Afterthoughts about weddings

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Last weekend was a cacophony of merry sounds – that of clanking cutleries against plates, serenading of 90’s love songs that I didn’t think I could ever hear again, greetings and hugs (or thumps for the boys) between old friends and the ultimate come-together for the joyous occasion – a wedding.

I didn’t think weddings are a big thing.

Technically, I still don’t. At first, I looked at weddings as an invasion of my privacy, hidden costs, false promises of unrealistic expectations and the painful smiling to strangers I don’t even know. Last Sunday, I was given a different glimpse of how weddings can possibly be an alternative to the ultimate social gathering of the decade. I saw it as a time when old friends, university mates and colleagues came together to extend their blessing and dip into the bowl of happiness while creating, perhaps, a final collective memory before one chapter ends and another begins.

I have always hated Malaysian weddings, you see. They are a drag in the most literal sense. Invitation cards print the timings at 6.30pm. Guests arrive lackadaisically between 7.30 to 8pm. Food are only served at 8.30 or sometimes the dreadful 9pm and the entire banquet don’t end until 10.30pm at the very least. That’s four hours of sitting down, squashed between 9 other people you might not even want to sit with on a regular basis. My memories of weddings were boring at best; the rest of the time, I felt they were slicing layers off my soul just for the fun of it.

But anyways, Indonesian weddings are, today, a novelty to me. I enjoy them very much and they seem less pretentious and awkward. There’s the whole cultural difference of course – I wonder how my Malaysian and Taiwanese family would fit if ever, I have one – but there seems to be a mutual respect between the bride & groom and their guests. Timings are prompt, speeches are heartwarming, the photo booths are such fun and even the decoration draws you in. I felt like a hobbit in the Shire attending Bilbo Baggin’s 111th birthday or Harry Potter during his first Christmas with the Weasleys. I could probably write a sociological paper on the disruption of social function in Malaysian weddings vs the organic happiness in Indonesian wedding (probably wouldn’t classify it as a country vs country though, more of how weddings are run) as well – that’s how strongly I feel against M-weddings.

On another note, as R is one of the three bestmen for the wedding – I spent a huge chunk of the day with them as well. Under discerning eyes, one would probably gleam off a lot when you ask me “So, do you like Bandung?”. It is a deceptively simple question, no? Or maybe I am layering it too much. Regardless. Alvin asked me the question and I felt trapped for some reason. To me, this answer involves the possibility of actually living there in the future, the constant wondering of will I like or dislike it, the comparison between my mother’s choice and mine and all the other complicated issues I am not ready to confront. It opens up a world of uncertainty, of trying, of stepping out of my comfort zone…of more responsibilities, nop thank you very much for now. Today, I would like to replay the wedding on Sunday with a tinge of envy and a whole lot of happiness. Yay for me.

P.S: Congratulations to the bride and groom, Chris and Tata!! All the best.

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