An interesting wedding at Tangkak, Johor

tangkak

I just made a 1 ½ hour drive down from KL to Tangkak in Johor to attend a wedding with Jeanie and two of her friends. It’s a very small town and we spent most of the day in Muar before heading over here.

wedding tent

The groom’s house has been decked out with an outdoor canopy catering to numerous guests during the night before the wedding. There’s food and beer under the tent, it’s a midnight vigil of sorts. :D

groom house

It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this in a Chinese wedding. I’ve seen this sort of setup in Malay weddings but never in Chinese ones. I’m told it’s quite common in the smaller towns in rural areas. Imagine the logistics of having to block off an entire residential street with the permission of all the neighbours!

bunking

Anyway, the soon-to-be-wed couple were kind enough to provide accomodations for us. We’re bunking in a room inside a guest house just opposite the groom’s place for the night.

driving

The pre-wedding rituals (Jeanie is the “sister” – ji mui) is going to start early tomorrow morning and we’re heading home to KL straight after the lunch wedding reception so it’s time to grab some shut eye coz I nearly fell sleep driving today. :x

Two weddings

four seasons

This 4 seasons dish in a boat is more unwieldy that it appears to be. One of my friends turned the Lazy Susan and the bow of the boat immedietely spilled Coke all over another guest. Haha!

smk methodist

This CNY, I went to two wedding receptions on the 3rd day. The first one is a school mate’s – Ita and Constantine’s wedding.

ita constantine

This is the happy couple!

aaron

This is Jesse, Ita’s brother. I drank 3 glasses of Chivas neat in a row with him in commemoration with his sister’s wedding.

doris wong

Oh and strangely enough I met Doris Wong who works in KL. Okay, it is quite difficult to describe our relationship – she knows my ex-girlfriend (the one who’s name is inked on my arm), is related to Ita, and we’ve only chatted on Facebook. She’s in an agency too – similar line of work, and I was quite surprised to see someone smiling at me and dredged my memory to remember who the fuck that is while at the same time not wanting to appear rude. Sorry Doris! It was good finally meeting you! :)

4 seasons

I think I was still tipsy when I went to my cousin’s wedding later that night. I only capture the first dish – four seasons, coz that’s the BEST dish, hands down, at every Chinese wedding reception no?

cousin

My cousin (from my mother’s side) and her husband.

Yam seng!

Diana and Keith's wedding!

diana ting wedding

The return of the prodigal son! I flew back to Sibu after nearly a year of being in KL for one sole reason – to attend the wedding of a good friend and ex-classmate I’ve known since high school. Diana is currently living in Australia and came back for the home leg of her wedding reception.

daphne doreen

I know her sisters Daphne and Doreen too – we’re all from the same high school. I haven’t seen them for ages and it was fun sitting on the same table together – kinda like old times back in 2005. Diana is the last of the sisters to get married. I’m her age and most of my friends are already hitched. Jesus, either I’m late or they’re early. Hmm…

diana ting family

Back to the wedding, let me produce a montage of images to best represent the night:

diana wedding montage

Congratulations to Diana and Keith!

diana keith

Hmm…does this mean I have to call you Mrs. Towsey now? ;)

My sister’s wedding @ Grand Jasmine Ballroom, RH Hotel

wedding sibu

My sister just had her second wedding reception last night at the Grand Jasmine Ballroom in RH Hotel, Sibu. The KL wedding reception was held exactly one week ago and last night’s festivities were for the bride’s family and friends.

main table

The Grand Jasmine Ballroom was used since we had 40 tables seating 10 people each. Both Jasmine 1 and Jasmine 2 were used to accommodate for the wedding. I just found out that each table costs over RM 450 so that’s about RM 18,000 for the wedding reception alone.

montage sibu

Gifts were respectfully declined and my parents did not accept any ang pows at all. My parents wanted this to be a casual get-together for friends and family without the traditional trappings of Chinese wedding banquets. It’s giving back magnanimously to the Sibu community to commemorate the wedding of their daughter.

