At The Lighthouse

Last Friday night, Alec informed me that he would be picking me up at 8.30 am the next morning, and taking me away for the weekend. I wasn’t allowed to know where, and didn’t need to bring anything special, not even a passport. And I didn’t have to tell my parents anything – he’d already told them more than he was telling me.

The next morning, he was at my front door at 8.30 sharp, with a yellow rose. The waiting cab took the expressway towards the city, but bypassed it totally. We were on Clementi Road going past the university, and I was perplexed. We were far away from any hotels worth going to, but we weren’t leaving the country. WTF?

We finally pulled up at West Coast Pier and Alec hauled a big styrofoam icebox out of the boot along with our bags. As far as I could see, I was the only female in a bunch of middle-aged men with fishing tackle. This was not quite Casablanca.

We cleared immigration, which required nothing more than ICs, and waited at the pier. When a boat arrived for us with the PSA logo, I finally realized where we were going. Sultan Shoals is a tiny island off the west coast of Singapore. It’s got a beautiful old colonial lighthouse, 2 chalets, 2 fishing jetties, and nothing else. I’d mentioned it to Alec a long time ago, in the context of maybe organizing something with some of our friends, but nothing had come of it. Now I found that we’d have this whole island to ourselves for the weekend.

Alec asked if I’d mind waiting outside the chalet for a little while. He wanted to do some things inside. He’d got me a book to read while waiting: Truman Capote’s decidedly unromantic In Cold Blood. If anyone else had done this, I might have dived into the open seas and swum back to the mainland screaming; however, Alec happened to know that I’d been wanting to read this book for ages, but hadn’t been able to get my hands on it in the library. I opened it to start reading, and found this inscription:

Inside the chalet, Alec had put flowers and candles everywhere, brought laboriously from the mainland the previous day.

In the icebox, he’d brought lots of my favourite food and drink – salmon sashimi, steak, Coke, Hoegaarden, a baby coconut. Hash browns and eggs so he could cook us the weekend breakfast fry-ups we’d loved so much at my corner caff in London. My favourite childhood snack, Bee-Bee, for me to eat while watching DVDs (which he’d also brought).

We settled down for a sashimi lunch (to continue the random serial killer allusions, I put Calla’s Strangler on the stereo) and an afternoon of lounging, reading (for me), studying (for Alec, who has professional exams in two weeks’ time), napping and strolling round the island. This is us in front of the lovely lighthouse. (Note: Photos linked instead of displayed in this entry have our faces in them and are viewable only by my Flickr friends. If you know us in real life and want to see these, just add me as a friend so I can authorise you.)

You’re probably supposed to have fancy cuisine and wine at dinners like this, but we like steak and beer. Also, it just feels right to sear a steak while growling along to Nick Cave on the sound system.

After dinner, we watched Before Sunset, which I was happy to find was still as wonderful as the first time I saw it.

While the credits rolled, Alec excused himself and went into the bedroom. He came out several minutes later in a tuxedo, and asked me if I’d like a walk round the island. In front of the lighthouse, he knelt down and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes.

* * * * *

And so we prepare to move from almost 5 years of easy, constant bliss, into the rest of our lives. I’m not generally an envious person, but there have been various times during my 26 years when I’ve observed the good fortune of other people, be it in physical appearance, capability, resources, or just dumb luck, and wished I could equal them. Within a few months of going out with Alec, I knew that where love was concerned, I would never envy anyone else.


  1. HEY!!! W00t!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!


    Was it me who got the Before Sunset DVD for you guys?!

  2. Wow. I don’t know you in person, but I’ve been following your blog for sometime now, and I wanted to say, I’ve never been so happy for someone I didn’t know face-to-face. :)

  3. Congrats Michelle. Couldn’t be more happy for you two.

    P.S. In Cold Blood pwns! And Alecs handwriting still sucks.

  4. That was an AWESOME story! He did so good! I’m so happy for you both! *sniffle*

    Tell us — when did you know what The Whole Big Plan was for? I figured it out right around the inscription and flower petals. ;-)

    And I gotta say the baby coconut was the perfect touch.

  5. The last line really threw me over the edge. I’ve never really thought of marriage or proposals as being so impt and having such significance before this. The months of preparation that Alec put in really inspired me. Feel the Power of Love ma bitches. Recognise.

  6. Congratulations,

    WOWsers, Well done Alec!! (and Well done Michelle for patiently allowing the magic to unfold!!)

    E. & I wish you the best of luck for the future life together.


  7. Incredible, awesome, tremendous, wow, my superlatives overflow… CONGRATULATIONS!! I hope you will have a wonderful wedding and a vastly more wonderful marriage. And we need everyone to read this and super spoil market for all the other guys out there.

  8. Congratulations Michelle!! and he proposed after watching Before Sunset..AWESOME!

    don’t know u in person too but been following yer blog for sometime. I wish you all the best! :D

  9. I did just shed a tear at my desk – am SOOOO happy for you!!

    congratulations aren’t enough… I can’t think of the right thing to say. Oh fuck it, CONGRATULATIONS!

  10. That’s AWESOME! Congratulations, Michelle! And well done, Alec! Great big hugs for you both!

  11. Hi Michelle! Hope all is well. Andrew fwd this link to me – what an amazing proposal – well done to Alec. Congratulations to both you and Alex! Love from London, Vic

  12. Michelle, congratulations! I’m very very happy for you! Crap if I had known this earlier I would have said something to you when we bumped into each other this morning… I guess good thing I didnt, otherwise you would have been even later. :) … Anyways, congratulations again!

