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Wedding almost became a funeral

TRAGEDY AVERTED: Mr Ling's then bride-to-be attempted to jump from an overhead bridge on Feb 6 when the sale of their flat fell through. The couple's story had a happy ending, though, when they married a week later.


    Feb 18, 2014

    Wedding almost became a funeral

    IT WAS a wedding that not only defied convention, but almost became a funeral too.

    Mrs Fanny Ling, 39, was previously a man, while her husband, Zack, 35, used to be insensitive about the transgender community.

    Against all odds and despite disapproval from friends and family, they started dating and lived together in Mrs Ling's flat four years ago.

    To pay for the wedding and a new home, they put the three-room flat in Bedok Reservoir Road up for sale and moved to a rented room.

    But, just a week before their solemnisation, their wedding plans hit a roadblock: A buyer reneged on the purchase of their flat because he didn't have enough money, said Mr Ling, a chef.

    On Feb 6, they approached the Housing Board and the property agency which handled the sale, but were told there was nothing they could do.

    Mrs Ling was crushed.

    "Suddenly, after all that we've been through, it felt like the wedding was no more. I didn't want to hear any more," said Mrs Ling, a part-time human resources executive.

    "If I had to cancel the wedding, I wouldn't know how to face the others. The invitations were sent out and the venue was booked already."

    Angry and frustrated, she walked away from her husband-to-be and her property agent while they were still discussing the problem.

    She sat at the lobby of HDB Hub in Toa Payoh and became more agitated after reflecting on her situation. Without informing Mr Ling, she walked to an overhead bridge nearby.

    She then sent a message to Mr Ling and her sister.

    The message read: "If I jump, I'll become a ghost to haunt the... (property agent) and the... buyer."

    Mr Ling and the property agent were shocked. They tried to locate her, but failed.

    "I panicked," said Mr Ling. "I called back, but she didn't pick up. I texted her many times, but there was no response."

    He called the police.

    Eventually, the police found Mrs Ling. They coaxed her from the railing of the bridge and informed her that it was a crime to attempt suicide. She was then handcuffed.

    Mr Ling said: "I broke down in front of the officers and cried. I told them that she was depressed because of our situation. But they had to arrest her in any case.

    "If anything happened to her, I would have had to turn the wedding into a funeral."

    They said Mrs Ling was taken to the police station, where she was held for around 12 hours. She was released and taken to the Institute of Mental Health for a psychiatric evaluation for a further two hours. This could not be confirmed by the police.

    Mrs Ling said: "Only a week before the big day, I was handcuffed and had to eat jail food.

    "For a while, I hated Zack for calling the police on me. But I learnt (from him later) why he had to do that and what he had been through. I love him for being so supportive of me."

    She was released the next day and had to be pacified by her husband-to-be.

    He said he began to harbour doubts about their relationship, but he realised that he had to be strong for Mrs Ling.

    They still had the wedding to think about.

    Through Facebook, Mr Ling began telling his wedding guests that the event might be postponed or cancelled, but several friends volunteered to help pay his $14,000 wedding expenses.

    He accepted the help of an army buddy, who offered them an interest-free loan.

    "This wedding is not something I'll forget," said Mr Ling.

    "I have fought for the wedding, cherished my (soon-to-be) wife by working at our relationship for so long, but even after all that, I nearly lost her and the support of my own family. She's all I have."

    The couple finally got married on Saturday in a ceremony attended by relatives, friends and several people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including transsexual actress Abigail Chay, who hosted the event.

    Mr Ling's parents, who gave the couple their verbal blessing, did not attend the ceremony. Mrs Ling's mother was unable to attend because she was unwell. Her father had died.

    The couple are seeking legal recourse against the flat buyer.