31 July 2007

Photos from the wedding reception in Taipei

Our photographer sent us two DVDs holding 968 photos three days after the wedding reception in Taipei. While Fanne has been doing her damnedest to choose some, from them to make an album, I don't think this will be done by the end of this year. How could my picky, fastidious wife make up her mind about those shots from the happy moment within six months? No way.

Anyway, here come some photos I chose by myself.

(Our stylish reception venue, view from the top table)

(Fanne's father taking her into the venue)

(Raising our glasses in a toast to our parents and other guests at the top table)

(Retreating from the venue to change. It is the custom in a Taiwanese wedding reception that the bride has three dresses – the first worn when she arrives at the venue, the second changed half way through the reception and the third for seeing off the guests at the door of the hall)

(Walking into the venue again with the bride in a nice dinner dress)

(Singing to Fanne's accompaniment. A Scottish groom is not allowed to talk, let alone to sing, in a Scottish wedding, but today I'm a Taiwanese groom)

(Last-minute rehearsal before the reception)

(A quick shot outside the venue when the guests were being fed)

29 July 2007

Setting the nuptial bed before getting married

In addition to the Scottish church one, we had our Taiwanese wedding on the 19th of July and then on the 21st the mega reception for 250 guests at the World Trade Centre Club, a venue on the 33rd floor of a building near Taipei 101, the so-far tallest building in the world.

Fanne and I have been back in Taipei since early July. It took us quite some time to put everything in the correct place before the wedding and reception in order to make sure our parents would be delighted. Among many marriage rituals and customs which we were desired to observe was bridal bed setting.

While there are a range of variants of bed setting ritual in different Chinese communities around the globe, one requirement common to all the variants should be choosing an auspicious date and hour by consulting the Chinese almanac or by engaging a Chinese astrologist to perform certain calculations. At the specified hour of the auspicious date (7.00 am, 16 July in our case), the bed, which has actually been purchased and laid in the nuptial room since a couple of days ago, will be moved into position, again, according to the result of astrological calculations.

In some regions the custom demands that a boy jumps on the newly-set bed to bless the bed with fertility, whereas in others people place additionally a red tray of dried food such as lotus seeds, lichees and longans. We did neither.

In our case, after setting the bed, my mum fitting the bed with sheets, blanket and pillows for me and my dad accompanied me for three consecutive nights. According to the custom in my family, there should have been a boy accompanying me so that this bed would always sleep two and Fanne and I would be an everlasting couple. It is customarily believed that if the groom-to-be sleeps alone in the newly set bed, either himself or his wife will die through misfortune. As we didn't, and couldn't bother to, find a suitable young boy, we just modified the tradition a bit.

Although Fanne would followed any our my parents' and other relatives' instructions, she firmly believed that a couple shouldn't even get married in the first place if they would attribute to disobedience of these rituals any potential marriage problems or failure in the future.

17 July 2007

Wooden fortune toad

Coin toadToads may not be as attractive as frogs to most people owing to their dry warty skin that can exude poison. However, to those Chinese feng shui practitioners, toads (蟾蜍, chanchu) are auspicious animals which bring wealth and good fortune.

It is not uncommon to see in a shop or at an ordinary home a toad statue holding a Chinese coin (a round one with a square hole in the centre) in its mouth a well as sitting on a pile of thme. People would place the statue near the front door facing inwards in hopes that they can amass a huge fortune.

Last Sunday I went to Dajia (大甲), an urban township in Taichung County, to visit my elderly grandpa and to deliver wedding invitations to some of my father's siblings. On my way back to Taipei, I made a detour to Shenkeng (深坑) and bought an interesting handicraft – a wooden toad.

Wooden toad
There aren't any coins, neither in the toad's mouth nor beneath its bum. Instead, there are some sawtooth notches on its back. When scraped with a wooden stick against the notches from its tail to head, the wooden statue produces a rasping sound which resembles a toad croak. I have no idea if this wee toad is meant to be a fortune toad, but to me it seems to be more an instrument than a feng shui device. It really reminds me of the güiro, a kind of Latin percussion instrument.

P.S. I haven't yet got my new MacBook Pro, but after two weeks of rest, my champagne-poured old PowerBook has become alive and kicking. It decided to serve me again and that's why I could produce silly stuff on Principal Wei's Weblog again. Although this wooden toad may not be a feng shui talisman to bring in a bunch of wealth, it indeed inbues my once retired PowerBook with new life and vitality.

04 July 2007


Another quick announcement before I fly.

I shall believe the Chinese saying 'Misfortune comes after reaching the apex of happiness' (le ji sheng bei). Having served me since I came to Scotland for almost five years, my poor Apple PowerBook retired unvolunteeringly due to an accident. My wife and I had some champagne to celebrate my graduation last week and so did my laptop. Fortunately, I've already backed up almost everything in my iPod.

However, I will be sort of incommunicado for a whil until I get my new Apple MacBook Pro.