Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My brother-in-law turned 70 three weeks ago and his family organised a family bash for the "young man." They live in another state in Malaysia, Perak, in a smaller town called Ipoh. We travelled about 200 km north from Kuala Lumpur and the journey took 2 hours. It was a good reunion and Gismoman drove his brother's SUV as there were 7 of us - parents-in-law, brother and sister-in-law and the three of us. MaritanGirl was pretty excited at meeting her cousins and her 3 1/2 year-old neice. Her cousins stay relatively near us but with school and all sorts of activities, they do not get to meet often, only during family reunions. The curries were spicy and we ate them with "chapati," a flat bread made from wheat flour, quite similar to tortillas.
The cousins and their little niece. They become "Aunties" very early due to the large age differences among the siblings in GismoMan's family. They all wanted the little one to sit on their laps so she had to do the "musical lap" to please the 3 aunties. Note their normal daily clothes.
The girls in their traditional costumes for prayers in the Gurdwara (Sikh temple). The costumes are called "salwar kameez." It consists of a collarless tunic in a rich colour with matching or contrasting coloured pants and a shawl (dupatta). The pants are pyjama-like, wide at the top and narrow around the ankles. There is a lot of bead-work, sequins or embroidery in the tunic and dupatta. The dupatta is a long rectangular veil/shawl. It is an essential part of the salwar kameez as it is used to cover the head before entering the Gurdwara or is drapped over the head in the presence of elders as a mark of respect. The girls are flanked by their grand parents (great grand parents for the little one) who are 84 years and 97 years old. The entrance to the Gurdawa.
The girls with dupatta covering their heads. Even the boys have the heads covered with turbans or knotted hankerchiefs. Their cousin is knotting his hankerchief over his head (behind far right). Vegetarian meals are served after the prayers.

It was a good reunion. I feel it is essential to bring MartianGirl back to the traditions and religious activities of her ethnic group. She gets so carried away with the modern ways of life. The only occassions she wears a salwar kameez are during these reunions and festivals.


  1. I agree I think it is really important not to forget where we come from. Looks like it was fun.

  2. Just popped in to say thank you for leaving a comment at mine and I found this interesting post. I went to Malaysia once (in 1994) and found it a beautiful country. I enjoyed reading about the party. Thank you. WM x