Friday, October 30, 2009

Father of the Bride speech

Venue: Hartwell House, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK
Date: October 24th, 2009
Occasion: My daughter's wedding

"Good evening. When my daughter told me I was required to give a speech as the father of the bride, I was a little reluctant at first as I am blind and will not be able to read from normal prepared notes. However, today is a very special occasion – my only daughter is getting married, so it calls for special effort on my part and I will try to do my best to say a few words.

The day when Wern-Yi was born she was a bundle of great joy to us and especially to my late mother. She was the happiest grandma in town. She had always yearned for a girl as she had 5 sons and no daughter. With Wern-Yi's birth she finally could proudly say she had a grand-daughter instead.

Because Wern-Yi was the only grand-daughter then, all the family members doted on her. Whatever she wanted she got. She was very 'manja', meaning she was spoilt. My wife Hong was the disciplinarian at home and on many occasions put her feet down to discipline Wern-Yi but the little girl just knew how to get her own way – through her father – me. This caused many disagreements between my wife and I on how to raise Wern-Yi.

Growing up Wern-Yi was very strong willed and stubborn. She was the one child that gave us the most heartaches and worries. Being a girl, of course, we worry over her safety each time she went out with her friends and coming home late. She would all the time assured us that she knew how to take care of herself and she did.

Wern-Yi may have her faults but she is one precious princess we love dearly. While she had her own spoilt ways, she's also a caring sister and daughter, always looking out for her younger brother. Whenever her mother had her days of rest in bed nursing her headaches, Wern -Yi would be the one to pop her head into the room to ensure mom is resting well and had a glass of water beside the bed. She would also be the one responsible in reminding the brothers of parent's special days, getting mom and dad birthday presents and cards, etc.

I lost my sight nearly 2 years ago. The moment she heard the news, she flew home from UK without hesitation. Her presence was a great comfort to her mom and me. She took charge in ensuring her Mom had her rest, her brothers took turns to take care of me while I was undergoing treatment in the hospital.

It is not unusual to hear Wern-Yi screaming from her room when she was at home in Malaysia. I vividly remember the one time when she did that, we thought the roof had collapsed on her. Both her 2 brothers and I ran to Wern-Yi's room and found her standing on her bed and she was pointing to the bathroom – terrified. Guess what we found in the bathroom! A cockroach. Yes, Wern-Yi is scared of creepy crawlies and insects.

When Wern-Yi got the visa to come to UK for a 2 year stint, little did we realize that she would meet her beau here and now she is going to be settling down in London.

Jeremy first came to Malaysia last year. No doubt I could not see him but I could feel that he is a fine young man, well mannered, soft spoken and a man of few words…just like me. So when you get two men of few words together I guess you hear either little or no conversation!! And that was our first meeting. It was better during the second trip. We got to know each other better and happy to note that he was serious with Wern-Yi. I could not be more happy for my daughter. On this note I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Jeremy to my family. Our friends and relatives back home also wish to extend their congratulations to the happy newly weds.

For the old Chinese custom, when daughters get married they are considered to be outsiders to the birth family. In our case Wern-Yi will always be our beloved daughter, I am not giving her away but rather gained another son. Jeremy, I am happy to have you as my son-in-law.

Jonathan, Hilary, thank you for having Wern-Yi as your daughter-in-law. Wern-Yi has been a loving daughter to both of us and I am sure she will be likewise to both of you too.

To the newly weds, I have these words for them. As you embark on this life journey as a married couple, work the marriage and not allowing the marriage to work itself. Do not take each other for granted, keep your communication channels open at all times, respect and appreciate the love that you have for each other. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, but I would like to add that the music accompaniment (extended family) is equally important to make the tango beautiful. So I wish both of you – `Pak Thau tol low' (in cantonese). Literary means – white hair till old, or simply put happily ever after.

It is always hard to let go of one's child especially my only daughter. I am going to miss her very much. But Wern-Yi need to be set free to start her new life with Jeremy. Jeremy, I hand over my daughter to you for your caring and loving. You will have to deal with her fears of creepy crawlies and all her screams. Good luck.

Last but not least, my sincere appreciation to all who are here today for your presence has definitely made this day a memorable and joyous occasion.

Thank you".

More challenging times ahead!

1 comment:

R said...

Oh this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for posting! Tears and laughter :)