Jumaat, 12 Februari 2010

Of Coconut Trees and Weddings

We often attend wedding invitations of our friends or relatives. Ever noticed the diferences between the present and yester years ? yes ! privatisation vs gotong royong [gr]...(cooperative method) of wedding celebrations.

The choice of method is related to various factors for example : financial status, space availability, the community in situ, among others.

Let's preview briefly the gotong royong method of holding wedding ceremonies.

The young and the energetics would perform the hardcore jobs like establishing make shift tents(bangsal), cooking avenues, including preparing the coconut milk in large quantities using the traditional method (back then we don't have any coconut grinder yet) using the coconut scraper (kukur kelapa) that is being kept in every household. As kids, some would ride at the back of their mom on this scraper thinking of going someplaces on horseback...!!

The elderly would combine all their resourceful talents into practice like who will cook, who will prepare the raw materials, who will do the washing, etc.
Plucking the coconut from 'Malayan Tall' variety is a highly skilled job. In those days, you can always call the official 'coconut climbers'. They have special knives if you could remember. Dominated by one ethnic, no point mentioning. No wonder the price of coconut is going up and down.....pay him to climb up, and come down.

That's one method, the other one is by using monkeys (the bigger one - pig-tailed monkey and in Malay called beruk). This profession is dominated by another ethnicity...? This you've got to be carefull, you know these monkeys have their off days too...and if you are the owner of the monkey make sure it rides in front of the bicycle, not at the back.

If your name is (xxx) and the monkey sits in front of your bicycle, they will call 'beruk (xxx)', if sitting at the back, then you had it...they call you '(xxx) beruk'....and if you have one in front and one at the back, then it will be 'beruk (xxx) beruk'... the option is yours..( I'm not putting any names here, choose your own).

Anyway back to the gr method, preparing the dishes menu will be a very happy and jovial occasion. Jovial in a sense that there will always be a joker to liven the occasion. Every single person or group will have a specific job to perform, even if one doesn't have any specific job will be asking 'what can he do'.

This reflects the closeness of the members of the community, ever willing to help each other so much so that if you are a father, then you are also a father to all the children in the village in the context of teaching them, educating them, guiding them, in the right path of Islam. Their own biological father will thank you for that, which means to say that everybody has a responsibility towards each other. Islamic principles is really practiced here !! Often the whole village folks will be involved in this occasion.

On the actual wedding day, food will be served by a special group of appointed individuals called 'bentara' in Malay, commandeered by a chief or leader that will oversee everything is in order and runs smoothly. His authority is beyond the others, until the ceremony ends. (When you elect someone to perform a certain duty, respect his authority during his course of duty). As an honour, guests would be served rather than taking their own food as in the 'buffet style' method being practiced at present.

Some urban housing areas still practice this method of wedding preparations. It really challenges the commitment of everyone in that community. Looking deeply at the implications or advantages of having such method, one would agree that it brings a lot of benefits especially in fostering a close relationship among the members of the community or village , instilling a sense of responsibilty towards each other.
A call for unity !!

InsyaAllah will be continued..

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