Love casts its spell far away from home
Like many expats in Hong Kong, Eng Seng Lim and Sharon Liu Min were both away from home and trying to blend into the new environment. They were lucky to find each other.
Eng Seng, 32, a banker, and Sharon, 30, an event planner, celebrated their marriage on October 8 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Singapore with more than 250 friends and relatives.
They continued the celebration on October 29 in Hong Kong. The couple's chef friend designed a wine-pairing lunch menu for more than 100 guests.
The couple, both born in Singapore, met in 2008 in a bar in Lan Kwai Fong. Sharon had been in Hong Kong for just a week when she was introduced to Eng Seng at a gathering of Singaporean expats.
'He was very genuine and easy to talk to. I was happy I had found someone like him who I felt connected to,' Sharon recalled.
Although it wasn't a love-at-first-sight kind of opening, Eng Seng was intrigued by Sharon's unique personality.
'I found her very interesting. She's not pretentious. She'd drink beers with me,' he said.
They ran into each other when hanging out with friends in Central the following week.
Later, Eng Seng called Sharon and asked her out for a dinner date.
Eng Seng took Sharon to an intimate Japanese restaurant. Finally spending some time alone, they got to know more about each other.
After that dinner date, Eng Seng started to make his moves. He called and texted Sharon almost everyday. His pursuit went on for a few months.
'I felt it was a bit too soon because I had just moved to Hong Kong, but we have a few good friends who encouraged me to give it a try,' Sharon said.
They officially started dating after seeing each other for three months.
Eng Seng said Sharon was well worth the wait and effort.
'I like her style, the way she carries herself, how she dresses and talks to people. I've never met a girl like that,' he said.
They moved in together after dating for two years. Last year on the anniversary of their first date, Eng Seng gave Sharon a surprise gift - he proposed. Eng Seng took a day off from work without telling Sharon. He put a ring in her dresser and hid behind the door to wait for her to come out of her morning shower.
When Sharon found the ring, Eng Seng jumped out from behind the door and got down on one knee.
'My first reaction was that there wasn't a diamond on the band,' said Sharon, laughing.
It turned out to be part of Eng Seng's plan. He took out another custom-made diamond ring and asked Sharon to marry him.
A tearful Sharon said, yes.
'I always knew I wanted to marry her. It was just a matter of time before I proposed,' Eng Seng said. 'What we have is a very honest relationship. I don't hide anything from her. We both trust each other.'
'Eng Seng takes very good care of me,' Sharon said. 'He never forces things on me. For example, I love water sports but he doesn't, but still he will go to tropical places with me. He's an ideal life companion.'
Now calling Hong Kong their new home base, the couple is confident they can face any future uncertainties.
'If one day one of us moves back to Singapore, we can do a bit of travelling,' Eng Seng said.
'Anyhow, we'll find a way to see anything through.'