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Posts tagged ‘random’

My First Chinese Wedding

A wedding is a must-attend to graduate in the understanding of a culture. A batch-mate at work took the plunge last night, giving me my first sneak peak into a Chinese-Singaporean wedding.

Gate crashing

The title’s a misnomer. It’s a Singaporean tradition in which the groom must earn the right to his bride. The groom, accompanied by his brothers (the western equivalent of the best man), shows up early in the morning at the bride’s house. They are greeted by the bridesmaids and tasked to pass tests on life’s essential skills (culinary, physical, endurance etc). Before the tasks started, all the brothers were made to sign indemnity forms! In this particular wedding, the tasks were considered rather mild, and included doing push-ups, decorating a cake, dancing & eating dumplings of 4 kinds – sweet, sour, spicy (stuffed with chilli) & bitter (boiled with panadol!) After completing all the tasks, the groom is given the key to his bride’s room where she waits in her bridal gown – rescuing the girl, Bollywood style :)

Tea ceremony

The gate crashing is followed by a tea ceremony at the groom’s house, where the bride & the groom kneel down and serve tea to the groom’s parents, as a symbol of respect.


I was part of this, primarily dinner, at the ballroom at a hotel. Lack of much literature online of what to wear, what to gift, what to expect, prompted me to compose this post! A simple party dress sufficed – the range of dressing varied from very evening wear to rather casual wear. In my little research, I had read that black & white were considered inappropriate to be worn at a Chinese wedding, because black signifies death / bad fortune while white is the distinct color of the bride. However, black was a prominent color at the wedding and the tradition is mostly limited to the much older generation.

Much to my surprise, the reception area had a registration booth for guests to tick against their names & see their pre-determined table numbers! There was a box to drop the red packets – the ang-paos – the standard practice is to give cash the equivalent of your seat at the ballroom (or gift vouchers of the same amount). The sit down dinner was interspersed with videos of the bride & the groom growing up as individuals & as a couple, along with one on the gate crashing before.

I feel so much more in the know of Chinese culture!

[I still keep my view on marriages being societal rather than necessary, but more on that later.]

Don’t read.

I haven’t written anything I want to read.

I want my words to become a language on their own, to dance before your eyes, to sing to you in the silence.

I haven’t written anything I want to read.

I want my words to sketch characters in your mind, to fill your nights with colorful dreams, to show you sparks on a bright day.

I want my words to be yours when you lose your own, to say what’s true when you’re in doubt, to be with you when I can’t.

I haven’t written anything I want you to read.

Carpe diem!

This one is for all of us who have put our dreams on hold.

Remember when we were 16 and the world was our playground and nothing, absolutely nothing, was hard to envision?

Adulthood has undoubtedly put our dreams into perspective, magnifying the fine line between the good dreams and the bad, the big and the small, the realistic and the idealistic. It is trying to convince us that dreams are just that, and that life is meant to be filled with sacrifices.

It’s a lie.

Think of the last time you really, really wanted something and gave all you had to get it. Think of the thrill you felt, irrespective of whether you made it.

If the thought was short of a smile, you need to think again.

Cliched as it might sound, life comes with no warranty card. We spend so much of our time doing things we hate that we forget all about the things we love – future or no future. It’s not about being rich or famous or successful. It’s about knowing that at any given moment, there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing and nowhere else you’d rather be.

It’s about the dreams. Let them live with you, within you.

It’s a girl thing.

Here’s the most powerful depiction of girlhood I’ve ever come across. Eve Ensler, the creator of The Vagina Monologues, is amazingly inspiring. All hail!

This talk, entitled ‘Embrace your inner girl’, was delivered by Eve Ensler at TED India (Mysore) in 2009.

Guess who’s back!

Let me say a fashionably late hello to the new decade. I have finally found my new link to the blogosphere. No prizes for guessing; I’m probably the last person to resort to mobile blogging! I’m already in love with my beautiful new white iPhone and all set to resume blogging!

