Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

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Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby tutormum » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:26 am

One of DH's nephew is getting married next year. I was shocked at the way my SIL announced the news. She gingerly told us where the wedding banquet will be held emphasizing that the charge is $100++ per head. As such, I have expressed to one of DH's sisters that I don't intend to attend as I don't think I could afford giving her an ang pow to match the cost. Imagine the astronomical amount for the whole family! We also felt it was not right to give what we can afford as they would incur a loss so we have indicated that DH will be representing us.

Her DH, however, kept telling me how 'honoured' they would be if I would grace the occasion with my presence and as we are close relatives, everybody should attend, in other words, including my DSs. However, I know what his DW has in mind. When DH and I first married and celebrated CNY, she told DH bluntly to give her DS a big ang pow for CNY, stating the amount she expected, cos she had been giving DH ang pows for CNY after she married into the family. When DH told her that he would be giving less than what she indicated, she remarked that it was DH's payback time. It's her nature to make such requests.

This is the first wedding among DH's nephews and nieces which will set the precedence. My dilemma is that if I don't attend this banquet, she will not be happy if I attend the others.

My DS1 does not intend to hold a wedding banquet as he feels that it will be a burden for all parties. Therefore, he has settled for a simple wedding, just ROM and a small banquet for both families. DS1 will only invite them for a housewarming party when he gets his new flat. They are aware of DS1's decision so know that they are not expected to return the 'ren qin'.

Pls advise. TIA

tutormum
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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby cherrygal » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:34 pm

If I were you, just be straight and tell her it will just be you and hubby. Kids have their own activities with their friends at night (that's the excuse my aunts gave). Then just give market rate. No need to cover her full cost.

Your kids can still attend the day time wedding activities to show support for their cousin. That's what some of my cousins did. Dinner was attended by their parents since that costs $$.

Dun worry about her making a loss. A wedding banquet is meant to celebrate the wedding, not a business venture which must break even or make money from it. It's her choice to let her DS hold the wedding at an expensive place. Most wedding couples expect to make a loss among relatives anyway so don't worry too much abt it.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby jetsetter » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:38 pm

Siblings don't like to attend each others' DC's weddings for a variety of reasons. They foresee their own DC won't throw such a big banquet in the future. Or their own DC are stubbornly single and there's no sight of a beau. Or they hv fewer DC than the other siblings so they calculate they stand to make a loss. Or the to-wed nephew or niece is doing much better in his/her career than their own DC. Or the spouse-to-be of the nephew or niece is much better than their own in terms of earning power, educational qualifications or family background.

My parents suffered all of the above when my siblings and I got married! That's the time when you realise which siblings are closer to you and which are just superficial relatives. When a few of my aunts/uncles learnt abt the banquet venue (>$150+++/table kind), the property the newly wed was moving into, the job(s) the couple was in, they were uneasy, cos their own DC couldn't afford such a lavish wedding reception; nor were their DC/spouses doing as well.

They backed down with a barrage of reasons. They just won't let us even hv the honour (read: 'pleasure' in their view) of hving their presence on our most impt day. They cooked up lame excuses that the DCs (i.e. my own cousins) were on biz trip, busy with exams or not feeling well. Needless to say, my parents were hurt!

A wedding invitation is never to cream guests off. It's a time to share our joy with our relatives and friends. It doesn't matter if you give less than the per-head value. It's your PRESENCE that counts. I value you therefore I include you in my wedding list right? I personally feel snubbed if I don't get invited to weddings or baby showers of my friends or colleagues.

Just my take from the other side of the fence, so please don't take offence! :siam:

I feel you should attend the tea ceremony, cos you're the "guy's side" aunty. That is very impt to the Chinese family becos your DH and the groom's dad are blood brothers bearing the same surname. In a Chinese wedding, 男方请客 means the groom's side must give face and show up. The 排场must be greater than the girl's side I believe.

To help you put this in perspective: as the 媳妇of your DH's family, you should play your role as your nephew's 长辈 I feel :) Is it not a great honour to be able to drink that sort of tea, served by your nephew that is also a descendant of your DH's family? But the great honour comes with costs of course! :yikes: Nowadays, expect to pay at least $800 for a skinny white gold bracelet. :sweat:

As for the dinner, if you feel so strongly about costs, you can exempt your DS by saying he is rushing some impt project for his boss, or outstationed (make sure he disappears from the surface of Singapore). Don't give last minute notice as there'll be opportunity loss for the hosts. Tell them to just count 2 persons - $168, since you'd hv already paid for the bracelet. Make sure bracelet invoice is inside, if it's of considerable value.

Good luck!

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby Jennifer » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:11 am

Wow, these days wedding dinner can be so expensive.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby cherrygal » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:23 pm

Tutormum, if you are not expecting much from your SIL when it's time for your own son's wedding, then just buy a gold pendant or give a slightly above market rate angbao during the yum cha. Night time it's up to you if you want to give another angbao. Many of my relatives just gave an angbao during yum cha and omitted the dinner one. They counted it as one gift. I also dun blame them coz they are not the super rich type and I was never close to them.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby happyheart » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:05 pm

post deleted
Last edited by happyheart on Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby ngl2010 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:08 pm

Ummm... I am not sure whether it is a common practice but MIL is a practical person. For her nephews/nieces wedding gift, MIL will give one of her existing jewelleries. She has been doing it since 3 years ago. I think it is a good idea because it will clear her jewelleries slowly, she know somebody will take care of it and I will have no burden not knowing what to do with it. :smile:

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby Imami » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:19 pm

cherrygal wrote:If I were you, just be straight and tell her it will just be you and hubby. Kids have their own activities with their friends at night (that's the excuse my aunts gave). Then just give market rate. No need to cover her full cost.

