Sometimes I forgot emak was a primadonna.
By definition “prima donna” is Italian for “first lady”. She was never the leading soprano in the opera company, but she was indeed a performer and a passionate one at that as a Mak Andam or wedding planner.
To her I have been encroaching into her territory.
Legendarily, these “prima donnas” were often regarded as egotistical, unreasonable and irritable, with a rather high opinion of themselves not shared by others. The term Prima donna is often used to describe a vain, obnoxious and temperamental person who, although irritating, cannot be done without.
Emak was never vain nor obnoxious or egotistical. As a mak andam she was the one the kampong folks could not do without and she was good at her trade. She could be irritable though if she could not get what she wanted. The people of the kampong have high regards for her,she was indeed numero uno. From the preparation of the pelamin to doing the makeup and on the day itself as the event manager almost every wedding in the kampong she would be the choiced mak andam.
She inherited the trade from her mother, nenek. As a performer Emak had few competitions.
Dont you remember I did The Tampin wedding for Pak Jid the District Officer of Tampin? Dont you remember I did the Pak Isam’s daughter’s wedding in JB, the CPO of Johore? Both were her cousins.
I had been a mak andam in Malacca, Klang and Kluang. What about Batam mak? I quipped.
Yes Emak I remember. Perhaps that explained why I have been sleeping with Nenek until I was twelve. You were often away.
At 86 , there were many things she desired that she could not do. It must be fairly frustrating for her. At times she could be unreasonable, asserting her authority but given time and a healthy dose of patience she could stand to reasons.
But so far she has be getting almost everything she wanted. That is God’s way of testing her children.
So yesterday when the make up artist came to the house to do a trial on the bride, Azi and I made it a point for the junior Andam to pay respect to the Primadonna. She enjoyed it. With the courtesies done with she would leave the mak andam and the manager alone.
With 4 days to go there was only one thing she wanted that I have not given in- the bersanding. She is not fully satisfied. The Pelamin is ready she could not accept that there would not be any bersanding. I could notice the strategies and emotional blackmails but keep on ignoring.
Seeing her seated with the cane in one hand you could see how commanding and regal she was particularly when she started using the cane to point and direct.
I forget she is not only the primadonna but she is the dowager empress, mother of CEASAR.