Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dad's love story

Last night I remembered it was Wesak Day and I dropped my parents' an email to wish them a happy wedding anniversary. This morning I noticed a reply from my Dad, but didn't have time to read it before I left for work. So I downloaded it onto my iPhone and read it on the train. I got a little weepy and discreetly tried to wipe my tears away as I read my Dad's words. I blame my dang hormones, it's that time of the month :P Here's what my Dad wrote in his reply:

* Kung Kung == Grandpa
* Por Por == Grandma
* park tor == going on dates

"Wesak day changes every year, like the Chinese New Year. We were officially married (exchanged vows, rings and registered) at the Selangor Marriage registry on 26th SEPT 1970. I think nobody was at the registry except your Kung Kung and one of Mum’s friends. They acted as witnesses. We did not have our formal ceremonial/customary wedding until 9th MAY 1971 (Wesak day) i.e. wedding gowns, tea ceremony, dinner (we had lunch instead because dinners in most restaurants/hotels were booked out), etc. I think the date was chosen by your Por Por.

At the registry, names of bride and groom have to be displayed in a public notice board for several weeks for any public comments/objections before the marriage could be registered. The marriage certificate meant money, because as army officers we get maid’s allowance, housing allowance, ration allowance, water and electricity allowance, phone allowance, transport allowance, family holiday transport allowance (remember riding 1st class train to Penang?), uniform allowance, etc. Added up together, a married officer would get more than double the salary of a single officer!

And you know what? I could not recognize the registration clerk at the registry, but he recognized me. He said that we had met before playing mahjong at a friend’s place. So he fast tracked (could only be approved by the State chief minister) our registration without having to pay a fee.

After registration, Mum moved out of the nurses’ hostel and I moved out of the army officers’ mess. We stayed in a rented bungalow house paid for by the army, near her hospital. Prior, I’ve visited the nurses’ hostel so very often that the receptionist when she saw me coming in the corridor would call Mum’s room ES109 (I think this was the number) to say that I was waiting. Gosh! You should see Mum’s favourite hair style. Combed fluffy down, end curled and rolled outwards at neck’s length.

By the way, Mum and I met and attended a university ball/dance (annual?? Not sure) on a blind date in 1968. (Believe it or not I was quite good dancer). I think she came with her friend who was the witness at the marriage registry. So we “park tor” almost every day after that. To do that I had a quickie army driving license to prove that I had done an army driving test (which I never did) to get a civilian driving license immediately, driving Kung Kung’s new car to date your Mum. Later, we shared and bought our first car, a second hand Morris through uncle David who was then a manager in a car company (Wearne’s Brothers??).

To think of it, age is catching up, and I think Mum and I should sit down some days and write our childhood stories, so that you guys can compare the type of life our generation had with yours and probably Sage’s too. There’s so much of differences in the lifestyle, particularly the boys. Anyway hope I’m not boring you with the above story but at least now you know how your Mum and Dad met and became man and wife for the last 38 years!



Secretary said...

that's a beautiful tale and I for one think they should write their memoirs...

It takes a lot of commitment to go the distance and still remember all these fond memories...

Happy anniversary for your parents.

Anonymous said...

That's so sweet Shireen...your parents are tops. My mum still uses the "pak tor" word every so often, makes me laugh..

Cass xx

Ed Stephens said...

That's a lovely story Reenie, makes me want to go and hear the story of how my folks and grandfolks met again.