Weddings in Christ Church Marriages in Christ Church were slated for Saturday afternoons, with a fusion of east and west traditions. A pageboy, dressed in a smart pint sized suit looking like an ethnic Little Lord Fauntleroy, would lead the train carrying a red velvet cushion, with an open Bible on which rested the rings and the Thaali or Mangalsuthra, the gold chain that the bridegroom tied around the bride’s neck. Nervous bridesmaids, in Benares silk sarees in pastel shades, pleated and pinned neatly in place, clutching bouquets walked up the aisle, conscious of all eyes on them as prospective brides to be. The bride, in a cream and gold Benares silk sari, entered on her father’s arm as the organ played Here comes the Bride. She would have a tiara perched precariously on her head. An embellished white veil in two parts folded down at the tiara. The smaller part, covered her face in front and the larger bit trailed behind, to sweep up the red carpet, that ran from the main door of the church to the altar. Flower girls, in frilly frocks and stiff cancan petticoats, carrying little wicker baskets, with flowers would hold up the trailing veil, while they tripped over their squeaky new shoes. The bridegroom and best man, in brand new three piece western suits, would wait nervously at the altar, with sweaty palms, never looking back.

follow The services usually went off without a hitch. I only remember one service ,when someone in the congregation, piped up an objection, when my Dad, read out the bit urging people to speak now, or forever remain silent. The miscreant, had been jilted by the Bride and was determined to mess up the wedding, if he could not have the girl he loved. He was taken out swiftly, by the Bride’s brothers, dressed as bouncers and was never seen or heard of, for the rest of the ceremony. There was another wedding that I remember, where the bridegroom fainted and fell flat on his face, mid sentence. The poor chap had been working from morning and had not had anything to eat and his new tight shoes were a killer. Unperturbed, my Dad, looked down at him, as the best man and the anxious family propped him up and resuscitated him. My Dad, then continued the service without missing line or beat. The wedding service and hymns were either in English or Tamil. The lyrics were always in Tamil. After the vows, the wedding rings would be exchanged. The veil would be lifted off the face of the bride and the bridegroom would tie the Mangalsuthra or Thaali around the bride’s neck and they would be pronounced man and wife.

opcje binarne wyniki The part where the priest said You may now kiss the bride bit was missing. That would have too much for the Indian community of colonial Singapore who would have been shocked out of their wits, at any public display of love, especially on hallowed ground.

site rencontre sfr Romance depicted in the Indian films had couples skipping around trees, singing duets like Siamang monkeys, while roses bobbed together in the frame and bees hummed suggestively in pairs. That was acceptable on celluloid but certainly not in church. And definitely not in Christ Church. After the ceremony, the bridal couple would sign the register in the Vestry and the congregation would sing Mannavazhvu puthu vazhvinnil vazhvu, a Tamil lyric set to a Carnatic tune. After signing the register, the newlyweds would exchange Jasmine and Rose poomalais or garlands handcrafted in Serangoon Road, When the last verse of the tamil lyric ended, they would emerge from the vestry, arm in arm, after a pregnant pause, They would walk up to the altar, bow reverently, turn around and walk down the aisle as husband and wife, usually smiling, to the Mendelsohnn’s wedding march. The first photo shoot was on the steps of the Church where everyone stood in tiers, to accommodate the families from both sides, the Bride’s and the Groom’s. Meanwhile, the confetti would have been passed down the pews. The congregation would gleefully pelt them and each other with a shower of confetti. No one ever worked out when or how the far east met the west in the Tamil congregation of the Anglican Christ Church in Singapore.

The wedding reception was held in the Assembly Hall, in the church compound. There would be a live band playing Indian film music. The lead singer, an Indian youth in shiny tights, dark glasses and tutored sideburns looking like a cross between Elvis Presley and the reigning South Indian film idol, would clutch the Mike and belt out Popular Indian film songs both in English, Tamil and Hindi. A popular crooner at the weddings was a Christ Church kid, Wilson David. He did look like an ethnic version of The King and he did sing all the Elvis Presley numbers of our days with panache, to our great delight.

As the guests entered the hall, children with mischief in their eyes would sprinkle rose water on them to welcome them. Sandalwood sloshing was optional. Some guests would dip their fingers gingerly in the sandalwood paste and smear it onto the hollow of their necks and inhale deeply. It reminded them of India.

The Bride and the Groom, would have gone for a drive in a car, decorated with ribbons, bows and flowers. After the official portraits at the Photo studio and a change of clothes, the bride and groom would appear on stage. The bride would have changed into a red and gold Kancheepuram silk sari, sans veil, for the reception. The waiting crowd meanwhile would have sweated puddles while they waited in heavy silks, wearing every piece of jewellery that they possessed from head to toe.

Somewhere in the crowd, would sit a VIP who was invited to every Indian wedding. The Indian ladies tailor. He was a diminutive man, who enjoyed privileged status with the Indian Ladies of Singapore. He had classified information. He had the vital statistics of all the Indian Ladies in Singapore. He had his good days and bad days, with a hint of attitude but everyone forgave him his quirks, as he was always in demand. Often, the only one available for miles around. They needed him to make their custom made blouses, stitched to perfection and delivered on time, with every new sari that they bought from P. Govindasamy and Sons at Serangoon Road. Or, for the sari shopping that they did on their visits to India and brought home in their bulging suitcases.

Saris, need custom made blouses that fitted the contours like a glove and they could not afford to rub him the wrong way. In case, he ruined any of their blouses. A badly stitched sari blouse can be gross if it is too tight or if it hung in unsightly pouches about the person. The Indian Ladies tailor, was certainly a VIP in his own right. He was labelled fragile, treated with care and placed a few inches away from the high table.

The Master of Ceremonies, in a Bow tie, would introduce the Bride, the Groom and the families. In a toast, he would urge everyone to raise their thimbles of wine and join him in a toast to the bride and groom. The bridegroom would respond with a Thank You speech and mumble “My wife and I”, while the guests would settle down to a high tea of sandwiches, savoury curry puffs, cream-cakes, ice-cream, jelly and fruit salad.

A dummy multi-tiered wedding cake, with one layer of real cake, would be cut ,while the photographer and his flash had a field day. Pre-packed wedding cake would be distributed among the guests, who then milled around in long queues, to wish the couple and bury them with gifts.

Dinner, was usually a private affair with close friends and family. Diplomatic hiccoughs were the rule as someone or the other would have been forgotten or not been invited in time. Biriyani cooked by a traditional Muslim cook, Hanifa, in the church compound, would be served with a brinjal curry, a sweet raisin chutney, timoon or cucumber pickle and yoghurt or raitha. Ice cream, usually Vanilla, would be served served as dessert. The Beetel nut and the Beedha rounded off the meal.

The guests hung around in groups, greeting old friends and new, overtly scrutinising children, clothes and jewellery. They managed to keep it as ethnic and Indian as they could. Everyone loved the weddings at Christ Church.

The bridal couple, retired to the home of the bride or the groom, with little or no privacy, to a life shared by every relative in town. If one did go on a honeymoon it was at a later date, usually to Malaya, to a cottage on the Cameroon Highlands or the Frazer’s Hill, two of the favourite hill resorts of yesteryears.

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