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Monday, October 10, 2016

Our survival is entirely up to us

After attending the lavish wedding of a middle-class couple, Fa is left wondering where people's priorities are.
COMMENT
I always envisioned a grand wedding reception to be one where there were crowds of well-wishers dressed in their best happily chatting away with one another. Where the bride and groom looked resplendent in their costumes and wore the biggest smiles on their faces. And where a scrumptious dinner and endless glasses of Teh Tarik awaited everyone who attended.
I was wrong.
Last weekend, I finally learned the real definition of what a grand wedding reception was. Held in a huge hall with chandeliers hanging majestically from the ceiling and an elaborately decorated stage where the highlights of the night unfolded, a group of adorable flower girls walked onto the red carpet, flanked by glamorously decorated tables accented with fresh flowers in stylish pots. The elegant bride and groom followed close behind, dressed in sophisticated wedding costumes, one of the many they paraded to their guests throughout the three-hour celebration.
The array of food served was lip-smacking and the desserts, glorious.
While I sat at my chair still licking my ice cream spoon at the end of the function, too heavy to move elsewhere, I began mentally calculating how much this whole affair would have cost. After some considerable number crunching, taking into account the rental of the premises (not a hotel), cost of the interior decor, food and beverage, outfits for the bride and groom, the three-tiered wedding cake, photographers, videographer, emcee, the Kompang band, door gifts and printing of wedding cards among others, I came up with the grand total of RM100,000.
I ran through the numbers with some of the other guests on my table and a gentleman, who apparently had recently held a wedding reception for his daughter, told me it was likely the function cost well over RM120,000!
Whoa!
I wondered how the bride and groom, who were from middle class families were able to afford such extravagance. Did they or their families empty their savings or worse, incur debt just to commemorate the occasion?
The thing is, we all want our dream weddings. But given the rising cost of living, the weakening ringgit and the additional pressure the GST puts on us – prices are soaring sky-high .
Surely the money splurged on this particular wedding could have been put to better use for a young couple staring their lives together. For heaven sake, RM120,000 could comfortably cover house rental, car instalments, groceries and utilities for two years!
We are after all not politicians or celebrities who can throw lavish weddings for our children without having to fork out a sen of our own, thanks to the bevy of sponsors knocking down their doors, only too willing to bear the cost of their children’s wedding.
Unlike these VIPs, we’ve got no one to pay for our children’s weddings. We pay for it ourselves using our own blood, sweat and tears. Why would we then organise extravagant weddings, flushing out our hard earned money for a dinner reception no one will remember the next day?
Times are hard. And it will get harder in the future. Our survival is up to us. So why not start prioritising and stop the lavish spending?

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