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How shall we organize a traditional Nyonya wedding?  As we love to combine old traditions to present day society and culture, we share some thoughts of some points we consider while preparing the mixed cultural wedding.

You have probably heard the popular wedding tradition saying before, but not every bride to be knows exactly where it originated from or what the meaning behind the saying is. It is a darling saying and is one of the only wedding traditions in today’s society which makes some sense. It is a cute tradition – one which is performed to bring good luck to the newlywed couple.

The traditional saying is: Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue. And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

So following the tradition of having something old, my daughter choose to wear a hundred years old Nyonya red gown for her mixed cultural wedding, kind of like a link to the mother who she loves.  There are many things you can use as theme to rekindle “something old for your wedding.

And for something new, which means optimism and hope for the future. It sends the message that both the newly weds are creating a new union that will endure the test of time. Many brides choose to use a red wedding sari or bridal gown, flowers or rings to symbolize the “something new” in this tradition.

Something Borrowed, for that if you borrow an item from your happily married grandmother or mother, you can fulfill both of these meanings. Uvaraani chooses an hundred’s years old Sapu tangan Nyonya (Nyonya handkerchief) to wrap around the coconut she took to her new house on her wedding day. Doing this lets your parents (or grandparents) know that you admire their marriage and the respect they have for each other and that you hope to have an equally happy marriage.

Something Blue: The color blue has been connected to weddings for centuries as a symbol of love, modesty, fidelity, good luck, purity and loyalty. Many brides incorporate this color into their clothing, by either wearing a blue stoned jewelry item or wearing a blue garter. However for a modern spin, you could use blue toe nail polish, blue eye shadow, a blue ribbon tied into your flowers, blue underwear, even wear light blue shoes! The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

A Lucky Sixpence: A sixpence in the bride’s shoe represents wealth and financial security. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be worn in the left shoe. What I did as her mother, without her knowing was places an old coin in her coconut she carries. An old wives tale mention that both couple wont hide their wealth from each other.

As for Jivan and Uvaraani, honoring the something old, new borrowed, blue tradition by having a Muhibbah Nyonya and Indian Wedding seems an unforgettable day. Although some items are supposed to bring good luck to the bride, they are

following this tradition to honor people close to them on their wedding day.

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The Sri Singamuga Kaliamman Floating Procession is the only unique Indian festival in Penang. Why, well the main highlights is a floating chariot procession where the lady deity with a lion as her companion or what the Indians called her vehicle take a ride to the sea.

Teluk Bahang Floating Chariot Procession

Strong men shoulders her to a specially prepared, heavily decorated floating chariot for a sea ride around the sea of Teluk Bahang.

The usual festivals commences a week before the main festival day. Days before the locals communities of Teluk Bahang heads each day to offer prayers or free food to the devotees coming to pay homage to “Ammah”, known to us as Sri Singamuga Kaliamman. Rather long right, so we addressed her as “Ammah”. As she is their protector and many villages or fisherman there have tales to share with you.Some will tell you how they were guided to safety whenever big storm are about to come. Some remembers the Tsunami that were turned away miraculously. No ones lives were lost or in trouble in the Teluk Bahang sea.

Such were her powers that yearly thousands of devotees form all over Malaysia and Singapore never failed to make their journey home to offer homage for their success in life.

Beautiful styrofoam dishes of light floated in the dusk of the Teluk Bahang sea. But this year, she circles the sea early and return to land as before the total lunar eclipse starts to dazzle us.

Another year is here, so may I wish you a Happy Awesome and fanstatic New Year 2008!!!

January is an exciting month for us Penang people as the Thaipusam festival is here again. Last year was my first year as I went around four full days with Chandra, my Indian hubby. We met lots of people and foreigners and every one wanted to know what is going on. So our days were spent meeting new friends, having them together with us as they were so awe inspired and fascinated by this festival

Read our experience last year.

This year we are organising a tour to help those interested. From early morning before the real Thaipusam day till the second day evening. The pictures both taken day and night adds to your memory. It is defitenely as kick ass lifetime experience for many who were with us last year.

Some said it is amazing what people do to fulfill their wishes. As for me, I only know taking pictures without really watching cos I was scared and cannot bear seeing the big hooks. In some instance, our new found friends were in tears seeing them in spears, hooks hanging on their faces and back. Join our tour this year. And learn form Chandra an insider propsective of Thaipusam.

Gosh, It has been a month exactly I have not touch my web site or blogs. My apologies to my diary.

Preparation for Uva’s wedding had been going along fine until 15th August, a day I can easily forget but wont. Chandra coolly told me, he feels he needs to go to the hospital.

All right, I say, if you feel you need some comforting and rest, go for it. Little did we know he suffered a massive heart attack.

