Hen Pok Aik, 55 and Felicia Lim, 54.
Married 29 years
THE odds of Hen Pok Aik and Felicia Lim getting together were slim. Although they are from Terengganu, the two moved in different circles. Hen was from a Chinese medium school while Felicia went to a national school and rarely would the twain meet.
Then one year, Hen and his friends decided they needed a change. So, they ventured out of their comfort zone.
“I don’t know why one year they decided to seek my friends and I out. Maybe the Chinese school girls were in short supply that year,” she teases as Hen laughs.
They had long left school by then and had started working. He was 25 and Lim, 24 and that fateful Chinese New Year, Hen and his friends ended up in her house.
Although it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was definitely an attraction.
“He was very quiet and that stood out. I could immediately see that he was different from the other guys. He was more mature and not loud or boastful. That caught my eye.
“After that day, we would go out as a group more often and I would always notice that he was the only guy in the group who was considerate. For instance, if we were going out for dinner and there were a few girls hanging back, he would go back and check to see that they were ok. These were signs that he was a really nice person,” says Lim.
It didn’t take long for Hen to “make his move” and ask her out and the two have been inseparable since. As they relate their shared life story, the two often steal glances at each other. They don’t exactly finish each others sentences, but it feels as if they could.
Displayed around their cosy home in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur are depictions of the love they share and the bond they have with their three children.
Family holiday photos and momentos they have made for each other over the years are neatly placed in different corners of their terrace house. Lim discloses that any chance the family has to spend together is cherished because Hen’s job requires him to travel a lot.
“It’s been like that from the very start. We met when we were already working and so I knew what his job was like. In fact, it has made me more independent and though it was tough at times, especially when I was working – to have to juggle work and the kids’ schedules – I learnt to manage.
“At least I was home and had our children with me. I figure it is harder on him because when he travels, he is alone. So when he comes back, we spend as much time together as possible,” Lim shares.
Hen shares that it was his dream, from young, to have a marriage that would stand the test of time, not merely one that survives but thrives and blossoms through the years. Though they’ll reach their 30- year milestone next year, Hen is determined to do all it takes to keep their fire going.
“I admire those who have been happily married for 50 years or more and I will do anything it takes to have that. It’s been a goal of mine and I know that to achieve it, I have to work at our marriage. Whether it is changing my habits to be better or adjusting to situations. Our happiness is key. When we face challenges, if it isn’t significant, I don’t make a big deal of it,” he says.
For both Hen and Lim, the success of their marriage hinges on them constantly communicating with each other, understanding each other and being empathetic.
“We don’t harbour any resentment or let our feelings of anger or dissatisfaction fester; we talk it out. And usually, if she is upset about something, I just keep quiet,” says Hen. “I don’t want to quarrel about little things and add fuel to her fire.” Lim admits to having a quick temper.
“I’m born in the year of the tiger and though I am trying to be calmer, that’s my nature,” she admits, adding however that they never argue with each other or correct each other in front of their children.
Above all, Hen and Lim make it a point to express their love – they hold hands still, start each day with a hug and say “I love you” many times throughout the day, every day.
“We look forward to the next 30 years. I hope we will be as loving to the end,” says Lim.
Hen, 55 and Lim, 54, say the success of their marriage hinges on constantly communicating with each other, understanding each other and being empathetic. — FAIHAN GHANI/ The Star