Friday, February 23, 2007

Help! Need some cultural awareness!!

OK, here's the deal. A colleague and friend in Singapore is getting married. In two weeks. Long story short, she slipped in her news to her manager in an email, manager missed it (this is the same guy that I work for...ugh), and figures that no one would be interested. Anyway, just found out that the wedding is on March 10th!

So, here's the quandary. What to get for a wedding gift? She really is a good friend, and while we don't see each other much, we have kept in touch. She spent a year here in the U.S., and is now back in Singapore. If I'm lucky, I get to see her about once a year for our department all-hands meetings.

Her parents are mainland Chinese who emigrated to Singapore when she was small, and she was raised with all of those traditions. She's also a born again/fundamentalist Christian, and is very conscious of living her faith. She's also a lousy cook, who managed to bake a lid onto a casserole dish that was on so tightly that she had to throw the whole thing out. Don't talk about her can you manage to total a three cylinder car (OK, golf cart on steroids) in Singapore urban traffic? She's sensitive culturally, so I want to make sure that I don't blow this.

I've done some research, and what I've come up with is that chopsticks are a traditional Chinese wedding gift. (Hey, I know that the girl can eat, and is double-jointed or something when it comes to using those things). She also likes sushi a great deal-to quote Terry Bradshaw "...where I come from, that's bait!", but I have no clue as to whether she would actually ever endeavor to prepare it for herself. I was thinking either a nice set of chopsticks and rests, or something sushi related. Outside of her time here in the U.S., she's lived at home her entire life, so I'm pretty sure that she is starting from scratch. Singapore has very strict housing regulations, and living by yourself and being single is a very tough thing to do.

Any suggestions, anecdotal advice, whatever, would be helpful. I think that I like the chopstick idea the best, although I'm struggling to find something that also uses the color red, since that is the Chinese symbol for luck and prosperity. Any direction from blogland would be great!

No comments: