Thursday, August 30, 2007

Holy union my a.. !

I hate it.
I really do hate it.
With passion.
With conviction.

See, I've been getting wedding invitations from my Malay friends, and several of them were in English instead of the national language.

What usually read as,

"Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haji A bin Haji B & Hjh C binti Haji D
dengan segala hormatnya menjemput
ke majlis perkahwinan anakanda kami
AE bin Hj A dengan MN binti Hj O
pada x X 2006 bersamaan dengan y Y 1427H
di No Z, Jalan 123, KL
Semoga dengan kehadiran dan doa restu semua majlis ini akan diberkati Allah.
Terima Kasih

has turned into:

"May light of happiness shine our joyous event
Suki & Dean
cordially request the honour of your presence
to witness the holy union of our love
at 666, Jalan 4444, Sijangkang
x X, 2007 at 6.45PM
With warm regards from Hj V and Hjh Q and family.
Love is two hearts merging as one, and as angels ring our wedding chimes I declare my undying passion to you."

Adui mak... what's up with that la? Sure, perhaps such invits are only sent to friends, and possibly Suki (aka Sakiyah) and Dean (Abudin) are one of those people who work with MNCs with lots of Mat Salleh and Minah Foreigners to invite.

Last April I was delighted to receive a wedding card from a friend in Finland, which was written in Finnish and translated to Swedish (just for me she took time to translate it to English with her own handwriting), but I was honoured nonetheless, I figured that's one way I'll learn her culture.

So where's our culture here? Why so not Malay one? Isn't wedding a time to keep things traditional?

I remember when wedding cards featured baby pictures of the bride and groom - OK, cute.

I remember when wedding cards featured the biodata of the bride and groom - er, who cares?

But wedding cards in English with love vows in printed in italics that do not even contain a simple salam? - Nasty! And frankly, plain vomit material. No budi, no bahasa there!

If this is just another new trend, takkan nak trendy sangat sampai no traces of their roots can be seen?

But that's not all, one mate related to me at one wedding she attended, the usual nasi minyak and ayam masak merah are nowhere to be seen. Guests were presented a Mediteraanean infusion instead.

Guess to these weddings we can just show up in jeans, baby-Ts and Crocs huh?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pantun Mak Itam

Pa's passion for the cute Melaka houses led me to Pak Itam's house, a popular youth hangout in the kampung. Pak Itam married three times, first to a pantun primadona who kids call Mak Itam.

According to Pak Itam, Mak Itam was his only wife who stayed. His jodoh from the second and third unions ended in divorces.

When her husband developed interest in other women and committed to two others, Mak Itam, who gave up her glamourous life, experience a total blow. To her ears her new state of bermadu tiga screams she wasn't loved anymore.

Mak Itam promptly succumbed into a phase of unfathomable depression, reveals her daughter. "First she went mute for years. Years! After eons of silence, she suddenly rediscovered her voice and began to sell pantuns at any chance she gets.. That's when we discovered she's no longer her sane self."

Looking back at her two favourite four-liners I can only guess why after all these years she never managed to recover from her husband's actions. She chants:

"Pasang jerat di hujung tanjung
Dapat seekor landak betina
Panjang ku kerat, pendek ku hubung
Baru dapat menjadi sama."

"Layang-layang terbang melayang
Main layang di panggung wayang
Siapa kata abang tak sayang
Bagaikan bunga jatuh melayang."

The first pantun reeks of her struggle to be an equal and only partner to her husband - whatever the shortcoming, she will do her best to iron things out. The second pantun sounds as if she's trying to convince herself that there's still space for her in her husband's life. Sadly, to equate "bunga jatuh melayang" to her husband's love for her rings bells of insecurity and hopelessness in my head.

Today in her 70s, the bob-haired, sarung-clad Mak Itam paints a picture of an old woman who is chirpy and well cared for. The snarky lady also loves driving her daughther crazy with her kid-like antics, ranging from spitting the food she chewed off everyone's plate to mocking her daughter's nagging.

Her daughter kids her back by telling her that her pantuns are all stale. When this happens she only growls in dissatisfaction.

During our visit Mak Itam asked my older sibling if he has settled down. When he replied "No," she smiled approvingly. "Muda lagi, enjoy dulu. Betul tak?"