How I survive two weeks of hospitalization is more like it? It is not easy for us to say this. But if you feel you have a heart problem, one hospital never to go is, the Kepala Batas hospital.

It has no heart facilities to treat you, only to keep you stable. Doctors are very junior, haven’t seen or experience much critical cases.

I find it strange the doctors preferred to discuss the cases with the patient and not the spouse. I was there twice a day and nothing was told to me how serious he was. This probe me to feel insecure that he could be well taken care of.

Chandra was there over the weekend when I realise he doesn’t seem to be getting well. I have to demand that I want him to be transfered to the Penang Hospital Heart Unit where they have the best facilities.

After much hesitation, fuzz, no ambulance, no stretcher, we managed to speed over to the Penang Hospital. It was a wise move as by then he was what the lay man would say, “drowning”. (Water in the lungs)

For 10 days, Chandra was in the heart unit (CRW) as he had pneumonia and water in the lungs. The next 3 days were the most critical days of his life. We were all so concerned that this silent killer called heart attack came into our life so quietly.

Heart attack is indeed a silent killer and according to the medical doctor, only 20% made it to the hospital.

There are two common types of heart problems – heart attack and stroke.

Heart Attack will lead to further complication like failure of the kidney and water in the lungs. Many of us do not know that when a person suffers from heart attack, try not to make them drink too much water cos that will flood his lungs. The rationale we must understand is this.

Once a person has a heart attack, be it mild or serious. it is advisable to drink as little water as possible. The heart goes to hibernation, oxygen is hardly transfered to their arteries, so when you drink alot of water, it goes into your lung.

It took Chandra many days to overcame this water in the lungs. During this time, angiogram cannot be perform to see how serious is his blockages.

Not many people survive this to tell you this. Taking care of Chandra two weeks makes me realise how important to relate this to others.

Also we have this habit to feed them with food. Always try to ask them whether are they able to swallow? If they cant swallow, never make them eat as there is no saliva to help them digest the food.

Saliva, the wonder of God’s creation. Saliva helps us to digest our food. Dont be a smart alec like me to give food juices, as if he is a diabetic, it will further complicate matters.

I have learn my lesson looking after Chandra. And i feel the Penang Hospital does indeed lives up to its reputation. All monitoring andmedication for patients at night ends at 11pm.

The patient and carer was able to rest for 7 solid hours before they come to monitor you again at 6am in the morning.

Unless you are critical, you need not worry. the monitoring is done at their table.

chandra-in-crw-penang-general-hospital.jpg

So now Chandra is home recuperating from his heart attack. Angiogram showed he had 3 blockages. 3 blockages equal to a by pass surgery. So 6 to 8 weeks of “staying put” before the doctors to see him again.

So we wish Chandra a speedy recovery and prepared for his by pass.

Read how we prepared for Uva Indian Wedding here.

Recently, life has been so busy for Chandra and I. Zooming all over Malaysia and Singapore, distributing cards for our daughter’s marriage in September.

Mums exchanging ceremonial rites

As we were distributing the wedding cards, it suddenly occurs to us, people are getting more advance and modern.

Older relatives seemed to think delivering cards by coming in person is a norm. They enjoyed our visits, had time to catch up. Enquiries of other siblings seemed warm and sincere, which makes us very pleased. The old ways of “stay for lunch or dinner” still exist with them. Our very old aunt who is over 80, immediately goes to the kitchen to hook something light for us even though we said we have already had our food.

But not the ones in their 30’s. Most felt that sending a card through email, a snail mail or a phone call is acceptable. These are the ones that makes our day long.

It is definitely a long day traveling in overnight buses, not sleeping well, no proper bath and not drinking enough water. Me… I am so particular about drinking water but for trips, I couldn’t drink more because of the funny stops the buses made. The pit stops they made, is not desirable for the bums and also our taste buds.

So customs and traditions is very much alive as the excited aunts and uncles keep asking what are their roles in the wedding, what must they do and all. Seems interesting to me to hear the 30’s not wanting cards hand delivered but happy to be told what is expected of them.

So my conclusions for handling wedding cards is still very traditional. Do it and your results will be : 80% attendance from those you delivered the cards by hand and 60% for those you delivered through others means.

Engagement Card of Uva and Jivan

Beside that we just went through the engagement ceremony in our home recently. Read how Indian engagement prior to marriage is performed in Malaysia. The roles the bride and groom and parents played in this ceremony is fun.

Though I must say this, our kids would not go through this traditional ceremony had it not been the parents advising them how important it is. They would opt for a honeymoon in Paris, which they still do, anyway.

But being good kids, it is gratifying to know they are respectful and filial towards us “old foggies”

Blessing from Grandma Kamachi

If you respect customs and tradition and not sure how to go about it for Indian Wedding performed by our Southern Indian Malaysian standard, keep coming back to my blogs or site.

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