Tag Archives: singapore

The Migraine of Every Wedding

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The past weeks have been busy and crazy.. Scouring for caterers to fit our theme and menus. Especially if you are not the kind to be efficient in information retrieval at the last minutes. Considering that we decided to get married in 6 months (then was in March), now we’re left with about 4 months. Finding a caterer around this timeline means one cannot be too picky.

Point to note: This is where the bulk of your savings goes to. (Unless your parents set up a wedding fund for you. Don’t laugh, some of my friends’ parents did it for them.) And also the migraine of every wedding.

As our reception is a little twist from the typical Malay wedding reception, it was quite hard finding the right caterer. I took notes of the caterers names when I attend wedding functions. But I feel that it’s quite useless now that time and budget is not a luxury for us. I mean, names like Farzana, Puteri and Charisma are usually fully booked. Another thing we faced was the caterers we inquired with, cannot change their package! Some couples want hassle free all in package. Ok fine. But there are others who probably want some things here and there. We have a little DIYs and 2 different menus to cater to different social circles, namely our families and relatives and friends and colleagues.

I was adamant and stood my ground. The me that anyone know probably would not mind going with what’s best. But I felt that this time, I needed to say what I needed to say. I stood my ground on the reasons why our initial plan should stay as is. Besides, I am very sure that this 2-menus reception can be done. I have faith in the caterers but sadly, being typical Melayu, either they’re not very keen on the idea (most caterers said it’s very troublesome when buying the ingredients whereas others just quoted “pricey like it’s 2 different receptions”.). I became almost hopeless. I cannot imagine the super long queue for food and the kendarats having to keep topping up food. I cannot imagine people becoming flustered and annoyed. I cannot imagine myself not being happy when others are not.

For awhile, I gave up looking for anymore. I had found some halal caterers like those that serve during contact times and school events. Food will taste A-okay and probably some, like NS food. Yup, I resorted to that. I had wanted to support our Malay community caterers but look, with those kinda remarks like “leceh”.. “dah macam 2 majlis..”. I just cannot. But I guess, God loves us. He heard our pleas and answered our prayers. We found one, a family friend, who offered to cater for our wedding. A bit of my migraine went away when the caterer said she could do with 2 different menus. THAT WAS SUCH A RELIEF! 

I know it can be done. If once a upon a time in the early millennium, some weddings had a small lunch reception after the solemnization the later at night followed by dinner, I do not see why my 2 menus seemed “leceh” to some. We foresee a lot of guests yet we do not want to compromise on food, therefore we thought having 2 menus is a good idea. After last night’s meet up with the caterer at our venue, I felt better. The caterer listened to our needs and as much as possible both parties came up with a proper solution for the reception without changing much of the bride’s and groom’s needs.  And I can safely say now that I am looking forward to our big day!

P/s: I do not know if my 2-menu reception is going to be a good one. I really hope it will be a smooth-sailing one. I hope i do not cause a lot of trouble for my caterer, I hope my guests will be happy and I hope everything will go well.

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Shit is getting real

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At the stroke of midnight, we will register at ROMM. Shit is getting real. The butterflies in my tummy have transformed into pterodactyls and T-Rexes shuffling to their stampede rhythm. Nothing makes sense but yes, THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS TO BE DONE! 

I can only pray and hope and leave it to Him so that this new journey be smooth. So, how do I calm this stampede and turn my pterodactyls back to butterflies? 

Betrothal

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I was proposed to not long after 6 months of courtship. A very shocking one for me, if anyone knows me. That one without a boyfriend for the longest time and that one who thought she would not settle down until later. God is really fair. When I submit myself to Him, amazing things happened to me. 

So, I was told by my partner that his family would want to come over for the official engagement a week later. *mugcow! Huru-hara, okay!* People who got news of it were shocked and some found it too rushing. Err, has anyone ever considered my feelings? 

Maybe, because of this rush, I have forgotten (honestly, I did not have the luxury of time) to inform many people. Initially, I do not want an engagement. Later, I thought a betrothal is necessary only if the important people are around. Yes we have the Adat Merisik, Adat Meminang, Adat Melamar and Adat Bertunang. In the olden days, these customs were done progressively. Now, I feel, we should be more practical and waste less money. 

