updated 30 Jun 2012, 09:47
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Wed, Jun 20, 2012
The New Paper
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S'porean woman marries dying hubby in hospital
by Maureen Koh

They registered their marriage 13 years ago, but this couple never had the chance to have a traditional wedding.

But as the gravely ill man lay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the National University Hospital (NUH), deejays from Radio 1003, Singapore Press Holding's Chinese language station, swung into action, and made their wish come true two weeks ago.

The radio station's programme director Carine Ang said: "It was such a touching moment... everyone present was moved to tears."

It started with an SMS sent to the radio station by Madam Chua Mui Mui in April, wishing her husband a happy wedding anniversary.

Madam Chua, 37, also revealed that her husband, Mr Tay Guan Yeow, 44, had felt bad all these years for not giving her the wedding of her dreams.

After her message was read out on air, listeners called in with offers to help the couple have their wedding pictures taken.

At the time, no one knew that the childless couple - who sell roasted meats at an industrial area in the western part of Singapore - were going through a harrowing situation.

Mr Tay was suffering from kidney failure.

He had been diagnosed just two years after they registered their marriage, in 1999, when she was 24 and he was 31.

Battling his illness, they had put off the traditional dinner and wedding photos.

Until Madam Chua's heartfelt message to the radio station.

Offers of kindness

The offers poured in. But the couple initially hesitated.

Madam Chua, explains: "We were a little worried, and then because we had delayed responding to the offers, we didn't think more about it."

Then, on June 5, Mr Tay's condition worsened and he was rushed to NUH.

Doctors told Madam Chua that he might not pull through.

It prompted her to send another SMS to the radio station's hotline.

In the message, she asked: "If we want to take wedding photos, would it be too late? My husband has just been admitted to ICU."

Ms Ang said the minute their duty deejay received the message, everyone was galvanised into action.

She says: "Our hearts dropped. We wanted to do something for the couple, especially because we knew that Mr Tay was a loyal 1003 supporter.

"We wanted to do whatever we could to make their wish come true."

By 8pm, the team, which included deejay Tan Yan Wei and Ms Ang, had secured a rent-free gown from My Wedding Affair and complimentary photography.

A nurse helped take Madam Chua's measurements so that they'd get the right gown size, and the team rushed down to the hospital.

There was hardly a dry eye in the ICU when the bride walked in, resplendent in her gown.

As she bent over over her husband, Madam Chua asked him: "Am I pretty? Are you happy?"

Tears flowed freely as Mr Tay said yes, and handed a bouquet of flowers to his wife.

'I will live for him'

Ms Ang said that those who witnessed the simple ceremony included Mr Tay's family members and Madam Chua's two younger sisters.

After the ceremony, the groom told everyone: "I'm sorry that we don't have anything to give you."

"But if I am discharged, I will definitely bring snacks and roast meats to the radio station."

Madam Chua says she believes her husband, who had his left leg and right toes amputated earlier this year, is hanging on for her.

She admits that some friends and family members have asked her why she stayed on with her sick husband, whom they view as a yoke around her neck.

She says: "I don't get it, how can he be a burden to me? We exchanged vows and there's this line, 'In sickness and in health'.

"How can we forget this line? It's never occurred to me that I should abandon him."

In a recording that Mr Tay did for the radio station, he said: "This whole life, I loved only Chua Mei Mei. (There will be) no other choices and no regrets. I will love her forever and ever.

"Whether it's in life or in death, I will also miss her. Even though I will leave first, I want her to go on living and carry on with her life."

To which, Madam Chua says: "Some people have asked me what are my plans for the future.

"I don't know. I've not thought about it. Just as my husband is keeping strong for me, I will do the same for him.

"I will live for him."


This article was first published in The New Paper.


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