Junk mindset and be on time for Chinese wedding dinners

About eight years ago I wrote to The Star on the habitually late-start of Chinese wedding dinners. I attributed this inherent weakness of the Chinese community to the antiquated "hard-up-for-the-food" mentality perpetuated since their forefathers set foot in this country. They think that if they arrive late at the reception, they will appear not to be "hard up for the food"!

I also wrote to Star Two early last year about my son's wedding dinner, which was so meticulously planned by all parties concerned, that all guests arrived on schedule.

But since then the situation has not got any better.

Nowadays, not only the dinners start late due mainly to the late arrival of guests but also the atmosphere in the dining hall is simply chaotic and noisy with karaoke music blaring and guests shouting themselves hoarse at the microphone which they call singing!

The noise generated from the stage and from those guests shouting at their tables is so deafening that no intelligible conversation with your friend sitting next to you could be conducted. The dining hall has virtually become a total madhouse!

In my earlier letter to The Star, I suggested that the only way to ensure that latecomers do not get the chance to attend a dinner reception is to hold it on board a ship or a floating restaurant. The habitual latecomers would literally miss the boat if the ship or the floating restaurant were to sail away when the dinner starts at the appointed time!

However, holding wedding dinners on board of a boat or a floating restaurant is impractical. But I am very convinced that, from my own experience, with proper planning and by putting across our views to all guests and those involved including the hotel/restaurant management that punctuality is an important feature of this function, Chinese wedding dinners can be held on schedule anywhere.

It is not a myth that a Chinese wedding dinner can start punctually. What we need are some extra efforts in planning and organizing to shed the long-ingrained "hard-up-for-food" mindset.


An edited version of the above was published in The Star on 21/09/05.

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