Kenneth and Suelynn Koh with daughter Dawn (standing, extreme right) are joined by the couple’s parents, Willie and Teresa Koh (standing, centre) and Allen and Irene van der Beek (far left). Seated: Suelynn’s sister, Maylynn and husband Edwin Rozells with Elizabeth, their daughter.Kenneth and Suelynn Koh with daughter Dawn (standing, extreme right) are joined by the couple’s parents, Willie and Teresa Koh (standing, centre) and Allen and Irene van der Beek (far left). Seated: Suelynn’s sister, Maylynn and husband Edwin Rozells with Elizabeth, their daughter.
Over 250 people took to Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza in Orchard Road on Feb 14 to show passersby that long-lasting marriages and strong families are possible today.

Holding signs stating the number of years they have been together, married couples and their children held their poses for five minutes in a freeze flash mob.

Timed for Valentine’s Day, the event was also to observe World Marriage Day, which falls on the second Saturday of February.

First organised in 2011 by Marriage Encounter (ME) Singapore, this year’s event is the biggest to date. The 2011 event and the second one in 2012 gathered 50 couples each.

The initiative has been adopted this year in other ME communities. Six Spanish cities – Alicante, Badajoz, Madrid, Sevilla,Valencia and Zaragoza – held flash mobs simultaneously on Feb 14, as did the city of Coban in Guatemala.
Couples at the flash mob in Cowes Beach, Melbourne, Australia.Couples at the flash mob in Cowes Beach, Melbourne, Australia.

In Melbourne, Australia, couples took to Cowes Beach on Feb 10 with members of the ME World Council who were meeting there from Feb 4-12. Representatives from Fiji flew in to take part too.

Meanwhile, participants of the local flash mob shared secrets to happy marriages.

Mr Kenneth Koh, his wife Suelynn and their daughter, were joined by the couple’s parents, Mr and Mrs Willie Koh and Mr and Mrs van der Beek as well as Ms Suelynn’s  sister and her family.

Married for 55 years, Mr Willie Koh said, “In a happy marriage, a couple must live with the concept of togetherness. From decision making to planning, there must be interdependence. Above all there must be love... When there is love, all things will fall into place naturally.”

Participating in the flash mob, said the younger Mr Koh, “was a great way to celebrate marriages in our family...We feel very blessed to have our parents as role models of happy and long-lasting marriages. We hope to show the world that great marriages can span generations.”

Said Mr Thomas Lim and wife, Nancy, who have been married for 53 years,“Nowadays people separate for the smallest reason. The secret to long-lasting marriages is to put God in the centre of our lives and to forgive one another.”

Passing through Singapore from Australia, the Ecclesial Team for Europe, Mr Antonio Carvalho, his wife, Luisa, from Portugal, and Fr Manuel Antonio Rocha also took part. Said Mrs Carvalho, “We felt the joy and energy that was demonstrated and are grateful to be part of the ME world family.”

Mr Carvalho added, “It is very important for us to see this energy. Like in many European countries, [the state of] marriages in Portugal is worse than when we married 46 years ago... We have a great responsibility. We need to evangelise that marriage is permanent.”

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