Romantic return to Penang after 40 years for English couple

Mohamed Basyir

GEORGE TOWN: Match made in heaven; found love in England but Susan White and her husband Ian White had a dream wedding here at the Pearl of the Orient 40 years ago. Now the English couple is back for the first time since tying the knot on Sept 9, 1978, to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary dubbed ‘Forty-moon’ at at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Batu Feringgi, the place where the couple spent their honeymoon. “We were in Johor and Singapore often to meet our friends living there but most of our wedding anniversaries were spent with our children. “Now, after six grandchildren, the big one for us - the 40th, we decided to come back to Penang to reminisce the beautiful memories we had together when we got married back then,” said the 71-year-old Susan when met at the hotel here today. 40 years ago, former Penang High Court judge Datuk Fred Arulamandom was the person who made the dream wedding happened when he made the necessary arrangements so that the wedding could take place here for the English couple. Fred was Susan’s father Bill Forde’s lawyer and a family friend who suggested to her father that the wedding could be held in Penang.


Susan (left) and Ian White with a photo of the two of them, taken in 1978. Pix by Mikail Ong

Bill Forde of the British Army, was seconded to the Malaysian Government as a military adviser when Malaya received its independence, hence Susan spent most of her teenage days here in the country. Ian, who has never been to far east countries like Malaya at that time, did not think twice and agreed to fly to Penang with Susan to hold the wedding. “Her father said Penang is more romantic than Kuala Lumpur and he was right, it was and still is a beautiful state. “Penang was like an RnR for us, Relax and Romantic, and that is why we came back here after 40 years just to experience the same feeling,” said Ian, 71. According to the Chinese calendar, their wedding date was during the Moon month, so the couple had Moon Cake as their wedding cake instead. “The hotel has changed, now bigger and there are more people here, but it is still as beautiful as ever, just like how we spent our honeymoon back then,” he added. The couple will be taking a stroll at George Town area tomorrow as part of their ‘forty-moon’ celebration. “We definitely missed the street food here, the Indian Malay and Chinese cuisines, and we are going to try it tomorrow.

“My wife cooked some of the dish and fish curry is still my favourite. Cannot wait to try the local ones here,” said Ian. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd