Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Aboriginal Wedding

Ever wondered how an orang asli wedding goes? Well, read on !

I got an invitation from my uni mate – Rohani – to her wedding last weekend. She’s an orang asli, so is her husband. Her place is at Bukit Ibam, Pahang. Now, where is this exactly? Click map below for bigger view or go here:

How to get there?

I took the Mara Liner to Muadzam Shah bus from Hentian Putra for RM 19.50 one way. You can buy return ticket from Mara Liner. So that’s what I did. Journey took 5.5 hours! I didn’t know that it was not a direct bus, first it stopped in Seremban, then Batu Kikir in Kuala Pilah for 30 mins, then on to the infamous Felda settlement bordering N Sembilan & Pahang ( have u heard of the ahem, chilling stories of Felda Kratong?), then to Bdr Tun Razak (nope, tis not in Cheras) & finally to Muadzam Shah. From there, Rohani’s sister- Rosmah fetched me & another friend, Ita – from JB to their house in Bukit Ibam, another 22 km away.

Unique Family

Rohani is a Buddhist, her mother is Chinese & father an orang asli. Father passed away when they were young while their mother passed away in 2005, when I was entertaining Rohani in Kerteh while I was working there back then. Anyway, since both parents were no longer around, her ceremony was really simple, with her aunty (she calls her ‘Mak Long’) as the guardian. Her husband is a Christian orang asli, but she said they were not going to do a church ceremony at her husband’s side, just a traditional orang asli ceremony. And because her parents were no longer around, she didn’t have the tea ceremony as well on her part (since she’s partly Chinese).

Although partly Chinese, the family’s main language is Malay, with a mix of Orang Asli language. Rohani looked mixed, so it wasn’t really awkward. But some of her cousins looked purely Chinese, so it was quite a getting used to seeing them talking in fluent Malay. That’s the problem with our country – racial polarization. The gap is just too wide. But that’s another story.

Some of Rohani’s relatives are Muslims, so the Muslim relative became the chief cook. They cooked gotong –royong style, everybody helped. Everyone was absolutely friendly to me & Ita – we instantly felt at ease - & I was really touched by their hospitality.


The Ceremony
A few days before the wedding feast, the couple were registered at Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara at Bera (her husband’s place). They also need to have witnesses for the registration, & they also had a sort of ‘akad’, i.e. the husband was asked do you understand all the responsibilities you will undertake & the wife was asked if she accepted the husband. Rohani didn’t mention about mas kahwin, so I assumed there was none.

But like the Malays, they did have the hantaran, from both sides, to each other. The hantaran materials were similar to the Malays.


Decor in the bride's room

On the night before the wedding, we had a hand in helping prepping up the bride. Ita helped with the nail polish, while I - well being me - I’m hopeless – just snapped away pictures haha.

Ita helping out Rohani

Usually, on the eve of a wedding, the people would be gambling & dancing the night away (joget). But that night, as it was a small scale wedding, there was no joget. But the gambling was still on. Don’t take them wrong though, they were just gambling for fun, only betting small amounts of money (RM 1 & RM10) playing cards. The men played outside, at the compound, while the ladies played inside, at the kitchen. The kids were sleeping all over the house, & the next door house (also their relatives). I lost count of how many kids & relatives there were, just too many of them! But it was all great fun chaos!

The men

The ladies

On the day itself, Rohani prepared herself really early. The mak andam (Malay lady, tulen ya) came at 8am! Really early, becos she had another client to go to that day. After she was done, she left us with 2 of her assistants – who seemed too young & inexperienced. Rohani had to fix something herself. Her nail polish didn’t turn out too nice (Mak Andam kata quetex-is that the spelling?- masuk angin). Luckily Mak Andam had instant inai in a tube, so that saved the day!

the hairdo
Rohani was dressed in an elegant white strapless gown, she looked beautiful! (I hope my pictures did justice). After that, it was just waiting for the groom to arrive.

Almost done


The Flower girls

Sweet & beautiful
The groom – Masir – finally arrived at 12 noon, & he was escorted into the house accompanied with the beat of kompang (recorded kompang sound though). Then the bride & groom posed for pictures with the flower girls. No bersanding, as Rohani’s parents were no longer around. It was followed by putting on the ring, bracelet & necklace ceremony, and then asking for the blessings from the parents/guardians from both sides.

Groom's car- (but groom works at Proton, so how? :-p)

Looking smart

Together forever

Putting on bracelet

The ring ~ beside Rohani is her Mak Long. Yellow shirt is groom's dad. Groom's mom not in pix
After that, they had a change of clothes – to baju melayu (complete with tengkolok) & baju kebaya moden – in red. This was followed by makan beradab with the parents & nearest relatives, just like the Malays.

While they were eating, it was already 1.30pm – how time flew – it was time for me & Ita to leave already. Our return bus was at 2pm, so we had to leave abruptly. I didn’t get to stay until the end of the ceremony – hope I didn’t miss out anything. Before leaving, we just had enough time to catch up on another uni mate – Aslina – aka Bantai – but it was too brief. Not sure if other uni mates made it to the wedding.

I was really glad to be invited into such a great family where they were understanding of each other regardless of the religion, really close knit & were very hospitable to their visitors. I’ll come again to visit if there is an opportunity next time.



Blogger pamina said...

what a beautiful wedding!

9:26 AM  
Blogger IZWAN SHAHMIN said...

Unique and memorable!

2:56 PM  
Blogger chinta said...

the bride was stunning! I never been to any org asli wedding ceremony. I wish I could have one.

9:25 PM  

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