August 18th, 2002



weather: clear
outside: 17°C
mood: tired/elated

I did okay. =) I didn't stutter, I didn't fumble, I didn't make any mistakes.

I was very nervous at the beginning. They were having technical difficulties with the A/V equipment, so I got a chance to calm down before we started. Then, they remembered that they forgot about introducing the wedding party's entrance! =O =O =O

So, we had a little mad scramble to get the rest of the Chinese names, figure out the order, the lineup, etc., etc. Fortunately, all the groomsmen were highschool friends of ours, so I know all their Chinese names from over 10 years ago. Also, fortunately, most Chinese families name their children in "familial sets" where one character is usually always the same. As well, the two families had fairly generic Chinese names. So, every generation had distinct characters, it was great =)

Then we had the sudden stroke of terror that J (my MC partner) was also a Groomsman. This meant that he couldn't be there to help introduce the entrance of the wedding party because he'll be in it. We were trying to figure something out and figure something out and figure something out... but every option was just way too confusing and we could totally see messing up, which wouldn't be good. So, I finally said, y'know what, just let me do the wedding party introductions in both English and Chinese on my own. J can join me after that with the English part of the banquet introduction.

The bridesmaids nearly had me in stitches. They were cousins of the bride, named 碧雲 (Cantonese: "bik-wun"; English: Linda) and 佩雲 (Cantonese: "pui-wun"; English: Bonnie). I don't know if it's really , but that's the pronunciation in Cantonese. Bonnie quips, "She's older, y'know how to tell? Because she's ..." *strong Canto accent* "DA BIK WUN!!!" ("The Big One"). I just about peed myself =D

Oh, and somewhere in the midst of all that, the bride's family realized that it would be nice to include an extra "regrets" from a relative that wasn't able to attend. So, here I am trying to calm over from the "flying solo" thing, having to do another instant translation for the one regret and we were starting in 5 minutes.

And the A/V difficulties continued throughout.

But when it came time, it flowed really well. No problems at all. =D Proud Moment: when we were doing the Out of Town Guest intros, there was one lady with a Thai surname and I got it right!! In Thailand, Indonesia and possibly others, it is illegal to have the same surname as someone else if you are not married or related by blood - how they decide how many generations away from a common ancestor is considered "not related", I don't know. So, what they do is add extra suffixes (and prefixes?) to the names to make them different. This means Thai last names are 6-7 syllables each - this lady had 6 syllables. On top of that, the romanization of any Far East Asian language makes for insane spellings.

At one point, one of the other groomsmen Ben, tried to make light of the situation and slightly joked to me, "Y'know, when I get married you're doing this for me too" (Ben's family speaks Mandarin and his track record, so far, has been to mostly date Cantonese speaking girls =).

I gave Ben my most exasperated look and said, "Okay, then I want all the names of your family and relatives faxed to me BY TOMORROW MORNING so that I can prepare or it's a No-Go!!! Because I'm nearly falling over with THIS ONE!" =D

But I'm so happy that my Chinese doesn't suck too badly and that I could do this for a friend at a moment's notice. It was quite a lot of fun, actually and if I had the time to prepare, I could have really had fun with it. Maybe if we had more time, J and I could have gotten together, scripted up a bit of a stand-up-ish act where we could have joked back and forth, get the parents and relatives in on it or get embarassing stories from the parents or something, that kinda thing...

Side Note: one of T's friends from Seattle was a spitting image of a young Chow Yun-Fat. That made for some interesting banquet conversations. =)