Wednesday 14 September 2005

Whaaaaaaaat??? Only 100 camels?

That was my response to R’s story about her trip to Cairo recently. Apparently, she was visiting the pyramids when someone offered the people she was with, 100 camels fo her!

Hisssh, 100 camels! What were they thinking! 200 and no less!

The father’s reactions: Huh! 100 camels? Where do we put them? Our garden is too small!


I’ve been itching to write about this since reading anedra's entry about price of dowry in Malaysia these days and the comments are so interesting.

In those day, (and here we go again), when an anak dara could command, RM1000, its the talk of the kampung! I remember the negotiations that went on behind closed doors when Kak was getting married. She had had a long queue of very interested mums and even more interested suiters, but Pak was not willing to let go of his first child that easily. There were royalties, politicians and they pursued her relentlessly even after she was married and with child. Well, you could class her as a beauty, tall and willowy, fair and Miss Kebaya to boot! (And then of course Mak and Pak broke the mould and had us!)

But Pak was possessive not to mention protective. After rumours had it that she was being followed to work, he hired her a trishaw, with an uncle as an escort!

And finally, when a young dashing police officer in uniform came to nip the first bud in our garden, it seemed the right choice and we thank God for that because Abang is like no other and we love him tremendously . He still spoils us rotten.
Anyway, not before he had to cough up RM1000 for the dowry – a lot, mind you in those days!
There must have been a lot of talk...Waaah, Anak Pak Awang belanja seribu!!!
And behind our backs it must have been..."Ish, nak juai anak kaaaaaaa!"

I cant remember what happened to Kak Cik, but when it came to my turn, I recall having this reluctant feeling to go home during the term breaks. The minute the Mak Ciks know that you’re back, there would be strangers at the door. And you’d think they can be more subtle than that as they had been doing it as a profession – these mak cik merisik!

Mak would call out to me to make tea and I was supposed to make tea and walk all lemah gemalai and act all coy and sweet, which I was not at all. Then they’d look you up and down, not unlike the way they would do to a chicken or a goat before the big kill.

Yang ni dah ada kawan dah kaaaaa?”

From a very young age I used to shiver when people talked about matchmaking. I think it started with a neighbour who used to put a dash of kapur on my forehead everytime we visited her! That was supposed to be a tag – a reserve tag for her son!

Anyway, nothing could beat this one – I was at my sister’s house when the phone was passed on to me – very businesslike this woman at the other end of the line. She proceeded to tell me that her son was very qualified and earning so much which left me quite speechless, not knowing head or tail as to how you respond to things like that.

Anyway, why did I digress so?

Oh yes...when the right wan, oh, sorry, the right one came, nothing mattered. Even if he had placed an IOU letter on the talam hantaran, it would be fine. I remember the rombongan that came to Abang’s house in Bangsar. I was not to be seen or heard, but I was told about the pantun memantun that went on downstairs! The next day, when I was driving around with my intended, he casually asked me the asking price. I mentioned the number and I swear to you...the car skidded to the middle of the road! He was perspiring! But then, that has always been his style of reacting to anything and I got the asking price in a small album - that took care of the bonus that he received from the NST at that time.

Nowadays, I read the figures can go to six digits, especially when the bride concerned is a celebrity!

Aaaah, I will have to seriously think about this again.. our children are at that age. Am not going into the business of haggling for dowries. The eldest will certainly have to work more before settling down – not for anything but for their future security. I am not materialistic, but I will not settle for camels for my girls.

"Siapa itu Kassim Selamat? Majistret? Loyar???" hands on hips, sumore!

As for my Batman, can I have more time with him, pleaseeeeeee!!!!


OOD said...

kak teh, unta can be bought at about USD1000. I just so happened dapat quotation from arab, and mind you these are unta for research.
So, 100 untas (jap let me cari mistar hitung),, is 100 unta x usd1000 x 3.8 = rm380,000.

and you said you want 200 untas?


AuntyN said...

Kak teh oi,cek ada 4 anak dara ni, jenuh nak kena pikiaq no.... huhuhu.
Hari tu dok kata nak risek batman nak suruh jadi penfriend my 3rd doter tu, so that she canimprove her English. Asyik dok lupa nak tanya Kak Teh masa YM.

