Birds of a feather
KUALA LUMPUR — Eleven years ago, she was 17 going on 18 and he was 18 going on 19. Both were just on the threshold of their careers.
Now they both are successful adults who have achieved outstanding feats. She might not need someone older and wiser telling her what to do, but the guy is ready to vow “I’ll take care of you.”
World number one men’s badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei and his soon to be bride, former national singles shuttler Wong Mew Choo, were brought together by their love and passion for the shuttlecock game.
They first met in 2001 at a national badminton camp in Kuala Lumpur when they both were just back-up shuttlers for the Malaysian squad.
During the time, little did they know how their love for the game would seal their fate and intertwine them on a journey of a lifetime together.
“I’ve known Mew Choo since my junior days and we’ve have had our ups and downs over the last 11 years. Of course, there have been misunderstandings but she has always stood by me.
“She knew me and liked me even when I was a nobody and she has not changed. She has waited for me for a long time and I decided that it was time to marry her. She is one patient woman and I like that quality in her,” said Chong Wei in one of his interviews with the media.
As for the Ipoh-born Mew Choo, her conviction to marry Chong Wei was out of a simpler but sound reason, “his sincerity,” she told reporters recently.
Their relationship like any other was not all a bed of roses. It had been marred by a break-up as well as controversial rumors involving Chong Wei.
When the couple announced that they had ended their courtship in 2009, the media speculated that it was due to Chong Wei’s affair with a South Korean player, Hwang Hye-youn. (Chong Wei was undergoing training in South Korea that year).
The two-time All England champion had also been crudely linked to China’s singles player Wang Lin. According to Chong Wei, he and Mew Choo patched up a year after the break-up and the bond had since grown stronger.
“It is normal in a relationship to go through difficult times but I do not want such issues to affect my career or our relationship,” he said.
His brother Lee Chong Hoon reinforced this statement. ”As far as I know, Chong Wei did not have any other woman in his life except for Mew Choo although their relationship was an ‘on’ ‘off’ affair in the past.
“(In fact) My mother is very happy and the whole family is excited about the wedding because they (Chong Wei and Mew Choo) will be united after all these years,” he said.
When Chong Wei finally announced last month that he will be getting married with his longtime girlfriend, many from the sports fraternity were not surprised.
It was probably because a few months back Mew Choo was seen and photographed walking together with Chong Wei’s mother during the London Olympics Games.
The fact that Chong Wei wanted her to be there during his most important match was a strong sign that the she is not just an ordinary friend but someone very dear to the Olympic silver medallist.
The wedding, which is undoubtedly to be the nation’s wedding of the year, is going to be a two-day dinner celebration, on Nov 9 and 10 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The first night is reserved for VIPs which includes ministers and corporate leaders while the second night is for family members and close friends of the couple.
Those who have so far confirmed their attendance are Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and family, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri
The love birds will be donning five to six outfits designed by Daniel Tang and Leslie Lee of DH Fashion bridal house, who is also the main sponsor of the event.
“It is going to be my first time wearing something so fashionable, “tak biasalah” (I am no used to it), I actually prefer something simpler,” said Chong Wei who admitted that he is feeling a bit jittery now that the big day is
Mew Choo who was by his side during the interview, assured him that he would look very handsome in suits.
“Shuai (handsome in Chinese). Of course he looks handsome in suits but he is special to me in whatever he wears,” said Mew Choo.
Chong Wei was also as tactful as his fiancé when he was asked which ‘Mew Choo’ he prefers, the Mew Choo all dolled up in a wedding gown or the Mew Choo in T-shirts and tracksuits. ”I like the Mew Choo in sports attire better. That is the Mew Choo who I have known all this while,” quipped the 30-year-old.
The couple have also listed six bestmen and six bridemaids for the wedding which includes top national doubles players Koo Kean Keat and Tan Boon Heong.
LIFE AFTER WEDDING
According to Chong Wei, he has no plans to retire from badminton after the wedding. ”I will keep on playing as long as I am fit and free of injury. Now I’m on a ten-day break from practice to get ready for the wedding. I will skip the China Open but I will play in Hong Kong and Macau,” he said.
The Hong Kong Open will be held a week after the wedding while the Macau Open is scheduled the week after that.
The 29-year old Mew Choo, who quit her post as Bukit Jalil Sports School coach in October, would possibly help him to manage his company, Chong Wei Binajaya Sdn Bhd, revealed Chong Wei.
He said that they planned to go on honeymoon either in New Zealand, the Maldives or the United States. “We’ll probably go on honeymoon after the tournaments. “I kena hutang dululah dengan dia” (he ‘owes’ Mew Choo a honeymoon for now). But I know she understands my busy schedule,” said Chong Wei who added that though he may not be the romantic type, he would do his best for his future wife’s happiness.
When asked about having children, Chong Wei just answered, “Of course we want to have kids, we will try our best, but at the same time we don’t want to pressure ourselves.”- BERNAMA