An enamoured suitor's persistence pays off
It's often tricky to date your best friend. In this case, it took Thomas Ng about six years to finally win Florence Wing's heart.
Thomas, a government officer, and Florence, a shipping manager, were married on March 17 at St Margaret's Church. They celebrated with 160 friends and relatives at Hong Kong Parkview.
They have known each other since 1998, when they met at the graduation ceremony at a night school they both attended. Though they had never talked during the whole time they studied there, they were introduced by mutual friends on the last day of school.
'It was nothing like love at first sight. I didn't really think much of him when we first met,' Florence said.
They gradually became good friends during monthly gatherings with a group of friends. Florence was moved by his wisdom and kind heart.
Slowly but surely, Thomas wanted more than just friendship, but Florence didn't want the same initially.
'For the six years when we were just friends, I thought he's a really good guy,' she said. 'Even though I didn't agree to be his girlfriend, he was always there for me. He'd wait to see me home if I had a long day at work.'
Thomas' dedication and loyalty finally moved Florence. In 2004, they started dating.
'I think it's the small things adding up that convinced me he's the one. He's very patient with me and has no bad habits that I couldn't tolerate. So when the time comes, it all fell into place so naturally,' she recalled.
Only a year after they started dating, Thomas proposed in strange circumstances.
Florence was in hospital for tests on a tumour when Thomas got down on one knee in the ward, ring in hand.
'I was very moved because he said he'd always be with me, though we'd only been dating for a year, and that no matter what we would face the future together.'
She turned him down, not because she didn't love him but because she didn't want to be a burden.
The tumour turned out to be benign but going through the journey made it crystal clear for Florence that Thomas was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
In 2009, Thomas proposed again. This time, he brought her to Amigo in Happy Valley for a romantic dinner that both of them had been looking forward to for a long time, though Florence didn't realise what his plan was.
'Before dessert came he excused himself and went to the toilet. When I was waiting, the waiter called my name and presented the flowers. It was so romantic, many guests cheered,' Florence recalled.
This time, she knew she had no option but to say yes.
'After so many years into our relationship, we are really comfortable having each other around,' Florence said. 'He encourages me when I am down and he's filled with positive thoughts.'
Although they've known each other for over a decade they still surprise each other from time to time to spice things up.
'It's not always routine dates. We make special arrangements on anniversaries and birthdays. We are each other's priority and I think that's the most romantic thing,' Florence said.