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5 unlikely Malaysian couples you wouldn’t expect to work out

[This article was first published in February 2017 but is currently circulating social platforms again. With that please note that contest mechanics are no longer applicable Kay!]


Some of you may have noticed that quite a number of movies are based on couples that don’t really look like they would work out, e.g. Beauty and the Beast, Ariel the mermaid and whatever that prince’s name is, Superman and Lois Lane, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and not forgetting these two:

donkey dragon

Like….how?? Image from Pinterest.

We know the famous saying “love conquers all”, and in those movies, it seems that it really seems to be the case. But can the same be said about real life? Can 2 people from very different walks of life make it work even with the whole world against them?


Well, Nando’s has come up with an unlikely couple of their own!

Some of us Nando’s connoisseurs would already know every Nando’s flavour, how spicy each level is, and even what sauce tastes better with what. But don’t accept your pingat kecermelangan dalam perisa Nando’s just yet because Nando’s has just released a new flavour!

mango and lime

And it’s….mango & lime???

So yea, at a glance it may feel like this is quite the odd combination, like who would even combine the two? In fact, if you do a quick Google search, most of the results show mango and lime combinations for grooming products before anything else.

But even if they look like they won’t work, surely Nando’s isn’t that crazy to combine 2 things that don’t actually go well together. One of the CILISOS staff said that he never liked Nando’s until he tasted mango & lime. In fact, Nando’s wants people to demonstrate how unusual couples can work by asking people to tell their stories!

In the meantime, Nando’s has actually asked us to help find some really unlikely couples, and talk about how 2 people from different walks of life, who may not look like they suit each other, ended up being just perfect for each other. And so, here are 5 unlikely Malaysian couples whom you wouldn’t expect to work out.


1. The student who ended up with his 15-year senior lecturer

lecturer student romance

Oooohhh…scandal? Actually no la. Image from

*names have been changed because the couple prefers to remain anonymous

Jamal* is a happily married 23-year old. He and his wife, Priya*, got married in October 2015, and now have a beautiful baby boy. Sounds normal right? But what if you knew that Priya is 15 years older than Jamal, and was once his lecturer?

Back in 2011, Jamal had just returned from overseas after dropping out of a course. But he still wanted to pursue an education so he started looking around for a local university. One day, he attended a “test class” for students who were unsure if they wanted to take a particular course. The lecturer of this class? None other than Priya herself, and when he walked in, it was love at first sight.

“I went for the class to see if I wanted to take this course, and basically I never left.” – Jamal, in an interview with CILISOS

But Jamal thought nothing of his initial feelings, calling it just “cinta monyet”. Still they kept in touch as he finished his diploma and then his degree at the university. Towards the end of his course, he even got to do some sort of an apprenticeship under Priya. But it was only after this that things started to move from the professional to the personal.

2 years ago, he asked her out on Valentine’s where he just intended to take her for a simple meal, and he said that she replied with a message that hinted she had feelings for him too, which totally threw him off.

italian spiderman omg

Probably Jamal’s reaction to the revelation.

“I never thought that the feeling would be mutual and was confused by all the mixed signals I was getting. I called a friend and said “Bear with me, I’m going to talk to you for an hour, and we’re going to figure out what the hell is going on.”” – Jamal

But since now both like each other, they eventually got together la. It still wasn’t smooth sailing from there though. Because now they had to convince their parents of the relationship. Jamal is a Malay-Eurasian, while Priya is an Indian, and the age gap only made things more difficult. Things went back and forth for 2 years, before their parents finally relented.

“My mother eventually talked some sense into my father. She’s always been trying to get me married anyway!” – Jamal

And you know what they say, age is just a number right?

hugh jackman and wife

In fact, Hugh Jackman and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, are 13 years apart. Click to see more Hollywood couples where the wife is older than the husband!


