Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Wedding Dinner

Jenn-Hui and Katherine, a beautiful couple indeed..

Datuk Tan and wife Datin Emily Tan, gracious hosts they were..

[Pixs credited to]

By any yardstick, the wedding reception of Jenn-Hui Tan and Katherine Allport at the Prince Hotel in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur last week was a grand one.

Jenn-Hui is the firstborn and only son of Datin Emily Tan, my Royal Lake Club karaoke buddy (not to mention a Club champion twice over), and her husband Datuk Tan.

She had approached me in our usual 'love nest' of the karaoke lounge some days before the fasting month with a tentative "Eh Puteri, if I were to invite you to my son's wedding dinner, would you come?"

I knew where she was coming from, especially with the yamsengs (toasts) and free-flow of liquor within range. She was at pains not to offend our sensibilities. Such thoughtfulness ....

I believe she didn't know quite where to place us in the light of our recent pilgrimage, for she had known us from our footloose, devil-may-care days.

But we have no hangups about such things. Give and take a couple of necessary (read 'must do') adjustments to our life, we are still the same easy-going, non-judgemental old farts.

When I told her we would be more than happy to be her guests, she broke into a smile and said, "Hokkeh, you'll get the invitation soon..!"

Some 500 guests from different parts of the world attended the wedding dinner. The Allport family and friends from England were also there in a show of solidarity.

And since the bride and groom are Hongkong-based, there was a sizeable group comprising their friends and colleagues from the island colony too.

But what struck me the most when I studied the dinner menu was the absence of shark's fin soup. A banquet as grand as this, and no shark's fin soup? That was so neat, Emily!

In its place was seafood soup; no less delicious - in fact it was exquisite to the taste - and a fitting alternative that truly complemented the rest of the dishes served.

To the Tans I say bravo for daring to be different, for I know both Datuk Tan and his wife are pretty 'old-school' and I am sure the decision wasn't an easy one.

Personally, I had sworn off shark's fin soup many years ago after learning of the cruelty involved in finning i.e. harvesting the fins. How I wish for the day when this delicacy is no more.

When we met some days later at the Club, Emily confided that the decision wasn't as easy as it seemed. "You know la, Puteri, I was more worried about perception, what would people think and all that.

'But my son and his wife and the entire Allport clan, not to mention some of our own, thought it was the right thing to do. So we went with the flow lah."

You did right Emily, you really did. Well done, Datin!

[Additional reading on shark's fin here]


Kak Ezza@makcik blogger said...

salam kak puteri...

saya rasa saya pernah nampak dia masa karaoke contest anak bujang dia handsome maa...

kak, saya pun suka makan sharkfin soup tu..hehehhee

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
No sharksfin soup? That's PAWsome..... purrr...meow!

Wan Sharif said...

That was good decision all right.. to educate/inculcate the value of being merciful.. Hopefully our sea would still have enough sharks to do their job.. unlike our jungles or bushes.. devoid of tigers to take care of the wildboars..

pakmat said... I am now and forever will be..a sometimes pain-in-the-neck, but a non-judgemental old fart..:)..and here's to the sharks..cheers..

D said...

The Tans must be applauded for their wise move to not serve shark's fin soup. I know it's not easy for the Chinese, especially if it's served and refused by a guest!

Btw, have you tried faux shark's fin soup?(not that I have!)

Tommy Yewfigure said...

always so cute to see angmoh wear cheongsum, especially if she got slender long legs ;) ;)

Shark fins & bird's nest soup, personally I think it's over rated, maybe just me.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Ezza - yes you did, zah. she was one of the contestants. saya pun dulu2 suka soup tu tapi dah berhenti makan bertahun dah, by choice.

Cat - :-)

Wan - a small step goes a long way, kan..

Pakmat - that makes two of us, pakmat, the pain in the neck..

D - it's not easy to do without this delicacy at such a grand do; that much i understand. shark's fin is all about giving one's guests the best.. thus going without it to be politically correct takes a lot of gumption...

Tommy - it's not in the taste for sure, tommy. it's more of what the dish represents.. still, i salute those who dare go against the grain..

Kama At-Tarawis said...

to answer yr question, D, no i haven't had the opportunity of tasting faux shark's fin soup...

and tommy, i too love watching leggy women (especially angmohs) in form-fitting cheongsams..