(Source: stylehive.com)

Views on love, marriage, and hopes for an Unwedding.

There is something about my past I don’t tell most people and it’s because I simply don’t think about it.

When I was studying in university in Canada, I was engaged to my college boyfriend of three years. There was a ring and to top it all, I had a job offer. Everything a self-respecting Malaysian student could want to settle down overseas and yet I opted for the unknown, which was to return home to Sarawak and pursue work in orang utan conservation.

Years later, he is married, with kids; and I am not. Believe me when I say this: I am so grateful with how my life has turned out.

(Source: stylehive.com)
(Source: stylehive.com)

Maybe I’m the itik aneh in today’s Asian society for not seeing marriage as an end-goal of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I think marriage is a beautiful thing when two people get together for the right reasons, and are faithful to each other in all the sense of the word till death do they part. However, I don’t think a lot of my peers have gotten married for the right reasons. They marry because their friends are also getting married, that their parents want them to settle down, to give them grandchildren, to complete the cycle of life. And yet, is it not up to us, to say, we may not want this for ourselves?

I’m not convinced that marriage makes you happy or that it completes you. It scares me to see married people who are very unhappy with each other and yet are unable to do anything about it. Sometimes, if one of them has the fortitude to make a change, a divorce may occur which is always devastating to both parties. Sometimes, the marriage becomes a hollow shell where two people are together because society dictates so.

I think what most people don’t understand is that when you say marriage isn’t for you, it’s not so much that you want to be polygamous or you don’t want a long-term commitment but rather the idea of marriage is so sacred that you need to be prepared for all the consequences that comes with getting married. I am not ready for that.

It is of my humble opinion that it takes greater effort to stay unmarried, than to get married. To be able to resist society’s and family’s pressures to ‘settle down’, and as well one’s occasional insecurities of being alone for the rest of one’s life can be quite a feat especially if you are Asian living in Asia. I feel that wanting to get married is like having a career goal: once you put your mind to it, you will eventually find someone with the same desire. Yet staying happily married is another thing, and it terrifies me to be tied down with someone for whom my feelings might change years down the road.

And so, I thank my parents for raising us up to be independent, particularly my sister and myself. As daughters, we have never ever been pressured to get married. The question has never even been raised. Do you know how amazing that is for Asian parents? Especially when one’s mother is a staunch Catholic?

Both my parents told me —

If you do get married one day, get married for love. Not for money, not for security because neither of these are guaranteed in the long run. Even marrying for love is not guaranteed for a happy-ever-after but at least it is the better choice out of three reasons that most people use to get married.

I don’t believe in getting married so that a ‘man can take care of me’ because I like the sense of self-reliance; ensuring my own continuing ability to take care of myself financially regardless of whether I am in a relationship or not. Or to have kids so that one day, they can take care of me.

But anything can happen. What if my kids die before me?

It’s a selfish reason to procreate, especially in this day and age when earth’s resources are dwindling and our population exploding at an unsustainable rate. I worry about having kids and leaving them in a world where they would have to struggle to survive. Or leaving them in a world where there are no orang utans in the wild. Can you imagine that?

Seriously, this is something I actually ponder upon and feel sad about. The thought of my kids not knowing what it is like to walk in a forest, and see wildlife. Anyway, I think pets are the best ever substitute for kids because they will love you forever, will never go through all that teenage angst, and you will never have to worry about their college tuition.

A close friend said to me recently that she doesn’t want to get married but wouldn’t mind a wedding. I think it’s a great idea for serious committed couples who don’t want to get married.

Have an Unwedding! Invite all your family, friends and relatives and throw a big party celebrating the love that you know of today.

You don’t know how long you are going to stay together but you do hope it will be for a very long time. And you will certainly keep working on the relationship every single day because you don’t have the security of society’s expectations.

The Unwedding is to say that you don’t need to have society’s approval to stay together, and that the only reason you are together is because the two of you have decided so and that you would like to share your idea of committed love with your family and friends.

Plus, in the end you get angpow — win-win situation, I say!

June wants an Unwedding one day.

In another lifetime, June was a field biologist, searching for orang utans in the wild. She still dreams of living in the forests.

76 replies on “Love, Marriage, And Unweddings”

  1. Jane Rubis,

    How refreshing – simply put, you've voiced the hearts and minds of so many who like you indicated in your first sentence, have not thought of defending their right to "unwed".

    And to those who have spent their words here defending their status of being married, I say go ahead. High time the tables are turned on you; Lots of singles just really want to know WHY we should marry for the wrong reasons. So enlighten the meek and weak please.


  2. Dear all, thank you for all your thoughtful comments – I truly appreciate that you were moved to leave a comment on the post, it matters to me.

    71 comments, and yes I read them all. If I have missed an actual question to me, let me know.

    Nadia – if I ever have an Unwedding, I'd let you know ;)

    I just wanted to say that I wrote this article as an e-mail response. It took less than an hour to write, as everything just flowed. And yes, I look at it and realize that it is imperfect, that there are so many things I could have said to make my point stronger.

    However because in the spirit of how it was written, that is, I just wanted to communicate from the heart (and yes a bit of humour about the Unwedding – it's ok, I don't even need an Unwedding!), I thought to just let the article be.

    I did sit on the article for months until the good blawg editors pestered me to let it go. I was hesitant because I wasn't sure what the response would be like. I didn't think it was a controversial topic unlike so many more worthy articles on this blawg. Yet certainly I struck a nerve for some of you.

    However, what made me realize that it was a good thing to let it go was when I received e-mails, DMs, and comments thanking me, and supporting me for writing this piece.

    For many of you who feel the same way, there is this special kinship we share. And I thank you for letting me know how you feel.

    p/s My happily married friends who know my views about marriage, have kindly patted me on the hand, and said, "we all have said the same thing before we got married – HAHAHA!"

    hmm we'd see who'd have the last laugh ;)

  3. June, thanks for this wonderful article, i have been searching for this kind of answer to convince myself that marriage is NOT everything, i'm surrounded with friends who set the age of 26-28 to get married, they even plan their wedding gown and the venue, and all of them are 21-22 years old, i respect their choices to get married though, but i dont get it, why is marriage more important to some people than securing your dream job and travel around the world? job will give you the satisfaction of a long-time achievement and its the security to almost everything – survival, pride etc

    p/s: please invite me to your unwedding day! (:

  4. -_- i'm going to ignore all the above comments and direct mine at June ok?

    "Invite all your family, friends and relatives and throw a big party celebrating the love that you know of today." sounds like something Jason Mraz would say. Me likes. :D

  5. In Bali, there is a ceremony called a Commitment Ceremony. It's just a like a wedding ceremony, except that it's not legally binding. You write your own vows and what not. I want to have one but only because I won't legally get married here. I still want to celebrate our love for each other with all my friends & family.

  6. @Azira Aziz on 15 January, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    From http://www.handfasting.info/histanglo.html

    In the context of Malay Indian and Chinese. You keep citing Western references. What did they have here? Bunga Perak? Kerongsang gifts from in laws? Indians I know have pearls and dowries. Chinese exchange jade and gold or something like that. NO RINGS for all races in fact.

    @Arshad Amri

    BTW Guan Eng is not OK. He took away a Penang DAP member's right to be CM when he couldn't win in Malacca. CHow Kon Yeow is related to Betty Chew. This is nepotism and oligarchy of the worst and most obvious kind. Shameless!

    If Arshad Amri can endorse :

    1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism

    2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.

    3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

    4) Declare Assets

    5) Endorse Term Limits

    I wouldn't mind voting him as PM.

  7. While I read all these hilarious jokes, I will also be on the look-out for these 'Wild Crazy Monkeys'.

    Nevertheless, I will inform you all should I see it.

