Marrying Dick Lee



In my mid thirties and living la vida Le yuppie so to speak from my rented apartment in Hilltops,Off Orchard Road it occurred to both Dick Lee and I that it would be a great idea to get married. I remember we were sitting in his hyper designer kitchen with the posh fridge and black and white tiles on the designer bar stools. He‘d cooked me Thai food because he can do anything. He lived on the 8th floor and I on the 3rd. The marital journey from there was frought with separations and wannabes but that day we literally whooped at the idea of shared crockery, 5 children, decorating a family home and sharing family and friends. On one of our official dates,I think there were like four dinner dates, he asked me to open the glove compartment of his black Toyota while he was driving.There sitting in the red Cartier box was my engagement ring and I guess, the rest is history. A garden engagement party at Binjai Park. I wore a sleeveless pale pink dress from Jacqui Khoo’s boutique at The Hilton. Before the wedding he took me to DisneyWorld in Florida. My Mother in law had whisked me off on a whirlwind Hong Kong trip to buy a trousseau which included the red and gold traditional Kua. And the bridal dress was a Long affair of pinning and standing in an atelier in Paris thanks to the beautiful Yang Derong who designed it, housed me and my bridesmaid in The Marais and saw it from paper to taffeta train confection on the floor. It was almost bigger than the limo which arrived for Meesus Reechard that morning in June. I’d received a call during the bridal shower which had my friends in stitches...” Meesus Reechard?” “hello, er yes?” I am your driver for the car tomorrow Meesus Reechurd”.I told you the phone would ring,said Kate James, Matron of Honour who, clad in off shoulder fuschia satin at Wedding Dinner No.1 was a vision. I had been in another relationship. At proposal time but like a zoom meeting with a definite project in sight, this wedding was going down. We’d known each other since I was 15, our clocks were ticking and the soundtrack with Orchestra composed by the groom was too gorgeous and effortless to resist. “It’s my first son’s wedding, I will spend what I like” said Dick Lee’s Mother at the first committee meeting for the wedding.

The Funny stuff: We had a wedding committee with some of the best and biggest Queens in town.They were faaaaabulous. The bride said nothing because everything down to ring pillows and how to handle the Japanese Press (they camped in a bush outside the wedding villa, I felt bad) was going to be taken care of. You know who you are. I’m grateful to this day. There were to be two dinners.Two locations were chosen. I’d chosen The Beaufort, which was brand new at the time on Sentosa, Now Sofitel and the more traditional wedding dinner was to be held at The Regent. We had jazz bands at both and some great old aunts doing rounds of pantuns at The Regent. The kerosangs were to die for. The Beaufort Wedding became a logistic nightmare which the committee handled with much aplomb as we needed so many little boats to ferry all the guests if they missed the one ferry going and coming home. Early days on Sentosa. On these little boats their were lanterns.Which always reminds me of the ending of The Great Gatsby. Some stories drifted back of guests who’d never experienced being in a small motor boat at sea (and a couple of these boats had engines die on them and oars appled) in the middle of the night after quaffing so much champagne, so many speeches and mad disco dancing.Outrageous Times. My best bridesmaid, May Ling Cadwallader who now lives in London summed it all up years later as “Well you can both look back and say ‘Once, we even got married’” She’s right.Though the marriage didn’t last, the friendship of 50 years did and so did the music. I moved into Binjai Park, the family home after the wedding and slept on the single bed next to the piano which I’d sung on since I was a Mid teen. I waited for Mr.Richard to come home from Japan. I went for meetings with his Father to the architects Kerry Hill to design the house we’d bought and chosen. He lives in it today. I spent hours in the kitchen with his Mother. I learned to toss belacan into the rice for nasi Ulam. Seven herbs. To serve and sit with his aunts when they dropped by for lunch. To serve the Tok Panjang at Chinese New Year from morning till late afternoon, dish after dish, with the bakwan kepiting, Itek Tim( soups) and chap chye, my mother in law’s favourite roast pork and fresh rice for the hundreds of guests who came.I brought birthday tea, an overnight doubled boiled fragrant specialty to the Master Bedroom when his Father turned 78 and said the Long life words in Cantonese and roses to his Mother, Liz when she had a cold. She liked that and gave me a jewel. A toast and high thanks to the Mad Chinaman who is in fact a true family man and given me the best of times. Once, we even got married.




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