I used to be a far more romantic person that I am today – the realities of life and the cost involved have certainly taught me a lot of lesson in what matters and what doesn’t. Of course there is a place for romance in relationships, but putting romance at the centre stage seems very naïve and foolish, I’d say.
Yes, I finally took the bullet and ‘proposed’ to Yani – I didn’t get down on my knees and propose in a manner that would incite an ‘ooooh – aaaah – how sweet’. Last Saturday, we just agreed to be in town earlier so we could have a look at some jewellery shops and see whether they had a nice ring for her. The ring was ready on Monday after it was resized, but because we wanted a white gold, she had to wait for another day. Yani is as practical as me as well, even though she said that she wanted a romantic proposal – she wore the ring after she collected it from the shop rightaway, rather than waited for me to put it on her. 🙂
So, I learned about the price of romance the first time through the money that I forked out for the ring. Of course I love her and wants her to pick the best. 🙂 It’s a warm glow of contentment that follows when friends congratulated me through Facebook and on the phone, and the realisation that ‘well, yeah, we’ve done it!’.
The following day, on Sunday last week, a contingent of siblings descended from Jakarta and Bandung over to Surabaya to discuss the formal family proposal. Well, this was actually the formal proposal – in traditional Asia, even though the couple exchange sweet promises and the guy proposes to the girl on bended knees, it means zilch if the families don’t agree. Asian proposals are not romantic at all – they are structured, full of namby pamby conversations where words need to be chosen carefully as the landscape is dotted by culture landmines. Asian marriages put a lot more value in family, duty and trust, rather than romance. I suppose based on my limited experience and observation – they tend to be longlasting than those based purely on romance. Of course, there are cases when one may say that some couples should have been divorced a long time ago because romance and love had left the scene many years ago. However, it’s the bind of duty, trust, and family that end up preserving the marriage. However, I digress …
Modernisation and the spread of western culture have certainly put some pressure on Asians to keep up with the ‘advancement’. We have to adhere to the traditional social values and yet, we are also expected to show that we are modernised and that we also value a lot of romance in relationship. A friend of mine left a link in my Facebook page for a group of photographers in Indonesia. Their website is slick, their production is very beautiful, however the price tag is also stellar. For a pre-wedding package, their cost begins at Rp 27,000,000 or AU$3,200 – and for a wedding package, they charge Rp 49,000,000 or roughly about AU$5,900. Whoa! 😯 Maybe it’s the market price at the moment? I mean, I would love to have a slick clip and great looking and longlasting memorable photographs, but $3,200 seems such a large price to pay! I prefer to use the money to travel around for the honeymoon! … or to be more practical, to contribute for the mortgage. Hahaha. Nah, I’m not that ‘scrooge’-y!
We are now deeply immersed in the details of wedding preparation – Yani will need to head back to Indonesia much earlier to allay her parents’ concerns and to help prepare the reception in Surabaya. I’m sure we will laugh about them later but at the moment, dealing with conflicting dates, clashing traditions, the price of venue bookings for Adelaide, Bandung, and Surabaya, the logistics and the politics, the bureaucracies and the idiosyncrasies seem to be a large price to pay for romance! 🙂