Fairy tale come true
What a year it's been!
The Bali bombing, war looming, the "war against terrorism" setting nations at odds with each other ? but why concentrate on doom and gloom? There's enough of that in the news pages. In this last issue for the year, Lifestyle looks back at the best - of times, of places, of spaces, tastes and trends in 2002 - through short comments from celebrities and experts. We begin with Paula Malai Ali's best moment this year, her marriage to the nephew of the Sultan of Kedah, Tengku Azudinshah Tunku Anuar - familiarly known as Kudin - in September. The deejay, veejay and theatre personality shares her memories with HOOI YOU CHING.

MY best moment this year? That would be the wedding proposal. It was magic. You don't realise how profound the question is until you've been asked. I mean, I've never been asked before. It touches something deep within you. "I've never considered myself a very sentimental person, but I cried when Kudin popped the question (on Valentine's Day). After I'd stopped crying and started to breathe again, I said yes.

"Planning the wedding was quite traumatic, though. The fact that I was alone here made it all the more difficult. As it is, weddings are emotionally high-strung events. I was juggling wedding invitations, planning for the akad nikah (solemnisation of marriage) at Carcosa Seri Negara (in Kuala Lumpur), radio work and a new job with Channel V. I don't know why I didn't get a wedding planner. I must've imagined myself a hero to pull off something as huge as this. I think my blood pressure shot through the sky!

"Planning the akad nikah was a big headache. There were protocols to adhere to because of who my husband's family is. I realised I wasn't doing things right, like when I got the colour schemes wrong or was ignorant about ceremonial rules. Details like ensuring where everyone should be and when just overwhelmed me.
"But it was beautiful, I loved every minute of it. It's funny how during weddings you really catch the most amazing sides of people. Like my florist who went to extremes to make me happy. She was going, 'Are you alright? Can I get you a cup of tea? Can I get you anything?' To think she had her hands full with decorating the arches, pelamin (dais) for the akad nikah, the bridal bed, the stairway and foyer of Carcosa and still had the energy to calm my frazzled nerves.
 
 "My family also went to extremes to make sure I was happy that day. It's so nice having prepared everything to get to that final day knowing I have the whole army behind me and everything was going to be fine. That they wouldn't let it be any other way. That was really lovely.

"After the akad nikah, which was traditional, we had a high tea reception of scones, strawberries and cream and cups of tea (at Carcosa). But I couldn't eat anything because my stomach was in a knot!

"Earlier, my Dad's plane had been delayed. I was freaking out because I was thinking if Kudin's father and his rombongan (group) arrived and my Dad's not there, it would have looked really terrible. I remember calling up my husband, telling him to stall things on his end. 'Do what?' he asked, and I said, 'Anything, but just do it!' Like me, he was a bundle of nerves. As if that wasn't bad enough, that morning, he had to go to his dentist for a lost filling! Fortunately, my Dad made it on time. It was really nerve-racking.

"When Kudin was performing the lafaz nikah (rites), it was nerve-racking as well because I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to do. When I held out my hand after Kudin finished saying his vows, he found he couldn't slip the ring onto my finger. You see, I retain water whenever I'm nervous. I was trying hard not to laugh as it was supposed to be a solemn occasion. Finally, the ring fit.

"On the other hand, the bersanding (traditional wedding ceremony) was my mother-in-law's gig entirely. All I did was simply show up. The event was stunning. She created an atmosphere that gave the right balance of whimsical romance - grand yet unpretentious.

"As for the bersanding, I did feel a little bit like an outsider at my own wedding because it was just full of people I didn't know. I was in a bit of a daze as well, wearing a tiara and my hair in long tresses. I really felt like a princess for a day."
 
"My family also went to extremes to make sure I was happy that day. It's so nice having prepared everything to get to that final day knowing I have the whole army behind me and everything was going to be fine. That they wouldn't let it be any other way. That was really lovely.

"After the akad nikah, which was traditional, we had a high tea reception of scones, strawberries and cream and cups of tea (at Carcosa). But I couldn't eat anything because my stomach was in a knot!

"Earlier, my Dad's plane had been delayed. I was freaking out because I was thinking if Kudin's father and his rombongan (group) arrived and my Dad's not there, it would have looked really terrible. I remember calling up my husband, telling him to stall things on his end. 'Do what?' he asked, and I said, 'Anything, but just do it!' Like me, he was a bundle of nerves. As if that wasn't bad enough, that morning, he had to go to his dentist for a lost filling! Fortunately, my Dad made it on time. It was really nerve-racking.

"When Kudin was performing the lafaz nikah (rites), it was nerve-racking as well because I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to do. When I held out my hand after Kudin finished saying his vows, he found he couldn't slip the ring onto my finger. You see, I retain water whenever I'm nervous. I was trying hard not to laugh as it was supposed to be a solemn occasion. Finally, the ring fit.

"On the other hand, the bersanding (traditional wedding ceremony) was my mother-in-law's gig entirely. All I did was simply show up. The event was stunning. She created an atmosphere that gave the right balance of whimsical romance - grand yet unpretentious.

"As for the bersanding, I did feel a little bit like an outsider at my own wedding because it was just full of people I didn't know. I was in a bit of a daze as well, wearing a tiara and my hair in long tresses. I really felt like a princess for a day."