Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nuptial Marathons

A number of people I know got married in recent months, including my own brother, Harry. I can't help but notice that all these weddings are celebrated in almost the same way. The fashionable thing to do these days is to take up a "wedding package" which usually includes inter alia the making or renting of the wedding gown, a photography session which may or may not include the video compilation, and of course the grand wedding reception in a famous hotel where hundreds or even thousands of family members and close friends are invited to grace the occasion.

If anything, these days weddings are not a cheap affair—they can cost up to a pretty down payment for a house, or maybe the full price of a car. And in almost all cases, I also notice that most of these young people who're struggling to build up their careers would have to sacrifice quite a lot to raise the money to cover the cost of the wedding celebrations. In fact, it is almost expected of them to throw a big party!

I found myself looking back at my own wedding some 19 years ago. When compared to what's the norm today, it pales in comparison. We had the church thing, of course; and then after that we proceeded to the hall at the back of the church for some light snacks and soft drinks. Later that evening, we invited some friends for a party. But far from a grand wedding reception in a famous hotel, we decided to set up tents in the front compound of my uncle's house. We did not pay astronomical amount for professional photographers. Instead, we sought help from some friends to take photos and videos. Everything was kept very simple and down to earth. I dare say it was one of those boring weddings based on today's standard!

I think it would have been nice if I could afford a grand wedding, but the cost of such was far beyond anything that I could afford. I used up quite a bit of my savings for the celebration, and I was determined not to borrow money for that purpose.

Actually, it's strange that people in general have the habit of having grand wedding celebrations, really. Admittedly, it's a very special day, but I see marriage as something akin to running the marathon. Too many people celebrate their arrivals at the starting line, and then after the race had started, too many of them find that it's a very unpleasant experience. So they struggle; they suffer when they reach the undulating surfaces; their knees and ankles turn into jelly when negotiating bends; and ultimately many of them suffer cramps and give up long before reaching the finish line!

I celebrated my arrival at the starting line over 19 years ago. But it was a very simple celebration. And as I started running the race, there were many, many tough moments when I had to climb hills, when I had to overcome exhaustion and thirsts and cramps all over my body. But overall, it's been an enjoyable run anyway. With my arrival at each new milestone, I felt there was a bigger reason to celebrate. I'm happy that I've reached this far in my race, and I celebrate the fact that I'm still racing up to now. I've seen too many people who celebrated excessively at the starting line who've long since given up on the race. All those grand celebrations seem such a waste.

As I run my marathon, I feel blessed that I still have it in me to continue running. I'm still enjoying the race, and although I do not throw a big party at each new milestone, I celebrate grandly in my heart and mind. But perhaps 20 years is a good distance to pause for a grand celebration before continuing with the race again. I think 2012 will be an exciting year...


Cornelius said...

Oops! Looks like I'm still not up to date on this thing. I have just been informed that there is also an optional "slimming package" tied up to the wedding package. People actually go through the slimming process so that they'd look good for their weddings.

Socrates29 said...

There is one more new happening associated mostly with chinese weddings which you have missed mentioning also - the part where they teased the bridegroom when he goes to the bride's house to pick up the bride either to go to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce office to solemnise their union or to the bridegroom's house.

Nowadays it is very common for the bride's relatives and friends to tease the bridegroom first when he arrives at her house to pick her up. Before he and his entourage comprising mostly his young male friends are allowed into the house,they are made to perform all kinds of funny acts like drinking from a baby bottle as one, eating bread flavoured with hot and spicy stuff,doing floor exercise for a certain number of times on the floor,etc.etc..

All this may seemed to be clean and hilarious to those involved but sometimes the joke or horseplay may be quite unsporting and humiliating to the participants,especially the bridegroom. A priest from my chuch attended one of this occassion when the daughter of a near relative of his got married recently and witnessed allthe going ons at the bride's house causing him to deliver a sermon about such practice the next day in church.

He said he was shocked to see the bridegroom behaving like a dog (his exact words) by being made to carry out certain demeaning pranks.He said that a man's wedding day is a most memorable and auspicious day of his life.Therefore he or those who accompanied him should not be made to carry out such demeaning acts on that special day.

Many years ago we do not have such practices associated with our wedding day.What transpired was the usual giving out of red packets to whoever open the car door of the groom,who carried the umbrella for the bride ,who opened the bride's room door for the groom without any fuss!
Just my 2 cent bit about this subject.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said.

Cornelius said...

Hi Socrates29,

It's nice to know that you're still following my blog! It's been quite a while since you last commented here!

Yes, you are quite right, my friend. I suppose that is just human nature. When they see others do something new, they have the tendency to copy. But after that they themselves want to do something even newer. So they improvise. Except that the definition of "improvisation" may be different from one individual to another.

I also notice that these days, it is almost a must to include the poco-poco dance; and that yam seng thing where the YAM portion is stretch up to 5 minutes? Who knows, maybe someone will set a new trend soon, like inviting Yong Teck Lee and Datuk Haris for some stand-up comedy?

Cornelius said...


It's scary that even in Malaysia the divorce rate is increasing. I suspect it has something to do with Malaysian women who're now aware of their rights; or the romantic idea of equal rights? I don't know if that's a good thing or not. Not many people really mean it when they answer "I do" to the question "... in sickness and health, till death do you part..."