OOD said...

tak aci lah you ask rm760,000! You will spoil the bride market here. After all parents start quoting by the unta how? And it will really jatuh my markah, because my hantaran was perhaps worth only the unta's snot!

MA said...

Alaa..tak kawen lah anak-anak aku nanti......

The boys cannot afford the dowries, the girl is too high maintenance !

anedra said...

Nak tergolek baca ni. Seriously, 100 camels??

if ood is right rm760,000 is way to low for our family, kan KakTeh? Blur and all, mahal ooo! Mana nak dapat yang baka macam tu?

But talking about protective family, memang! KAkCik had the SB spying on her beloved profesori before approval was given to come and hantar rombongan!

Kak Teh said...

pembacha..ish lamanya tak nampak! Ish, kak teh ni tak paaa bayark pound pun tak pa - ringgit pun tak pa...asalkan exchange rate is favourable.
OOD - thanks for the calculation. Well, 200 untas will be way too much then..I'll settle for 150, afterall R speaks classical arabic compared to suiters from Cairo who speak bazaar arabic!
auntyN: ish 4 orang anak dara no! jenuh dok pedo! Boleh nanti nak tanya ni tak berapa malu sangat.
MA - memang la n macam-macam I dengark. Why so high???
Anedra: Of course, the blurness is something acquired and unique.
Yap - i did remember the CSI , happened to me too!

Kak Teh said...

Jane, indeed the garden is big for six cats to roam. For 100 camels? I'll have to book the zoo! nice to see you back.

Ni said...

berapa kali kak teh kena bancuh teh?

Kak Teh said...

Cik NI..lama-lama buat mogoklah...Mana aci, depa boleh tengok kita, kta tak tengok depa. Lagi pun masak pun tak tau!

Anonymous said...

tak kiralah kak teh, asal ok pada kita.

Ely said...

nampaknya my son will never get married lah!

Anonymous said...

kakteh, rasanya 100 unta tu cuma pembuka kata. akan di ikuti dengan 40 tempayan hadiah-hadiah. tempayan besar .. macam dalam cerita ali baba. masa tu lah kakteh boleh demand, nak diamond ke, nak thai sing ke.. hahaha !! Tak lupa juga persalinan serba seratus untuk ahli keluarga dan sahabat handai.. amacam??

Nazrah Leopolis said...

uihh demanding...jgn lupa post kad jemputan ya?

i remember masa orang tua2 tgh berunding nasib merpati dua sejoli, i tak kisah pun braper dad pun kata, seikhlas hati lah...i learnt later that putting a definite fee is better than the ambigously charitable offer. CA's famliy had to ponder hard over how much should he give to jaga air muka both parties. when Makwe whispered to me the sum, i terkejut dan malu, yet my family had the gall to ask? SGD or MYR? Muahahahaha....

But then as far as the bugis customs were concerned, the money was not for me, I was just happy found my soulmate.that's priceless.

Jo Kontan said...

Whooo Kak Teh,

This is a Gem !

Bila masa saya tiba, I would go for AG kinda response,. Aduuh mana nak letak nih ? Typical eh?

Nok Wak Guane. Sejak azali udah macam nii...

Ambe ingat AG Awang cool ? Bley skidding gak ?

Lollies said...

camel tu symbolic aje tu kak teh..ala-ala kiasan are going to get equivalent tu.

mokciknab said...

Kak Teh,
I'm sure Awang Goneng would have realised by now you're worth more than the asking price :) Cinta tak boleh di jual beli.

Arena said...

kak Teh

Ada my friend pergi umrah, ada pak arab tanya berapa price tag dia, terkejut jek muka my friend dan bapak dia terus kata RM 1 juta. Sekali pak arab tu kata, dia boleh baru RM2juta. Haiyyoh berpeluh nak protect anak dara lawa..kekekekke.. agaknya tokey minyak kot.. 100 unta? hmmmm..

lion3ss said...

100 camels eh? Hmm.. can buka ladang unta lah like that.

Our parents hari tu asked us to decide. And we have always joked about how he should cut down the mentioned amount everytime he saw a scar or scratch on me! But of course when theday came, Buster dearest presented our dowry without deducting those.

