Thursday, October 23, 2008


I just hate going to formal high profile functions with the presence of royalties and dignitaries. Not that I get invited to such ado that often but these functions often requires you to be more meticulous in your preparation i.e. what you wear and what you give. So when we were invited to the MB’s son wedding last Saturday, we were a bit hesitant. You see, Saturday is a normal day work for me and having no maid, I had to iron our clothes, last minute. As the dressing code demands that hubby wear the traditional baju melayu, I dug out his recent raya’s beige baju melayu to press. Whilst ironing, I noticed that the baju had crinkled and shrunk and it struck me that the material, bought by mak had to be dry-cleaned instead! It was already 6pm and we had to be there before 8! Next option was his black baju melayu which was still in good condition. After 15 minutes of hard labor, hubby decided against wearing it, saying that it was inappropriate to wear black to a wedding, especially when the bride is Chinese! His next best baju melayu is purple in color and it will definitely clash with my turquoise baju kurung, also a recent raya’s outfit. (notice that we don’t make outfits especially for a function like some do). So finally, I had to concede and wear something more subdued that went along with a purple tudung, thus matching with his purple baju. Imagine, we had to iron 3 baju melayu just for that lone occasion!

Now, buying presents for the rich is always tricky!! If you buy them cheap stuffs, they can’t appreciate and your presents might end up in the dumps or in the servants’ quarters. So you end up buying less expensive presents for the less-to-do and dearer goods for the rich. Ironic isn’t it? This brings me to a cartoon strip I once saw in Mad magazine. It was depicting a newly wed couple unwrapping their wedding presents when they came upon a gift from an old aunt, a cheap tea-pot. Sniffling and giggling at the present with one hand pinching their nostrils, they threw it into the bin. The next strip showed a vagabond, whilst rummaging the dumps, chanced upon the tea-pot and found big cash in it!

Since hubby is active in several NGOs, attending the wedding was almost an obligation. Furthermore, my eldest daughter is a good friend of one of the MB’s daughters, thus the task got easier when we saw familiar faces amongst the hosts. Anticipating heavy traffic and massive jams, we decided to drive our kelisa, with plans of parking by the road-side and walking all the way. However when we arrived at the junction to the hall, the coast was clear that hubby spontaneously drove inwards towards the grand entrance. Imagine a kelisa cruising alongside the other big cars. Whilst the big motors chose to make a grand entrance into the porch and employ the valet service, we headed for the parking space straight, meekly.

Needless to say, the wedding was grand, yet not lavish as compared to some. The decorations were simple but sweet and elegant. No expensive live imported roses lining the aisle or tables. Even the guests’ tokens were not extravagant and yet still had good memento value. The guest line-up was however something else. Never before have I had the opportunity to be in the same vicinity with this great number of dignitaries! Besides the Sultan and his whole family members, there were DPM and wife, Hishamuddin and wife, Hamid Albar and wife, Rais Yatim and wife, JJ , plus several other ministers and deputies. Ex political figures like Anuar Musa and wife were also present. A surprising guest was Khalid Ibrahim and wife. Both the MBs probably came a long way before, thus, even differences in political views could not break their ties.

As purported always, the wives came dressed up to the hilt. I am truly tempted to write a detailed description of some of them who appeared even weirder in person but the idea of being sent to Kemunting, refrained me. Suffice to say that whatever they donned must be expensive and probably are worn only once. I have no inkling to what they do to these clothes after the occasion. They are probably sold as second hands but for some with disproportioned figures (read: short/rotund), their clothes, I guess, will end up like our poor Trajet after the accident, which was claimed as total loss and sold in bits and pieces as spare parts!

For the first time I was able to see Siti Nurhaliza and the infamous Datuk K, close-up. Siti actually has a petite figure and looked so demure. Seeing her sitting next to Datuk K, I can’t help feeling sorry for her with all the gossips that shroud her mysterious marriage. Undoubtedly she is a good songstress. When she belted out several numbers during the reception, one can’t help praising her voice.

We both thought that the MB had given a good rousing speech. In fact he choked and had to pause several times, controlling his emotions. He welcomed his new daughter in law and her family into the family and hoped for better inter-racial ties. Most importantly, he advised them to be responsible for each other and for his son to guide his newly converted wife.

