Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wong Duang Ging and Lim Boon Keng, marriage 29 December, 1896, Singapore

THE HON'BLE DR. LIM BOON KENG' WEDDING. No more interesting wedding has ever taken place in Singapore than that of the Hon'ble Dr. Lim Boon Keng, M.B. and C.M., member of the Legislative Council with Miss Wong Duang Ging, eldest daughter of Mr Wong Nai Siong, of Foochow, which event occurred yesterday the 29th inst. The bridegroom, thouggh quite a young man has made for himself by his talents and education, and the good uses to which he has applied these forces, a public position in Singapore which would be creditable near the close of a professional career instead of, as now, at its opening. A Queen's Scholar of this Colony, an exceptionally successful student of medicine at Edinburgh University, a very capable medical practitioner of Singapore, he has attained the honour of being approved by Her Majesty as a member of Legislative Council, and holds a deservedly high position in the estimation of his fellow townsmen, both European and Asiatic. His bride is a charming young lady of excellent Chinese family, who has had moreover the great advantage of having been educated for some time in America and is familiar with the English language, ways of thought, and social observances. Miss Wong Duang Ging arrived from China five days ago with her father Mr Wong Nai Siong, but it is interesting to know that their acquainanceship and knowledge of each other has matured through a course of direct personal correspondence. A private marriage ceremony was held at the Presbyterian church at 7 a.m. yesterday morning in the presence of only a very few intimate friends of the bride and bridegroom, at which Miss Ferris acted as bridesmaid, Mr Tan Hup Seng as best man, the bride being given away by her father. Following that, on return to the residence of Mr Lim Thian Sang, uncle of the bridegroom, the ancestral wedding customs of the Chinese were followed in which the bride and bridegroom together do obeisance to heaven in thanksgiving. A reception was held in the afternoon at 4.30 p.m. at "San Giang Whee," the country residence of Mr Lim Thian Sang. Here a large number of friends, both European and Chinese, assembled to offer their congratulations to the happy pair. This was an entirely new social departure from Chinese usage as it indicates the intention, admirable and laudable in every way, of Dr and Mrs Boon Keng to keep in  social touch with European society in a manner a long way in advance of the usual customs hitherto prevailing amongst the Chinese. The guests as they were announced were presented by the bridegroom to his bride who spoke to each a few words of modest and graceful welcome. Dr Boon Keng was dressed in a rich Chinese costume and his bride in a dainty Chinese costume of pink silk, bordered with dark blue silk, all richly embroidered. Cake and wine having been served to the company, H.E. the Deputy Governor, the Hon'ble J. A. Swettenham, C.M.G., with perhaps a certain natural diffidence due to his own state of bacherlorhood, proposed in feeling terms the health and happiness of the newly wedded pair. He alluded to the success which had attended Dr Boon Keng's career, and felt sure that though the bridegroom had that day taken the most momentous step of his life, that success would still continue to mark his career. At the conclusion of the Deputy Governor's speech Mr Tan Jiak Kim called for three cheers, on the call of the Hon'ble J. A. Swettenham, being ggiven for the bride. In reply, Dr Boon Keng, thanking his friends sincerely for the honour they had done himself and his wife, and for the cordial way in which they had joined to wish them a happy and prosperous future, alluded to himself as being proud to call himself one of Singapore's sons. (Hear, hear.) He was grateful for the kindness of his European friends as well as of his Chinese friends. Indeed it had always been his desire to see a closer association between the more advanced sections of the European and Asiatic community and he trusted that he and his wife would be privileged to have opportunities of assisting in this desirable object. (Applause). Such a bringing of the different elements of the community could only result in good, for out of mutual knowledge would arise mutual respect and esteem. He would once more in the name of his wife and himself thank the Deputy Govvernor for proposing their health so kindly, and their friends around them for the equally kind way in which the toast had been received. Dr Lim Boon Keng's speech, which was delivered with much feeling, was loudly applauded. There wsas no "going away" as it is understood that Dr Boon Keng and his bride will remain at the country house of Mr Lim Thian Sang for the present. At the close of the reception the guests said good-bye to the happy pair, wishing them happiness and prosperity. In one case a gentleman inadvertently wished them Many Happy Returns of the Day, which, however, was really intended to be the graceful wish that the newly-married couple should live to see many happy anniversaries of their wedding --- a pretty idea. In spite of the wet weather and the very short notice, a large number of friends of the bridegroom went out to "San Giang Hwee" to attend the reception. [The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 30 December 1896, Page 2]

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