The sales personnel of the local newspapers were politely kept away from the ballroom area to prevent their hard sell advertisements from bothering the guests and we roped in relatives to do the seating arrangements and ushering duties.

montage crowd

It was a huge task since there were 400 guests from various groups (church, organizations, corporations, family, schools and friends) to be seated at their designated tables.

I was slated to be the MC of the night and there were two main events that I had to coordinate – the entrance of the bride and groom from the flower arch down the red carpet lined with flowers and all the way through the second wedding arch before being seated.

entrance

The night’s festivities began with the bride and groom walking in before being seated at the main table.

montage main

There are ten seats on the main table:
1. Alvin Ng (groom)
2. Poh Yih Jia (bride – my sister)
3, 4: Mr & Mrs Poh (parents of the bride)
5, 6: Mr & Mrs Ng (parents of the groom)
7: Paternal grandmother (of bride)
8: Maternal grandmother (of bride)
9, 10: Poh Huai Bin & Doris (brother of the bride and girlfriend)

montage speach

I started off with a short welcome speech before showing a presentation of my sister’s progress throughout the years. The bride and groom came on stage to acknowledge the efforts that went into the events management aspects. My sister did a great speech thanking my parents for her upbringing, waxing nostalgic and generally trying to be a tearjerker. It’s a good thing some sand got into my eyes. ;)

first dish

The good Reverent said grace before dinner and the first dish was served.

The interesting bit and the flagship feature of weddings at The Grand Jasmine Ballroom is the presentation of the first dish. The lights went dark and music started playing as a parade of waiters and waitresses choreographed a candlelit performance while carrying the first dish before serving the dishes. It’s quite unique and novel.

montage festivities 

There was the time-honored cake cutting ceremony by the bride and the groom after that, followed by the champagne pouring ceremony, some kissing action from the newly weds and a toast led by me where everyone raised their glasses to bless the holy matrimony of the bride and groom.

main group

This is a group photo of the immediate family at the main table. You’ll notice that there are only eight of us – my paternal grandmother went to the washroom and there was an empty seat meant for my maternal grandmother. Unfortunately, she had a bad Alzheimer’s attack before the wedding and couldn’t join us. Both my grandfathers are deceased, both coincidentally from lung cancer.

food 1

The food on the main table is served individually for some reason, instead of being a communal dish.

food 2

I have yet to figure out the reasoning behind this.

I went up and sang The Wedding a.k.a the “Ave Maria” song with my mom before the end of the night.

I actually sang it twice, the first one was dedicated to my girlfriend and I did a solo on that. My apologies for subjecting everyone to the auditory assault – I don’t sing well, but I sing with my heart. :p

doris

The wedding reception ended at 9:30 pm and our relatives stayed back and helped clean up the place. Doris is seen here feeding me fake champagne – it’s a actually a prop that expels confetti when pulled.

cake

There was just one major blunder at the wedding – the three-tiered wedding cake was not sliced and distributed by the RH Hotel staff after the cake cutting ceremony, which they were supposed to do. We all forgot about that since we were busy with other stuff and only realized it when it was still on stage when I thanked the guests for coming. Oh well, at least it was all packed up and given to relatives so it’s not that bad.

wedding end

Congratulations to Alvin Ng and Yih Jia on their wedding. I guess I’ll have to start to call my sister Mrs. Ng now.

Hmm…

My sister's wedding @ KL

kl wedding

My sister had her wedding reception in Restaurant Oversea at Jaya One in PJ last Saturday. I was in KL for the weekend to attend the wedding – there will be another one this Saturday in Sibu, where I would be the MC for the night. I have been instructed to tone down on my jokes coz I commented about her cleavage in the KL wedding and she nearly went into hysterics and rushed into the toilet to fix her dress. Heh!

wedding table kl

My sister is the polar opposite of me, personality wise. ;)

me sister kl

I’m going to cover the Sibu wedding ceremony (which I haven’t figured out how to do while being the MC at the same time) so I didn’t do much at the KL wedding, which was more on the groom’s side, so here’s a montage of the events:

montage

This is my new extended family:

group kl

I had a pretty embarrassing pre-dinner moment when the person manning the reception counter was on the phone and couldn’t seat us. I gave an off-hand sarcastic comment to my date and my aunt in KL which I’m sure she heard. I found out later that the receptionist was my sister-in-law. Major faux pax. Not a good way to start a relationship, I’m sure.

