As if out of a scene of a fairytale, the words “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part” resounded through the walls of St Nikolas Church June 19, as Premprecha and Supanee Dibbayawan rekindled their love and reiterated the vows they had once exchanged on that day 50 years ago.
It was an emotional and beautiful scene as the grownup children watched their parents join their hands and hearts, re-affirming the magnitude and strength of their enduring love.
‘Pa Prem’ as he is affectionately known, was born the 7th of 9 children in a Catholic family in Bangkok. He was also known as “Lang” – a nickname he was given at school because of his Thai/European heritage (on both sides) giving him his clear blue eyes and “falang” looks.
As a child he studied at Assumption School in Sriracha, after which he was enrolled in the Assumption School in Bangkok.
Even after he finished school, he did not really entertain the idea of tertiary education, and it was a classmate who enrolled him into the Thammasat Open University. He passed the entrance examination and commenced a law course. However, it was not plain sailing for the young Prem. Financial considerations dictated that he must work as well and he took a job as a steward in Thai International Airways.
Whether this was planned or not, but during Prem’s stint as an airline steward, one day relatives arranged for him to drive a lady friend of the family back to her house. As fate had intended, Prem and Supanee first met. Supanee remembers that day well saying, “He was so handsome.”
Supanee, lovingly known as ‘Paen’, is the 6th child in her family. She studied at Assumption Convent in Bangrak, finishing her high school studies at Triam Udom Sueksa School. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and Accounting from Chulalongkorn University.
The meetings between the two young people became more frequent and their friendship blossomed into love. With the consent and blessing of both families, they were wed on June 18, 1966 which coincided with Prem’s birthday the day after.
It could be said that he ‘flew through his studies’ but balancing married life, work and university was not easy. The circuitous route took seven years, but Prem was rewarded with his LLB degree and with high grades, enough to see him accepted at the University of Miami in America where he earned his Master’s degree.
On the evening of June 19 this year, after the church ceremonies, a reception was held at the Town in Town Hotel attended by over a hundred family members and guests from all walks of life.
Prem and Paen are now in their 70s and in between their service to the church and charity work in the community, the ‘young’ couple are still very active in the Jural Law and Accounting firm on Thepprasit Road.
Success for this hard working couple is the ability to be of service to others. This way of thinking they ascribe to their upbringing as young Catholics, where these values were instilled into them.
Prem keeps saying that he would like to retire, now being 77 years old, “But I am not sure I could sit at home and do nothing.”
We do not believe there would be any chance of that either! May God bless and give you both another 50 years of good health and happiness.