True Stories

TRUE STORY: "I married my lecturer"

Bella Koh, better known as @catslavery, met Terence Yeung in the school canteen
 

Photo: Bella Koh

 

“My husband is 11 years older than me. Not that I mind – I’ve always been attracted to older men. I met him in 1998, when I was 17. I was doing a diploma in fashion and merchandising; he was a commercial photographer and lecturer in the same institution. Terence approached me in the canteen one day and asked: ‘I’m doing a commercial shoot, would you like to model for me?’

I had no modelling experience and didn’t know him at all. But I agreed, as I felt there was nothing to lose. Two weeks later, we were dating. Our passion for design and art was among the many things we had in common. I admired him not only for his work, but also for the way he conducted himself. He was always respectful and kind, but brutally honest – traits that made him a great mentor and partner.

News of our relationship spread across campus. Other lecturers pulled me aside to express their displeasure. But since he didn’t teach me directly, there was no conflict of interest. Eventually, they dropped the matter. My parents, though, took some time to get used to the idea that I was dating someone so much older. It was only when Terence hinted at his desire to get married that I felt our age difference. He slipped me a ring on a quiet morning in 2007, during a trip to Venice. I was only 25, and I wasn’t ready. ‘I’ll hang on to this,’ I whispered.

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Photo: Bella Koh

 

Terence was patient and supportive about letting me explore the person I wanted to become, and the life I wanted to have. When I took up yoga, he joined in. When I became vegan, he gave up meat and dairy. When I fawned over stray cats, he took an interest. We’ve adopted eight cats along the way.

More importantly, he let me be young. In 2009, two years after his initial proposal, I knew I would always want him by my side for the journey. So I told him, ‘Let’s get married’, and we did.”

 

This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of Her World.