Oops…

Chinese wedding ceremony from a best buddy perspective

marriage

My friend of over 20 years just got married on Sunday and I was slated to be one of the “best buddy” for the groom entourage. It’s a HK tradition where the bride is barricaded (willingly, of course) inside her house along with her group of (all female) friends. This group is known as the zhi mui (sisters) while the groom team, consisting of me and a couple of others are known as the heng tai (brothers).

wedding car

The mission is to get into the bride’s bedroom in her house from the groom’s house. We started arriving early in the morning to Ting Chuan’s house where the wedding preparations has already been set up the night before. The groom team is meeting up at the groom’s house before the fleet of cars led by the wedding car drives to the bride’s house.

My first question upon seeing this old friend of mine:
ting chuan
HB: Eh, bro, it’s your big day. Why haven’t you shaved?
TC: I did! I shaved at 12 am last night so there’ll be a stubble. It looks more manly.

celeste

Naturally, being the opportunistic person that I am, I talked to Celeste who works at Ta Ann. She was the only female in our entourage.

me celeste

I got an XX Chromosome post out of it too, it’s a bit out of place in this post, but hey, someone told me weddings are the best place to meet new people. :p

arrive

Anyway, we departed for the bride’s house in several cars and arrived without the customary mass honking (which I was told was only done after the bride has been secured and transported back to the groom’s house).

cloth

There are a lot of traditions to be followed in a Chinese wedding ceremony – a piece of cloth is laid upon the wedding car and the car is reversed so it’s facing out. Lanterns (representing the future offspring) are also tied to both of the side mirrors.

longevity

The groom’s entourage (us) sat down for a meal of longevity noodles with chicken soup.

tc egg

My friend (the groom) was presented with an egg each by the father and mother of the bride.

same table

We ate at the table together – this is the meal to energize us for the task up ahead…securing the bride.

Our heng tai (brothers) entourage is expected to pass three stages before getting to the bride’s bedroom. The bottleneck is the staircase up, which is manned (womanned?) by a representative from the zhi mui (sisters), the friends of the bride.

ang pow

Ang pow (red packets containing money) are expected to be given out at every stage and one of the sisters has even prepared some in advance just in case the groom didn’t have enough. Heh!

stages drink

I kinda like how this one was done – the representative said that there are four stages in a married couple’s life and the groom is expected to “go through” each one metaphorically and literally in advance. The sour stage represents the arguments that will inevitably occur in every relationship and the groom has to drink a bottle of calamansi lime juice to pass that.

stages

There are also questions posed at every stage, with “punishments” rendered out if the groom can’t answer the questions. Ting Chuan couldn’t remember the exact day, month, and year he met his bride-to-be and had to eat a wasabi spiked kampua. The groom has the option of asking his buddies to take the punishment for him, since there’s a lot meted out.

wasabi

He passed the wasabi noodles to me and as the brother (“best buddy”), I took one for the team. It tasted quite delicious actually, but the first bite made my eyes water. They were really serious in putting the wasabi (horse radish) into the noodles. The sisters took pity on me and told me I didn’t actually have to finish it, but I did and it tasted delicious. I even asked for the recipe from them after the event. ;)

final stage

The salty stage involves the groom drinking salt water and the bitter stage is represented by bitter gourd extract. There were a lot of questions during the various stages, which he luckily got right, since they had an arsenal of wasabi laced kampua noodles up there. Thus, after the mass handing out of ang pows (red packets) to the sisters, we finally got to the final stage.

This is the sweet stage – it’s orange juice that the groom has to drink. Sour, salty, bitter, sweet. I love the imagery behind this custom. The last gauntlet was to call out for the bride and asking her for permission to enter.

access

The sisters finally granted access, and the door was opened.

the bride

I present – Siew Ling, the bride! :)

propose

Ting Chuan has to propose formally to her and the fun isn’t quite over yet as the sisters made them kiss for 10 minutes.

