updated 28 Jan 2013, 19:04
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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
The Straits Times
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His proposal marathon
by Adeline Chia

Desmond Koh had to bug his future wife for a few months before she would agree to go on a date with him.

“I kept saying no because I did not want any more relationships, I had had enough,” says Nadya Hutagalung, who has suffered several abusive relationships.

He persisted and she eventually said yes. They had been acquaintances for years, hit it off and ended up dating for two years.

He first introduced her to his family at a Mother’s Day lunch.

The model actress was stressed out at meeting his family but they welcomed her.

Gerald, Koh’s younger brother, says: “My dad said, ‘Is this the famous Nadya?’ He also laughed at how he could not pronounce her surname.”

Koh says: “My parents, after getting to know Nadya, fully accepted and welcomed her into my family. Most importantly, they know that she will love me and care for me.”

His marriage proposal was a lengthy process with a few false starts.

She had accompanied him to New Zealand in 2006 for an Iron Man competition.

While they were packing up to leave the serviced apartment, she found a ring box among his things. Before she could stop herself, she grabbed it and opened it but it was empty.

She pretended she had not seen anything. He then followed her to Sydney to visit her mother.

There, he secretly asked her mother’s permission to marry her.

When they returned to Singapore, she booked them into the swanky Four Seasons hotel for a weekend to give him an opportunity to pop the question. He did not. He later revealed that he thought it was “not romantic enough”.

Eventually, she left for London, where she was filming a programme on the Da Vinci Code trail.

He surprised her there and followed the crew to Paris.

There, he checked himself and Hutagalung into the Coco Chanel suite in the Ritz Carlton hotel, which cost US$4,300 ($6,024) a night.

She says: “He was all jumpy and nervous.”

He went to the bathroom, claiming that he had something to do and asked her not to disturb him. He ran a bath and invited her to enter. The water was cold, so they went out to the bedroom again.

After a complicated series of steps which she says she cannot remember, he went down on his knee and asked her to marry him.

“He said a lot of lovely things, which I can’t remember, because I was crying and crying and crying,” she says.

“At one point, he must have asked a few times, ‘Yes or no?’ ”

Of course, she said yes. Koh was relieved, adding: “I was carrying this ring, worth a lot, safety-pinned to my pocket the whole time. I was so stressed out.”

They got married in Bali in 2006.

About 80 guests were present.

They were living in a rented three bedroom house in Bukit Timah until January this year, when they moved into Koh’s family home on the East Coast.

They plan to move to their new six-bedroom house in Bukit Timah in January.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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