Friday, June 16, 2006

A Red Bomb....as the Chinese say....

On Wed I attended a friend’s wedding. You know how people always say weddings are joyous occasions and how it’s fantastic that two people are now joined in their love for eternity in the eyes of God and Country? Well, this was truly a wedding epitomizing the sentiment – and I’m not being a mushy cry baby (the way I usually am… at weddings….)

This was a simple beautiful ceremony with lots of white roses and the bride swathed in a luxurious cream and maroon brocade sari which sparkled with the lights. Although none of them sparkled more brightly than the bride. Her relief when sitting down on the stage was apparent – it came out as a deep breath and a look of : “Aaah, I’m finally here”. And then the Shania Twain song, “You’re Still The One” starts playing and I immediately find my throat constricting and the tears pooling.

It helps when you know the history of the couple – especially this one who have been together for 10 years and finally getting to the altar was a big momentous giant step for them, the family, the friends and even the Bahai’ community. As the father of the groom said, “So many delegations have come to us to ask for this union to happen”. It is always joyously heartening to finally have a union happen.

Marriage isn’t always good. I have seen so many marriages fall apart and I firmly believe it is because the parties involved did not put in as much as they wanted out of it. Many a time, na├»vete fools individuals in love into thinking that love is enough to make a marriage work – it isn’t!

Marriage is WORK and you better believe it. Marriage is also RISK and no one can guarantee that it will be good. What can be promised is that you will work at it. It’s too easy to give up nowadays – divorce lawyers abound, ‘friends’ who are looking to ‘help’ you out, impatient parents. It could all very well be well-meaning but sometimes married people just need a good kick in the ass!!!!!!!! Wake up and look at what you’ve made your marriage into – oftentimes a JOKE, that’s what it is!

You promise to love and honour and (ahem) share mutual decisions with another human being; if you haven’t been doing that 120%, then the marriage falling apart is YOUR fault! Do not blame others!

But when a love (and all the other parts of a successful marriage like respect, admiration, humour, chemistry, passion etc) is good, then Marriage is wonderful! Granted, I have not really come across a rarity such as this but I’m sure it is good. Even though I have not experienced a good marriage, but I have experienced good loves.

So, coming back to my initial story – This was one wedding where the love of the couple and their family and friends was so apparent, it would have been a shame not to have shed a few tears of joy for them. It was also touching that there could have been a hall of at least 80 people who were overjoyed that this couple could finally be together to build a life and a family. So many people can’t be wrong if they believe that your love is true and you are (nothing as tacky as being meant to be together) the best possible match for each other.

Mmmmmm……I feel it again now.

Congratulations Jothee and Taraz! My bestest wishes with you.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Manila - Land of the ????

I’ve just returned from Manila, the Philippines and I shall not return again. (Only smart people can make sense of the preceeding sentence!)

Yes, I spent 5 days, 4 nights in Manila, first in Simpaloc, then in the Ermita. Simpaloc is rather out of the happening radius so after spending our first night there in a prebooked room, the 4 adventurous girls moved to Stone House Ermita. It cost us RM17.00 each. I shan’t bore you with the details of the rooms but needless to say the 4 girls decided, “Heck! We’re managers – we can afford to pay more than RM17 for a nice room and so off we trudged…..yet again….in search of a RM50 room.

We found this in the CityState Hotel which seems to be a hub for ‘strangers in the night passing each other blowing horns and letting off steam’. Hahaahahhaaaa. Seems like lots of mat sallehs like having 2 Filipinas with them to eat breakfast.

Things I have done in the Philippines:

1. Visited world’s smallest active volcano – Taal Volcano located in Taal Lake.
2. Drove around Tagaytay (where Taal is located) approximately 2 hours looking for Leyla Restaurant where our packaged lunch is.
3. Shopped in Divisoria Market where 168 Shopping Mall is.
4. Changed accommodation 3 times in Manila itself.
5. Rode in a taxi, bus, jeepney (think long tut-tut) and tricycle
6. Got cheated by vehicle (taxi and jeepney) operators in our routes to hotels and airport.
7. Shopped in a souvenir shop called Tesoro near the CityState Hotel.
8. Had somebody tell me I was beautiful in Tagalog.
9. Had a bell boy look at me like I was in one of those perfume ads (where the guy tries hard to continue to stay and look and smile while a friend tries to pull him away)
10. Had almost everyone in Manila start speaking to me in Tagalog (my standard answer is: “No Tagalog”).
11. Changed USD to more pesos.
12. Ridden horseback up a mountain in a cut in sleeveless tank.
13. Get tan lines
14. Ruined my hair in the Hard Water.


Things I have not done in the Philippines:

1. Eaten Balut.
2. Visited Intramuros, Rizal Park, Cathedrals, Churches….
3. Lived the good life.
4. Experienced the night life.
5. Visit Boracay Beach.
6. Visit Casino Filipina.

Guess it looks like a pretty worthwhile trip huh? But still I wouldn’t go back. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or elitist or anything like that but it was poor, dirty and even scary at times.

Poor:
· Woman and 2 children sleeping in a tricycle by the wayside reeking of urine. The children are clothed but have no shoes and are asleep in that half closed eye manner that a lot of lost children have.
· Men, women and children living/sleeping at railroad tracks near Divisoria Market.
· Men huddled around a couple of fried fishes in the dark eating rice with their hands.
· Teenage boy coming up to you and following you aways to beg for the food you ‘ta-pau-ed’, ‘bungkus-ed’, packed from dinner.

Dirty:
· Woman and 2 children sleeping in a tricycle by the wayside reeking of urine.
· The unrelenting heat and sun making you sweat gallons. I FELT DIRTY AND STICKY so much of the time that I will always associate that with Manila.
· Open jeepneys and low-slung tricycles expose you and your skin to the air, smoke, dust, grime and god knows what else (trying very hard to not sound like a skincare ad but……)

Scary:
· Teenage boy coming up to you and following you aways to beg for the food you ‘ta-pau-ed’, ‘bungkus-ed’, packed from dinner.
· Men on the street calling you their girlfriend and/or sister.
· Getting lost among the market stalls in Divisoria and not knowing where is North, South, East and West, the Main Road, Taxi Land…….and having a million tricycle men telling you they can get you to wherever you need to go.
· Hand carrying 2 huge plastic bags of shopping and not knowing where your hotel is.
· Running out of money for shopping.
· Phillipine Idols auditioning everywhere – I MEAN everywhere – the market corner, the road side, eating places…….people just singing at the top of their baddish voices – I mean there aren’t too many Lea Salongas there from what I heard!

Manila reminded me of Old Delhi, electric cables abound, all tangled and exposed. Some parts of Metro Manila look war-torn, pillars half-broken off and jeeneys fighting for space on the roads. However, the good thing is that in spite of the jams and spewing black smoke, nobody curses or yells or shouts at another driver. It’s either that they’re so used to the situation already or they really are the HAPPY people they are claimed to be. It seems (from a native Filipino’s mouth) that they’ve gone through so much, poverty, political instability and etc. that nothing seems as bad as it may look.

By they way, Filipino definition of:
Butterfly – GROs who flit from man to man.
C*ck – no definition here but they have keychains shaped like the male appendage, ashtrays with it sticking right up in various sizes and god only knows what else. I never did find out the fascination with C*cks though.

…… :)

So....what is Manila the land of?