case study.

When my sister’s boyfriend texted my Mum about his parents coming over during the weekend to merisik, I thought to myself, “Wah terror betul dia ni sampai message Mak aku semua.” My Dad was elated, my Mum had mixed feelings (because she wasn’t ready to let any of us ‘go’) and I, as per usual, sat in front of the TV watching Body of Proof while eating my caesar salad.

My sister and I have this rather special bond where we’d know if something wasn’t right with either one of us. After her boyfriend texted our Mum, she looked rather confused and kept saying, “Kenapa kanchiong sangat ni?”. My dad brushed it off by saying that perhaps she was excited and my Mum macam biasalah, “Korang please jangan tinggalkan Mama.” HAHA.

After the excitement died down, I went to her and asked if anything was wrong. The answer was simple – her boyfriend didn’t discuss anything with her.

So as a kakak, of course la I had to assure her that perkara yang baik tak boleh dilambat-lambatkan and most probably her boyfriend wanted this to be a surprise. Sometimes I surprise myself with the sound advice I give other people and when it comes to my own problems, menangis la, meraung la. Ah, I digress, sorry!

In a span of two weeks, Sissy and her boyfriend had discussed about one, how much the duit hantaran is going to be and two, how long they should be engaged. They decided that the former will be $XX,XXX and the latter being two years. So I thought, “Bagus la, settle the kettle already.” Since they have discussed, the guy’s family tinggal sampaikan to our family kan?

This part I would have to fast forward because my eyes are drooping and my bantal peluk suddenly so empuk.

The merisik day came. Sissy’s boyfriend’s parents came with an entourage of 10. Our family of course terperanjat beruk but maintained composure. I sat beside my sister and we started talking nonsense and weren’t paying attention at all….. Until their wakil started saying, “Boleh eh? boleh?”

It turned out that they didn’t know anything about the two-year arrangement and they had other plans regarding the duit hantaran.

Lets just say their plan was to have them engaged for three years with hantaran of $X,XXX. I am still confused at this juncture. Couple is supposed to discuss with each other dulu before sampaikan to their respective families kan? My sister is still mad upset la but my Mum cakap, kita pihak perempuan tk boleh bargain, tak manis nanti.

I am uncertain about merisik and melamar, etc. Before the other half’s family comes over in Dec, can my dear BTBs enlighten me on this?

14 thoughts on “case study.

    • Macam shocked at the electric chair gitu right. Hahahaha. Ya lor, I really think couple must update each other! Kalau tk nanti miscommunication, awkward moment pulak 😡

  1. Nowadays I think it’s quite common for couples to discuss everything beforehand, and then convey to their parents / representatives who would then convey to the partner’s parents / representatives (it sounds more complicated than it should be – like why is there a need for representatives etc? As if the couples aren’t mature, able adults to discuss wedding details themselves. But I guess it’s all adat lah, and then agan I would rather do away with hantaran if it was all up to me.)

    From what I understand, merisik = enquiring on a lady’s availability for marriage. This was done in the olden times when young ladies were literally ‘anak dara pingitan’, i.e., they were not allowed to go out much, they were expected to stay home as ‘prized possessions’ before some suitor ‘claimed’ them. So merisik was done to check if she has already been ‘reserved’ or engaged for marriage by someone else.

    Melamar = what your sister went through, where it is more or less confirmed that she has agreed to marry her boyfriend, but this is to make it official in both families’ eyes. That’s when the hantaran amount and date of engagement is determined. This is usually a formality because I don’t think those two things are up for negotiation during this meeting (i.e., they have already been determined beforehand by the couple). However, it differs between families; I’m not ruling out the possibility that two elders may engage in some ‘hush hush’ man-to-man or woman-to-woman talk while everyone else just waits in suspense.

