This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.Quarantine is proving to be a trying time that can either make or break relationships. It means coming to terms with your partners’ annoying quirks and learning to be better communicators. For this couple in Malaysia, being stuck at home has meant thinking out of the box to keep the flame alive.
On June 16, Tee Ying Qian, who goes by the name Andrew, shared in a Facebook post the lengths he went to stage a massive surprise for his girlfriend of eight years. Just how massive? 0.8 cubic metres (800 litres) of items across seven huge parcels. Andrew secretly ordered everything in his girlfriend, Chia Yen’s online shopping cart.
As of writing, the post has been shared about 12,000 times.
Andrew and Chia Yen, both 27 years old, met in school when they were 18. They’re now business partners who share an apartment in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO) was imposed on March 18 to curb the spread of COVID-19, placing the entire country under lockdown for almost three months. While movement restrictions were eased on June 10, social distancing measures remain in place.
Andrew said that their telecommunications training business picked up during the MCO, which meant that they were busier and had less time to spend with each other. He thought it was a good idea to surprise his girlfriend.
He told VICE that Chia Yen likes to shop on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao whenever she’s free, and would load items into her shopping cart every day. This meant that he had to get creative.
“She looks at Taobao every day, so she would find out if I suddenly checked out her shopping cart,” Andrew explained. So, he created a separate Taobao account where he would add every item in her shopping cart daily.
“She had no idea,” Andrew said.
He only told her about the big surprise on June 14, the night before the items were due to arrive at their apartment.
“I didn’t believe him at first,” Chia Yen recalled. “He’s always joking with me. One second he would tell me that he bought all the items, and the next second he would play it off as a joke. So I had no idea if it was true.”
In a video Andrew shared on Facebook, Chia Yen is seen pushing a trolley to collect the hefty parcels, barely able to contain her excitement.
This was a covert operation that began in April and spanned over a month. Andrew finally placed the staggering order at the end of May.
“Since we live together, we don’t have much time alone. So I would wake up a little earlier or sleep a little later to order the items,” said Andrew.
Besides the items that were found in Chia Yen’s Taobao shopping cart, Andrew also added products that he knew she wanted, such as beauty face masks. He also picked up items that they could both use, including a shoe cabinet, a Lego set, and food packages.
Since Andrew’s surprise went viral, his Facebook comments section have been brimming with people tagging their significant others, dropping not-so-subtle hints that they should step up their gift-giving game.
“When are you going to help me check out my shopping cart?” one Facebook user asked their partner.
“I want a boyfriend like that,” reads another comment.
“I feel like I’ve spoilt the market,” Andrew said bashfully, with a chuckle. A local figure of speech, “spoiling the market” refers to overachievers who make everyone else pale in comparison.
But he doesn’t think his gesture is as grand as netizens make it out to be. In fact, he thought that his gift was quite “normal.”
“We are really close,” he explained. “The friends around us all know that we’re usually very sweet to each other.”
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