Toll Roads. As Malaysians, we are quite experienced with tolls. And this is a short blurb from Wikipedia which is roughly correct - "Malaysia has extensive toll roads that forms the majority of country's expressways which in length spans more than 1400 km ranging North to the Thai border, South to the Causeway and Second Link to Singapore, West to Klang and Pulau Indah and East towards Kuantan. Most of the toll roads are in major cities and conurbations such as Klang Valley, Johor Bahru and Penang. All of Malaysian toll roads are managed in the Build-Operate-Transfer basis as in Hong Kong and Japan..." The number of tolls are enough to be a pinch to your wallet and depending on where you stay and where you work, the pinch can be really painful. I am very lucky not to feel that pinch because my office is less than 5 minutes from my house (by car) and about 45 minutes if I walk. So I never walk.
Toll Weddings. One of my closest friend, John (aka Faizal), got married in the southern state of Johor about 13 years ago. As was the case with Johor, I was concerned with the possibility of 'tolls'. Johor Wedding tolls is a quaint tradition (quaint for the bride's family that is) where some members of the bride's family would block entry of the groom and his entourage into the bride's home unless he pays the 'toll'. The amount to be paid depends on the circumstances, not to mention the number of tolls AND toll operators. At the main gate of the house, there may be a toll. Crossing from the drive way to the porch may be a toll. There may also be another toll at the front door and finally as you make your way in, you could find the Mak Andam (traditional make-up artist) sitting primly on YOUR pelamin (a raised dais 'throne' for the bride and groom on the wedding day - ergo the term 'Raja Sehari' meaning King and Queen for the Day in reference to the happy couple). Yes, weddings are a little complicated down south.
In my friend's case John told me that the bride's family assured him that there would certainly be NO toll whatsoever. I believed him, but I had less belief about his soon to be in-law's assurances, so I brought some spare cash just in case Of course, as it turned out there were tolls. But only two, an old geezer blocked our entrance through the porch grilled door, and on John's pelamin sat the Mak Andam, smiling at us. At the first toll, Amirul (the Best Man) admitted later that he was tempted to simply push the old man aside, but good manners restrained his action. I handed the beleaguered John the money and he simply paid his dues and the wedding continued as planned. They are still happily married and have 5 children.
I am happy to share a happy ending with you. In this world with depressing news coverage we should always look around for the beautiful stories, yes?
May your day today be part of your own beautiful story, sunshine.