Weddings / Wedding Advice

Amy J Cheng's tips on a happy, lasting marriage

Fly Entertainment artiste Amy J Cheng, married to R. Chandran, founder and director of Act 3 Theatrics, shares tips for a happy, lasting relationship.

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The couple and Amy's son Joshua made their vows as a family during the Christian ceremony.

Amy J Cheng first came to our attention as the wife of Andrew Seow's character in the cult TV series Growing Up, a local family drama set in the 60s and 70s. This was followed by a medical drama called First Touch.

Effectively bilingual, she next ventured into Chinese dramas, like She's The One and Making Miracles, and then movies and plays, such as Just Follow Law and The Deep Blue Sea & Letters From Home.

Amy, 45 met husband R. Chandran (or Chandran) in 2000 at Act 3 Theatrics - Singapore's first professional theatre since 1984 - when she was cast in the children's production, Foot Steps In The Night. She and the company's founder and director started a relationship in 2002, and married three years later in in 2005.

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Date night at Marina Bay Sands

In 2012, she joined Act 3 Theatrics as its creative director after completing a postgraduate degree in Primary Education from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

Describing the dynamics between her and Chandran, 59, as "sizzling", Amy credits their healthy 10-year marriage to family time with their sons, Joshua (from her previous marriage), 18, and Jivan, 7, regular date nights, and being able to forgive and forget. She shares a little of her life with us.

When did you realise Chandran was The One?
After he'd read and actually enjoyed my favourite adult fairy tale, The Princess Bride!

What is it about Chandran that attracts you the most?
His kindness, thoughtfulness and sense of humour.

What is working with him like?
I am grateful that we both share the same vision for the company. We shifted our focus to working with children in 2012, and launched Literacy Through Drama to get them to create and share their stories through different mediums. 

I appreciate that Chandran trusts me with creating all the educational programmes. Of course, working together can complicate marriage, but we work around that by making time to enjoy each other as husband and wife, and to strengthen our relationship as individuals.

How do you manage that with your careers and two children?
I'm still working on that. When I think of the week ahead, I sometimes break out into a swet. It's a reminder to take everything one day, and one step, at a time.

I'm also learning to discern between doing things that are aligned with my priorities and values (like more family time), and learning to refuse things that don't fit in with what I want.

How do you make time for one another?|
We just do. It's like making time to brush your teeth or take a bath. You don't stop doing it just because you get busy.

What's a typical day for you guys?
We wake up at 6am, get the boys ready for school, do some brisk walking, and then we head to various schools to teach drama classes. We also work with special-needs children.

In the evenings, we take turns to go through Joshua and Jivan's homework with them. We make sure we eat together at least three times a week, and when we don't have acting projects, we'd spend family time at the British Club.

What was your wedding like?
It went on for two days. We wanted to take our time and enjoy the moments as free of stress as possible. The first day was a Hindu ceremony, which was my idea. I was inspired by a scene from the movie Gandhi, where he and his wife renewed their vows by walking seven times around the fire.

The Christian ceremony, was a week later. We included my older boy, Joshua, whom Chandran has accepted as his own, and made vows to each other as a family. It ended with a Shanghai-themed dinner.

How has marriage changed your perspective?
"Me" is less of a priority. I am beginning to appreciate the little things in life, too.

You've been married for 10 years - what's the secret?
I don't have a secret. Life can be very unpredictable. But what I will say is this: Forgive and forget!

What's the most romantic thing you've done for one another?
Chandran made me thosai for breakfast on the morning of Deepavali a few years ago. That was romantic because he rarely cooks, so never mind the slight tummy upset afterwards! And I planned a surprise party for his 50th birthday.

What's the best thing about being married?
To love and be loved in the truest sense.

What are your hopes for the future?
That we have many more years together as a loving and dynamic couple.

Any advice for newly-weds?
Don't sweat the small stuff. It's an oft-repeated phrase, but it's true!

ACT 3 Theatrics has enrichment programmes, which can be found at www.facebook.com/act3theatrics.

This article was originally published in Her World Brides March - May 2015. 

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