Before you proceed on reading this entry, please click on the video (below). For that “LOVE” feeling and self-made “fluttering butterflies in tummy” ambience *chuckles (my favorite “get-high-on-love” video)
Together, we can float on that contagious “LOVE” vibes.
I love to bask in that flow of energy. Jubilant smiles and radiant faces, handshakes and hugs given and well-received. Moments of rekindling those family’s missing links, enforcing the family ties and tying the bondage closer.
This time, WHQ was invited to crash into a wedding a 1.5 hours away from Pontian in Johor (2 hours away by bus). A little town called Benut. I used to frequent this area when I was a child. Hitchhiking with my late grandma (yeah, u rock grandma!). Just the two of us. I was too young to understand the meaning of accepting rides from strangers. But I was aware of people’s kindness. I was in awe.
The LOVE story of this couple is quite unique. From one end to the other end, they met and fall in love. The bride was from Benut, the groom was from Kedah. They met during her University days.
Unlike Singapore, any traveller can be well aware of Malaysia’s presence in the world’s geographical map. U can at least stretch your fingers to gauge the vast land area (for Singapore, it’s not even the mini finger, ok? But I’m thankful).
Those were the crazy days.. (but I can always ignite those crazy moments again.. )
So in this blistering heat of June, I went down at noon. In time to witness the crowd majestically appearing in their bestest clothes. Colourful Baju Kurung and “bling-bling” fancy accessories. (Oh, that reminds me, I too have to don my own Malay Costume. I took the easy way out, I wore a loose “jubbah” (Mediterranean long dress) instead.
I entered and kissed the elder females sitting in front of the house. I wanted to enter the house straight away, take a peek at the wedding dais and the wedding bedroom setup and perhaps hi-5 some ladies in the kitchen. I was stopped. In my confused mind, I thought I had to pay some entrance fee or perhaps, there was a hidden cultural taboo or perhaps…and perhaps, and perhaps…
*the endless possibilities of the mind’s “what’ifs” started to play its own charade.
They persuaded me to discard all good intentions and focus on filling up my tummy, first. I accepted with glee. My tummy was indeed playing the hard core Metallica tunes. Just in time…
I sling my DSLR and I sniffed around. Mmmm…smells good. I can smell the charcoaled wood burning from a distance. That added more anticipation to my “hunger game”. But being the “Melayu” lady that I was brought up as, I had to serve myself with grace. I couldn’t act in haste and then being frowned upon as the “gelojoh” minah (glutton lady) from Singapore. I had to wear the cloak of “a cool sophisticated malay lady of elegance” from Singapore.
Nasi Minyak and Plain rice. Hmm, must I choose? Can I take both? *Smile
And then I noticed the colourful dishes smiling back at me. The “paceri nenas” (caramelised pineapple), the “nangka lemak” (jackfruit cooked in coconut milk), the “urap pucuk ubi” (tapioca/cassava leaves stirfried with dessicated coconut), “rendang daging” (beef), “ayam kampong masak kari” (kampong chicken cooked in curry- omg! My favourite!!), fried saltish fish and more…
I sat down with my mountainous pile of food. I looked around, Oopps… the visitors mostly had their plates half or one third full.
Perhaps, it’s a good Malay etiquette to eat small portions at first try. But I also noticed, no one came for seconds.
Hmm.. oh well.. to each its own *lol
I also had my eyes fixated at the green beans dessert (bubur kacang hijau -another favourite of mine!)
As I washed my fingers… (do note: Never ever attempt eating at weddings in Kampung without your bare right hand. If you do, please leave… hahaha! The licking of your fingers are the best part of every meal!! )
I was busy savouring every morsel of food, not caring who sat beside me on the left or right. To me they didn’t matter. They were just a blur in my “NOW” moment (sorry!). The kampong chicken was a delish!
If you noticed the white array of pearlies in my mouth, you will notice that the bottom row of the front teeth has one tooth jutted out. That, my friend, has a little history to it..
When I was young, (before kindergarten), I already started eating “ayam tua” (old chicken aka “SOEP KIP” in Holland). My favourite chicken. Because it was chewy and tough. I love that in a chicken.
I would prefer to have free-range or old chicken anytime over spring chicken. Because it takes a lot of time and loads of patience and love to cook them.
Oh well, at least now it shall be my teeth’s trademark.
*the sweetness of my smile encompass that actually/kemanisan muka *lol
After the satisfactory meal, I soon got bored. I stripped my black leathery boots and wore slippers instead. Then I snooped around for some delicious shots and for more kampung food nibblets.
The villagers got together and were busy working cohesively as a team. The ladies in one corner, the men in one corner.
After an hour of watching them preparing the gorgeous food ,inserted with laughters (my high-pitched viral toned laughter, especially) and latest gossips (yikes! hear no evil..), I waited for the bride and groom to appear.
Ok, the karaoke DJ and those who attended the weddings were good singers. I never would have known that Malay “punk” boy would carry those “keroncong”, “dangdut” song so well. And those traditional Malay ballads, nearly make my goose bumps weep.
Ok, I heard the sounds of the “kompang” from a distant. The men are cladded in uniform bright orange t-shirts. (Oh, ok there were women too.) They serenaded us with vigour and triumph. Sadly, I was not able to make out those high powered gibberish words (my ears tend to do selective listening especially in the blistering heat).
The ladies from the bride side were rushing forward forming a line like in a battle. I was taken aback. Should I be wearing an armour suit, at least? I noticed this long-forgotten art of the Malay culture in Singapore weddings (or perhaps, I was the ignorant one).
The ladies were forming a strong line to prevent the groom and his “groupie” from “unlawful entry” into the house to meet the bride.
Unless, the groom sufficiently pay the “entrance” fees to the ladies. After much negotiation from the groom and bride side, the green “hong baos” were then disseminated thru out.
I looked and watched in amusement. Of course, my camera was busy recording their every move (perhaps this was indeed my only weapon instead of the “armour suit” requested)
After that, I realised the bride was actually sitting right behind me. Ok, this was something new. Because in this “battle”, normally the bride side, will make it almost impossible for the groom and his groupie to meet the bride. They normally have at least 2-4 rows of defence system (I called them “entrance fees” collectors).
After conquering the first defence system, they proceeded on with the “Mak Andam” (the lady who cares for the bride’s every needs especially her whole “Princessy” look) . She too, needed to be “satisfied”, monetarily before she could “let go” of her bride.
Hmm, I wonder how much is too little, and how much is too much? I wouldn’t mind a $500 entrance fee, per person. *lol
At last…the two lovers were united.
It was a brisk affair. Everyone wanted this “game” to be over… asap. The heat was getting into my brains. I can feel them melting like a hot chocolate lava… (aaah..ooh lala dessert!)
The hantaran trays (dowry and gifts) for the bride were then sent in…
Soon, we were supposed to proceed to the wedding dais, but because there was a visitor from Holland (ehem) and she was in a hurry to head elsewhere…
and they actually proceeded to dining first before the “pelamin” (Dais) photo taking.
But I did take a peek, before that….
The bunga telur (telur pindang)
The wedding dais
The honeymoon suite in the bride’s home
The food on their table looked exceptionally different than the meals we, visitors had. But nevertheless, being a wedding crasher has its perks too. Blend in with the family and they will mistook you as one of them .*lol.
The sambal prawns and big promfret were exceptional. They were cooked by a family member. No wonder, I can feel the love in every bite.
And so as they: The “King and Queen” of the day..finished their meal, I had to rush to another wedding.
But my curiosity spurs me on….
South Africa: http://www.worldhalalquest.com/2011/03/capetown-eat-malay-wedding.html