Dato' Sufian Majid and Datin Alissa Fitri on their 30 years of affection
Calvin Chong talks to the loving Dato' Sufian and Datin Alissa, who are just about to celebrate their 30th anniversary, about their first encounter and how to have a lasting relationship.
February has always been the month associated with romance and while most focus on the young passionate lovers, I wanted to take a look at the veterans of love.
The veterans are the people who have withstood the test of time and turned out victorious with their relationships. One of the few couples we know is Dato' Sufian Majid and Datin Alissa Fitri, who will be celebrating their 30th anniversary next year.
While there is still another year till their pearl jubilee, this year marks the 30th anniversary from the day they first met. So I engaged the loving couple in a quick interview to find out what ticks inside the mind of these two lovebirds.
The Accidental Encounter
The first question I had was, of course, how did the two meet. Datin Alissa laughs candidly saying, "We were actually strung together by our colleagues without us knowing about it until the second meeting we had."
Coming back from the UK immediately after her graduation, Datin Alissa joined the workforce as a quantity surveyor in Kuala Lumpur, while Dato' Sufian was already an established contractor at the time and based in Perak.
One fateful day, she was assigned to attend a business meeting with Dato' Sufian's company in Perak but at that point, no one had told her anything about the impending matchmaking project.
Datin Alissa says, "There I was thinking that it was all strictly business. It was only after that meeting when my colleagues started asking me about my thoughts about him but I honestly couldn't remember."
While the first encounter was brief and official, the second setup came rather quickly as the colleagues pressed on with the matchmaking project.
Dato' Sufian continues the story, "So when I was heading back to KL, I found out that my colleagues, along with hers, were trying to set me up with her. By then, they had already organised a date for us at the Park Royal music lounge. That's how it started."
Datin Alissa chirps in, "Well, he knew but I still didn't. All I was told was that he was visiting KL and we were trying to rope him in to sign the contract, which explained the meetup. It was only after this second 'date' that I found out. Then he took another three months before he asked me out."
The Funny Proposal
Watching the exchange between the two was an interesting experience. It was like a romantic skit where you find two individuals who know each other so well that they could finish each other's sentences, with continuous teasing at one another.
The attraction between the two was evident from the start as their relationship progressed in lightning speed. From the first encounter to a full-fledged relationship, it took a quick 6 months and that was when the big question popped up, but not without its funny mishaps.
Datin Alissa says, "I still remember how he proposed. It was after a night out when he sent me to my door. He suddenly popped the question, 'How tall are you?'. I was shocked."
Dato' Sufian continues, "She then answered '5 feet 5" and a half. Why?'. Then I laughed and told her that I can't be with a girl shorter than 5' 3". So she passed."
Then he explained to her that he wanted to progress further into their relationship and get married. The next thing Datin Alissa knew was, the both of them were at her house with him asking for her parents' permission for her hand in marriage.
30 Years of Love and Affection
Three decades later, we see this loving couple whose passion for one another growing stronger by the second. I wondered how they managed to keep it so. While they admitted that there are plenty of trial and tribulations, they have managed to overcome all of them so far.
Datin Alissa says, "My late mother always tells me that he was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I agree wholeheartedly. He is the most wonderful husband to me and an excellent father to my daughters Aissa and Raisa."
When it comes to finding the right man, the key qualities to look out for, according to Datin Alissa, is the man's patience. It can be someone who has different interests, but you must hold the same values and outlook in life and for Datin Alissa, this man is Dato' Sufian.
When that was mentioned, Dato' Sufian adds, "Well for me, I am glad that I have Alissa with me because with her, life is always a big adventure. Her outgoing and sociable personality, along with her meticulous organising skills, have taken me on many unforgettable experiences."
The Anecdotes of Love
And all these experiences and memories are documented in the form of photo scrapbooks, which Datin Alissa has spent many nights creating since the beginning of their marriage. This mini-project was sparked when she realised that Dato' Sufian had kept all the little notes and cards she had given him throughout their relationship.
Datin Alissa simply says, "He likes nice things. So I wanted to give him something that he would cherish all his life."
This was perhaps another reason that has kept their love for each other burning so brightly.
Dato' Sufian says, "All couples have times when they would fight and forget about all the good things before it, but thanks to Alissa and her many wonderful books, we get to relive those moments again and solidify our love for one another."
With that said, Datin Alissa nods and gives one of the brightest smiles I've seen on her throughout the interview. She adds, "I always tell my daughter that if they can find a man with 10% of her father's quality, she's doing great."
The shower of compliments between the two might sound unreal in words but when one encounters it personally, like I did, there is without a single doubt that both Dato' Sufian and Datin Alissa have profound love and respect for one another.
To end the interview, Dato' Sufian explains to me, "For me, to love someone is to respect them. If you don't respect the person, you can never love him/her. For Alissa, I have nothing but the utmost respect for everything she has done for me."
Adding on to Dato' Sufian's words, Datin Alissa tells me, "At the end of the day, you never know what's going to happen in the future, but he has definitely given me a fantastic 30 years of fun and love. Here's hoping for many more years to come!"
(Photos courtesy of Dato' Sufian Majid and Datin Alissa Fitri)