We had a small gathering, both families joined by our representatives (“wakil” from both sides) where the elders talked about the details pertaining to the big day and whatnots. Where was I in this story? I had to sit in the dining room, not allowed to do any work like serving of guests. Honestly, I would wanna do it. I wasn’t allowed to. I felt really awkward and restless. My SIL and cousins reminded to be lady-like and sit still. You think? I wasn’t listening to the talk, I remembered vaguely they talked about the “duit hantaran”, nobody asked my opinion and I did not listen further. Totally shut everything out. I focused on playing with my niece instead. 

Soon, I was asked to come out of my “hiding” for the betrothal. His mother put the ring on me and we somewhat became officially to be betrothed. How did I react? As much as I have been to many engagement parties, when it comes to your own, you’ll be lost. For sure. We took pictures, which I felt were not worthy of sharing them on social media. REASON: I looked fat and I would rather basked in that moments of awkwardness than have my ugly photo be shared on social media as an announcement of my engagement. We did not take any pictures together because his aunt thought it is not appropriate. It’s fine by me. We can always take pictures later on. We did not exchange any gift (yes, like those trays of gifts you see at people’s engagement). His side gave me a ring, a bouquet of flowers and a cake (only because my birthday was coming?). No, my side did not give anything in return. In my defense, it was not in our agreement to exchange anything. Tak perlu kan? 

My betrothal was short and sweet. And we barely have 6 months to plan for our big day. I couldn’t care less if there is no engagement. But we still have our elders and I am very clear on which customs to keep. Unnecessary and impractical adats can go. I say so because in my line of studies, I have learnt so much about adat istiadat Melayu that they drive me crazy. Not that I am not proud to be a Malay. However, if you want to carry on an adat but you are doing it half-heartedly or just calling it an adat just because, no I’d rather not do it. 

Our budding relationship is pretty new. Not many people know we are together, which is definitely fine by me. I keep my relationship private as long as close friends know who I am dating. As much as I wanted to tell the world, my engagement to my Random Awesome was the best birthday gift ever, I found myself pretty reluctant to announce it. And those who know me, would know I use codes to express my thoughts normally.

 Word of my engagement got around because my dearest mama told me how much papa wanted to announce it. And if daddy was still around, he would be the happiest too. I relented. Mama uploaded the photos on FB. Some friends saw my tagged photos. And those who understood my term of “leveled up” also congratulated me. No qualms. That, too shall pass. 

To this day, I am quite happy that I did not have to announce my engagement. If by chance you heard of it, thank you. If by chance you meet me on the streets or at wedding functions, or by now seen the ring, you would have known. My fiance ever asked if I was happy my engagement was not as big as our other friends and family, I was. And I told him I would not have it any other way. He agreed with me on the hadith “rahsiakan pertunangan, hebahkan perkahwinan”. This hadith, though, is considered to be weak. Some scholars and elders question why! The good news are meant to be shared. Yes, I agree. But I love this privacy. In shaa Allah, we’ll announce the big day so the whole universe will know ok? 

So ladies, it really is up to you how you want your engagement to be. Nobody says anything you do is wrong.  And do not let anyone pressure you to do anything you dislike. As long as you are happy, it is all that matters.

Merrily, literally, literary arts.

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Last weekend, my days started super early (I usually sleep in). I hate weekends if I have no plans. But that week, I was excited. My first literary festival! Yeayyy! I aspire to be a writer since I was young, for now, an educator first. Anyways, I never had any chance to attend literary fest or conference. Maybe because I am in the wrong circle as I never really gotten good inside news about literary conference going on. I wished I had gone for all the panel discussions and meet the authors sessions but I had to choose. So I chose my favourite writers; Khadijah Hashim and Dewi Lestari.