It was finally negotiated down to 10 seconds, but unfortunately, I didn’t get the footage coz I was changing memory cards. It was very sweet actually, and that was the catalyst that made me want to get married.

father bride

The father of the bride escorted her down the stairs…

handover

…and officially “handed over” his daughter.

ancestral

Chinese custom has a form of ancestral worship that is widely practiced over here and the newlyweds have to bow three times to the late grandparents of the bride for blessings.

parents bow

Respect is also rendered to the parents of the bride by bowing three times, upon which the mother of the bride clasps a gold necklace around the groom’s neck. This is foreign to me and I don’t know what it symbolizes.

proceed

The newlyweds proceeded out of the bride’s house…

pose group

…to pose for a group photo with relatives of the bride.

umbrella

Thus, our entourage escorted the bride with a red umbrella into the car for the return trip to the groom’s house.

depart

The wedding car drove out and reversed three (3) times before stopping for the mother of the bride to present a key to the bride. I don’t know what the accelerating and backing up of the wedding car symbolizes but the key to the bride is a token reminder for her to return home every Chinese New Year on the second day, and also taken to mean that she is welcome home at any time, even though she’s now “married out” and part of the groom’s family.

firecrackers

Our entourage arrived back to the groom’s residence where firecrackers were lit for the celebration.

The bride and groom have to wait until the firecrackers end before alighting from the car.

ti gong

The newlyweds are the first to step into the house with their shoes on (while everyone else takes off their shoes) and bow three times into thin air. This was related to me as a request for the blessing of their matrimony by “ti gong” (a saint/god of sorts).

wedding bed

That being done, the bride and groom goes into their room and sits down on the marriage bed. I think this is to represent the consummating of the marriage. ;)

rings

The exchanging of rings is done at the groom’s house…

tea

…and the newlyweds kneel down on cushions to serve tea to the parents of the groom as a token of respect and to seek their blessing on the marriage.

soup

The bride and groom are given a sweet soup (tong sui) to drink to mark their new journey in life together.

wedding group photo

It was a fun experience and it really made me want to settle down and get married too. Congratulations to Siaw Ting Chuan and Wong Siew Ling on their union. Cheers bro! :)

My best friend's wedding

wedding reception

My best friend just got hitched yesterday with a fellow coworker. I’m really happy for him, and I have to admit, a little bit envious coz I’ve been trying so hard to find The One and not really succeeding. Ting Chuan has been my friend ever since time immemorial – we have been buddies since we were in Primary 1 (7 years old).

sheraton

The wedding banquet was held at Sheraton but I’ve been the “best buddy” since early morning. The writeup for that will be up tomorrow – it’s much more interesting. The “best buddy” system is a HK custom where the groom with an entourage of friends goes through obstacles created by the bride and her friends to gain access to her room and bring her back home.

sheraton decor

It was a lot of fun since it was the first time I’ve ever been involved in such an event. The custom isn’t Malaysian, it has just gained popularity recently due to the influx of HK and Taiwan serials. ;) There are a lot of interesting Chinese customs that I was exposed to and I will be writing about that with videos tomorrow.

sheraton table

I found the couple to be really sweet, they’re very nicely matched. Ting Chuan and Siew Ling just look so happy together that I couldn’t help but be happy for them. It’s nice to be married and settled and having kids and all that. It’s the life I want – that’s the purpose of my life, to leave behind my life of excess and find a soul mate who can tame me and domesticate me.

appetizer

The lunch reception started out at 12 noon and the first dish is the obligatory Chinese appetizer/sampler dish. It has prawns, abalone, fish and other dishes on a huge platter divided physically into sections.

black chicken soup

The second dish is “black chicken” soup – which is a kind of free range chicken that is renowned in Chinese cuisine as being more nutritious than regular chickens.

black chicken

I’m not sure if it’s the same thing as kampung chicken but it’s usually served during celebrations such as birthdays, weddings and festive seasons.