  13. Michelle, congratulations! I’m very very happy for you! Crap if I had known this earlier I would have said something to you when we bumped into each other this morning… I guess good thing I didnt, otherwise you would have been even later. :) … Anyways, congratulations again!

  14. Congratulations you guys!
    Alec, that sounded like a beautiful proposal. Michelle, you are the luckiest girl in the world. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I’m so happy for you.


  15. For a lifetime together, for being the envy of the lighthouse, Alec and Michelle, you two deserve it every step of the way. Congratulations with much excitement!

  16. Congrats Alec & Michelle!
    Hope ye’ll be back in Ireland soon. What a proposal- Alec you’re some romantic!!! An example to men everywhere- You’re a lucky woman Michelle!
    Hopefully see ye soon
    Aoife C

  17. as long as the first one is the right one, that’s all that matters, right? heh. can’t wait to hear about the wedding preps.

  18. hey michelle!

    i’m so happy for you! alec is terribly sweet. congrats congrats congrats! :)

  19. I see I’m pretty late to the show here… congratulations both of you, I’m delighted to hear you’re marrying, and not a bit surprised that Alec would ask in such a perfect way. If you’d said no, Michelle, then I’d have stepped up, with moves like that!

  20. Super glad for you! it’s times like this that I don’t believe in the utter depravity of humankind (j/k). WOOOOHOOO you two!

  21. Mich and Alec – congratulations (and big hugs)! Very very happy for you (and well done ;))

  22. Tetanus, atarashi, a l, James, Brian, Jol, yl, android, Tamara, elaine, D W, Dominique, Andrew, jack, gitta, jasmine, Shoop, shao, K, ci’en, Kelly, Nami, Aoife C, Jac, Matt, Kris, Louise, Liv, Justin Ruffles, Nat, and Fr Jeremy: Whether we know you in real life or only through words on a screen, your good wishes have touched us immensely. From both of us, thank you!

    Benny: Yes, it’s the one you got for us. :)

    The victoria I don’t know: I’ve never been so touched by something said by someone I didn’t know face to face!

    The Victoria I do know: Hello! Long time no talk/see! Glad to see you’re still living the dream in London – thanks Andrew for forwarding this to her!

    OtherMichelle: Ok, unfortunately I got wind that there was some sort of plan when I casually mentioned to him earlier that week that I’d volunteered to judge moots (advocacy simulation thingies) at NUS that Saturday, and he awkwardly asked me to cancel because he wanted to take me somewhere that day. So the surprise did get a little spoiled, but only to that extent. I still didn’t know where we were going or what his precise plans were.

    Fay: Well, what’s equally inspiring is that you gave Alec so much amazing help *while* simultaneously raising $10K for charity. I hereby (and in postscript to come) recognize tha power of Fay!

  23. NB: I forgot to say that when I first received Alec’s email I thought it was spam and very nearly deleted it. *Who on earth is this? And more importantly, when did they start individually tailoring spam?*

    I blame the fact that the subject line said ‘Michelle and Alec are getting married, and isn’t it about time for us?’, which sounded rather like ‘Hi I am Elena V. from Russia and I have been waiting for your call! Click here for an automatic spyware download and installation!’

    Ok, just me then.

  24. AWWWWw… that is such a heartfelt and well-planned proposal.. i have a feeling that you will have a lifetime of bliss together.

    belated CONGRATULATIONS to the both of you!

  25. Alec and Michelle,

    Well, truly bloody marvellous! I was also going to say ‘and about time’ too! Alec, you truly are an example to all us men in how to do things in the right way! And Michelle, in you Alec has someone very special. Looking forward to seeing you both in November! Michael

  26. Nat, you freaking weirdo. :P

    t: Thanks for the congrats. If you’re back in Singapore by now, we should do that pool game soon!

    Michael: Alec often tells me I’m very special too, except he phrases it more in terms of “special needs”. Can’t wait to see you in November!

    Daryl: I’ll do my best on the wedding music. Think anyone will notice if we do our first dance to It’s Hard (Out There For A Pimp)?

  27. Das what I’m talkin’ about. This whole proposal thing – it would’ve just gone down the drain if it wasn’t for that DVD I tells ya. Alec owes me big time.

  28. Incredible! The perfect proposal – bodes well for a dreamy life together, lads, as does the easiness with which you’ve always been together. What a cocktail, Alec! Sappy it was not – the lighthouse and the flowers and the whole setting sound pretty dreamy but the personal touches of Michelle’s favourite foods and that incredible book really put your stamp on it. Thanks so much for sharing the wonder with us. And Michelle, I hope you’re still floating on the high of that whole weekend. I don’t blame you if you didn’t suspect a proposal when Alec emerged in his tux – from past history I’d have guessed he was about to do some laundry.

    I’m over the moon for you guys. Congratulations and jubilations, and I’ll stop gushing now,

    love Fran.

  29. heh heh so apt that i should be comment 47th :)) michelle and alec – my most heartfelt wishes to you two. am not able to view the photos at this point in time but i can imagine the bliss on your faces :)) with that – where did he get that giant bee bee?? drool…

    :)) chin

  30. I’ll take that as a hallmark of your affection, Mich :P

    So do we get invited to your UK shindig? I promise to behave.

  31. Congratulations to Michelle and Alec!!! This is great news! I am so happy for you both. Can’t wait to attend your wedding.

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