Father consents to daughter’s marriage at ceremony 40 years after elopement

The China Post news staff

The elderly patriarch of a prominent Pingtung family finally gave his daughter his blessings at a proper wedding ceremony held yesterday, 40 years after she eloped with the man whom her father initially disapproved of. Lee Ming-hui, the octogenarian father of Pingtung Hospital director Lee Chien-ting, yesterday walked his 60-year-old daughter, Lee Chen-yen, down the aisle to properly “give her away” to Wu Teng-ke. “After practicing for 40 years, we’re getting married for real,” joked Wu, the man his father-in-law had rejected so many years before because he “looked like a bad boy.” Lee, 87, has undergone two major surgeries for cancer in recent years, which may have prompted his change of heart. This Chinese New Year, the elderly father confessed to his family his regrets. Lee said when Wu first came to him to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage over 40 year ago, he was wearing tight pants, had slicked-back hair and smoked — making the worst impression as the embodiment of a bad boy.

With his daughter’s happiness in mind, Lee refused Wu’s proposal, not knowing that his rejection would result in his daughter’s elopement. The perceived betrayal severed father-daughter ties, which were not fully mended until a few years later. Wu, who so disgusted Lee in the beginning, was able to create and head a successful export company by his own efforts years later. The couple’s children also grew up well-adjusted, with successful careers overseas. All the good resulting from the refused “marriage” caused Lee to shed grateful tears, regretting his stubborn actions. Were there any regrets for the not-so-young bride? “If I could start over, I would communicate better with my parents and not be so impulsive,” she said, adding that she had no idea her father had held onto his guilt all these years. The father and daughter exchanged “I love yous” when he gave her away, dispelling any misgivings of the past and reinstating their familial bond in a ceremony that was better late than never.