Marjolijn poses with the bride and groom. Derawan (Borneo, Indonesia). July 2009.

The bride and groom of Derawan

  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

My short stay on the small Indonesian island of Derawan, last July, allowed me to attend no less than two weddings! Two almost identical weddings, with kitsch decoration and pop-guimauve orchestra. More a social obligation, I think, than a real party.

A video, two weddings

In any case, I would not like to get married in Derawan!

You have to dress up as a doll, with hair, make-up and a lot of pomp. Then hold the pose for hours on a throne in a candy pink or electric blue decor. Welcome with a smile all the people of the village who parade on the stage (as they all come to deposit a small ticket in a vase provided for this purpose).

And pretend to appreciate the music of the invited group...

Strange wedding party

What you don't see on the video are the rows of plastic chairs and boards serving as tables, set up in front of the stage, under a large tarp.

No one is dancing, people have just come and sat there and watched.

Each received a small meal in a cardboard box with a cup of water. Offered by the families of the bride and groom. But no one eats, most will take home their portion of nasi goreng (fried rice) and his cupcakes at home.

For the guests, the show consists of sitting in a plastic chair watching the bride and groom on the platform ... (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
For the guests, the show consists of sitting on a plastic chair and watching the bride and groom on the stage... (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia. July 2009.)

Strange wedding party, really. It starts around 9 pm and stops a little before midnight. Not much happens. Rather boring evening... I guess the real wedding ceremony takes place at another time.

Once installed on his plastic chair, everyone remains seated there. We simply wait for our turn to go up on the platform, to greet the bride and groom with a quick handshake, or more warmly depending on the degree of closeness or affection we have with the family.

One does not hesitate to be taken in photograph at their sides. It is obviously part of the appreciated politenesses, with the small bill deposited in the vase.

The married "blue". (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
The "blue" bride and groom. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)

I resisted the solicitations of a lot of people who wanted to push me towards the stage for the famous photo...

Marjolijn, a young Dutch girl with whom I sympathized, did not miss any opportunity to pose, at each wedding (see photos below).

She tells that on his own blog (in English).


Like her, what surprised me the most was the musical entertainment, if I may say so.

Especially that of the second marriage. For recall, we are in Muslim country. I found it very curious to see these three singers come on the stage, overdressed and very short dressed, who started to shake like in a video-clip. Without being pretentious, it was flashy and vulgar.

Admittedly, Islam is rather relaxed on an island like Derawan: not all the women are veiled, far from it, and the girls play volleyball hard every night, bareheaded, in simple Bermuda shorts and tee-shirt. But still, these three chicks on stage didn't fit in with the rest.


  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

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  1. "potiches de balluche local", what kind of vocabulary is that? 😆 Watch out, you might get noticed by Elle (or Marie-Claire?). Although. Isn't it better to have liberated Barbies than bridal dolphins in full veils? 😈 👿
    Well, I voted for you in the Coupe de l'Info contest. With my eyes closed. I didn't even check out the other sites. La Honteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!
    Richard de-dans Evreux ou ki fait froué 😀

  2. @Richard: 😀 You're right, it's not very nice for those three girls... But I swear they swore by the atmosphere, in this tiny village, not too tradi but not too liberated either.
    Thanks for your click, and don't bother looking at the other blogs, which will easily pick up plenty of votes, since they're mostly hosted on high-traffic news sites, with no comparison to the modest audience of my Little Bubbles... 😉

  3. => I vote for the pink couple 😀
    The groom is very classy 8)
    For music, it's a bit like Provence rosé: you have to drink it on the spot 😉

  4. @Alimata: Me too, the pink couple is my favorite. As I'm a nice guy, I've trimmed the worst of the music. Unlike her fellow singers and musicians, the young woman we hear singing at the beginning had a melodious voice. In the end, I kept the intro to this track, which contrasted nicely with the rotten, dripping, made-in-Asia pop they'd served up before.

  5. Hello again,

    I wanted to ask you a few technical questions (if it doesn't take up too much of your time!) I'm thinking of switching to Worldpress (I have a blog on over-blog) and I was wondering if it was possible to update from anywhere in the world. My understanding is that you have to install software on your computer. So you have to work from your station? Do you have to carry around an ftp client? In short, is WorldPress a handicap in nomad mode?

    Finally, are you herber at a blog platform that accepts worldpress?

    In passing your site is really nice!
    Thank you and have a nice day under the snow!


