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Wedding Essentials

Landmarks make for monumental wedding photos

Exhibition showcases 32 of S’pore’s historical buildings
The Straits Times - August 31, 2012
By: Goh Shi Ting
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Landmarks make for monumental wedding photos More than 2,000 people turned up for the wedding ceremony of Mr Shah Sulaiman and Ms Syahidah Mohd Zin at the Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam. -- PHOTO: KHAIRUZAMANI MOHAMED NOOR

GETTING married is a landmark event in any person's life.

And for many couples, Singapore's landmark buildings form the perfect backdrop for a set of wedding photographs.

About 150 pairs of newlyweds will feature in a new exhibition organised by the Preservation of Monuments Board.

Their treasured snaps - which were taken from the 1960s right up to the present day - showcase 32 of Singapore's historical buildings, including the old Tao Nan School, Maghain Aboth Synagogue and the defunct Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

They also reflect the many changes that have taken place in wedding fashions and venues, and in the island nation's culture. Dr Ang Yiau Hua and Madam Margaret Yap were following a family tradition when they married at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church in 1969. By coincidence, her parents wed in the same venue in 1943, during the Japanese Occupation. With so many links to the church, the family were nervous when the wrecking ball took away nearby shophouses and schools in the 1980s.

Yet to their relief, it was gazetted and preserved as a national monument in 1989. "Even though there were many conditions that we had to follow, it was good as it helped us to keep it intact," said Dr Ang, 77, who preaches at the church, and has three children with his wife, 66.

For Mr Shah Sulaiman and Ms Syahidah Mohd Zin, tying the knot at the Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam meant a wedding ceremony fit for a king. More than 2,000 people turned up for their solemnisation last year.

Ms Syahidah, 26, said her family's links to the mosque went way back to the time of her late grandmother, who migrated from Indonesia in the 1950s.

When riots erupted not long afterwards, she and other Muslims took refuge inside the building. Now, Ms Syahidah and her husband, 28, want to extend the tradition to a fourth generation. "When my daughter grows up, she will also join me at the mosque," she said.

Pastry chefs Francis Lim and Jean Chua met at Raffles Hotel in 2004, but sparks did not initially fly in the kitchen. "He looked skinny and scrawny when he first joined us," said Ms Chua, 33.

But Mr Lim's positivity and diligence won her over and she decided to ask him out one day after going for late night meals at nearby Rochor Centre.

The couple married in 2006. And in honour of the place where they met, they chose to hold their solemnisation at the 6m-high 19th century cast iron fountain in Raffles Hotel's Palm Court.

Called Monumental Weddings: Wedding Portraits at National Monuments, the exhibition will run from next Tuesday until the end of the year.

Members of the public have been sending in photos since January. Other images have been taken from archives and contributed by wedding photographers. "Love is in the air," said curator Wong Hong Suen, 34. "It is my pleasure to be able to listen to these love stories and to feature relationships that have endured a long period of time."

Mr Kelvin Ang, 40, sent in copies of his late grandparents' wedding pictures, which were taken at the old Tao Nan School.

He said the building - which is now the Peranakan Museum - played a major role in the life of his grandfather, who was a pupil there.

Mr Ang, who works as a heritage architect, added: "I've always wanted to share the idea that buildings - and historical buildings - are important and can be important at both the national and the personal level because they are the settings of our personal landmarks."


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