Two flight delays and one wedding.

I must congratulate my sister in law and my biras on the recent wedding of their daughter. It was a real quick affair. The event was brief but still managed to retain the charms of a typical Malay wedding. We took the Firefly flight from KLIA around 9.35 pm on Saturday, it was almost one hour late. It was the first time I am taking Firefly, obviously not a pleasant experience, especially with the delay. It wasn’t that cheap either and the food was fudgy – neither here nor there. Then again, I shouldn’t be complaining, cheap flight always like that. The main point is we landed in Kuching safely at almost midnight.
The wedding was held in a hotel outskirt of Kuching on Sunday. We were all housed in the hotel. The event started at 9.00am with the engagement, followed by the akad nikah (solemnisation) at 10.30am and the reception stated at 11am. By 1.30pm it was all over. Real all three in one affair. Being the uncle and auntie of the bride, the wife and yours truly was entrusted with the task of receiving the guests – a simple task made onerous with fact that the event was held on the 7th floor which the hotel strangely named ‘R’ level. I reckon R stands for roof top, since it is the highest floor of the hotel. So there we were on the ground floor (which the hotel marked ‘0’ floor) guarding the lift’s entrance, smiling and shaking hands with the guests and repeatedly telling them to press the button R. More often than not we had to repeat the name of the floor as floor R is not a common one. Surely that Sunday would go on record as the day I uttered the most number of ‘R’s in my whole life so far. By half past eleven most of the guests including the dignitaries have arrived and that include one state’s minister and one federal deputy minister and one state’s deputy minister. Maybe the impending state election has got something to do with it? I do not know.
The wedding reception has the usual hallmark of a modern wedding in Sarawak with bersanding, nasi temuan, tepung tawar, and cutting of the wedding cake. And of course endless photo shoot sessions. I still remember one day in the early eighties when I was reluctantly made the bridegroom assistant in Gedong, then an interior of Sarawak. The ceremonies were different then. As an assistant I had to carry a long parang wrapped around batik cloth and walk in front of the bridegroom on the way to the bride’s house. I had to wait at the foot of the stairs before the grooms representative allowed us to go up and hand over the parang. After the bersanding and the nasi temuan event, the bride and groom would board a little boat and the boatman would paddled them halfway across the river. There they were asked to throw some nails, betel leaf, tobacco, and nuts and some other things that I did not quite know what they were. If I am not mistaken the event was called “buang praja” which basically means throwing away bad luck. I reckon it was no longer practiced these days as it has been declared unIslamic. But I am still curious as to why I had to carry the long parang and what does it symbolises? Somehow I never got round to asking the reason why. Those days I was too polite to ask. After all, being in Rome you tend to do what the Romans do or risk being perceived as rude which could be disastrous in a strange land.
Back to my niece’s wedding, after the sumptious sit-down luncheon, most the guests started leaving by 1pm and by 2pm we checked out. My daughters was comparing this wedding with the wedding of their cousins in Perak where they had to help to do the dishes, serving the guests as well as distributing gifts. Definitely it was a lot more tiring than this one where they only had to check guests registration and table numbers. I had to remind them that not all weddings are this simple and easy. These days people would rather pay for the services than do it themselves as it was more convenient, giving them more time to entertain guests. And of course it costs a lot more!
The flight back was delayed again for another half an hour and we arrived in KLIA around 2am. It was past 3am on Monday morning when we reached home.


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