updated 28 Apr 2012, 14:27
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Sat, Apr 28, 2012
The New Paper
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Little tiffs keep them together
by Kwok Kar Peng

SQUABBLES spice up a marriage - that's what Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann and her Hong Kong action director husband Ma Yuk Sing believe.

The newlyweds told The New Paper of a time early on in their courtship when they couldn't accept each other's habits and quarrelled almost every day.

The couple married in Yeo's Johor Baru hometown on March 4, and will have small private dinners for family and friends in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong in the coming months.

Yeo, 35, who starred in local movies 881 and Love Matters, said at a media lunch last Tuesday: "(Ma's) mind tends to drift off when I talk to him...

"I lost my temper once and told him he was being rude. He apologised and explained that he was thinking of his gongfu moves and sequences."

Ma, 52, then revealed how Yeo's incessant grumbling while driving used to irritate him.

"She scolds the other drivers and goes on and on like a radio," he said.

That period of constant tiffs lasted a few months and they don't quarrel that much any more, the couple said.

Ironically, they believe the frequent squabbling keeps their relationship alive.

Said Ma: "Couples must quarrel until they grow old, because it's through this that they come to understand more about each other..." During the interview, the couple bantered constantly, with Yeo often breaking into peals of laughter.

She stroked his hair, slapped his chest playfully and rested her head on his arm.

The two had met during the production of the Malaysian action flick Petaling Street Warriors, which opened here in December and also starred Mark Lee and Chris Tong.

Ma is the protege of veteran action-director Tony Ching Siu Tung, and did movies like A Chinese Ghost Story, The Warlords, The Storm Warriors and JackNeo's Ah Long Pte Ltd.

The couple, who have known each other for only slightly more than a year, began dating after the filming of Petaling Street Warriors.

Long-distance romance

They carried on a long-distance romance, chatting on the phone every day, and whenever Ma had a few days off, he would fly to KL to meet Yeo.

They would not say how long they had dated, except that it was for a "very short" period of time.

There is speculation that it was a shotgun marriage for the couple. But when asked point-blank if she was pregnant, Yeo replied coyly: "I'll leave it to nature."

The couple declined to elaborate.

Ma said that Yeo has yet to go for a pregnancy test.

He also said he does not subscribe to the superstition where women have to keep their pregnancy secret until after the first trimester to ensure that the foetus remains healthy.

Yeo said that she got married so quickly because the timing was perfect for the both of them.

"I'm a late bloomer and I'm at the age where I'm starting to become more mature," she said.

"I've been such a wilful person doing whatever I want to. When I meet someone who tells me he's willing to follow me anywhere, what more can you ask for?

"It's hard to find someone like that... When we decided to be with each other, we didn't want to waste any more time."

Yeo said she's a decisive person and doesn't second-guess herself or give herself the chance to regret.

But her first impression of her husband during the filming of Petaling Street Warriors was unpleasant, she revealed.

Ma was impatient and fierce, and swore on the set.

"He was like a demon during filming. Whenever I saw him, I would walk the other way," Yeo said, demonstrating how he had screamed at her during filming.

But when she injured her leg, she saw his gentle and considerate side when he helped to massage her injury.

"He is sensitive, gentle and righteous. Away from the film set, he speaks softly and is very witty," Yeo said.

And their 17-year age gap doesn't matter to her and her parents, she added.

Yeo and Ma will soon return to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong respectively for work, and will continue with their long-distance relationship.

Said Ma: "It's okay that we can't be together physically. There's a saying that a couple will remain newlyweds if they rarely see each other. We'll still fly over to meet each other whenever there's a chance."

Yeo added: "I'm getting used to not seeing him (every day). There were times when I wanted him to be with me, and he encouraged me to be strong and told me that I could pull through it."

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This article was first published in The New Paper.

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