2. The 3-year couple who’ve only met online

So Chin Jia Yee first met Jack at a winter wonderland sort of place. Sounds pretty romantic right if you can imagine two people making a snowman, throwing snowballs at each other, and then saying “You’re the best Christmas present I ever got”. The thing is, it happened in an online game.

“So, I met my then would-be bf when I was 18, back in 2014. It was in November. I know this because ArcheAge, the MMO we met in, was trying out a snow… weather thing for Christmas, and to put it nicely, wasn’t a success xD (it hurt my eyes).” – Chin Jia Yee, in a messsage to CILISOS

chin jia yee jack mmo

Not the exact same game they met in, but these are Jack’s and Chin Jia Yee’s in-game avatars. Picture courtesy of Chin Jia Yee.

As the story goes, Jia Yee was just bumming in one of the game’s chatgroups one day, and one of the gamers asked if he could join her guild (think club, but the kind that goes out to battle for glory, honour, and cool stuff), and that guy introduced her to Jack. And you could say Jack and her kind of…clicked (cos computer mouse, geddit?).

“So after a brief introduction I asked if he’d like some help with his quests, and he said yes. Soon after that we’d always be in a party so I could help with his leveling.” – Chin Jia Yee

This went on for 5 months, before Jack actually added her on Facebook, and they actually saw what the other looked like. Fast forward another couple of months, and it seemed that their online friendship had blossomed into something more. Jack confessed his feelings for her and they’ve been together for almost 3 years now. They usually either chat online or hang out in the games they’re playing, and sometimes they even sync videos so that they can watch together on Skype!

But how do people react when they find out about Jack and Jia Yee’s relationship? Well…

“They don’t really say it aloud and just nod, but I could tell from the way they looked at each other that they were shocked.” – Chin Jia Yee

jack x chin jia yee

How they look in real life. Images courtesy of Chin Jia Yee.

But you know what’s even more interesting? They’ve never actually met in person before. When we asked Jia Yee for a picture of her and Jack, she said she didn’t have any BUT they would be meeting in person for the first time later in April! All the best, Jia Yee and Jack!

If X-MEN were Malaysian... here are 10 superpowers they should have!


3. The couple who had to wait until an engagement was broken off

There are many songs about waiting for the love of your life like “Right Here Waiting”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree”, and more recently “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”. One of these songs must have inspired the story of Mohamad Abdullah and Diana Ooi.

abdullah diana

Mohamad Abdullah and Diana Ooi. Image courtesy of their daughter, Marlena.

Abdullah and Diana were both working in insurance. But one was in Singapore, and the other in Penang. They met in 1979 when Abdullah was transferred to Penang. He noticed her first but it took a few meetings before he mustered the courage to talk to her, and the relationship just started to progress from there.

But when it comes to a Malay-Chinese couple, you would think that it would be tough because of issues like culture or religion, but in their case, what held them back was that Diana was engaged to another man. In fact, Diana’s mother liked him very much.

“Amma (Diana’s mother) accepted me though Diana was still engaged to her fiancé. One time Amma had to turn me away quickly before I came in as her fiancé was in their house.” – Mohamad Abdullah, in a message to CILISOS

But now some of you might be wondering, how da heck can the family be okay with their daughter being engaged to one man, and was being pursued by another man? Well it’s because the engagement was arranged, and the only reason Diana was afraid of breaking off with the other man was because it was her boss, and she feared for her job.

Still, Abdullah didn’t give up, and he continued to pursue. And what finally convinced Diana to break off the engagement was when her dad fell ill.

“My mom fell for him cos at that time, my grandad was sick and bed ridden. And my mom saw how caring and loving he was towards both her parents. The way he would cut my grandad’s nails and wash him, even though they weren’t a couple.” – Marlena, Abdullah and Diana’s daughter, in a message to CILISOS

And it seems that it was worth the wait because today they are happily married with 3 kids.

amma with kids

Which made Amma very happy as well! Image courtesy of Marlena.


