AN EN­DUR­ING LOVE

Af­ter 20 years of mar­riage, the ro­mance be­tween lo­cal celebrity cou­ple, Zheng Geping, 49, and Hong Huifang, 53, is still very much alive.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Relative Values - BY CH­ERYL LEONG

ANY BIG PLANS TO CEL­E­BRATE YOUR 20TH AN­NIVER­SARY?

Geping: When we were still dat­ing, I promised Huifang I’d take her to Venice and ro­mance her on a gon­dola.

Huifang: That hasn’t hap­pened yet – which is why I al­ways tell our 17-yearold daugh­ter, Tay Ying, that you

can­not trust a man’s words. (Laughs)

Geping: Well, I’m turn­ing 50 this year. To cel­e­brate, maybe we can fi­nally make that hap­pen! WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS OF EACH OTHER?

Huifang: I didn’t have a good im­pres­sion of him be­cause he was loud and al­ways cussing with his friends. Once, we ran into each other at a mu­tual friend’s chalet and I agreed to give him a lift back to the TV sta­tion the next morn­ing. It was a painfully awk­ward jour­ney be­cause we didn’t ex­change a sin­gle word.

Geping: As she was more se­nior in the in­dus­try, I thought she was in­tim­i­dat­ing. It was only a few months later, at another chalet, that we started chat­ting – be­cause we were the only two peo­ple still awake.

Huifang: The next day, I had car trou­ble. So I popped open the bon­net to see if I could fix it. Geping says that was when he started to ad­mire my in­de­pen­dent, garang (gung-ho) side. As for me, I saw his stern and se­ri­ous side when I saw him teach taek­wondo at The Amer­i­can Club. I thought he was so cool and manly. (Laughs) TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST DATE.

Huifang: It was on Valen­tine’s Day in 1990 and we went to…

Geping: … Ad­mi­ralty Coun­try Club. She was wear­ing a white blouse and black skirt; I was in a long-sleeved shirt, black tie and jacket. It was a dou­ble date with another cou­ple be­cause I needed to boost my courage – Huifang was an Ah Jie (older sis­ter) in the in­dus­try by then.

Huifang: But you’re the Ah Ge (older brother) now! GEPING, YOU AC­TU­ALLY RE­MEM­BER THE LIT­TLE DE­TAILS.

Huifang: Yes, Geping’s the ro­man­tic one. He never fails to send me flow­ers on my birth­day, our an­niver­sary and Valen­tine’s Day. If he’s over­seas, he’ll or­der flow­ers in ad­vance. If I’m abroad, he’ll some­how find a florist to de­liver them too.

“Huifang used to be a ‘com­puter di­nosaur’, but now she’s on her iPad way past bed­time ev­ery night.”

– Geping

Geping: I do the same for our daugh­ter. So if some­one tries to woo her with flow­ers, they’ll have to do a lot more be­cause she won’t think it’s any­thing spe­cial! BE­ING A RO­MAN­TIC, DID YOU PLAN A SPE­CIAL PRO­POSAL TO HUIFANG THEN?

Geping: I did it the old-fash­ioned way and of­fi­cially asked her fa­ther for her hand in mar­riage. That was in 1993 and we’d been dat­ing for three years.

Huifang: I was wor­ried be­cause my fam­ily is Bud­dhist, while Geping is Chris­tian – I couldn’t ask my dad to walk down the church aisle with me. But when I brought it up, my fa­ther said: “That’s fine with me, as long as you can get mar­ried!” (laughs) He must have been re­ally wor­ried, as I was his el­dest child and my two younger sis­ters were mar­ried by then. WHAT’S THE KEY TO YOUR MAR­I­TAL SUC­CESS? Geping: We com­ple­ment each other and ac­cept our dif­fer­ences. Huifang is the money-wise and thrifty one; I spend more freely and won’t say no to our two kids. So they al­ways come to me when their mum doesn’t give them what they want. Huifang: Yes, he spoils my good work by giv­ing in to our kids! But I fo­cus on his good points, like his pa­tience, es­pe­cially with the kids, and his tact – he al­ways thinks be­fore he says any­thing, un­like me. WHO DO YOU HOPE YOUR CHIL­DREN WILL TAKE AF­TER?

Huifang: Geping – for his pa­tience, easy-go­ing at­ti­tude, and de­ter­mi­na­tion to achieve his goals. When he was build­ing up his physique to pre­pare for his role as a good­hearted gang­ster in the TV drama

Kam­pong Ties, in 2011, he went to the gym even when he was in­jured. And he never strayed from his strict diet – for three months, I had to cook only steamed and boiled dishes for him, and pre­pare sep­a­rate meals for the kids and my­self. We’d eat at the same ta­ble, but he was never tempted.

Geping: I want the kids to have her money smarts. Huifang taught our 13-year-old son Calvert to break his monthly al­lowance into small notes, in­stead of tak­ing out a $50 note each time, so that he wouldn’t be tempted to spend more. SH

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