MALACCA: "If you believe in fate and true love, whatever you are destined for will become a reality."
These are the words of wisdom from centenarian Sudar Marto and he should know what he is talking about.
Sudar caused quite a stir in the quiet village of Duyong two months ago when he took a 22-year-old woman as his bride.
Although the September wedding did not receive as wide media publicity as in the case of Datuk K and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, or Datuk R and Puteri Shahanaz, the union of the 105-year-old Sudar and Ely Maryulianti Rahmat nonetheless set tongues wagging.
The two were the hot topic not only in their village warung but also in coffee shops and offices throughout the state and even in the country.
Sudar, a businessman, has a 69-year-old wife who is bedridden, six sons, 19 grandchildren and two great grandchildren while Ely is a maid from Pekan Baru, Indonesia.
"I believe that fate and true love had brought us together" said Sudar who tied the knot with Ely on Sept 10, despite having to endure snide remarks over their 83 year age difference.
"We love each other very much and both our families did not object to the wedding," said Sudar at their home in Kampung Permatang Duyong.
However, it was not love at first sight for them.
"I had known Ely for over a year before I realised that we were meant for each other," said the smitten Sudar.
"She was working at my foster sons house and we met quite often. I was attracted to her jovial yet gentle and soft spoken nature.
"We got along very well together and I really missed her when we were not together."
Recalling the afternoon in February when he proposed to her, Sudar said:
"It happened at my foster sons house. She was wearing a blue baju kurung and taking a break from her chores.
"I popped the question over tea and to my pleasant surprise, she immediately accepted my hand in marriage."
Sudar, however, admitted having butterflies in his stomach before he proposed.
"It did not come easy as I felt insecure at first because of the age gap. But I had a feeling that she loved me."
At the time, rumours had begun circulating that he and Ely were spending a lot of time together.
Ely, who was quiet and shy during the interview, said: "I did not marry him for his wealth. I love him and I want to care for him and his wife.
"The age difference is not a problem as it is the state of mind that matters," she said, prompting Sudar to say his piece.
"I may be old in numbers but I am still young here," Sudar as he rested his palm on his chest.
Sudar said he is a much happier man since he married Ely. "She is very mature and we understand each other very well. She is also very caring and entertaining."
Ely chatty nature has not only won Sudar heart but also that of his first wife, Fatemah Mat.
Fatemah considered it Sudar good fortune to marry a young wife as she is no longer able to look into his needs.
"If I had been in good health I would not have allowed him to marry again. This union also benefits me as Ely takes good care of me."
For a man his age, Sudar has excellent memory, hearing and eyesight.
The secret to good health, Sudar said, is to eat the right food and be happy.
Sudar, who is a strict vegetarian, avoids cold drinks and takes a lot of traditional food supplements like tongkat ali, ubi jaga and mempoyang (juice from the boiled roots of plants) to keep his blood and body warm.
Sudar also spends his free time at his "mini zoo" at the back of his house where he rears goats, turkeys, geese, chickens and birds.
And to the big question about having children, Sudar said: "If it is fated, who are we to forego?"