Distance no barrier to romance

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 2011, 12:00am


Singapore-based Hongkongers Joy Kaung and Derek Chung bonded while studying at the University of Michigan during Japanese classes and NBA match nights on Joy's couch. Joy, marketing director at NBCUniversal, and Derek, an assistant manager at BNP Paribas, wed on October 23 in Sai Kung then held a banquet at the Aberdeen Marina Club for more than 300 guests.

Love sparkled for the couple, both 29, in 2001, during a long chat on a snowy night on the stairs outside the university library. 'I remember it was very cold that night and Derek wrapped his jacket around me to keep me warm,' Joy said. Derek said: 'I like her because she's never pretentious and always confident about who she is.'

Derek realised he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Joy after she returned to Hong Kong and he moved to Chicago for work.

'It was the beginning of our long-distance relationship. I felt a huge void in my life after she left,' he said. 'My world had been much more colourful and joyful having her around.'

The couple went on to survive a six-year long-distance relationship. In 2009, Derek planned a trip to Jamaica with Joy when she visited him in Chicago. Their second day on the island was Valentine's Day, and that is when he popped the question. Derek arranged a candlelit dinner on the beach. Afterwards, they took a stroll on the beach and he got down on one knee.

'I was so shocked and surprised,' Joy said. 'My first thought was, how did he know my ring size? And then I realised he was actually proposing.'

In tears, Joy said 'yes'.

'He truly respects me and isn't insecure when I handle seemingly manly tasks, like fixing the bike or wiring our audiovisual system. Unlike those guys who need to have the final say on everything, he trusts and respects my judgment and capability,' she said.