Don’t Miss Our “In The Mood For Love” Contest! Details Below
They were classmates, and Datuk Koh Kia Lim had his eye on Datin Lim Ah Lan from the time he was 15.
“We had known each other from Form One but I really noticed her in Form 3.
“She was a librarian and although I didn’t like reading a whole lot, I remember going to the library often so that I could see her. I was a very shy boy at the time so I didn’t reveal my feelings … I would just secretly admire her,” shares Koh, 70, a retired Brigadier General with the Malaysian Airforce.
“I didn’t know that! But, yes, we have known each other for years and years and actually, there was a whole group of us who were good friends. I was a very academic girl I was always the top student in school and all I wanted was to do well in my exams so that I could get into university.
“Coming from a small town, opportunities were limited and I didn’t want any distractions. I wasn’t interested in boys at all,” shares Lim who is also 70.
It wasn’t until after they left Ibrahim High School (now known as SMK Ibrahim) in Sungai Petani, Kedah, and Koh returned from flight training in New Zealand that their friendship developed into romance.
“I used to write her letters from New Zealand. When I came back, she was in university and I got to know her better,” shares Koh, who admits that he never lost that spark for his childhood crush.
“I never told you this but I used to get a lot of letters from boys at the time,” shares Lim, with a laugh.
“But they never did follow-up action! I did,” adds Koh, triumphantly, as they both break out into laughter.
Their first official date – they often went out in group outings with mutual friends – was a dinner at the air force mess hall.
“He was no longer the shy boy but a dashing pilot officer,” shares Lim.
Lim was a Botany undergraduate and their dates were quite unconventional.
“He would follow me into the forest with my long-pole cutter to collect plant samples,” says Lim.
“I was her field assistant,” jokes Koh, who was happy for any opportunity to be with his love.
After a few years, the two decided to tie the knot.
“We have been married for 44 years,” says Koh confidently.
“45! We have been married since December 14, 1973. He always forgets the date!” says Lim, laughing.
There was no real proposal, Koh explains.
“In those days, couples rarely had elaborate proposals. It was more of an understanding that after dating for a few years, we would get engaged and married,” explains Koh.
Not always a bed of roses
Marrying a military man meant that Lim had to understand that Koh’s duty to his country comes first. She looked after the children on her own when he was posted to Vietnam for five years, and he often missed important events due to his work.
“Once, we had booked our flight tickets to go for our daughter’s graduation at Cambridge in Britain. At the last minute, there was an air crash and he had to go. I was so mad but that was his job. He took his work really seriously,” shares Lim, a retired botanist.
Koh nods in agreement, adding that his wife was the rock at home.
“She ran the household like a single parent. I was like a weekend husband. She did a very good job. All our children were brought up really well and they did well and it was because she is so capable,” says Koh in admiration.
Like in all marriages, they have their fair share of arguments.
“I’m hot-tempered and impatient and he is always calm. But he’s also really stubborn. No matter how much I argue or go on, I cannot change his mind and so, usually, I give in.
“You know what? I realise that I am the one who always gives in,” Lim says, giving Koh a playful slap on the wrist.
“Yes, we argue a lot. I think all marriages will have conflicts but it’s how you manage them that matters. Even now, we argue over really insignificant things but we never let our arguments simmer or last very long,” says Koh.
“We don’t harbour ill-feelings at all,” Lim agrees. “I think it helps that we have known each other for so long. There is no uneasiness or differences, really.”
They are now retired and occupied with voluntary work. They teach line dancing and organise activities for seniors in their community.
“We spend more time together now. Actually we are still very busy. “What I really appreciate about him is how he sees the good in people and likes to help others. He is thrifty, not wasteful but very generous with his friends and relatives. That’s why we always have visitors,” laughs Lim.
Their secret to a lasting marriage? Mutual support.
“We complement each other and we get along with each other’s families. Kia Lim respects my parents and my mum cared for him like her own son. We compromise and help each other. When I am busy he will take care of the household so that I can focus on my work and I’d do the same. We trust each other completely in fact, we share the same password to our phones. The two of us just fit,” says Lim.
“Yes, somehow, the chemistry is right,” says Koh, a smile on his lips as he looks at his wife of 45 years seated beside him.
“In The Mood For Love” Contest
StarLifestyle and Star2.com are bringing you love stories every day, starting from Valentine’s Day to Chap Goh Meh (the other Valentine’s Day) on Feb 19. The 15th day of the first Lunar month is all about finding love, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate love all week!
Read our stories, then go to our social media pages on Facebook (facebook.com/starlifestyle) and Instagram (instagram.com/starlifestylemy), and join our special celebration of love, “In The Mood For Love”, by winning a pair of Longines Hydroconquest watches worth RM10,000 for you and your loved one.
How To Win At Love!
1. Collect a question daily from Feb 14-19 based on the love stories. You must answer all six (6) questions.
2. Complete this slogan: Love is ….. (in not more than 50 words).
3. Email all six answers and slogan to email@example.com by Feb 20. Include your full name, MyKad number and contact number, and don’t forget to add “In The Mood For Love Contest” in the subject field.
Terms & Conditions
1. The contest is open to all residents in Malaysia except for employees of the Star Media Group Berhad and members of their immediate families.
2. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash.
3. By participating in this contest, participants are deemed to have agreed to all rules and regulations of this contest. The Star reserves the right to alter/change/add/cancel any terms & conditions of contest without prior notice.
4. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.