Monday, September 15, 2008

Chinese Wedding

Last night we had the honor of attending the wedding of Kai Li, one to Brian's coworkers to Pui Keong. We drove about 90 km north west to a town called Sekinchan. Sekinchan is located in the rural area of Malaysia. It was a beautiful drive through palm oil plantations and kumpongs (a rural Malay village) until finally we arrived in an area known for its rice patties. This town is all Chinese and the whole dinner was done in Cantonese. You do not actually attend the wedding ceremony it takes place in the homes of the family and at the local temple, only family attends. We attended the wedding dinner. It was a 7 course meal of traditional Chinese food. It began

with this large boat being delivered to the table. It was full of small bite size treats that we would consider appetizers

. I enjoyed the pork packets and Brian tried the crispy crab. The next course was shark fin soup, which is a real delicacy. I tried it and it was not horrible but not something I will be running out to have again. After that it was course after course of main dishes, chicken, pork and sea cucumber, shrimp rolls, abalone and mushrooms, this beautiful fish

and so much more I can not even remember. I stopped eating because I was so full at one point

just trying a bite to taste and see. In Chinese culture, it is a show of true hospitality to serve your guests beer and Cognac and keep it free flowing. The picture above is one of the "beer girls," her job is to walk around and make sure all the guest have plenty. There were also the Hennessy girls. Most of them looked like they were not old enough to drink what they were serving.
We could not understand most of what was being said but Brian's friends made sure that we know what was going on. Another tradition is these large toasts that they make at the table in honor of the lucky couple. The whole table stands up and shouts "yum seng," which means cheers and then empties their glass. The above picture is when the bride dressed in green and the groom came to join our table for a toast. The couple is expected to travel from one table to the next greeting their guests and join them for a toast if they are asked. I expect that the groom can get a little tipsy if he truly empties his glass at each table. You can pass your glass to your best man, but most of the time that would not be macho so it is down the hatch. Kai Li looked very beautiful in her modern gown. You like Carley are probably asking why she is not dressed in white. Chinese do not where white to their weddings it is considered bad luck. Kai Li wore traditional Chinese dress to the temple ceremony we saw pictures of the wedding couple dressed for the ceremony and this is the dress she wore for the dinner. Carley had a great time. She loved standing up and yelling with the toasts. She was the hit of the dinner since she was the only little blond girl and she was dressed in her silk traditional Chinese dress. She had her picture taken with many of Brian's friends from work and even the bride and groom. The traditional entertainment at a Chinese wedding dinner is Karaoke. Guests come up and sing songs in tribute to the happy couple. Some of them were very good, but you can imagine as the night went on and the alcohol flowed more freely it started to get a little crazy. Here is one of our entertainers.

Many traditions that you would see in an American wedding were present. Below is a picture of the car decorated to leave. They are much nicer to cars in Malaysia. It is wrapped in Colorful tulle and bows and have a pair of stuffed animals attached to the front dressed as a bride and groom. You can see they choose Mickey and Minnie.

The couple was toasted with beautiful words by family and friends. They poured a champagne fountain, that only they got to drink. They even had a small cake which Carley had been up to check out twice. But she was very disappointed because while they cut he cake they do not serve it for dessert. Instead you get fruit that has been stewed in this sweet soup and then chilled. Carley was not very excited when they served the traditional dessert. Because she will tell you that her favorite part of a wedding is cake followed by dancing and seeing the girl in the pretty dress.
One of the oddest things happened just before we left. This guy showed up selling newspapers and lottery tickets. As you can see he did not even bother to take his helmet off, since he rode up on his motor bike.

Just before we walked out the door to shake hands and give our well wishes to the bride and groom a woman in a yellow dress walked up and handed Carley a small box. It turned out it was Kai Li's mother and she was so taken by Carley and how cute she was about the cake. She had told Kai Li what a beautiful bride she was and how delicious her cake looked and she could not wait to have some. Kai Li's mother gave Carley the whole top layer to take home. We could not say no because that would have been rude. So with a huge smile on her face, Carley said thank you to everyone and carried her prize to the car. I made sure it was OK with Kai Li and she said it was fine. I guess they do not save the cake and have it on your one year anniversary.

But we were honored to be asked to attend. Kai Li was a beautiful bride and I am sure she and Pui Keong will have a wonderful life together and we got to experience something new and make memories that we will hold onto for the rest of our lives.

And after lunch today, with a huge smile on her face, Carley got to have a piece of wedding cake.

Blessing to all of you. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our friends and neighbors who are picking up after Ike roared through Texas. As far as we know everyone is okay with just a lot of trees down and fences blown over.

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Jon & Ashley McP said...

looks like a lot of fun!

Bert Burt said...

What a night you guys had! A beautiful drive, followed by a great meal with many new tasty treats to sample, and an opportunity to be a part of an actual Chinese wedding party. Sounds like Carley was truly a star with her curly blonde hair and being the only one other than the wedding party to get a piece of the wedding cake.

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

oh i want to eat!!!!
i was thinking of you today and missing you. i'm in texas now. waco. its been 2 months since i left. we still don't have set plans. one day! :) I can't believe you are going to try to get to thaipusim at the batu caves! dark! i'm sure it will be an experience you will never forget! love ya, kemi