House of D'outh

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brain dump


In Singapore, it is often called ROM Ceremony. ROM stands for REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE. Typical of Singaporeans to acronymise even what ought to be a beautiful, romantic sounding event into "ROM". Even more telling that the stereotypical singapore wedding proposal is actually: "Shall we buy a HDB flat together?". For example, currently I'm still not old enough to buy a HDB flat on my own. And I'm already 30! Irregardless of my desire or ability to afford a flat, ultimately I would only be entitled to consider buying one after I registered a marriage and could thus form what they call a "Family Nucleus" with my partner. I kid you not. And so, marriage is less about the union and more about a status which facilitates one's climb onto the property ladder in Singapore.

For more info see:

The singapore version of the ROM process only takes 10 minutes. A friend told me not to expect it to take very long - you just wait there, all dressed up, wait for your number to come up on the screen, then go in and sign and the Man says YOU'RE MARRIED!! and then the names of the next couple are already being read out and you're being quickly ushered out. Srsly...

But first, what the hell is a marriage even?

According to my understanding and research on it, the "legal" purpose of a marriage is as follows (in my own words):

  1. to establish each other as the legal parent of your partner’s children/pet snails (assuming if you have any or adopt any)
  2. to have monopoly in your partner's sexuality (ie: monogamy)
  3. to have rights to your partner's domestic and other labour services (eg: "COOK ME DINNER NOW! CLEAN THE FLOOR NOW! HELP ME MOVE THIS HEAVY BOX!!!")
  4. to give your partner control over property belonging or potentially accruing to each other (ie: SHARING THINGS)
  5. to establish a joint fund of property - which may be for the benefit of both of you and any resulting children (ie: an economic partnership)

So the marriage certificate is a paper which thus says that these agreements can be legally recognised - and also enforced. And for the most part I can agree with these legal terms of what constitutes a marital union and I can see the value of stating it down on paper especially where it may relate to children, money, medical consent, property and other financial decisions, because today's society is full of coldly rule-abiding people who only believe in a thing if it is legally written on paper. Legal decision-making and legal responsibilities for one another.

If we had to think of it in an old fashioned sense, perhaps community recognition (and family support) of this private agreement between individuals is what qualified such unions as marriages. However, I feel I should clarify that I do not want to do this just because we want to gain our community's recognition of our union, or some antiquated notion of "face". But rather I understand that our objective is to have the opportunity to celebrate it together with the wider community of friends around us. At its heart I think of this as a private decision and thus a private matter.

And that said, especially when we are not in the same country at the same time (like right now), I always imagine myself clambering up to the top of a mountain and madly hollering into the wind "Come here faster george, i love you!!!". So it is not that i am adverse to a public proclamation of how much I want to be close with you and live my life with you... BUT, i realise that others may read it differently - as if the agency were not mine own, but down to a community agreement instead of a private agreement between individuals....... do you know what I mean?)

The bigger question is: why do we require the law or the state to come in to ratify our partnership?

  • Could I have come up with a better or more suitable terms of agreement for our union as a couple or family unit?
  • What would this terms of union be like?

How does we wedding?

  • INTERNET DICTIONARY SAYS: "A wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage."

Thinking of it as a design problem instead - how would we design a marriage ceremony which reflects our shared idea of a self-ratified union?

initial experiments


mockup drawn 26 may - based on heraldic coat of arms


mindless drawing of snail eating merlion eating in a circle

but why heraldic coat of arms or why circular creature loop? why chinese characters? I dont want this!!!

can i simplify or make something which does not borrow imagery from other existing formats?

Mood Board / Visual References




  • we could have neon light!!!!! to solve the issue of low light - black light is quite cheap at sim lim
  • when i used to go to those weird temple tents outside jalan besar during the seventh month i was always confused. there was so much there, by way of symbolic imagery. there'd be a row of stupid looking horses made of cardboard. they'd be really poorly made as well! no one would look at it and think its a horse. but yet, it served a symbolic role. BUT WHAT? could we invent something that people would look at and have no idea what the fuck is going on? I'd like that actually.
  • on an aside this makes me think: what the hell is going on at grandma's house? who made all those wooden things, hanging cloths, embroidered prints, and things that compose the "temple" in their house? why isn't there somewhere i can google it and find out? how did people come to have those beliefs and how did it become manifest in those symbols and designs??? why does no one tell me? i am always disturbed that i know nothing of the politics or values that my grandma might have.


  • On the things people choose to commemorate with crafts: events like birth, marriage, death. the first thing in my own mind was to sew a quilt actually. but i couldn't find wedding quilts immediately. instead actually funeral quilts are easy to find. where did the practice come from? Although i am loathe to use this as direct visual reference - i find the practice of chinese comforters with words embroidered on them very interesting -
  • Ok so up to this point - what i do know so far: I'd strongly prefer to make sure that the wedding does NOT directly reminds one of anything relating to chinese tradition/heritage or christianity. How do we escape it??? How can i design something else neutral??? Is this possible even?