Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Never leave home without a good knife

Sing-a-long in Javanese!

*Stolen from Facebook, hence the tiny quality.

The song is about the process of having a wedding for Javanese families. Traditionally, the family would gather for a meeting to discuss division of labour; roping in aunts, uncles, cousins, etc to help out. Either the parent(s) of the bride/groom heads the endeavour or a family elder is tasked with the coordination of the needful for the event. No need for wedding planners.

I love how well the songwriter included the various elements of the kenduri like rewang (hanging out to help cook, decorate, etc), lining the palm of the host with a money-filled envelope before taking your leave and many more. The title of the post is a reference to how many ladies like my grandmother (and yours truly included) would never depart home for a rewang without our own knife with which to work. After all, the host may run out of knives for you to use or have inferior blades of the kind of sharpness and size that you do not favour (too many people have small, blunt knives. I check out the kitchens). I remember freaking out my grandmother's neighbour as I peel onions with a six-inch (not including the handle) chef knife. But hey, my knife was beautifully sharp and of great heft that slicing and dicing was a breeze.

However, the rewang tradition is slowly being eradicated as our lifestyle change; we can no longer depend on the commitment of families and neighbours with the catering (with perhaps a souvenir from the host for their time and energy in the form of a kain batik/pelekat, etc) and prep, everyone is so busy. Unless you live in a close-knit kampung or community, you are better off engaging professional caterers to get things done. Granted, your event will look like those in the magazines (assuming you have the budget for it), but the camaraderie of showing off your skills, developing talents and just hanging out together gossiping but the uncle who was chased out by his third wife as you peel onions will no longer part of the communal memory.

Ah well. That's the price of progress, innit?

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