Happy 2010 to all :)

’cause time flies

It’s been exactly a year since I unofficially graduated from college and lost myself in the insanity of adulthood. I have loved the freedom since, the rush of responsibility, the financial independence, the stamp of a degree, the corporate chaos. And also hated it.

Life has changed in many ways, and yet, in some fundamental sense, I am still the restless, fickle mind of a young student exploring the ways of the world, looking for adventure in the least likely of places, and forever moving by elimination. I have however, in this year, found a master key to survival – living a day at a time. Of all things that work, this one works wonders. It’s amazing what a day can be, with no future to look into and no past to brood over.

I am not aspiring to be a life coach just yet, so I’ll leave you with these lines from Porcupine Tree,

But after a while, You realize time flies, And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you, ‘Cause time flies…

The creeper

It sprang from beneath the dark earth
Upon the dark earth
Disillusioned by the light at first
That shone in the sky above

Read more

Pen, paper & poetry

Poetry can truly transcend time and geography, and make you believe in the equivalent of a fairy tale for adults; a kind of serene, beautiful existence where words can smell, touch, smile and cry.

The Street: Octavio Paz

A long and silent street.
I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall
and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
stepping on silent stones and dry leaves.
Someone behind me also stepping on stones, leaves:

if I slow down, he slows:
if I run, he runs. I turn: nobody.

Everything dark and doorless.
Turning and turning among these corners
which lead forever to the street
where I pursue a man who stumbles
and rises and says when he sees me: nobody

[Original: La calle]

Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The Saddest Poem: Pablo Neruda
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her voide. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.
[Original: La Poesia]

Gen Y generations

Forget generations X and Y. They definitely can’t be seasoned by decades, particularly not gen Y. It is evidently split into micro-generations; Gen Y-ers could at best be clustered by 3 or 4 years.

Take the early 80s-born for instance. They loiter around social media, they’re mildly fascinated by facebook, they use skype as a ‘cheap’ means of communication, they google their recipes. But that doesn’t make them one of us. They’re not compulsively RSS-fed. They’re not facebook addicts, nor pro-multi-taskers. Their social lives aren’t dependent on google talk. They don’t get twitter. SMSing is not ingrained in their system. A blog is just another website. Forget functionality; their motivations, aspirations, values, opinions, all belong with gen X or are only incrementally different. Here’s a snapshot of us (not them) in the workplace.


I surfaced in 88, incase you’re speculating. I wonder what the 90s-offsprings would say to my ‘micro-generation’.

Given the pace at which our lives are evolving, we are probably not far from the point when a year will be sufficient to create a radical difference in lifestyles, a generation if you may. Generation clusters are accompanied by a certain sense of belonging, but frustration and miscommunication are by-products.

No one said technology could bridge the gap.

What will be, will be

We walk through life not knowing what would’ve been if we had taken the other path or made the other choice. And we find comfort in dismissing it as destiny.

Through time, destiny has become inseparable from religion, spiritualism and in the bigger picture, life. Objectively though, it seems to be yet another measure to give order to all the chaos in the world. It helps, the way the it helps to have hope and faith, to believe in something bigger than ourselves and our circumstances, to even surrender in the name of a bigger plan for our life. Chances are that those are the very elements that make our ‘destiny’.

Destiny is often intertwined with fate, and somewhere along the way, the two meet astrology. Astrologers claim to be able to predict our destiny, and sub-consciously, we are inclined to believe them. In fact, sunsigns, zodiacs and horoscopes have exerted more than their fair share of influence on people by becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

I can’t say if it’s a factor of age or experience, but at some point, surrendering to destiny or fate or whatever it is we want to call it, seems like the right thing to do. As though something will hold our hands and make us walk the ‘right’ path. As though the wind will knock at the ‘right’ door on our behalf. As though we’ll open our eyes one morning, and there it will be, the ‘right’ life, fixed and ready to be lived.

Let’s get real. Let’s write our own stories.


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