Congratulations to the MB and his family. For sure, their family tree will look similar to ours now. Colorful!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Maman and Qistina 12 years ago at Kampar, attending Pang5's wedding


Maman, 15yrs old

Qistina, 14 yrs old

Only quite recently that I realized mak is fairly annoyed that my kids call her ‘tok ampang’. She quipped with much irritation, “apasal lah awak mesti panggil kita tok ampang? Lepas tu panggil kuat-kuat kat shopping mall pulak tu!”. “Why must you call me with that name and embarrassing me in a large crowd at the mall?” We can’t help but laugh at poor mak with her slight, yet painful predicament.

You see, to differentiate between the two grandmas we had to assign these matriarchal figures, names according to the places they hail from. Thus, as mak was and is still living in Ampang, Tok Ampang aptly became her calling name. And my late mom in law was Tok Kuantan. They may sound crude but we were never into calling their real names with tok prefixes in front. Furthermore, my mom is known as Yon and ‘Tok Yon’ sounded comical, reminding us of the small and bald, bluish green mischievous apparitions.

No wonder, mak was quick to demand the rest of her grandkids from my other sisters to call her ‘mak tok’ which sounded more civilized to her, at least. Ironically we had no such problem with the grandpas. My dad goes by the simple name of Tok Mat, yet my kids still find him stern and a no nonsense figure. And my father in law is plain Aki to them. Even though Aki is easygoing, he can sometimes be sharp tongued and you wouldn’t want to be in his bad books!

Whilst adding relatives’ profiles in the Geni family tree website, my hubby can’t remember his brother-in-law’s mother’s name. So he just named her ‘Mak Geng’. Tok Geng is a fond name their grandchildren gave them as grandpa is a jovial chap who loves teasing his grandkids making them refuse to befriend him and he would jokingly say, “tak nak geng ek?’. Thus the name stuck. At least we can boast that we are related to a mafia clan or so it seems!

Now that I have mentioned about Geni, our family tree is growing wild like fire in the forest! (pardon the pun!). The shoots are sprouting eagerly and the branches are extending as though the roots are being doused with a mega dose of organic fertilizer! Since our last raya visit at grandma’s place in Muar, we were able to add several generations up and down the tree, after much digging and revving of info from our aunt, Kak Uchu. Notice the paradox here, how an aunt is considered a sister? Well, you see, my side of the family is also never so much into calling people according to their ranks in the family. Age is more of the essence. As Kak Uchu who should have been Mak Uchu is the youngest and relative young back then, OG and I, (or is it Kak Uchu herself ? hehe) felt more comfortable calling her as such.

Unlike my hubby’s side, who sticks to the proper name-calling hierarchy, an aunty gets the prefix Mak even though she may be years younger than you! Thus, Mazyah becomes Aunty Mazyah when she married Pak Man even though she is more than 10 years younger than us. And Farah who is hubby’s cousin is called Aunty Farah by my kids even though they are of the same age!

When we started Geni, hubby’s tree was much bigger to begin with as he had already recorded his genealogical lineage, several ancestral tiers up, few years ago. So when OG and I recently shifted gear and accelerated at full speed, we had already out done his side. Together, we had a good time bantering as we see the plus numbers escalating and overtaking his. OG even had the cheek to text us this, when were on our back home, “Where are you guys? Stopping by in Temerloh to search for 50 more relatives eh?”

Our Geni tree is so colorful in the true sense. Half of OG’s tree is Chinese, from her hubby’s side which incidentally was the initiator of this whole thing. Half of mak’s tree should have been of Chinese roots as well but we are not able to trace them yet, so we consider mak’s adopted family as our own and we are proud of it, needless to say! My hubby’s side of the tree is just as colorful if not more. With a Panglima as a great grandfather who fought for the Sultan and married an ex-wife of Mat Kilau the warrior giving rise to this particular lineage, who would agree less? And if you look deeper into the branches, you’d see that Tun Khalil Yaakob who will bestow Shah Rukh Khan with a controversial datukship, is actually hubby’s cousin twice removed, or is it thrice?

Strangely, this family tree thingy has sort of brought us back together, never mind that it’s only virtually. Some have not met in years but are able to communicate again. Who knows, maybe this tree would merge with Bush on the left and Obama on the right. Nothing is impossible!

Sunday, October 05, 2008



Saturday night fever set in.....

With Mak and my sis OG at cousin's place

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009

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