Published on 14 Feb 2024

Love knows no distance

This Valentine’s Day, two NTU alumni couples, now based in Cambodia and Bangkok, share their enchanting love tales of how fate entwined them on campus.

By Nur Isyana Isaman

Dancing to the rhythm of love

Three countries, two daughters, and a dog. These are some highlights of the nine-year marriage between Joyce Neo (WKWSCI/2012) and Tee Chin Yaw (CCEB/2009).

The couple met through the NTU DanceSport Academy in their undergraduate days. As fate would have it, they were paired as dance partners.

Joyce and Chin Yaw spent a lot of time together training for competitions, and their synchronised dance moves soon developed into a romantic connection. 

Joyce and Chin Yaw represented NTU at numerous local and international DanceSport competitions. (Photo credit: Skyline Imaging)

The dance studio in Nanyang House, where they first set eyes on each other and devoted long training hours, became even more special in October 2014.

Joyce shared, “Chin Yaw organised a surprise party with all our friends to propose to me. He roped in my good friends to decorate Nanyang House and the dance studio. He told me we were going for dinner, but I was blindfolded and brought to Nanyang House instead.”

Chin Yaw (centre, wearing red) and Joyce (holding a bouquet) after their proposal at Nanyang House. 

The couple returned to the NTU campus for their wedding photoshoot. 

They tied the knot on 14 March 2015. Two years later, Chin Yaw, who had been working with a consumer goods manufacturer after graduation, took up an overseas posting based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The couple moved and spent four years there. 

Another job opportunity took them to Mexico City, where they spent a year before relocating to Thailand in 2022 with the same company. 

“Our married life has been rewarding and challenging, especially as we journey through parenthood and navigate international moves every few years. Living overseas as a family has immersed us in different cultures and environments, broadening our perspectives, and developing a greater appreciation for diversity,” said Joyce.

Hiking through the Swiss Alps with their dog, Jerry, who has been travelling around the world since they married. 

Bangkok is now home to the Singaporean couple. Joyce has recently decided to be a stay-at-home mum to care for their two daughters, two-year-old Sierra and eight-month-old Itzell, whose names were inspired by the names used in Switzerland and Mexico. She is also pursuing an online master’s degree from King’s College London. 

Chin Yaw and Joyce with their daughters and dog during recent Christmas celebrations. 

From fellow countryman to forever love

Another alumni couple is Pengty Ngor (EEE/2009) and Seang Nam (SSS/2016), who arrived from Cambodia to pursue their studies at NTU.

Pengty arrived in Singapore in 2005 to pursue a bachelor's degree thanks to a scholarship and graduated in 2009. Two years later, Pengty heard that two other Cambodian nationals had been awarded the same scholarship to study at his alma mater. Little did he know that one of them would eventually become his life partner.

“I still remember the date: 27 July 2011. That was when the two juniors arrived at NTU Hall 4, and I returned to NTU to meet them. I rode my bicycle to Canteen 2 to order a local delight, ‘char siew wanton noodles’ for the ladies. It was my way of welcoming them to Singapore and the university,” said Pengty.

Nam and Pengty returned to campus and took a walk down memory lane at the place where they first met. 

Nam and Pengty started as friends who worked together with other Cambodians to form an association for their small community in Singapore and organised regular activities, including weekly soccer matches at the NTU Sports & Recreation Centre and monthly BBQ sessions at East Coast Park. 

They also volunteered and assisted the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to Singapore to organise celebrations for important holidays such as Cambodia Independence Day and Khmer New Year. 

As they worked together on these activities, they became closer and grew feelings for each other. 

The couple returned to Cambodia and were married on 1 January 2021. Now, they have a 15-month-old daughter, Ngor Sou Jing, and Nam is pregnant with their second child. 

The happy couple on their wedding day. 

Today, Nam and Pengty give back to the university by serving on the committee for NTU Alumni Association (Cambodia) which Pengty leads as its president. Currently, there are over 300 NTU alumni in Cambodia. 

NTU Alumni Association (Cambodia) was launched in 2017.  

Pengty juggles his voluntary role with his full-time job as an official in the General Department of Policy under Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. 

In 2015, Pengty had started a company, Chenla Holdings, which works in several sectors including education and housing. Since 2020, Nam has taken over this business.

“I count myself lucky that my wife chose me to be her husband. Without her taking care of our family and the company, I would not be able to fulfil my dream of serving the Cambodian government,” said Pengty.

Pengty and Nam with their daughter and Pengty’s mother.

Love stories from other alumni couples who met on campus and got married

"We stayed in the same NTU hall in the same block but had never met each other until we went on the same internship in the final year of studies. They say when the stars align, sparks fly." - Fu Shiheng (NBS/2011) and Ong Su Yi (NBS/2011)

"Our paths crossed when we were studying at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and the meeting blossomed into a seven-year journey of love. We came NTU Singapore to pursue our PhD degrees which culminated in a beautiful life together in Singapore where we welcome our newborn daughter. This meaningful photo was taken during our graduation in 2022." - Dr Liao Huanyue (EEE/2022) and Dr Liu Wei (EEE/2023)

"The NTU campus is a place where dreams take flight. In this vibrant campus, many love stories happened at the picturesque Yunnan Garden. We also met on campus and would take walks in the Garden." - Huang Jieying (SSS/2022) and Chen Yiyang (EEE/2022)

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