Ruby M. said...

UWahhh udah dipinang orang anak dara u kak teh!! :) and a 100 camels too! mintak arab racing horse sekali lerr... btw, our family in egypt can take care of those camels for u! muahahaha..

Kampong_Boy said...

loyar kak teh loyar... calit kapork tu kat dai...

anyway dowry is to me misunderstood here... it is supposed to be for the bride not for the family

atenah said...

*the car skidded to the middle of the road*


wow 1st taim I gelakkan our Sir

Kak Teh said...

uipts - ya, alhamdulillah..asal ada!
ely - let Mat decide!
klmuk, ish - dah lah gadern penuh unta - ada tempayan pulak lagi! my neighbours will think we are ali babas!
nazrah - ask for the going rate lah! hehe- true - a good soulmate is priceless!
jokontan- AG cool??haha...dia banyak control macho!
lollies - kalau dapat equivalent - hmmph alangkah bahagia mak pengantin!

Kak Teh said...

mokciknab- how true..and I keep reminding him that!
arena, dua juta RM??Whoaaa...dia orang ni dont play play one!
lion3ss - wah, gentleman lah your Buster!
maknenek - forgot to ask you. How many untas did walid offer for you? yes, your family can take care of our untas..
budak kampung - betul tu - sepatutnya lah untuk tuan tubuh!
tenah - betulll...but of course dia exagerate lah tu!

atiza said...

woish! 150 untas you..kena sewa Hyde Park la gamaknya :)

Lydia Teh said...

Kak Teh, I didn't know camels cost so much (ood, thanks for info). 100 camels for RM380K already a lot, you know. Nanti orang cakap, "ish, juai anak dara kaaaaa?!"

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh.....Arab men can be really nice and gentleman,sooooo good looking and generous.Kalau sale "Next" kat sini, makcik2 depa sapu semua baju sampai the racks are empty. Not even in London have I seen this happen..take care, love yr blog.


Anonymous said...

Heh heh heh heh heh....

Itu belum masuk yang parents ber "title" lagi. Kalau dapek yang parents "VIP" pun sama juga.

Hard to say.Bila baca all those "Perempuan" or "Jelita" or even "Wanita" magazine-lah..I tell you the wedding pictures yang keluar...mak aiii...takut tengok. Ada yang mention the dowry berapa and all. Tapi seronok baca. Tengok market value...anak sapa kawin dgn anak sapa...keh keh keh keh keh...lepas tu "hand-me-down" kat my mom. Suka tolong buat hantaran untuk orang!! hehehehehe....

*huh* ni zaman sekarang. Zaman anak anak I..berapa agaknya.

Yang penting..biar kekal sampai ke akhir hayat insya'ALLAH!! Pening kalau ada all those "mid-life" or "late-life crisis" tu!! Adoiii!! *ngucap*

Anonymous said...

That reminds me Kak Teh, have you watched Johnny Lingo's Eight Cow Wife? Same practice among the polynesians but instead of camels and $$ it's cows! Better get cows right? Dapat susu, dapat daging:D They can even graze the field!

Anyways, reading your post is soo nostalgic...

Maya said...


It was a great day and as expected the ladies were charmed beyond 'repair'. Now all are broken hearted and wanting more :) You know who is gloating.

Kak Teh in those days the heart was worn on the sleeve, ya? Look at all those kids these days, they are looking for bargains. I wish them luck, camels or no camels.... becoz they will never understand that love survives on fresh air and water alone..its much later we need other things and then start growing fat :)

Nadia said...

kak teh....LOL....waaaaa dpt first offer dah ! aiii she must be a real looker la but then again mat arab mmg suka org malaysia :) bukan mat arab je...kat sini ni pun ramai gak org non melayu looking for melayu girls. i think they believe melayu girls make good wives because so submissive maa...

but I think malay men make good husbands because not patriarchal :) but then again..if the deen is sound insyaallah make good husband wannnn....:)

syiokla dgr citer2 kak teh ni...boleh melangut tah hingat dunia dgr celoteh kak teh ni :)

Blabarella said...

