parties held here are tamer than those in the US. Packages start from $1,000 for a party of four, which includes a selection of hors d'oeuvre and a bottle of wine.

Hiring strippers or models to role-play for the clients are extravagant extras that can push up the cost. Psychologist Richard Lim said such parties can be cathartic for the newly divorced.

"It allows for closure and can help them turn the corner. They are given the chance to break down freely in the presence of their loved ones, like family and friends," he said.

"It's like a cleansing ritual of comfort and company, and you know life starts in a new phase after that."


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