  6. @Fabrice: You'll notice as you browse my Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs that I update this blog while I'm traveling, from anywhere, from my own computer or self-service computers, whatever... You just need to be connected to the Internet to publish a new post, as with any weblog.
    I think you confuse software to install on your computer, and files to install on a hosting.

    - WordPress with hosting " In fact, it's only at the start, if you choose to use WordPress on your own hosting, that you'll obviously need ftp software to upload all the files needed to run the blog (there are, for example FileZillawhich is free). For my part, I'm hosted by OVH, which accepts WordPress without any problem. After that, updates and postings are done via the web, without the need for any software other than a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.).

    - WordPress without hosting " But you can also use WordPress without hosting, without having to install anything. It works with a simple registration, as with Over-Blog or other (the trick is that it allows less customization afterwards, unless you pay for additional options).

    In short, WordPress isn't at all a handicap in nomad mode, it's quite the opposite. It's a truly exceptional tool, I think.

    @ Helen: Unfortunately, I'm having trouble with this new geolocation function, which is very nice, but only seems to work well in Firefox and Safari, not in Internet Explorer (the clickable logo doesn't appear). I'll look into it.
    [EDIT " That's it, it works under IE !!! I had stupidly forgotten to close a tag in the code... pfff]

    Finally, I don't see much point in writing about Christmas in Asia: I've never experienced it myself, so I don't have anything special to say about it, except to refer to posts by travelers who have already spent Christmas abroad, such as this one by Marie-Julie Gagnon :
    " Christmas elsewhere (update: this page no longer exists).
    Plus, I'd already winked at it, in this post I published last year, based on a photo of someone you know well:
    " Same same but different

  7. @Hélène from Mauritius: I'd be very surprised if I spent Christmas under the snow or even in a snowy landscape... The snow has already melted. 🙄

  8. Thank you for your answer.

    But with an accommodation, no example at OVH (you have a domain name and accommodation at home?), You still need to walk with a ftp for updates no?

    Is it possible to use Worldpress on overblog? Do you lose a lot of functionality in that case? Can I use the artemia theme, for example?


  9. @Fabrice: I'll answer your questions here, but you'd be better off writing to me privately for the details, or going to the WordPress page who explains things well ...

    - Yes, I have my domain name + hosting with OVH.
    - No, you don't need Ftp to update your WordPress files (the procedure is done online, with one click, automatically since version or your posts. Even plugins and extensions, for the most part, can now be updated online from Admin.
    - I don't think it's possible to install a WordPress platform at Overblog!!!! Unless Overblog also does hosting only, without installation of their blog platform? Your question baffles me: it's like trying to put a car engine in another car that already has its own engine... In any case, you can install WordPress at any hosting company, in principle, as long as it offers basic hosting functions (php5, databases, etc.).

  10. Ok, got it! What I really wanted to know, in the case of hosting other than, was whether you should use ftp for updates. Apparently not.

    Well, I've got my work cut out for me!

    Merry Christmas!


  11. @Fabrice: It's WordPress (not Worldpress)... 😉
    Small clarifications, so that everything is clear (will have to resume all this in my dedicated section): is not "hosting". is an online blogging service, powered by the WordPress "engine". This service, or blog platform, works on much the same principle as,, and so on. You register online, and then have access to "turnkey" blog templates, already hosted and ready to go, but offering only standard customizations, functions and storage space (except in their paid versions).

    WordPress is a blog "engine". There are others, such as Movable Type, Dotclear and others. This "engine" is a set of computer files, which work together like software. To use them, you need to place them somewhere, in a virtual space connected to the Internet, which will "serve" the result (the blog) to people who connect to it. To establish this connection, you need a domain name (which acts as a key, a signpost, an address). This "virtual space" is called hosting. There are many different hosting offers, at all price levels, depending on your needs (bandwidth, storage space, complex or less complex databases, computer language required, etc.). The WordPress engine files can be downloaded free of charge via the Url below. Once you've downloaded them, you'll need to upload them (via ftp software) to your chosen hosting. Once they're there, the engine is ready to go. The same goes for customizing functions: you add small complementary files, called extensions or plugins, via ftp. The WordPress "engine", in its current 2.9 version, now takes care of updating itself, as do most extensions. No need to send new files by ftp.


  12. ok, so much the better if we can do without ftp with the new version!

    Well, thanks to me, you've almost written your WordPress post already 😉