1. PANEL DISCUSSION: Atas Nama Cinta (In the name of love)

This discussion, moderated by Emelda Juhari featured two top writers, Khadijah Hashim and Isa Kamari to discuss the images of women in literature. So we discussed the portrayals of women in their writings. From how authors like to portray women were bad; prostitutes, evil step mother, cheating girlfriend etc, to how women are shown to rise from their fall and how women face challenges. Well, women in their portrayals, play important roles in society. I felt the one hour discussion was short with KH sidetracked almost all the time. I mean, I love her loads, but seriously, I came to hear why writers write such way about women. But I did enjoy the discussion. I saw in their perspectives, both KH & IK, the different ways women are being portrayed in novels.

According to KH, “…untuk mengangkat sesuatu masyarakat itu, wanita perlu diberi pelajaran..” which means that women have to be educated as well in order for society to prosper. Images of women in prose differs in a female author’s perspective from male author’s. Well, in IK’s point of view, readers must think when they read. Therefore, criticisms come about as different points of views.

I can quite agree that I love both perspectives, from a female writer and its male counterpart. Nevertheless, I got to have my Badai Semalam old school novel autographed by KH. So, I was happy.

2. PANEL DISCUSSION: Sastera Popular lawan Sastera Mapan (Popular vs Literary)

Comparative literature. Just what I love. Moderated by my ex lecturer, Dr Nazry Bahrawi, featuring KH, Cg Mohamed Latiff Mohamed, Rohman Munasip & Dewi Lestari.  Image

So, I have a lot to say! I truly enjoyed this session the most, not because Dewi Lestari was amongst the panelist, but really, there was so much enrichment. Cg Latiff was definitely against all the popular novels. According to him, artistic value, aesthetics and philosophy of a literary novel will not be jeopardized by time. Compared to popular novels which was rated by how many hundreds or thousands being sold, literary novels are hard to sell. I saw his point, when he mentioned “gangsterism and sex” being these popular novels main focus. I couldn’t agree more. Almost all popular novels that I have read, back when I was in secondary school and recently some now, have the same kinds of conflicts; teenage love, unrequited love, triangle love, drugs and sex. But I beg to differ, only very few popular novels portrayed heavy plots and conflicts. At a point there was a nice bicker as to how love is portrayed in popular novels compared to literary ones. However, RM said to label a novel is popular or literary is very subjective and it is readers’ rights.Nope, I am not going to mention how KH bragged about her 45 year old novel and still going strong. 

All in all, to a certain extent when I felt this discussion, if prolonged, could have become a heated debate which I like. Having Dee in the panel gave us a different point of view from her perspective as she’s Indonesian and young. Seeing how their state of literary arts as compared to ours (Singapore & Malaysia), I think Dee also has a point when said it’s tough to make your novel break through as popular. A literary novel that withstand time, at some point, was a popular novel, yes? According to Dee, a novel has to get recognition from the media, be bestselling novel which means impact from readers, get recognition in festivals and the impact of the novel like how it can shape society. I don’t disagree. In fact, translated novels could fish the interest of foreign readers to inquire about the author.

3. Malay Literary Conferance: Sastera KOTA Sastera

This was the peak for me and probably for Malay literary arts in Singapore. Attended it alone and I truly felt tiny in a room filled with prolific writers and well-known authors and scholars. I kept to myself, intently listening to the papers presented, one by my ex-lecturer, Dr Nazry Bahrawi on images of ‘place’ in literature. He compared Suratman Markasan’s Penghulu and Andrea Hirata’s Laskar Pelangi (or The Rainbow Troops). It was enriching for me, maybe because I love comparative literature. And the fact that one statement, “Authors tend to feel god-like because they create the story.” (somewhere along the line) has actually sparked debate a short while. I was amused, but enlightened by this short debate nonetheless. A presentation from Noridah Kamari sparked my historical knowledge as she went through post-war periods which affected our literary arts. It was very enlightening for me.

Unfortunately for me, my attention span was short fused that day. The three hour conference turned out to be longer than expected. I wouldn’t mind a half day conference, even! If it had started out slightly earlier. Well, I vaguely remembered Putu Oka Sukanta’s words, “yang membingungkan itu lebih jernih...” (What confuses you is clearer.) I felt that the first part, when three papers presented was much more alive than the subsequent panel discussions.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first literary arts festival. And I hope it will not be my last. Who knows, one day, I might join those big shot writers and scholars…