Royal Love

DI­MASH SERIKOV AND TENGKU SHA­HEERA kept their two-year re­la­tion­ship un­der wraps be­fore an­nounc­ing their en­gage­ment early this year, sur­pris­ing their friends. Lily Ong un­cov­ers the story of their ro­mance

Malaysia Tatler - - AROUND ASIA - Photography Kim Mun Styling An­drea Kee

Di­mash Serikov and Tengku Sha­heera share with us their love story, on how their re­la­tion­ship has blos­somed

Amid plan­ning their wed­ding, Di­mash Serikov and Tengku Sha­heera Tengku Ab­dul­lah found time in their sched­ule for a short break in Kuan­tan, Pa­hang. Di­mash, who hails from Kaza­khstan, had yet to visit Tengku Sha­heera’s home state. “When he’s in Malaysia, he of­ten stays in Kuala Lumpur. I thought it would be nice for him to see where I grew up,” says the bride-to-be.

I first met Tengku Sha­heera two

years ago when her par­ents Tengku Ab­dul­lah Sul­tan Abu Bakar and Puan Sri Dato’ Habibah Yu­sof or­gan­ised a din­ner party to cel­e­brate her 21st birth­day in Man­darin Grill at the Man­darin Ori­en­tal KL. Dur­ing her speech that night, Tengku Sha­heera dis­closed that she chose to host her party at the ho­tel be­cause she once in­terned there. It is hard to imag­ine the poised and beau­ti­ful Tengku Sha­heera flit­ting from ta­ble to ta­ble serv­ing din­ers or flip­ping over bed­sheets in ho­tel rooms. I dis­cov­ered much later that she has also dipped her toes in mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines, glob­ally, in pur­suit of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge, in­clud­ing a three-month in­tern­ship at Boots Phar­macy in Lon­don and a short stint as an in­tern re­porter at South China Morn­ing Post in Hong Kong. This brings me to my ques­tion: how did she jug­gle her two main iden­ti­ties as Tengku Sha­heera, the dig­ni­fied royal taught to be mind­ful of duty and pro­to­col in pub­lic, and Sheera, the in­de­pen­dent and cre­ative woman who en­joys re­lax­ing with her friends? Or rather, to put it more suc­cinctly, what is it like grow­ing up as a royal in Malaysia? “I ad­mit that there were priv­i­leges that came with be­ing a royal. Yet, it also al­ways re­minds me to be hum­ble. My par­ents of­ten bring me along to char­ity events, and in­stil the im­por­tance of giv­ing back to our com­mu­nity,” she says be­fore adding, “Know­ing that peo­ple scru­ti­nise your ev­ery move is why I am a pri­vate per­son. But over the years, while I know there is lit­tle room for

mis­takes, as there are peo­ple al­ways watch­ing, I have learnt a lot from my ex­pe­ri­ences, which has shaped me to be who I am to­day.” Like his fi­ancée, Di­mash is a man of few words, speak­ing only when nec­es­sary in his deep Kazakh drawl. “Some peo­ple may think he is dis­tant or rude, but I like that he only opens up to the peo­ple he feels close to,” adds Tengku Sha­heera. The cou­ple first met six years ago in Lon­don. “We had a mu­tual friend who in­vited us to Hyde Park’s Win­ter Won­der­land. We did not speak much that night be­cause he was so shy. We only be­came friends af­ter that be­cause we share many mu­tual con­nec­tions,” says Tengku Sha­heera. They also kept bump­ing into each other at cafes and at Heathrow air­port. Even­tu­ally, she be­gan to won­der if there was a mean­ing to all of th­ese co­in­ci­den­tal meet­ings. “Even though we did not talk of­ten, I al­ways won­dered what he was up to. So un­in­ten­tion­ally bump­ing into each other was ex­cit­ing for me, as I was pleas­antly sur­prised to see him. It has al­ways been ef­fort­less be­tween us; it was as if we knew each other our whole lives,” she ex­pressed. They chose to keep their re­la­tion­ship pri­vate, to al­low it to blos­som. Through it all, they were each other’s best friend and con­fi­dant. In fact, Di­mash was one of the first few in her in­ner cir­cle to know of Tengku Sha­heera’s am­bi­tion to be an in­te­rior de­signer. “Di­mash is ac­tu­ally the only one who has seen all of my mood boards. He took me to gal­leries, show­rooms and wher­ever I needed to com­plete my pro­jects. Once, he even helped me cut and stick my work onto th­ese boards, and I knew that if I ever needed to go to the print­ers at four in the morn­ing, he was just a phone call away,” says Tengku Sha­heera fondly, adding that it was also her beau who taught her how to ride a bike. In turn, Di­mash loves the fact that he can count on Tengku Sha­heera to give him the mo­ti­va­tion he some­times needs to get things done. “She al­ways wants me to do bet­ter and she is so or­gan­ised that she of­ten re­minds me about the things I need to do. We have this in­side joke, where I re­fer to her as Sha­heeri, as if she were an iphone app—af­ter Siri,” says Di­mash with a rare chuckle. Af­ter Di­mash grad­u­ated and re­turned to Kaza­khstan to work in his fam­ily’s real es­tate busi­ness, they de­cided to have a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship. That’s when the cou­ple re­alised in­di­vid­u­ally that they were both se­ri­ous about each other. “I knew she was the one be­cause she had all the good qual­i­ties I was look­ing for in a woman. She is so lov­ing, car­ing, or­gan­ised and de­ter­mined. It def­i­nitely shows how well she was brought up,” says Di­mash. Re­al­is­ing that she was the one, prompted Di­mash to take the next step. He spoke about her to his mother, who af­ter, flew in to meet her. At that first meet­ing with her fu­ture mother-in-law, Saule Kuanysh­bayeva, dis­cus­sions be­gan for the cou­ple to be wed­ded. “There wasn’t a pro­posal. We just knew, and that was it,” re­veals Tengku Sha­heera. She then fi­nally broke the news of her re­la­tion­ship to her par­ents. Her mother Puan Sri Dato’ Habibah Yu­sof was shocked when she found out, but her fa­ther Tengku Tan Sri Ab­dul­lah took the news in a calm man­ner, to her sur­prise. Nev­er­the­less, they were happy for their daugh­ter, and hosted an en­gage­ment party for the cou­ple last April at their home, at­tended by close fam­ily mem­bers and friends. This month, Tengku Sha­heera and Di­mash are set to tie the knot, with two cel­e­bra­tions—one in Kuala Lumpur and the other in Kaza­khstan. Cur­rently, they are learning to adapt to each other’s cul­tures: Tengku Sha­heera is learning Rus­sian while Di­mash is try­ing to un­der­stand the pro­to­cols and Malay cus­toms—not to men­tion study­ing Tengku Sha­heera’s ex­ten­sive fam­ily tree! Thank­fully, the cou­ple has a shared taste for ad­ven­ture, which helped them ac­cli­ma­tise to th­ese new ad­just­ments in their lives. “We both are open to try new things by nature so it has been an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us,” she shares hap­pily about their fu­ture to­gether.

“Some may think he is dis­tant or rude, but he only opens up to those he feels close to”

Bride-tobe Tengku Sha­heera Ab­dul­lah wears a dress by Gucci while her fi­ancé Di­mash Serikov is in a Burberry Beast shirt

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.