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.
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: 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