Our life had become steady and we knew we were going to stay together. Somehow we wanted to make our relation more formal. Marriage would be an obvious choice. Barbara actually proposed to me. Well, not really a proposal in a romantic setting. More a statement during a conversation, something like 'I want to getting married next June'.

As we thought of marriage we also realized that Barbara's mother was not going to accept this. We were certain that she would disconnect Barbara from the family. Barbara obviously didn't want this to happen and there was no reason why we should force it. Marriage would not change anything in our lives, we still be living the same way. It would make things only more difficult for Barbara. Also Barbara was still financially dependent of her mother, although my parents probably would help out if we really wanted. Therefore we finally decided against marriage.
Engagement seems the best alternative. We didn't need permission from her mother, she didn't even have to know, and we still could promise each other formally that we stay together.

We decided for a sort formal engagement with a party, rings and a promise. The party was no problem, my parents offered to have the party at their house in the Netherlands. We invited my family including uncles and aunts, our English friends from Cambridge and my Dutch friends, this turned out to be quite a crowd.

Finding suitable rings was a more difficult problem. Barbara wanted a ring with a diamond and I wanted a plain (but not boring) ring. We walked for weeks around in the centre of London looking for suitable rings. And if we found ones we liked, they didn't fit or couldn't be ready in time. We didn't mind really wondering around the centre of London. During winter London is a very nice 'warm' city. With al the shop decorations and the activities on the streets, especially around Christmas time it s very romantic in London. Finally, after seeing nearly every jewelry in central London we found the rings we wanted. Barbara got her diamond and I got my gold ring. I remember them as nice rings, especially Barbara's one. A small ring with a v-shaped crown and a small diamond on top of it.

The party was held in wintertime. I went earlier to my parents house to arrange everything. Barbara came with the English friends later. On the day she was meant to arrive, there were very heavy snowstorms and the journey nearly had to be cancelled. We all had a great time at my parents house. All the friends who had come over from England stayed there. They were sleeping everywhere, behind the couch, in the hallway, in the attic. We went skating, had snowball fights and just hang out together. The snow and ice made it extra romantic, especially when walking through the woods.

The engagement ceremony itself was to be formal. My eldest brother was the master of ceremony and he wanted it to be a traditional engagement. Barbara was very pleased it was organized this way. Being formal was for her a sigh that everybody would take this engagement seriously. Just before the ceremony she was a bit sad, she felt sorry that her mother wasn't here to share this moment with her, as she said that she had never been happier in her life.

The ceremony went as planned. First welcoming al the guest, even my aunt from Australia had come. Then the speech from my brother, the promise we made to each other with the rings, the kiss and then al the presents. It was a long night and Barbara shined all the time. When we came downstairs the following day there were still some guest partying. The days that followed we spent skating and the snowball fights continued. I remember it as perfect, romantic time together, with a very sparkling Barbara.

Barbara never told her mother about the engagement. When her mother asked her about the ring, Barbara told her that it was just a present from me.




而订婚是一个最佳的替代方案。我们不需要得到她母亲的许可,她不知道也没有关系。而我们两个仍然可以正式地彼此承诺长相厮守。于是我们决定要举办一个比较正式的订婚仪式加聚会。 聚会安排没有问题。我父母提议用他们在荷兰的房子作为场地。我们邀请了我的家人,包括叔叔阿姨舅舅舅妈,我们在剑桥的朋友,我的荷兰朋友,加起来有不少人。


订婚聚会安排在冬天。我先去了我父母家安排一切。Barbara后一步和英国的朋友们过来。他们来的那一天遇到了很大的暴风雪,几乎不能成行。 最终大家在我父母家里度过了愉快的时光。所有英国的朋友都在家里过夜。他们在家里随便找地方睡了,沙发后面,过道上,阁楼里都睡了人。我们去滑冰,打雪仗,一直呆在一起。冰天雪地令一切更加浪漫,尤其当我们在树林中漫步的时候。

订婚仪式本身很正式, 我大哥是仪式主持人。他希望做成一个传统的订婚仪式。Barbara也很高兴有这样仪式形式。对她而言,正式仪式意味着每个人都把这次订婚看得很认真。仪式开始前她有点难过,她说那是她人生最快乐的一刻,她觉得遗憾母亲不能和她分享那个时刻。仪式如计划进行。首先欢迎来宾,我远在澳洲的阿姨也来参加了。然后是我哥哥致词,我们彼此许下诺言并交换戒指。 那晚的聚会延续到很晚。Barbara整晚都光彩照人。我们第二天下楼来的时候,还有些客人没散场呢。接下来的几天,我们还是继续滑冰打雪仗。 在我的记忆中,身边的Barbara闪耀亮丽,那是我们在一起的完美的浪漫时光。