  8. Monkeys???? Then….

    "Can someone quickly call JUNE RUBIS to catch these 'Wild Crazy Monkeys'???"

    JUNE RUBIS have the HOTS for MONKEYS & I'm sure once she strips…all these monkeys will surely listen to her. She is an ORANG UTAN EXPERT.

    Oooiii!!! Call her faster. You need a MONKEY LOVER to deal with MONKEYS

  9. Don't worry, Auntie Julie.

    They won't appear anymore here. They sudah sesat to somewhere else. Usually sesat monkeys won't come back to places where they have been before.

  10. It's indeed GREAT to know commentators bearing the name of =.= & Leong ChowPong are actually those 'Wild Crazy Monkeys' who had escaped from Zoo Negara.

    It really PUZZLES me why such commentators will disagree with what I had written when even a donkey know it makes so much sense.

    Anway, I hope these monkeys will be spotted soon & be handed back to where it belongs (Zoo Negara).

  11. The person who posted at 16 January, 2011 at 3:17 pm is NOT me

    Hahahahahaha!!! I'm just following your way, Azira Aziz. Main syiok sendiri mah.

    However, I don't see the fun of posting 1 comment to say something but then quickly post another comment to deny it. Syiok ke macam ni???

  12. Alamak, Azira Aziz…. you really sedang syiok sendiri lah.

    Post 1 comment & then post another later to say it's not you.

    Betul-betul layan diri. Steady lah you!!!

  13. So far these 'Wild Crazy Monkeys' are NOT spotted yet except for 1 monkey with collar tag of 'Leong ChowPong'.

    I've successfully caught it & had managed to tie this beast at the end of my vehicles' tail pipe. However, it is getting more aggressive & is trying to break my vehicles' tail pipe. I hope the Zoo Negara authorities will arrive soon before this monkey breaks out.

    Damn!!! this ChowPong is starting to masturbate but it haven't give me the big broad smile yet.

  14. Dude, someone used my name on the comment. Aiyo. Wanna troll also language sama siot. Of course senang detect. Nampak sangat you have no credibility. =p Oh, well. Back to work!

    Note : Azira Aziz on 16 January, 2011 at 2:52 pm is NOT me.

  15. ATTENTION!!!

    Pls. kindly be alerted a zoo caretaker in Zoo Negara had mistakenly released a bunch of 'Wild Crazy Monkeys' from its' premises. If you see the following monkeys near your area with tag collars bearing the below names, please kindly contact Mr. Ahmad bin Jaga Zoo (Tel: 012 345 6789) immediately:

    1) Leong ChowPong

    2) =.=

    3) Arshad Amri

    4) Lim Guan Eng

    5) Sundal-ala-June Rubis

    These monkeys are said to be dangerous. They tend to eat their own shit & then pee at you. These crazy monkeys have the fond of masturbating in front of humans while giving a big broad smile.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

  16. Aaeeyy??? How come =.= haven't appear yet???

    Aiyoh ChowPong, there you go asking STUPID QUESTIONS again. Why ask to get WALLOP when you know yaself is NOT in that league yet?

    Tip: Be more HARSH & DIRECT in ya comments.

  17. @aunty julie : perhaps u shd go back to school, with ur grandson. Lesson one, learn to respect. Lesson two, critical arguments.

    U lack both.

    @ arshad : the more they whallop, the more foolish they look, so why stop? Give the readers some amusements.


  18. Yalor Azira Aziz. I also cannot TAHAN.

    I used to get hook to Facebook but after discovering this place….damn, I shall say here is even more interesting.

    Just waiting for =.= to retaliate & we will have more jokes to read.

  19. *wipes tears of laughter from eyes*

    Classic. Aiyoh. Definitely cybertroopers. At least this one is hilariously funny. Coarse, vulgar, yes, but funny. Thanks.

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