Saturday, November 12, 2005

Malaysian Chinese Wedding Dinners


Have you ever been invited to a Chinese wedding dinner in Malaysia? What was your experience like? Personally, I always view these invitations as a treat to being insulted by the host.

10 times out of 10 invitations I have graced, be they at posh hotels or Chinese restaurants, the first dish was not served until at least one hour past the appointed time. And the host had the temerity to state in the wedding invitation card that dinner starts at 7:00pm SHARP.

Maybe it was just ME, but I make it a point to arrive early as a gesture of respect to the host. Sadly, I always came away feeling that the host concerned did not bother to reciprocate but instead found it acceptable to make me sit and wait for my dinner (which incidentally I paid for with the requisite big "angpow") way past the polite hour.

I had the misfortune of gracing one particular wedding of a Datuk at a posh hotel in KL last year and the dinner started TWO hours late at 9pm all because a prominent guest saw it fit to make a grand late entrance. It was certainly the height of rudeness but who cares, right? I almost fell asleep when the first dish was served. By the time everything was over, I reached home way past midnight, silently cursing the host for his lack of courtesy. Come to think of it, it's not very good "feng-shui" to have people cursing you on your auspicious day, isn't it? Am I the only cursing that night? I don't think so.

Nowadays, I dread receiving wedding invitations and frankly, will only attend if I absolutely could not feign a good excuse. Otherwise, I rather just send an angpow over and have dinner at my own expense at my own sweet time. I know these wedding dinners will always start late but I just could not bring myself to be tardy. So, when I do go to one, I made sure that I filled my stomach first and then brace myself for a long night. And cross my fingers that I get good company at the dinner table.

I have not even started telling you about the ear-shattering loud sound system blaring off-key karaoke singers engaged to torture the guests during the whole waiting process.

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7 Comments:

Blogger straymana said...

I think it has reached a point where the 7:00pm sharp means 8++ pm to almost everyone (me included), well when you can't beat them, you have to join them, no? *sigh*.

Now I am wondering if the host really wanted to start the dinner at 7:00pm sharp, how to get that point a across on the invitation card? 7:00pm REALLY REALLY SHARP? *grin*

13/11/05 22:04  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Maybe the hosts should print the invitations saying "7:00pm SHARP and I am serious or you will miss your dinner" ..;D.
I don't know why everybody does it, maybe because like you say, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?". Personally, I think it would be better for everyone concerned to put a stop to it and start these dinners on the dot. Sooner or later, everyone will get the message and arrive on time. Thanks for your comments!

13/11/05 22:58  
Blogger PinPin 彬彬 said...

I think this is exactly the mentality of most people: others are gonna be late anyway so why arrive so early?

In the end, most guests are late on purpose and the dinner is forced to start late too. Can't really blame the couple because you can't possibly start the dinner with less than 10% of the guests, right?!

Too bad that most people don't have this "let's start with myself" kind of mentality. It's gonna take a long long time before this kind of "tradition" can be changed.

14/11/05 17:55  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

pinpin, the problem is I have attended many dinners where 80% of the guests were already seated within half an hour of the appointed time but the hosts still insist on keeping everyone waiting for the rest of the absent 20%! Not very fair or polite, is it?

I also wonder what will happen if someone will be truthful and dared to issue the invites saying "dinner will start at 8:30pm SHARP"? If people still arrive an hour late, I really take my hat off to these imbeciles.

14/11/05 21:45  
Blogger H J Angus said...

To me the only people who may be given a little slack are the bridal couple and perhaps not more than 15 minutes.

We should tell ALL the guests that the dinner will start promptly 15 minutes after the stated time.

If you have to be late, you will miss one or two courses.

17/11/05 12:41  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Actually HJ Angus, I will be more generous with my time and allow a max delay of 30 mins after which the hosts should just go ahead with the dinner and not feel apologetic to the late-comers.

17/11/05 17:47  
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