Saturday, November 16, 2013

Two Weddings and a Memorial ...
Celebrating Life in Kuala Lumpur

Shortly before Pat and I left Malaysia for our summer sojourn in Michigan, we attended a series of events that celebrate the cycle of life. We attended two weddings, the start of a new life for two young couples.  We also participated in a small, private memorial ceremony to honor and remember an old friend who passed from the scene in 2005.

The first joyous occasion was the wedding of Adzam and Syazana.  Adzam is one of the geologists you saw in the last blog.  Pat and I drove down to Port Klang, the city that serves as the port for Kuala Lumpur and much of the rest of the country.  Syazana's family had held a similar reception at her home town near Ipoh, a few hundred km to the north, and now it was Adzam's turn to have one at his place.

Adzam's family had made the reception venue into a block party for the neighbors and friends; a tent with buffet and banquet tables was erected along the length of the road in front of the row of their townhouses.

Adzam had invited much of our construction company's site office to attend, as well as his family and the whole neighborhood.  The tables were full of neighbors and fellow workers, including us...

While the guests were feasting outside, Adzam and Syazana were receiving friends and relatives inside Adzam's parents' house, seated at their thrones in a traditional Malay bersanding.  Read about Malay weddings here.

So this is the happy couple!  I'm not sure what Zana thinks of her husband's work deep in the bowels of the earth mapping the rock formations behind a tunnel boring machine, but that's the farthest thing from her mind right now as they look forward to their life together!  Pat and I wish them the very best !

The second wedding was in the city of Shah Alam, about 25km west of Kuala Lumpur.  The bride is the daughter of Naim Yunus and Sabariah Moh'd Zain.  I "met" Naim on-line as a fellow member of Malsingmaps, a group of Garmin GPS enthusiasts who took it upon themselves to create road maps of Malaysia to use on their Garmin navigators when Garmin had no useful maps of the country.  Today, Garmin has adopted the Malsingmaps map as their standard Malaysia/Singapore map that they sell on their website.    Naim and Sab are world travelers and tireless bloggers.  Their daughter Nuraini ("Nuni") is a doctor serving her compulsory government service (for medical docs) in a rural district town, and her husband Zaman works for a land development firm. 

The afternoon started as these receptions usually do with a sumptuous catered buffet luncheon.  The reception was at the auditorium of the state museum in Shah Alam.  As the guests were finishing their lunch, the bride and bridegroom were being treated to a performance of the traditional Malay silat martial arts.  (The bride's in the picture seated at front, wearing the purple head scarf.)

 At the conclusion of the silat performance, Zaman and Nuni make their way to the auditorium's stage.  In their wedding, their bersanding well-wishers will go up to the thrones on the stage to wish them well.  In the first wedding the bridegroom was wearing a traditional Malay bridegroom attire.  Zaman, however, opted for a business suit.

The happy couple is seated at their thrones waiting for the MC to start the ceremony. After prayers, friends and relatives will make their way up the stage to wish them well.  At this point, Pat and I bid farewell to Nuni's parents and make our way back to KL.  (Today, I understand that Dr Nuni and Zaman are expecting a baby soon!)

Finally, we complete our celebration of life by accompanying Marion D'Cruz and Marge Martinez, old friends we've known for almost 40 years, to memorialize Marion's husband Krishen Jit, who passed away in 2005.  Krishen Jit is widely considered to be the father of modern Malaysian theatre.  Numerous articles, books, and academic papers have been written on his work.  But Pat, Justin and I also remember him fondly as a friend and also as Justin's kindly godfather (Marion being Justin's godmother).

When Krishen passed away in 2005, his ashes were scattered in the ocean outside of Port Klang, the port city that serves Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur.  Every year since then, at the anniversary of Krishen's passing, Marion goes out with some friends to scatter flower petals in the ocean off the ferry terminal in Klang.  This year, Pat, Marge and I accompany Marion.  Marion (in the yellow shirt) is checking out local motorboat operators who can take us out to the site.  In the background is a water bus that just pulled in from Pulau Ketam (Crab Island).

Marion strikes a deal with one of the speedboat operators, and we're off!  Marion has gone to a neighborhood flower shop near her house and has brought the flower petals with her.

We reach the site and throw the flower petals in the water, drinking a toast (we've come prepared) in the boat to Krishen.  We laugh and we reminisce before heading back to shore.

From the ferry pier, we make our way to the "Little India" section of Port Klang for a quick meal before heading back to Kuala Lumpur.  The streets are festooned with the flags of political parties for the upcoming general elections.

So we end our memorial outing with a lunch of Indian tosai, chapatis, potato pancakes, and mutton curry.  If Krishen were still with us, this is how we would have ended our outing as well! Cheers, folks!


  1. Howard, thank you for sharing about these significant life events. Best wishes to the happy couples and to us all!

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. What beautiful friends and life celebrations! I love the colorful decor and clothes for the wedding & memorial. They are also fortunate to be celebrating with you :)

  3. Thanks a lot, Howard, for writing about Nuni & Zaman. As it turns out I'm reading this entry in our hotel room in freezing New York City. We always travel at the wrong time of the year, as true travelers do, hahaha!

    1. That's OK, Naim. I'm in KL and I just caught a cold...

  4. I suppose this posting completes the two postings per year for 2013.
    See you some time in 2014, Mr Howard, sir.