Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Day - Shark Attacks Newly Wed in Port Dickson

The New Year began with an auspicious event. My 28 years old nephew* decided to end his bachelorhood in an aqad nikah (wedding) in Port Dickson, a small beach town about 1 hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.

LOVE AND MARRIAGE. Nursing a tiny headache and 2 hour’s sleep (standard New Year’s eve indiscretions) I sped my venerable auntie - Mak Ndak, Mikhail and myself south for the wedding. The rest of the family joined us at the Bagan Pinang Mosque which sits adjacent to the coastal road. At 2 p.m. on schedule (which is a rare occurrence for Malay weddings), the ceremony was solemnize by the local Qadi… 15 minute later, they are husband and wife.

Clockwise from top-left – the groom, the beautiful couple, the bride, my beloved cousins, my pretty nieces, Mika with the aqad ceremony in the background.

Well, what do you think of the newly weds? I think they make a lovely pair – like an evenly sliced pinang fruit (Well, this folksy saying sounds much more romantic in the original Malay – ‘bagai pinang dibelah dua'. You just gotta trust me on this.)

SHARK ATTACKS NEWLY MARRIED MAN! It is traditional for the groom to pray a short superogatory prayer after his marriage has been solemnized.. It is however very untraditional for the groom to be attacked by a shark so soon after his marriage…

AN INSTITUTION. There is perhaps a no more hopeful decision that a person may take than to decide to join his life with a mate unto death do them part. If you really think about it – what with our weaknesses and ego, our tendency to blow things out of all proportions, it is really sweet that a huge majority of mankind still believes in marriage and the sanctity of this time-immemorial institution. Although not mandatory, in Islam it is recommended to the extent that it almost touches on the boundaries of being absolutely obligatory. There is however acceptance (and understanding) for those who are somehow fated to remain unwed.

BACK TO THE SHARK. Fortunately, the shark’s gaping jaws of death appears to hide a spiritual and teasing nature. He is later seen joining Nash in his prayers. Man or Man-Eater, we are all creation of the One God, Who lies beyond and above the food chain.

ONE THOUSAND ORPHANS = WIFE. My Hindu buddy, Sumathi, says that in Hinduism, if you choose to remain unmarried, you are obliged to make up for this karmic omission by taking care of 1,000 orphans. I guess you may argue on the exact rule, but the gist is this… marriage is important and essential to complete the life-cycle of a man / woman.

DIVORCEE. Oops, I fell off the life-cycle. I am a divorcee. It is not my natural condition, I believe. I like being married but fate has fulfilled its decree that in September 2007, I found myself once again single. It is a salve to my wounded self, as I believe that the little soul named Mikhail had to come out, one way or the other. Like all fathers (and mothers), I am besotted by my son, and he is a chapter of my book which makes all the ill-advised and ill-written chapters of my life pall in significance.

HOPE AND STRAWBERRIES. I ended New Year’s Day, aptly perhaps, with my friend Heche. A simple dinner in a simple little bistro. We had Joy as entrĂ©e, a soup of Gossips, a pot of Luck as main course, and concluded the meal with a dessert pastry made out of Hope and Strawberries - they were all delicious. Especially the Gossips.
.Finally, my dear friends, if you love strawberries too (and who doesn't?), how can we not be brothers and sisters?

Have a great year, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

* Explanatory Note: In Malay society, a cousin’s children are considered de facto nephews and nieces.

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