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The magic of new beginnings

One couple shares how being open and seizing the opportunity blossomed into love.

By April Zara Chua

As the saying goes, workplace romance is a taboo. But​ when love calls — would you answer? One couple did, and this is their story.

When Siti Aishah, 24, joined a new company in 2016, she had no idea she would meet her fiance, Muhammad Elfi Bin Mahdi, 29, there. They were from different departments and didn’t meet each other until Aishah was about two months into the job.



Elfi already knew about Aishah, the “new girl” and was even coaxed by colleagues to ask her out. They eventually hung out during one shift break, but as far as first impressions go, it wasn’t love at first sight. “It was very awkward. While I found Elfi cute, I also found him cocky. And he thought I was arrogant!”


Ironically, that awkward first encounter planted a seed of curiosity—especially with Elfi, who sought her out on Instagram. “One day, he liked a lot of my photos and chatted with me,” she recounted. They started texting and talking on the phone, eventually warmed up to each other.

Seizing the moment

As their friendship blossomed, so did the romance. One day, Elfi decided to seize the opportunity and surprise Aishah with a date. But as luck would have it, she had to work overtime.


“My midnight shift was supposed to end at 8:30am but I ended at 12:30pm that day. He had requested for me to help him collect something from his friend but since I was tied up at work, I couldn’t. He kept bugging me the entire time saying that his friend was waiting. When I finally left work, I was shocked to see him pull up next to me in a car. Turns out, there was no friend, and he had been waiting for me since 7:30am because he wanted to surprise me with a breakfast date!”


If that wasn’t enough to win her over, Aishah also admitted that she loved how he was very honest and wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable with her. She also appreciated that he took the time to get to know her, understand her, and didn’t rush into anything.


According to Elfie, Aishah had her doubts at the beginning, “We both had trust issues but it was more so for her. Opening up and welcoming someone new — a complete stranger — into your life is always a huge risk and the fear is real. But we decided not to overthink it and just see where this would lead us.” He added that constant communication, being open, and sharing their feelings helped them get to know each other on a deeper level.


Not each other’s ‘types’ yet…

The pair also admitted that they both didn’t fulfill each other’s ‘checklist’ of qualities they were looking for in a partner. Elfi was never into dating someone who was taller and had a bigger build than him, while Aishah was looking for someone taller than her. “I think we surprised each other that we ended up together—sometimes we don’t even know how we ended up falling for each other!”


They have differing personality and perspectives too, which would sometimes lead to heated arguments. “It’s probably because of misunderstandings and our egos. But we always tell ourselves to fight the problem and not each other.” said Aishah.


The couple also took their different interests and turned them into positive experiences. “Elfie suggested we bring each other to our favourite hangouts, and that’s how we ended up experiencing something new each time.”


Making it work

Although they had their colleagues to thank for bringing them together, they kept their relationship under wraps at work with only a handful in the know, and only telling the rest on the last few days of her employment.


Their shift work also made it hard for them to spend quality couple time. Because of that, they tried to maximise every opportunity they had together, even while at work. They would also try to schedule their meal breaks together especially when they were on different shifts. They also spent a lot of time waiting for the other to end work, like how she would end at 1030pm and would wait for him until 3am, and vice versa. Despite all that, the couple stuck it out.


When asked how she knew he was the one, Aishah said that it was when she realised days felt incomplete without him. For Elfie, he just knew when he realised everything just fell perfectly in place when they were together, “I already love everything about her, but it’s her sincerity that makes me love her more each day.”


Take the plunge!

Elfie popped the question in 2018 and they are set to tie the knot this year. Looking back, Elfie and Aishah both have their guts to thank for their relationship. “Don’t be afraid! The future will always be scary but if you don’t take the plunge, you’ll never know! I also think we won each other’s hearts because both of us were not expecting anything out of each other. We took time to get to know each other, so I guess that really helped us to get to where we are right now.”