It was the wedding of the year in Ipoh, in 2019, reported in the local newspapers. Nobody expected Liew Swee Fong, the bachelorette Principal of the Ave Maria Convent, Ipoh, to get married at the age of 56. Nobody expected Joseph Michael Lee, the ex-President of Old Michaelians’ Association, to get married the second time at the age of 59.
She was a student from Main Convent, Ipoh, and he was a student from St. Michael’s Institution (SMI), Ipoh. There is a long history of romances and childhood-school year marriages between Main Convent girls and SMI boys. And Swee Fong and Joseph were the oldest known late marriage-blossomed couples. Therefore, Swee Fong and Joseph are inspiration that you can fall in love in your senior age.
St. Michael’s Form Six is uniquely co-ed for the longest time, which attracts students from various convent schools in Ipoh which don’t have their own Form Six. One of the famous alumni of Main Convent, Ipoh was Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, the Hong Kong and Hollywood actress of Crazy Rich Asians movie, and a James Bond Girl. Swee Fong and Michelle were school mates from the same year.
Swee Fong was born in the year of the Tiger, and Joseph was born in the year of the Pig. It’s an ideal combination if each animal sign knows its place and position in society and as a couple. It’s a soulmate marriage. They are seen holding hands in public while walking as if they are 21-year old newlyweds. The running joke is the famous Chinese proverb, “pretend to be a pig to get the tiger.” But Joseph doesn’t have to pretend to be a pig, he was born in the year of the pig.
In fact, there is a strong Hakka community in Ipoh. Ipoh was the richest town in Malaysia for many years during the British colonial years. Visit Han Chin Pet Soo: Malaysia’s First Hakka Tin Mining Museum and Hakka People “The Jews of Asia”, in Old Town section, behind the iconic Concubine Street “Yee Lai Hong”.
Ipoh was one of the wealthiest cities in Southeast Asia during the late 19th century thanks to the revenue generated from its Kinta Valley tin mines. Today, its affluent legacy is visible in the beautiful Chinese mansions and colonial-era buildings found throughout its old town.
If you walk with Swee Fong and Joseph anywhere in Ipoh, you will be constantly interrupted at every corner with greetings from well-wishers, current and ex-students, and ex-teachers of Ave Maria Convent.
Side Note (2021.04.06) :
Some readers ask Robren why did he removed three quarters of the original article. Because out of respect for a childhood friend’s request, he removed all “unnecessary” parts of the story, and still stay true to essence of the story.
However, to respond to the request of his childhood friend of totally removing the story is beyond friendship. A writer will write about his parents, siblings, or children, even if it is to expose a criminal in his family. A writer will write about the wishes of his father even if it clashes with his eldest brother who is the Prime Minister. The case in point is Lee Hsien Yang writing to the media about the wish of Lee Kuan Yew in his last will, which clashed with the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wish.
Asking a journalist to remove parts or the whole article is the most disrespectful thing one can do to a journalist. And there are serious consequences, and implications.
In fact, asking to remove parts or the whole article is 1 of the 6 questions you should never ask a Journalist.
If one unwittingly disrespect or make life hard for a journalist, then this person will no longer be top-of-mind when a reporter needs an expert from your field to comment on a trend, say about the Ipoh school industry. There are many others out there in the world who are all competing for this same journalist’s attention.
Robren felt the 2 most wonderful, heart-filled “personal” parts of the story are how did they met, and how did he propose to her. Obviously these would be the two most asked questions to the couple in question. Removing these 2 personal parts plus removing the story of the yellow flower girl instantly made it into a non-story, with little public interest.
“Who I am is what other people think of me” is one of the 6 false egos, a community leader need to let go of.
Written by: Robren, is a Hakka from Ipoh, and was a student of St. Michael’s Institution, Ipoh. Robren or Mun Loke and Joseph Michael Lee were primary classmates from Standard One to Six. Joseph’s mother and Robren’s mother were classmates in Methodist Girls School, Ipoh.
Some of Robren’s GodSister Tan Poh Choo’s nieces Pui Yi Lim and Jiaxiu Lim were students of Ave Maria Convent, Ipoh.
Published: 5th April 2021.
Robren is the “CEO-Celebrity Whisperer”, and “The Father of Asian Firewalking”. He is also the Creator of The Law Of Repulsion, Group CEO of Robren Group, Robren EAcademy, Robren Publications, a prolific writer of vlogs, memoirs, ebooks, advertising & PR, media articles.
Robren Biodata: https://tinyurl.com/RobertChaenBio
Read more about The Law of Repulsion: https://tinyurl.com/43t99h9c
6 Questions you should never ask a Journalist
20 Statements you should never say to a Creative Writer