4. The couple whose love crossed borders

Back in 2014, Aaron and his friend planned to go on a trip to Vietnam. The reason? His friend wanted to meet a girl there. Little did Aaron know that as he was accompanying his friend, Stephanie was accompanying hers, and they hit it off from the moment they met.

aaron stephanie first meeting

When Aaron met Stephanie. Image courtesy of Aaron.

But there was just one problem, location. Aaron was based in Singapore, and Stephanie, well, Vietnam. They kept in touch via Skype, and eventually Aaron returned to Vietnam and asked her to bercouple (during a romantic walk along the beach sumore). But this was where things got tough.

I was flying to Vietnam to see her every month. Luckily I was working in Singapore at the time (so it wasn’t so painful on the wallet). – Aaron, in an interview with Cilisos

Eventually he realised that it couldn’t continue like this, and he realised that the relationship had reach a crossroad.

“The toughest decision of all was deciding whether to propose to her or not.” – Aaron

But after thinking very hard, and having a long discussion with friends and family, he decided to do it. He proposed on one of her visits to Malaysia, and they had wedding ceremonies in both Vietnam and Malaysia.

It still wasn’t easy after that though. There were still many things they needed to do to make the marriage legal in both countries. On Aaron’s side he chronicles their struggles in an article which he wrote for us quite a while back  😛 But things have been getting better for them. In fact, they are in the midst of moving into their new house!

Oh and the friend he accompanied to Vietnam also ended up marrying the girl he went to meet in Vietnam. So perhaps they’ve started a trend eh? #timetogotovietnam


5. The family where everyone seems to be married to a different race/culture

For some of us, it’s quite rare to know even one unlikely couple in the family, but for others, their whole family could be built on making the unlikely happen. Di Entika’s family is one of those muhibbah families, but let’s start with her own story.

Di Entika met John in an online community forum in 2006, and they met up a couple of times over the next few years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that John ended up in Malaysia, and they hit it off. He a Brit, she an Iban, he was an eligible bachelor, while she was a single mom (we’ll get to that later), he’s an atheist, she a Anglican, he a coffee drinker, she a tea person.

di entika john

But don’t they look lovely as a couple? Picture courtesy of Di Entika.

But she isn’t the only one who married someone from a different race and background. Di Entika tells us that her family includes Malay, Chinese, Indian, Bidayuh, Melanau, Kadazandusun, European, Kiwi, and if we name any more we might as well turn this into a textbook because this right here is the definition of muhibbah. But why is her family so open to people from all walks of life?

“I guess living and experiencing having uncles and aunties who are not of my racial/religious background and cousins who are half this and half that made me understand early that what matters most is that we accept the other as what they are. Be tolerant to differences, accept and embrace those differences while focusing on all the similarities. We learn to learn about the other half’s culture, languages, dishes, traditional this and that/dos and don’ts to make it easier for us to blend in when we are with the other half’s family.” – Di Entika

Check out the many different faces in their family. Image courtesy of Di Entika.

She mentions that leaving the kampung to study also contributes to opening up one’s mind. And she also adds that marrying someone from the same language and culture also doesn’t ensure that it will work out. She was once married to someone from the same culture but it didn’t work out. In fact, she says diverse families are common in her hometown.

“The diversity of my family is nothing unique specially in Sarawak. I know a number of Sarawakian friends who are married to people of different racial/religious background as well.” – Di Entika

So our hats off to you, Sarawak.

da real muhibbah

Original image from


Just because they look strange together, doesn’t mean they can’t work out!

If you Google “unlikely couple” you’d get quite a few examples of couples whom many would not expect to work out, but do. And sometimes it’s not just people, but other things which look unlikely but go well together, like food! Mango & lime, anyone? 

If you know any other more unusual stories to tell, head on over to Nando’s, tell your story – and you could win a year’s supply of Nando’s chicken! Now brb while we go to Mars to look for a girlfriend.

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