Malaysians may not be known for their romantic ways, but romantic stories do exist among us.
When we asked a number of Malaysians about the most romantic things anyone has ever done for them, the stories vary.
When it comes to the expressions of love, marriage proposals are clear favourites.
For Rose, her romantic moment happened during a family road trip.
“After my sister’s wedding in Germany, my family went on a road trip to France and Paris was on the itinerary. What supposed to be a quiet night at the Eiffel Tower with my family and (then-boyfriend) Matt turned into a night I will always remember,” she says.
“I was looking at the beautiful tower in awe when Matt said ‘The last time I was here, I told myself to return with someone I love’. At that point, I was tearing up. Then, he knelt down on one knee holding a ring,” she reveals. “That was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.”
Romance finds us in the most unexpected places too.
Sue was sceptical about finding love through dating apps until she met the love of her life on Tinder. Four years later, a holiday to Japan became the trip that changed their lives forever.
“He planned to propose in Kyoto, but it didn’t happen because it coincides with my grandfather’s death anniversary. The proposal was then delayed to a later date,” Sue tells us.
“It was a winter day in Nara, and we were feeding the wild deer with senbei (crackers). After taking a short walk around the park, he took me to a quiet spot,”
“He was pacing nervously and forcing me to look at the deer. When he tapped me on my shoulder, I turned around to find him kneeling with a ring in a golden box,” she beams.
“I couldn’t contain my happiness and burst into tears of joy. I sobbed into his chest because I knew I made the right choice of saying yes that day.”
While marriage proposal is the epitome of romance, others believe in the power of small and unassuming moments.
These simple acts of love may appear trivial, but it exemplifies the meaning of real-life romance for many people.
Once, Lea Rose was supposed to meet a guy for dinner, but she was undecided after a stressful day at work. Refusing to take no for an answer, he went out of his way to make an arrangement for her.
“First, he told me to go home and take a shower,” Lea Rose says. “Back then, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of riding Uber or taxi, so he hired an Uber X to fetch me.”
Sensing Lea Rose’s nervousness, he also kept her company throughout the ride. “He called me once I’m in the Uber and asked if I was okay. Then, he joked all the way until I arrived at the bar,” she shares. “He treated me like a princess, and I felt so loved.
Jonni also discussed the things that her long-term boyfriend did which won her over. “When we were dating in college, I had to stay back to manage an event. He accompanied me and helped me with work until the wee hours of the morning,” she says.
“When he went back around 3 a.m, he returned at 6 a.m with herbal tea. Instead of catching some sleep, he actually boiled herbal tea for me.”
After seven years of relationship, Jonni’s boyfriend continued to prove that chivalry is not dead. “Until today, he still bends over to wash the soles of my feet after a long day.”
“I’m so grateful for the little things in our relationship. That’s why I’m still with him despite his temper,” Jonni laughs.
What happens after marriage?
Lucille Joyce had been in a relationship with her now-husband for ten years before they got married. She cherishes every moment when he was there for her.
“Back then, I used to do a lot of design work with this one laptop I owned. When I told him that my laptop was heating up, he went out to buy a cooling pad for me,” she describes.
Today, her husband is still the same thoughtful man who cares for her needs. “After marriage, we share house chore duties. Whenever I’m busy, he went to do the laundry by himself. He doesn’t wait for me to do it.”
She added couples are all smiles during the lovey-dovey stage of a relationship. The real test begins when a relationship goes downhill.
“When you hit ground zero, you have to ask if that person is going to hold your hand and go through the challenges with you,” Lucille reflects.
“When we experienced hardships, we support each other with positive strength. During stressful times, he would do silly things to make me laugh until I feel better,” she says, thoughtfully. Then she adds, “That was how I knew he was the one.”
What I find most interesting about romance is that it doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience. One person’s idea of romance is different compared to someone else’s.
Marriage proposals and anniversaries may signify romance to you, but there are others who celebrate the most unassuming relationship moments.
Whatever your view on romance may be, it’s important that we appreciate every meaningful gesture, regardless of its magnitude.
What matters is the recognition of your partner’s efforts and the ways we choose to celebrate it.