Love in time of coronavirus: Couple live-streams into own wedding
Joseph Yew and his wife Kang Ting returned from a trip to China just days before their wedding. The couple made their toasts and their speeches entirely over the video call, to the amusement of their guests seated in the wedding hall.
The wedding of a Singaporean couple who just returned from China -- the country grappling with the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has so far claimed over 500 lives -- took place without the bride and groom as the number of infections continues to soar.
Joseph Yew and his wife Kang Ting returned from a trip to China just days before their wedding. When guests expressed concerns about attending, the couple found a way to address their fears.
The bride and groom stayed away, instead live streaming themselves into a venue full of friends and family.
The wedding couple made their toasts and their speeches entirely, to the amusement of their guests seated in the wedding hall.
The coronavirus has now spread to over two dozen countries and infected over 28,000 – the vast majority in China.
What is the situation in Singapore?
Singapore has reported 28 cases of the infection so far -- making it the country with the second highest number of confirmed cases of the virus outside China after Japan (45 cases).
Of the four new cases in Singapore, three are linked to the cluster of local transmission announced on Tuesday. They include a father and his 6-month-old baby boy. The 28-year-old mother of the child was confirmed as infected earlier.
Now, coming back to the Singaporean couple, the BBC reported that on January 24, Yew and Kang -- who is from Hunan province -- flew back to spend Lunar New Year with her family.
Hunan province borders Hubei -- the province where the coronavirus originated.
Yew, the groom, told the BBC that there had been no sense of panic when they were back in Hunan, especially since the area they were visiting was quite rural.
They returned on January 30, with their wedding due to take place on February 2 at M hotel, a hotel in central Singapore.
The couple actually got married in China in October, but this second wedding -- a grand dinner banquet -- was held for all of Yew's family and friends who were unable to make it to China.
But when guests found out the couple had just returned from China, they started to get worried.
"Some of them said they were not coming," the groom said.
"We wanted to postpone the wedding but the hotel was not willing to. They said everything had been arranged and it was non-negotiable. So we felt like we had no choice but to proceed with the wedding."
"We told the guests we would video conference in... some of them were shocked," he said. "I think if we had been there, the atmosphere would be different. People would have been wary.
"My parents were not (happy about it) at first but they eventually agreed," he added.
Kang's parents were also unable to attend the wedding as multiple travel restrictions have been put in place amid fears of the virus spreading.
In the end, only 110 of 190 guests made it -- with some still skipping the event for various other reasons.
On the evening of February 2, the couple dialled into the wedding from where they were staying -- one of the rooms at M hotel where the wedding was held.
"We thanked the guests for coming and told them to enjoy the dinner," said Yew.
The hotel also delivered champagne to the couple. They popped the cork in their room after giving their celebratory toasts and speeches, which was all live-streamed for guests at the wedding.
"We were not sad but a bit disappointed. I think there were no other option so (I have) no regrets," said Yew of his wedding.