(Thanks to Natalie for the translation)

1979 engagement  ceremony 1

 The beginning of the ceremony 仪式开始

1979 engagement 2

The promise 诺言

 1979 engagement the kiss 1


1979 engagement the kiss 2

  The kiss 订婚之吻


1979 engagement present 3

One of the more suggestive gifts 有暗示的礼物之一 

 1979 engagement being proud

 A very pleased Barbara, proudly showing her ring on what might have been the happiest day of her life.



In my mother’s apartment (she passed away in december 2016) I found the engagement ring that Barbara gave to me. I thought I lost it a long time ago, but now it seemed that my mother kept it all that time.





# the hair stylefans 2010-12-08 14:38
she was having the same hair style during the happiest and saddest moment of her life....so ironical :(
# RE: EngagedBarfan 2010-12-08 20:34
So sweet, and yet so heartbreaking :cry:
# RE: EngagedAnonymous 2010-12-09 03:27
Rob's comments "Barbara's mom would disconnect Barbara from the family if Barbara marry Rob". This gives me the impression that Barbara has a very rigid mom who wants Barbara to play by her "RULES". This is a very harsh mom. Barbara works hard in her college life, in the CHIPS/DIP business & work in FAST FOOD stores while studying. Yet, Barbara has not proven herself/worthy enough to choose her own life partner. This tells me that Barbara has a very TOUGH & UNHAPPY CHILDHOOD life with her mom.
>> This can really break a young girl!
# agreeIvy 2013-10-17 08:28
Yes, I agree that comment about her mom. I have the same kind of mom ,and my dad was not living with us for long time . This will bury an un happy , sentimental,and insecure seed in the deep of one's heart . I can totally understand Barbara's feeling and Choice in every step of her live .And remember once Barbara said that she admires the communication way between Rob and his mother ? Having such a mom can makes her feel very lonely in the deep heart , longing for the intimate relationship deadly.
# Why Engagement was an Escape?fan 2010-12-09 06:22
Hi Rob,

You once wrote that getting engaged with Barbara was an escape. Why did you say so?

Please answer. Thanks.
# Translate Barbara's happy christmasILikeBarbara 2010-12-10 02:27
Yes, Please translate this so that ROB can post the English version on the web.

I am clueless. I do not a word on this


翁美玲最難忘的聖誕節就屬英國最 大雪那一年,
但如今說起來都已是五、六年前的 事了。
翁美玲這樣說:「那一年我跟整群 朋友正計劃到荷蘭度聖誕,大夥兒 趕車趕船的,雪大得不得了,連火 車都開不動,結果就真的來不及搭 上那班船。」

不過回想起來,却是一個充滿驚險 和刺激的聖誕,翁美玲說: 「我母親在家担心得不得了,就是 怕我們一夥發生意外,但終於我們 都到了荷蘭,由聖誕玩到新年,一 共玩了整個星期。」

「今年聖誕,我要開工,什麼節目 都不用想了。」真可憐。

本文資料來源:明報周刊 NO.841 P18
# Translation of Barbara's Most Unforgettable Christmasmc 2010-12-12 16:08
Barbara's Most Unforgettable Christmas

It was the time when it snowed very heavily in England. It was around 5 or 6 years ago. Barbara said, 'that year, I went to the Netherlands with a group of my friends. We took the car and ferry. The snow was so heavy that the train couldn't even move. As a result, we didn't catch the ferry we intended to take.'

Looking back, it was a very exciting Christmas. Barbara said, 'my mother was very worried that we'd have accidents. But in the end, we made it to the Netherlands. We stayed there from Christmas till new year - One week in total. But this Christmas, I need to work.' What a pity.
# Thanks for the Translationfan 2010-12-15 20:26
Hi mc,