fish

The third dish is fish – a staple of all Chinese banquets. It’s a mixture of pan fried salmon and deep fried breaded fish. It’s surprisingly delicious, but then again I was famished from waking up in the morning for the entourage to the bride’s house. :)

peking duck

The next dish is a Peking duck type affair with the waitress taking rolls of soft, warm and fluffy bread (called man tou) and filling it with a piece of duck, spring onions, and then drizzling it with sauce before serving it individually.

duck bun

I liked this dish. It’s the sauce that makes or breaks the duck and the sauce at Sheraton is really good.

yin yang

The fifth dish was a combination of two items – there’s sweet and sour pork on one side of the dish and sea cucumber served in half a pineapple on the other side. It’s supposed to represent the yin and yang.

prawns abalone

The next dish also follows the yin yang concept with deep fried prawns on one side and abalone in a ring of broccoli on the other side.

dessert

The lunch wedding reception ended with a fruit platter and a mooncake and yam dish. They got married during the Mid Autumn Festival so the mooncakes were there as a nod to the occasion.

congrats

Congratulations Siaw Ting Chuan and Wong Siew Ling!

I will post the pre-wedding customs that started in the morning tomorrow – I found that experience to be much more interesting, as the “best buddy”. There are heaps of photos and lots of videos to upload, so I did the reverse chronological thing and posted up the lunch reception first. :)

Velvet and Amy Ting's dual wedding @ Golden Palace

golden palace

I went to Velvet Ting’s wedding reception last night. It was a shotgun wedding (not the type you’re thinking) in a sense, her younger sister Amy Ting was also having a combined wedding with her. I know both of the Ting sisters from my high school days and in Australia.

floral arrangements

The flower arrangements at their wedding dinner was simply amazing. The theme was roses and there were roses twined into the stairs and floral decorations on every table.

main table

The main wedding table for both pairs of bride and groom and their immediate families was the centerpiece of the place. The three tiered wedding cake and champagne flutes are arranged at the center stage in the backdrop.

ita ting

Most of the people at my table were my ex-classmates since Velvet used to be in our class. It’s like our 11th reunion out of high school. I sat beside Ita Ting, I’ve known her since Form 1.

velvet ting

This is the arrival of Velvet and her groom hailed by confetti all around…

amy ting

…followed by Amy and her groom.

cold dish platter

The dinner started soon after that with the traditional Chinese banquet cold dish platter.

cold dish

The cold dish is an appetizer which consists of a sampler of sorts – there’s a small portion of quail, mussels, squid and mushrooms.

shark fin soup serve

The next dish is traditionally the soup which is served into individual bowls by the waiter.

shark fin soup

It’s shark’s fin soup, which I’m sure the animal welfare groups would have a bone, I mean, fin to pick with. ;)

fish

The next item on the menu is steamed fish. Fish is a must-have at wedding feasts and Chinese banquets in general due to the association with prosperity.

sliced

It’s kindly sliced into more manageable pieces by the waiter.

chicken slice

Chicken cooked in herbs and wrapped in foil is the next item on the banquet parade. It is still wrapped in the foil when brought to your table and the waiter opens it up, releasing the fragrance of the herbs and slices the chicken.

chicken

The chicken is actually very tender, with an almost melt-in-your-mouth quality, so not much slicing was actually required. The process just makes it more manageable to eat using chopsticks.

cake

There was a much needed intermission while Velvet and Amy went on stage with their respective grooms to cut the wedding cake.

champagne

Champagne was also poured out into the flutes by the two newly weds.

yam seng

This is the customary “yam seng” toast which the Chinese do. It’s done in a very long refrain with the first syllable being vocalized for as long as you’re able to (highly variable depending on lung capacity).

wine

RM 135 bottles of Seifried red and white wine were served after that. It’s free flow, they had more than even I could drink! I think I partook in the vinos a little too much, coz my brain wasn’t functioning very well today. ;)

toast velvet

Here’s a toast to Velvet Ting and her groom. Congratulations! =D

toast amy

…and here’s to Amy Ting and her groom. Cheers! :)

bamboo shoots

The Food Parade (TM) went on after that with bamboo shoots and mushrooms…

bamboo clams

…bamboo clams (a local seafood) with mixed vegetables (at which point our table couldn’t even touch the food anymore)

prawns

…deep fried king prawns

honeydew

…before mercifully ending with an iced honeydew and sago dessert concoction.

