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By Kim Ban Cheo

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A very special two-tiered altar was erected near the main door of the hall, facing inward, opposite the altar to the household gods, leaving enough room between them for the various ceremonies. This special altar is known as the sam kai or the sam kuan tai tay, and represents Heaven. Earth and Man. The altar was considered so holy that only the elders among the male relatives were allowed to raise it into position. No article or piece of crockery used for the altar could be used for any other purpose.

In earlier days, there was a curious form of transport called the reddi. It was a gunny sack opened up and tied at each end to a strong pole to form a hammock. Both ends of the pole were carried by-men who were usually Amboynese. A single lady passenger stepped into the hammock, sat down and hung onto the pole with both hands. It was then lifted by the pole and carried on the shoulders of the carriers. To ensure privacy, the hammock would be covered by a roof-like cover of palm leaves known as a kajang before it left the house.

One pair of red candles wrapped in red paper; the candles weighing at least one kati (600 g) and if the family was generous; 4. Two bottles of brandy with, of course, the mandatory pieces of red paper pasted on for luck. Apart from these material benefits, the matchmaker had the satisfaction of a job well done. Some considered a successful match a meritorious deed, for it was believed that if one could bring three couples together in marriage, one was assured a place in Heaven. 22 Besides this, the Nyonya matchmaker was an incurable romantic.

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