I came to Malaysia in 1970, and here it is forty-three years further on and I have no idea where the time has flown. There is so much that I will miss, and of course I expect to be back often, especially as my husband is remaining behind to complete his contract and the selling of our house.
It seems appropriate that on my last weekend here I should attend a family gathering, in which a close relative sealed her engagement to a longtime friend. Over the years, attending such functions -- and recognising the beauty of a rich cultural life and strong family ties -- has become part of my life.
|Senior members of my Malaysian family|
|The decorative tent (for lunch) in the garden of the house|
|The dais for the ring ceremony|
|Bringing in the gifts|
|The patriarch of our family negotiates with the head of the other family over terms of the engagement|
After all is agreed upon, the engagement ring is placed on the woman's hand, not by her prospective husband, but by one of his married female relatives, in this case, his mother.
In fact, at another family engagement some years ago, I was the one to slip an engagement ring onto the hand of another woman. Traditionally, the respective bridegroom does not attend!
|The bestowing of the ring by the groom-to-be's mother|
|Proud mother of the bride shares a photo moment just afterwards...|
|The gifts are beautifully decorated|
|Me and members of my Malaysian family with the now-engaged woman|
Of course, this being Malaysia, food plays an important role, and everyone goes home well fed.