Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Best Friend Wedding Pt II

No, this entry is still not about the Julia Roberts’ film. This is the continuity of my previous entry.

The wedding ceremony continued on the following day with the “kenduri kahwin” (the wedding reception). Nowadays, “akad nikah” is almost always a private ceremony attended by close family members and friends. The wedding reception is when neighbours, friends and all family members come to celebrate the holy union. The “kenduri kahwin” also serves as an announcement to everyone that the love birds are already lawfully wedded couple.

I arrived at my friends place around 11.30 am. She was already dressed. The “mak andams” already busy preparing her the day. I couldn’t really describe her dress because it wasn’t really a kebaya, it wasn’t exactly a dress either. But it was in a lovely yet glamorous brownish colour. The “mak andam” left around 12.15 to check on the groom. She was to help him with his traditional attire.

While waiting for the groom, friends and families came to congratulate the bride. After what seemed a short wait, the groom and his entourage arrived. The entourage brought gift or known as “hantaran”. My friends joined him at the road. They were then paraded into the house, accompanied by “alunan chak lempong” (sound of “chak lempong”). “Chak Lempong” is a traditional music band. Their musical instruments are mainly made of some type of gongs of different ‘pitch’. The type of music they made is also called “Chak Lempong”. In other states, the parade is normally accompanied by “paluan kompang” (drumming of “kompang”).

The bride and groom were paraded to the house. At the entrance, the couple were 'sprinkled' with "beras kunyit" and "bunga rampai" (as a sign of good luck). Normally it is followed by “bertepung tawar” at the "pelamin". But since they were running short of time, it was replaced by a short photo shoot. Then they head to the “balai” (tents set up to serve food to those who came). There were special food served for the bride and groom commonly known as “makanan pengantin”. Symbolically, this would be the first meal the two love birds have as husband and wife. It is called “makan beradat”. In the old days, people don’t date, “makan beradat” would most probably be sort of their first date. The groom entourage also get special food compared to other “kenduri” attendees.

After “makan beradat”, it was a photo session with the bride and groom families. Then the groom’s family left, leaving their "hantaran" (the trays with white and purple theme) and taking with them “hantaran” from the bride’s family (trays with red and gold theme). From then onwards the event became somewhat less ‘formal’. Bride and groom mingled with the “kenduri” attendees, meeting families and friends. I left around 4pm after congratulating the newly weds.

(p.s. More photos can be found here)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My best friend’s Wedding

No, this entry is not about the Julia Roberts’ film.It’s school holidays. Apart from the time off from school for school-going kids, it’s also time for wedding bells.

My dear friend of 20 years got married last night. I didn’t realized that we have known each other for so long until a friend of hers asked. We first met in primary school. Later in our life we went away to further our study. I moved to other towns. But we kept in touch. Every now and then we met and exchanged news. So what do you do when you get a wedding invitation from your best friend? You ask when is the solemnization ceremony and attend it.

The wedding ceremony began with the solemnization (also know as “akad nikah”) at the bride-to-be’s house. In my dear friend case, her brother’s house. The make up artists (or commonly called as “mak andam”) were already ‘on-site’ when I reach my friend’s place. The artists were frantically preparing my friend for the wedding. After about an hour of make up, the bride-to-be was finally ready. Just in time for the “akad nikah”.

In some families the father or the male next-of-kin would ‘give away’ the bride. But more and more people are handing the task to “juru nikah”. The bride was brought forth to the living room. The “juru nikah” asked the bride-to-be whether she agrees with the wedding. Then he proceed with the ceremony. Unlike Christian’s wedding, it’s the groom who take the wedding vow (in Malay language, “akad” is loosely translated to vow and “nikah” is wedding). By taking the vow, the groom agrees to take all responsibility that a man have to his wife and his family.

Once the groom took the vow, my friend is officially a wife. The vow is followed by a short "doa" (prayer). Then the “lafaz taklik” by the groom. The bride is required to listen to it. “Taklik” is actually a contract between a man and his wife. It spells out his and her responsibility. After some paper works, my dear friend lawfully weds her husband.

After that, they exchanged the wedding rings before proceeding to “berinai” ceremony. It is very much like the “bertepung tawar”. The bride and groom sat on the “pelamin”. Family members put “bunga rampai” (a mixture of flowers and “daun pandan”), “air mawar” (rose water) and “inai” on the bride and groom palms.

The whole ceremony ended around 12 am. I was tired, but I was glad I made time to attend my best friend’s historical event.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Iklan Hari Merdeka / Independence Day Advert

Still in the Merdeka Theme. Have you seen recent Merdeka advert by local tv, TV3? The one that started with a bunch of boys were playing soldiers. They were arguing when all 'shot dead' by a little girl. They told the little girl to go home and cook for them. Girls aren't fit for army. Fast forward to current year, it show a shot of army boots and broom being swept. The girl already a lady soldier. And the guy with broom (who was one of the boys) salute the lady. The advert ended with a shot of the young boys posing as a Tugu Negara.

This catchy advert have plenty of sublime messages. One, we shouldn't be arguing with each other. Outsiders might take advantage of that and 'kill' us all. Two, women should free themselve from things that would limit them from achieving their full potential (i.e. women can be anything). Three, we should always remember the struggle that forefathers (and mothers) endured to achieve independent and defend it. Four, it's a sort of recruitment advert encouraging youngster to join the army to defend the country. Five, visit and value local historical sites.

So, have you been to 'Tugu Negara' (National Monument) recently? I visited in June 2007. :)

(p.s. If you look carefully at this picture of Tugu Negara, you can see a soldier folding the Malaysian Flag)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Malaysia @ 50

I went to Balai Seni Lukis Negara (a.k.a. National Art Gallery) for the launching Malaysia's @ 50 book and photo exhibition. It was to comemorate Malaysia's 50th year of independence. The speech from Dato Seri Rais Yatim was short and concise. After he officiate the thing, we were alllowed to browse through the photo exhibition.

While some photos were awesome and evoke emotion, others were simply beyond me (i.e. I simply don't get why they were chosen). Lucky for me, I got the hardcover-glossy-coloured-pages of the exhibition catalog for free. My aunt looked at the photos and spotted things that I didn't see. For example, I saw three children having their back to each other. She saw the kids were playing a kind of hop-scotch - each of the other legs were sort hook to one another and the three kids were suppose to hop together!

Speaking of kids, school is out for a week. For kids, it's "Merdeka" (independent) for awhile. For office workers, a little less of traffic jams. For vacationers, it's peak season. For tourists, more people at touristy spots. School holiday is also the time for weddings invitation..

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I was waiting for my weekly dose of unhealthy-life-shortening-fastfood takeout at M when I overheard a westerner (most likely a non-native english speaker) trying to order beer from the 'tudung'-wearing lady at the counter. I almost laughed my head off at the irony of the situation.

Generallly, 'tudung'-wearing women don't drink (alcoholic drink). Nor do they sell it.

Another thing to note is that most fastfood restaurant don't sell alcoholic drink. And average Malaysian don't walk around and at the same time drinking beer from its can. Especially in midday. It gives the impression that you are a drunkard. Drinking is done in clubs and pubs.

If you ever come to Malaysia, don't order beer in McD, KFC and the likes of it. Definitely don't order from tudung-wearing women.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's arrived in mail today

I got a mail yesterday. You know the one that you have to put stamp on the envelope. Looking at the envelope (like an invitation card), must be from a friend who's getting married, so I procrastinate in opening it.

This morning I opened it and look:

... and I thought it was a wedding invitation.