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Mass Indonesian wedding event held to curb unregistered marriages

05/13/2024 05:35 PM
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Indonesian couples gather in Taipei a mass wedding event organized by the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024
Indonesian couples gather in Taipei a mass wedding event organized by the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) A total of 29 Indonesian couples, most of them migrant workers, took part in a mass wedding event divided into morning and afternoon sessions in Taipei on Sunday that was held to reduce the number of unregistered marriages among Indonesians in Taiwan.

Wearing traditional Indonesian wedding attire, 15 couples from across Taiwan gathered at the Indonesia Exhibition Center in the morning to tie the knot and another 14 couples got married in the afternoon.

The morning and afternoon sessions mirrored each other.

After attending a ceremony of about 20 minutes featuring readings from the Quran, each couple spent 15 minutes processing documents accompanied by Islamic rituals before receiving an official marriage certificate issued by Indonesia's Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The couples would then display their brand-new marriage books -- red for the men, green for the women -- to wedding guests.

Once all of the couples in their respective session completed the process, which took nearly 3 hours overall, they had their pictures taken together in another hall.

Indonesia's representative to Taiwan Iqbal Shoffan Shofwan is pictured in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024.
Indonesia's representative to Taiwan Iqbal Shoffan Shofwan is pictured in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024.

Iqbal Shoffan Shofwan, head of the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei (IETO) and Indonesia's representative to Taiwan, said the office offered the free service to reduce the number of unregistered marriages among Indonesians in Taiwan.

"If a couple doesn't have an official marriage certificate, it poses a risk to the woman and any children she might have," Iqbal said.

Sunday's event was the third mass wedding event organized by the IETO since the beginning of 2023. The first, on March 19, 2023, involved 31 couples, and the second, on Oct. 8, 2023, involved 35 couples, according to data provided by the IETO.

Among the newlyweds, Cynthia Josephine, who works in the media, told CNA that it would have required "a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of time" if she and her husband had to return to Indonesia to get married.

"We work here, and we don't have any vacation available," the 28-year-old said, describing the event as "very useful."

Cynthia Josephine (left) and her husband, Eka Adi, pose for a photo during a mass wedding event in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024
Cynthia Josephine (left) and her husband, Eka Adi, pose for a photo during a mass wedding event in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024

Shedding tears during the ceremony, Ayu had hoped her family could have been in Taiwan for her wedding, but due to "the circumstances," she got married Sunday without them being present.

The 25-year-old factory worker's experience was typical among Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan, as returning home to get married or inviting family members to Taiwan to witness the important moment is not feasible given their limited time off and low pay.

Ayu felt blessed, however, as someone special to her managed to attend with his family and witness the momentous occasion.

One of the newlywed couple -- Ayu (second right), and Ahmad (second left) -- are pictured with Eric Chen (right) and his wife Siti Zubaidah during Sunday's mass wedding in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024.
One of the newlywed couple -- Ayu (second right), and Ahmad (second left) -- are pictured with Eric Chen (right) and his wife Siti Zubaidah during Sunday's mass wedding in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024.

Having provided assistance to more than 20 Indonesian students in Taiwan since 2017, Eric Chen (陳嘉祥) and his Indonesian wife Siti Zubaidah have known Ayu for around seven years, and the 57-year-old graphic designer shared his joy at seeing Ayu getting married.

"They have gone from scratch, to now getting married and being able to have their own family," Chen told CNA. "I'm very happy. It's a bit like seeing my own daughter getting married."

(By Sunny Lai and Miralux)

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An Indonesian couple receives an official marriage certificate issued by Indonesia's Ministry of Religious Affairs after processing documents accompanied by Islamic rituals during a mass wedding event in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024
An Indonesian couple receives an official marriage certificate issued by Indonesia's Ministry of Religious Affairs after processing documents accompanied by Islamic rituals during a mass wedding event in Taipei on Sunday. CNA photo May 13, 2024
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