    Bertunang = the traditional engagement ceremony where the representatives from the groom-to-be’s family come over and put the engagement ring on the bride-to-be’s finger. This would include inviting close relatives (in Malay families that would be at least 100 people?) and having a gift tray exchange

    Some families, like mine, combined the melamar and bertunang into one.. fast game lah katakan, haha. Plus mine was more like a ‘hantar tanda’, as in I didn’t invite my close relatives; it was just my grandmother, my parents, my siblings and their spouses and kids and helpers (itu je dah like close to 20 people!) and my then-boyfriend now fiance sent his mother, aunt, uncle, brother and sister-in-law. There was a mini gift tray exchange – he gave me a ring, a cake and a cash token (as a symbol of the hantaran he would give when we marry) and I gave him a watch, petitfours and fruit basket.

    This is practically a blog post lah! Haha sorry long-winded.

  2. *date of engagement, as well as duration of engagement.

    And another thing, I think I wouldn’t be pleased either if my boyfriend had bypassed me and went straight to my mother to tell her that he’s sending his representatives over. It’s like, hello, it’s ME you want to marry so why didn’t you tell ME first? And I also wouldn’t be pleased if changes were made to what has previously been agreed on, without my knowledge.

    In your sister’s case, there are a few possibiliities:
    1. Her boyfriend’s parents / representatives changed the plan without his knowledge.
    2. They told him it’s better to change, and didn’t let him explain himself or didn’t entertain his protests, i.e. they told him to just ‘dengar cakap orang tua’
    3. They advised him and he agreed, but he didn’t inform your sister because he thought he’d just leave it to the elders to settle.
    4. They advised him and he agreed, but he didn’t inform your sister because he was afraid your sister might insist on sticking to the same plan / your sister might get mad.

    Ok ah. Dah habis analyse case study haha.

    • So enlightening! Thank you babe! And yeah mannnnnn number 1 – 4 are possibilities tapi kita hanya boleh duduk dan setuju sahaja. Hahaha. I hope for mine there wont be such miscommunication! I think I must type out everything so that his dad tak akan salah cakap. Mana tau tiba-tiba dia kata tunang ikat 10 tahun 0.0

  3. Similar like my case. :/ But thankfully only the duration of engagement yang miscommunicate, the hantaran still the same amount. We wanted 2 years engagement. But my grandad who doesn’t know anything, happens to be the wakil from our side during the last minute. He said we will get married in 6 months! I had tears in my eyes lor. But my fiance and I clarified later that there’s no way we can get married in 6 months hahah.

  4. Ah I wished I had read what merisik/melamar is all about before I did mine. For me, both my tunang and I didn’t know what’s it supposed to be so we just ikut what the elders whatever the elders say.

    My dad said they’re coming to set a date and hantaran whereas his aunts said to standby cake and cincin and all. because both my tunang and I didnt know there was a difference between merisik and melawar or whatever (i still am clueless janji pangkat dah naik jadi tunang hehe) both families got different ideas lol

    So when his family came (over 15 pax pulak tu!) I was still in tshirt and jeans watching tv! Hahaha my makcik terperanjat cos we all thought it was just to berbincang so she halau me to tukar baju kurung and all and my mum kalam kabut masak untuk dorang.

    So anyway, back to point, i think it’s important to discuss thoroughly dulu with masing2 punya pihak so at least won’t be terperanjat like mine hehe and make sure everyone’s on the same page! 😡

    • You tgh tgk TV when his family came?? Wah mesti kanchiong spider kan? I think my FH and I sama with you and your tunang. Kita also not sure what to do and all. So dua2 kena research and read up :0

      • Haha ya! And worse still bcos I wasn’t staying with my dad, I only had my baju kurung yang lama. Nasib I still can fit otherwise kena force to wear my mum’s punya hehe!

  5. Wah I really wonder how the miscommunication happened in the case study. We sorta merged the meminang and bertunang together – his parents came over with a ring (which is the same ring he proposed with earlier), confirmed the wedding dates and hantaran with my parents and grandparents. There was less than 10 people there haha

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