updated 17 Nov 2013, 14:18
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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
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Wedding loans taken by Malay couples contributing to divorce rates
by Shaffiq Alkhatib

Singapore - It took him three years to save $10,000 for his wedding ceremony in 2007.

But his final bill was $25,500.

Then, for more than two years, Hafiz (not his real name) tried to settle the debt, using his $2,500 monthly salary.

The technician's parents eventually had to help him with his payments.

Financial troubles, like Hafiz's, have contributed to a breakdown of marriages in the Malay-Muslim community.

That troubled the Government enough for the Ministry of Social and Family Development to revamp a marriage preparation course for the community.

Last month, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister- in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said the course will include financial planning.

Hafiz, 36, wished he had someone to check with before going ahead with his grand wedding.

He said he wanted to make his wife happy.

He said: "Before our wedding, she went to a few of our friends' to get some ideas.

"She told me that she wanted ours to be bigger and grander than the others.

And I agreed with her out of love."

But he couldn't pay. So he had to take a bank loan of $10,000. Then he borrowed about $5,000 more from his relatives to hold the wedding at the void deck of his flat in Tampines.

He said with a chuckle: "Malays say that to be a bridegroom is similar to being a king for a day.

"But apparently, for me, being a 'king' turned out to be a very expensive affair."

Mr Hafiz said his sales assistant wife earns about $1,500 a month.


The decoration at his wedding alone cost him thousands of dollars.

He recalled that for his wedding, the ceiling and pillars of the void deck were covered with fabric.

Coloured cloth was also used to cover the chairs and tables, which were topped with fresh flowers.

"The void deck looked like a hotel function room. It was very beautiful.

But it cost me close to $10,000 just for the decoration alone.

"In the end, my parents, who just received their CPF payouts, had to help me pay off my wedding debts," he said.

Hafiz has a 30-year-old sister who is single.

"She has a fiance and they intend to get married soon. But they told me that they will try to make their ceremony as simple as possible.

"My sister and her husband-to-be said that they will just have a small gathering for the 'akad nikah' (solemnisation), and that's it. Maybe that's a good idea after all I've been through," he said with a laugh.

Now that his debts are out of the way, he intends to start a family with his wife and buy a flat together.

Said Hafiz: "I don't have to worry about my debts any more and can move forward with my married life.

"Perhaps my wife and I should have thought things over before we went all out for our wedding."

Help with managing finances

Cinta Abadi (Malay for Eternal Love), the Ministry of Social and Family Development-run course for the Malay-Muslim community, is targeting more than 2,000 soon-to-wed couples each year.

Financial education will be an integral part of the course, The Straits Times reported.

In announcing the course, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in- charge of Muslim Affairs, said young Muslim families need to better understand the importance of help with managing finances managing their finances.

Dr Yaacob had said that it is important for couples to live within their means.

"It's nice that you're falling in love and having a family, but ultimately you need to deal with the finances," he said.

Related stories:
Wedding planner turns couples' big day into nightmare
Former employer accused of ruining couple's wedding

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readers' comments
Go there feed mosquitoes arh??? Wait kenna dengue then end up living "happily up in the sky" ... :p :D :D

Posted by Small Fly on Tue, 5 Nov 2013 at 10:06 AM
Want to get married, be prepared to splash it grand in a 4-star above hotel. If want to hold it in the HDB void deck or some shopping malls small-time restaurants due to whatsoever reasons, then would suggest to simply ROM quietly with the blessings from both sides ageing parents.
Posted by doodahdee on Mon, 4 Nov 2013 at 20:39 PM
Competing With Russian...Russian Couple Are Like This...Borrow Money To Get Married...
After Marriage And Even After Divorce In Some Cases...Debit Still Not Fully Paid Up....
Posted by AnakSinga on Mon, 4 Nov 2013 at 20:06 PM

You must bring your gf along then you got other thing to do mah.

See sunrise sunset no need to go on cruise wan.
Posted by maipenrai on Mon, 4 Nov 2013 at 12:01 PM

Indeed boring eat n sleep.

Like I went on cruise, eat,sleep, watched movies, see sky
See water..
The only thing I love is wAtching sun rise n sun set.
Posted by merlin12 on Sat, 2 Nov 2013 at 12:31 PM
If u got combined income of 3k per mth, u don't need 10k loan, unless 10k is to supplement the short fall, even with that I still think is managable, I think they not work the math out properly or transparently , both side,
But Malay wedding green bao very little one...
Posted by jameslee58 on Sat, 2 Nov 2013 at 10:48 AM
Posted by baoxingtian on Sat, 2 Nov 2013 at 10:18 AM

no lah, u mis-understood me. if not enough money to plan big wedding, hold a small one. never spend beyond budget. :)
Posted by A_Commoner on Fri, 1 Nov 2013 at 14:35 PM
Er ......... no !!! cannot !!! ...... the LAW stated not a dime can be withdrawn unless you are dead or reached a PREDETERMINED Age (DYNAMIC) ....... ya .....

Or like that better ........ Go OPEN a CPFIS Account and you can "START" to EXTRACT Your CPF .......... and yes ....... quite a number got caught and JAILED .......

But if the Malaysians can steal millions of dollar from DBS ATM .......... and we end up using europay card ............. then hor, the sky the limit ........

Or you ask and feedback to PAP about it ....... and SEE if THEY LET you withdraw .......... abit ........ ya ........ again ....... many tried for many times ......... and it is always NO ......... because it is AGAINST PAP MANIFESTO to do that lor ........ that is ....... - NEVER GIVE CITIZEN .....
Posted by Limos2010 on Fri, 1 Nov 2013 at 14:34 PM
Potential papaya leader .... talks exactly alike .... :D :D

Rich people no know what $-poor people's life and pains .... :p :D

Posted by Small Fly on Fri, 1 Nov 2013 at 14:31 PM

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