|Newlywed Nasruddin bin Rambli and Dayang Kahirunnisa binti Awang Khairudin|
I remember reading somewhere that children are far more aware of their surroundings than we are; they seem to be gifted with a wide angle vision which we, adults have lost to the benefit of a narrower focus on things; we, as in “most of us”, have lost the ability to see the bigger picture developing around us without making a voluntary conscious effort.
Sunday morning, I dressed up and drove to a Malay Kampung (village) close to the bungalow of the former White Rajahs Brooke and now the official residence of the Governor of Sarawak, the Astana to attend a wedding.
Finding the street, Lorong Petra Tiga, was quite easy; if you ever visit Malaysia and happen to notice the national and (at least in Sarawak) the State flag rising high at a street junction, I sincerely hope you will remember that there are the Malaysian way to indicate the direction to a wedding reception and that you too are invited. Indeed, Malaysian weddings, especially among the Malay and indigenous communities, with all the music and the DJ announcements, never fail to remind me of a happy funfair where the whole village (and often more than one) and, for that matter, any passer-by turns up to feast, dance, exchange the latest gossips and mostly marvel at the newlyweds.
In the Malay tradition, the groom is expected to follow his new wife into her family’s home where the ceremony is often performed rather than at the local surau (small mosque). With a few large tents designed for outdoors receptions, the home roof of our friend Awang Khairudin Bin Awang Buang and his wife Salamah Binti Bushrah had been extended enough to accommodate a few hundreds of diners and keep them safe from enormous dark rain clouds which, thankfully, never kept their menace to down-pour upon the party.
|The bride's parents Awang Khairudin Bin Awang Buang and Salamah Binti Bushrah|
|Welcome committee in red Baju Kurong|
|A very kind and helpful "official"|
Food is an important part of the celebration; there’s always curry, and rendang, beef and chicken, perhaps lamb and today a lime skin pickle that woke up all my taste buds at once and sent them begging for more; and of course there’s always some fruit and lots of very sweet cakes. The beauty of all this is that one never has to wait for even a minute to be served by one of the soldiers of the catering army.
|One rinses one's fingers before eating with the right hand|
|Yummy lime-skin pickles prepared by the bride's mum|
In front of the bridal stage, women and little children take turn to seat on the floor and enjoy the blessing ceremony of Tepung Tawar and now that just about everyone owns a mobile phone, close-up memories can be taken away and shared all over again.
As I readied myself to focus again through the eye of my camera, I suddenly felt in full love with the moment, one of those Eckart Tolle’s “live in the NOW” moments, or more poetically a John Denver’s “you fill up my senses” moment, or was it an Oprah’s “Ah! Moment”? No matter, I had just become aware of the rather odd fact that I could actually feel and appreciate the whole happening of the wedding party, around me as well as in and out of the room, and I wondered if this was the way I used to experience the world as a child, with a wide angle vision where every shape, colour and even sound spoke to me about what every single person had brought of themselves to this gathering while they remained totally unaware of their synchronising a moment of pure joy.
|I love this shot|
Dear Dayang Khairunnisa and Nasruddin, may you share love and happiness forever.
|Men are reciting prayers inside the house|
|The newlyweds in prayer|
|A guest wearing baju Melayu|
|Teenaged wedding guests in baju Melayu|
|Honoring the elders|
|Friends arriving at the reception|
|Elegant couple with a swift gift to take back home|
|Dedicated bride's maid|
|Arrival of the bride and groom followed by the kumpulan hadrah|
|For such a big pot, I'd have to build an extension to my kitchen!|
|Resting on the groom's lap, a traditional kris|
|The bridal stage taken over: Life's like that!|