Thank you for your translation.
# RE: EngagedHannah 2010-12-14 21:25
Oh the photos are so beautiful. In a way it makes me happy and sad at the same time because for one, it was a very happy, the happiest time in her life, and two, the photos make me miss her even more. Love the photos Rob and this weeks' story. :-)
# RE: EngagedWinky 2010-12-15 15:30
Wow beautiful pictures! She truely looks happy.... Can't believe she was in the Netherlands :-)
# RE: yum mei lingkelly 2010-12-23 08:24
OMG, i was sitting here watching her drama series, i decided to search her name on youtube... here she is, i never knew, she lived in england, and have life there... she look so happy and beautiful... so young care free... Rod, is a very good man... after all this years... still kept all the photo... of her... you're an angel Rod :-)
# RE: EngagedWinky 2011-01-31 09:19

What did you do with the engagement ring you had with Barbara after the break up?
# RE: RE: EngagedRob 2011-01-31 11:12
I kept it in my memory box, a shoe box with letters and pictures and other things of my life in England.
# RE: EngagedJade 2011-09-05 06:35
Hey Rob, did your parents like Barbara and did they mind that she wasn't white? In the other pics, it seems like they did like her.

What did they think of Barbara's mom not knowing about the engagement, or did your parents not know about that part?
# RE: RE: EngagedRob 2011-09-05 07:29
My parents like all kinds of colours :-) . They were very found of Barbara. Especially because Barbara kept me out of trouble. They didn't have an opinion about the relation between Barbara and her mother. As far as my parents were concerned it was none of their business.
# RE: Engagedmysteriousscent 2012-05-30 16:19
God, she looked so happy in those photos. You two were truly in love. I've been crying reading your stories.
# 我看到的是幸福David 2013-09-27 09:13
# misszhou 2013-11-04 05:01
很凄美的故事 :sad:
# touchedDavid 2014-08-19 06:37
All happiness were writen on her face~ She got all the things she wanted except her mother's wishes.
# RE: 31. Engaged 订婚 1979钟爱翁美玲 2016-01-09 08:01
So sweet, and yet so heartbreaking
# RE: 31. Engaged 订婚 1979Josephine 2017-06-03 13:55
I can't imagine an engagement ceremoney without her family's presence. She must be feeling very upset about this.
# RE: 31. Engaged 订婚 1979321 2018-10-08 09:26
订婚了她就是你的未婚妻,你分手更不应该了。Betrothed, she is your fiancee, you should break up.
# "You" A song that you both sing to each other.Matt 2018-10-27 18:05
You are the one who makes me happy
When everything else turns to grey
Yours is the voice that wakes me mornings
And sends me out into the day
You are the crowd that sits quiet
Listening to me
And all the mad sense that I make
You are one of the few things worth remembering
And since it's all true
How could anyone mean more to me than you
Sorry if sometimes I look past you
There's no one beyond your eyes
Inside my head wheels are turning
Hey, sometimes I'm not so wise
You are my heart and my soul my inspiration
Just like the old love song goes
You are one of the few things worth remembering
And since it's all true
How could anyone mean more to me than you
You are my heart and my soul my inspiration
Just like the old love song goes
You are one of the few things worth remembering
And since it's all true
How could anyone mean more to me than you

Karen Carpenter
# Miss Barbara ForeverSandy 2019-06-12 01:59
Glad to find this site unexpectedly to know more about Barbara's earlier life before she was back to HK.
I can only read one story a day as it always makes me filled with mixed feelings (Happy and Sad) about her life after reading each story. Cause the older I am, the sadder I get for her.
With these stories, I realize how deeply helpless Barbara bore alone in HK, especially in a highly competitive show business environment. She was not a girl easy to accept defeat. She'd never know she was never defeated by others but herself. And she just forgot life can't be replayed. Now 34 yrs passed, the memory to her isn't faded by time, on the contrary it's getting stronger and stronger knowing Barbara is still lively in the memory of many people. Just as she never leaves.
P.S. i am not good in writing such thing, but I do want to write something for her.
# RE: Miss Barbara ForeverRob 2019-06-12 11:52
Hello Sandy, I think your wrote it very well.
# RE: 31. Engaged 订婚 1979小青 2020-02-25 04:14
# Happiest day of her lifeJade 2020-06-27 01:23
LOVE that picture! You can see her real happiness in that smile.
# RE: 31. Engaged 订婚 1979Sam Lau 2020-12-22 05:55
thanks Rob for sharing these photos, it touches me to see happy Barbara at those time!
# Sweetest momentDennis 2021-06-03 17:43
I guess this is the most precious moment in her life. The marriage (engagement) she always wanted.
# Her smileC 2022-05-14 15:07
Oh, the smile on her face ❤️
If her mum saw these photos,
she wouldn’t refuse her daughter dating with you. :sad: