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A Chindian Wedding to Remember

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, The Point Magazine speaks to couples on the challenges and wonders of intercultural dating. This is the story of Cindy and Robin's Chindian wedding. Words from Cindy Yeoh Rana written by Kevin Bathman

In 2010, I met my hubby, Robin Rana through a mutual colleague at my workplace, Stamford Airport Hotel in Sydney.

It was my birthday and we decided to celebrate it by going for some food and drinks. We invited Robin and throughout the night, he stuck by me and we chatted a lot. When it was time to head home, he gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear, “I love you.”

Seeing that we’d had a few drinks, I didn’t take it seriously and laughed it off.

The next day we bumped into each other at work and he didn’t bring up the comment. The next few weeks we began to know each other and we started chatting on Facebook – no less than five hours daily!

On one of our chats, he mentioned that he was looking for a wife. Stunned, I told him we would go with the flow. If things work out well for us, then it’s good. If not, we could still be friends. Whenever we went on dates, we were feeling uneasy as we weren’t sure of our status. I kept thinking to myself, “Are we friends or more than friends? What if we bumped into our friends – what do we say?”

"His family couldn’t accept the fact, and kept calling him back to India to get married with their chosen partner. Feeling frustrated, he told them that he will only return and get married to me – and no one else."

– Cindy Yeoh Rana

Eventually, everyone found out, including his family back home. Robin had told me that his family has found a bride for him in India. To my surprise, he responded to them by saying he had already found a bride: me!

His family couldn’t accept the fact, and kept calling him back to India to get married with their chosen partner. Feeling frustrated, he told them that he will only return and get married to me – and no one else.

After two years of persuasion, his family finally accepted me and invited us to Haryana in New Delhi, as his younger brother, Sachin, was getting married.

Cindy Yeoh and Robin Rana on their wedding day

When we reached Haryana, his whole village were there to welcome us. It felt like a scene from a Hindi movie. In the next few days, I had met thousands of women, and answered hundreds of questions with the help of Robin’s aunt, Prakash, who spoke English and became my translator.

With two weeks to go before Sachin’s wedding, Robin’s mum, Santosh, pulled me aside and asked me if I was prepared to get married to Robin before his brother’s wedding. She said she would felt more comfortable if Robin, the eldest son of the family, was married before Sachin.

It caught me by surprise – and initially I was reluctant, as I wanted my own family to be there to witness the ceremony and it took some time to arrange for visas.

Although my mum would have preferred that I married a Chinese man – she understood that I had to follow my heart.

On the day of Sachin’s wedding, Robin came into my room and asked me to consider getting married.

I wasn’t sure if I was caught up with the wedding atmosphere but without thinking twice, I said “Okay, let's do it!”

Robin was taken aback. He smiled, gave me a kiss, and said, “We have less than six hours to get ready!”

His cousins drove me to the city to get a wedding dress and bridal make-up done in an hour. Impressively, their tailor took an hour to sew my lengga!

Before the wedding I spoke to my mum and told her of the plan, and she agreed to my wedding in India, but promised me to do a wedding reception in Kuala Lumpur, my hometown. Because of the time-frame, no one else knew I was getting married in India – not even my sister was aware of it.

When I posted my Indian ceremony wedding photos on Facebook, my friends and relatives were so puzzled. Some of them even thought it was a joke!

A year later, Robin and I had our Chinese wedding in Kuala Lumpur.

Till today, no one could believe I made my wedding preparations in six hours.

The Point

The challenges and wonders of intercultural dating

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