*Clap clap clap* Bravo, bravo!! Great post!!!

Tak pa KT, 100 camels tu boleh buat korban sat ni masa Raya Haji!! In the meantime, bagi on loan kat London Zoo laa!!

Kesian AG, terkejut beruk like that in the middle of the road!! LOL .. Me oso same!! Bonus Mr. Daddy sebagai majistret masa tu habis masuk album hantaran!! :D

Anonymous said...

my case dulu, tak nak duit-duit tu semua - cuma nak kahwin dalam masa 4 bulan. (wei takut expire ke?) pastu siapa ada meeting lagi belah tok laki, sepupu dia sibuk suruh jugak bagi, bagi le jugak berapa berapa pun. ish ish ish ni kira nak kata tak yah bayar pun ada juga yg paksa bayar. tapi akhirnya tak de pun bayar apa-apa. kahwin pun dalam masa 6 bulan - over due 2 bulan terlebih.
dan hiduplah kami aman damai, sesekali ribut taufan, anak 4 sekarang ni. amin

Kak Teh said...

atiza: that's a good idea..we can even have a rent a camel for a ride!
lydia - tu lah! macam jual anak!
Fara, thanks for dropping by..yes, am sure they can be very generous!
MM- u are right ! according to malaysian magazines, there are no poor people - everyone lives such a glamorous and prosperous life! Ijust wouldn't fit it. Kalau apk title besar, belanja lagi tinggi ke?
Nour - thanks for the suggestion. lembu pun boleh makan rumput, kan? I can hire them out!

Kak Teh said...

maya - true , just sunshine and fresh air - until the bills come!
nadia - kak teh ni keturunan penglipur lara!
Blabs! more suggestion how to make money out of camels! or i can introduce - camel sandwich!
myownthought! hehe - biasalah ribut taufan tu..tsunami pun kadang2 ada! asalkan ada reconstruction selepas tu...yang tu selalunya yang jadi ramai anak tu!
rojakbuah..intsallment? hmm - macam easy payment gitu? nanti ada pula orang kata , buy one get one free pulak!

Anonymous said...

Tak tahu la kak teh. Tak leh nak cakap. Not all VIP/ber"title" parents juai anak depa. But looking at the current market, 5 figures tu biasa dah now days. Also depending the first figure. If it starts with 1X,XXX.XX tu kira dah biasa je tu.

So..honestly..hard to say. Then ada yang tengok qualification pulak. Degree lain, Masters lain, Ph.D lain...hehehehe it a culture or parents expectation here?

Kak Teh said...

MM - it is a sad reflection of how we are today. When I go back, i still get people looking me upa nd down calculating what I wear or dont wear..If i dont add up...then..hmmm

bibliobibuli said...

Abu paid 50pounds (sorry don't have the symbol on my keyboard) and keeps reminding me "Look I bought you."

Kak Teh said...

sharon : what was the rate of exchange then? never mind, asalkan bahagia!

SimplyMas said...

Time Zaman sesekarang nih, harga hantaran sungguh menakutkan!!!! Berdiri bulu romaku bila terdengar harga yang diletakkan... Ooish! Patutlah yang ada mereka-mereka jaman sekarang takut nak kahwin! Harga too expensive!!! Kekadang OTT lagi kan??? Tapi orang kata, "If you lup someone, kalau dia mintak segoni emas akan diberikan... Cintalah katakan!??" Kan? Kan??

I LAP you, You LAp me!!! :-D

Kak Teh said...

thinktankgirl - yes - that should be s morethan enough kan? tapi selalunya bukannya tuan tubuh yang boleh buat decision.
mami: segoni mas??? hmmm...kalau lah!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kak Teh, you have a great blog here. Whaaaaaaaat??? Only 100 camels? caught my eye and I thought I would put a post on it. I'm looking for help.

The site I have is a work from home in the uk site. Its all about, need I say it, working from home. I think people should have the choice to build their own income instead of somebody else’s. Freedom of well being and all of that...anyway I was on your site looking for ways to help my business. I'm really looking for ways of building better rapport between recruits.

Anyways Kak Teh thanks for the great blog. I'll just have to carry on my search till I find what I'm looking for. Take care.