I haven’t been posting up anything in a long time and honestly I do not feel like blogging anymore. There isn’t much to write about and frankly, there isn’t really anything exciting happening.
Speaking of exciting things, one particular and significant event actually prompts me to write this post: I am getting engaged this Sunday (that’s 2 days away)! Finally after 11 years of dating, Victor and I are moving on to the next phase in our lives.
To those unfamiliar with the Brunei Malay customs, you’d probably be wondering, “Getting engaged? So he hasn’t popped the question yet?” In a Brunei Malay culture, a wedding engagement is a big event planned by both partners together with their families. What happens is, when a couple decides to get married, they will inform their parents (or if they have none, their grandparents/aunts/uncles/elders) about their intention and if the elders on both sides agree to it, the tedious wedding process will start rolling.
Prior to the reception day, there are a lot of other wedding rites to go through. Here’s a Wikipedia entry on them (the Wiki entry doesn’t fully describe what happen during the event(s) but the basics are there). Bear in mind that not all of the rites have to be followed, but there is a compulsory one that must be carried out, which is the nikah or solemnization. Without the nikah, the marriage is invalid. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s just start with the beginning.
1. Bersuruh or mengagai or berjarum-jarum
In the olden days, this is where you have the guy sending over his representatives to the woman’s house to enquire the availability of the girl (whether she’s married or not). And if she’s not, they will ask the permission from her parents to ask for her hand in marriage. Nowadays, where men and women are free to choose their own spouses and parents/guardians on both sides are already made aware and agreed to the relationship, this step is merely the day where both sides meet officially to discuss when to proceed with the next step. For those preferring to simplify things, this first step is sometimes combined with the following step so the entourage doesn’t have to come to the girl’s place twice.
2. Menghantar tanda (pertunangan), or the engagement ceremony is the next step, where the guy sends his representatives (again) usually consisting of his elders (parents, grandparents, uncles, etc.) to the girl’s house to seal the engagement. The guy himself will not be present AT ALL although nowadays he may come in AFTER the ceremony is over for photo-taking session. As mentioned earlier, occasionally the bersuruh and the menghantar tanda steps would be combined into one.
In my case, Victor’s parents opted to have the two combined since they figured that would actually save everybody’s time. However they also wanted to set up an informal meeting with my parents to discuss things prior to the bersuruh/engagement. Now, most people would plan for their bersuruh/engagement at least 2 months before the day but mine was decided only slightly over a month before. Anyway so Victor came over to my house to formally invite my parents to his place for an afternoon tea with his parents. Victor and I weren’t present during the discussion (elders only) but it was basically where our parents got to know each other and laying out the plan for this Sunday.
To be continued…