me velvet candid

This is a candid shot of me talking to Velvet. I must have been reminiscing about this drama that most of the people at our table participated in while we were 14 years old during the school play.

me velvet

Congratulations Velvet! Now you’ve made me feel old and unwanted by marrying earlier than me. :p

fruits

There was another platter of fruits containing dragon fruit, pineapple, papaya and watermelon…

wedding cake

…as well as the mandatory piece of wedding cake you just have to eat out of courtesy despite having adjusted your belt buckle several times due to excessive gorging. ;)

wedding gift

The final dish is gift wrapped boxes that has a piece of fruitcake inside. It’s supposed to be taken home as a souvenir of the wedding dinner. It’s the custom over here and signifies the end of the dinner…

datina ting

…and it’s camwhoring time! ;) This is Datina Ting, another one of my ex-classmates in high school.

jeanie

Hello Jeanie! I met Jeanie at the wedding reception when she approached me and told me she reads my blog. Thanks for reading! :)

girl

There was also a camwhoring session with a girl I bummed a cigarette from who was helping out at the reception…

girls

…as well as the rest of the reception girls.

class of 97

Congratulations to Velvet Ting and Amy Ting on their respective weddings fro

m the Class of ’97. Cheers! :)

Mr Aaron Ting & Ms Jenny Chong Buffet Dinner and Wedding Reception @ Riviera Lounge, Kingwood

riviera lounge wedding

Aaron Ting and Jenny Chong had a wedding reception on the 1st of February, 2006 at the Rivera Lounge
in Kingwood Hotel, Sibu. I thought it was a rather unique place to hold
a private party for friends since at our age, the emphasis shifts from
the traditional Chinese dinners to more relevant receptions for our age
group since most people drink.

riviera lounge interior

The entire Riviera Lounge was booked by the newlyweds for their
wedding reception, so we had the entire place to ourselves. I know both
the bride and groom since Jenny Chong is my classmate and Aaron Ting is
the brother of another one of my classmates – Ita Ting.

riviera lounge bar

Riviera Lounge has a full bar and it was open for the night so free
flow beer, champagne and other drinks were available for the guests. I
went with a couple of friends and it seems like everyone knows everyone
in there coz we’re all classmates or friends. It’s great to catch up
with all my ex-classmates and exchange contacts since we’re all working
now.

riviera lounge buffet

The wedding reception also includes a buffet dinner which has soup,
mix-your-own salads, desserts, finger food and, of course, the main
course buffet fare. I loved the fish…I wonder how they managed to
debone the thing and serve it in fillets while still retaining the
taste of a classic steamed fish served in Chinese restaurants.

riviera lounge video

Download: Riviera Lounge wedding reception video [sixthseal.com]

riviera lounge aaron jenny

This is a photo of the couple – Mr. Aaron Ting and Ms. Jenny Chong.
Aaron is working in KL and he’s a reader of sixthseal.com as well,
which I didn’t expect and Jenny is doing her Masters in very
interesting field. ;)

riviera lounge group photo

Here’s one of the many group photos taken throughout the night – I met with a lot of ex-classmates that I haven’t seen in ages!
L-R: Liza, Collena, Jenny (the bride) and Huai Bin
(me). Chiew Yieng was there as well, she’s currently in Shanghai, me
and her go way back – we used to swim in her pool at 2 am in the
morning when we were in Form Five. Heh! Memories…

riviera lounge ita ting

This is me and Ita Ting (the younger sister of Aaron Ting). She’s
been my classmate ever since Form One and she’s a tennis player,
represented our school and division (state?). She’s really good in
tennis.

riviera lounge couple of the night

Here’s another photo of the couple of the night – Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Ting. Best wishes from all of us, and enjoy the honeymoon!

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