Your kids can still attend the day time wedding activities to show support for their cousin. That's what some of my cousins did. Dinner was attended by their parents since that costs $$.

Dun worry about her making a loss. A wedding banquet is meant to celebrate the wedding, not a business venture which must break even or make money from it. It's her choice to let her DS hold the wedding at an expensive place. Most wedding couples expect to make a loss among relatives anyway so don't worry too much abt it.


Tutormum, I second what cherrygal has said.

When my hubby and I got married, we were the kind that jet setter had described - doing better than dh's cousins and siblings, able to throw a dinner at a five star hotel etc. My family was very happy to see me married off well and my mil was feeling the pinch, even though dh and I took up the bills. So um.... I see both sides of the coins.

On my wedding day, I willingly and happily knelt down on the floor for more than 2 hours just to serve tea to dh's relatives. Willingly and happily not because of what I was going to receive, but because I saw it as my 福气 to serve tea to so many elders. Nobody gave me fat red packets or jewelry. Among the red packets I had received, there was actually a $8 and I knew who gave us that. Was I upset? No, not really. Like I said, I was more than happy to be given a chance to serve tea on my wedding day and to be able to receive well wishes is something that money can't buy.

So, don't forget about how the bride and groom think/feel. Maybe only that sil thinks differently. The rest are just happy that you and your family turn up.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby tutormum » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:00 pm

cherrygal,
You are so right and the problem is this SIL sees it as a business venture.

jetsetter,
If this SIL has only pure intentions I would not be so vexed. You see, this SIL loves face and to her, everything becomes a competition. From our children doing PSLE to now wedding, she never misses the chance to compete or flaunt her good fortune. I would be very happy to give my blessings to all nephews and nieces for their big day. I have bought them presents for no reasons and help DH's other siblings when they were in financial difficulties. Money is never the issue actually except for this occasion which is beyond my affordability. Moreover, it's the way this SIL behave that irks me.

You may understand better if I share with you some examples of what she has been doing.
When her relatives came to visit (she is not from Singapore) she asked every siblings in DH family to contribute to buy gold jewelry as souvenirs for them when they leave. Instead of her DH bringing her family members around, she asked my DH to cos her own DH was too busy with his business. DH spent a few hundred dollars entertaining them and did not even ask her to reimburse him. She did not even have the courtesy to offer to, anyway. When I found out about DH contributing towards the cost of the jewelry, I expressed my unhappiness. Only then did she stop asking us to contribute whenever her relatives visit. Yet, she badmouthed me by telling the other siblings that I was 'xiao chi' and calculative.
When my cousins visited me and my MIL wanted to buy them a meal, she dissuaded her from doing so. At the same time, she rudely told me that I should entertain my own relatives and not trouble my MIL. I did even need them to.

Whenever she invites us for special occasions e.g her children's birthdays (she would celebrate with buffets etc), we never failed to do 'ren qin'. However, she had never given anything when we invite her to any special occasions, which are rare as I don't even throw parties to celebrate my DSs' 21st birthdays. Honestly, I do find DH's siblings rude cos most of them never bear gifts but always receive them. DH other SILs do bring gifts or give ang pows to be fair. If I were that calculative, I would have stopped bringing gifts or give ang pows whenever I attend their parties. Of course, DH's siblings also never bear gifts when they attend the other SILs' functions. Well, you may say that I can choose not to bring anything the next time she invites me. However, can you do that if someone opened her big mouth to tell you what she expects?
This SIL's competitive nature can become very comical and she never seems to learn. e.g. when her 2 eldest did very well for their PSLE, she claimed that they were scholars while I should be ashamed that as a tutor, my DS1 and DS2 did not do as well. She only shut up when her DD did badly in her PSLE and ended up in DS1's sec school and my DS3 did much better than her 2 DSs. All her children had tuition until JCs while none of mine had any. In conclusion, she remarked "different children have different abilities" thereby cancelling out all the sarcasm through the years.
When we announced that DS1 was getting married and applying for a flat, she immediately coerced her DS1 to do the same. As her DS1 applied for a flat about a year after my DS1, she was afraid that my DS1 would be the first one to have a wedding among the cousins. You see, she always want to be the first in everything. She, therefore, asked her DS1 to hold his wedding and stay with them before he gets the keys to his flat.
I think her DS1 rejected her idea initially and in order to save face, she made remarks like "Nowadays, youngsters will not want to live with their in laws, etc etc". Little did she knew then that my DS1 did not want a lavish wedding and we would be moving in to stay with him in his new flat. Our plan was that we would continue to stay together as DIL thought that it would be better that I looked after their children as her own mother is not well educated.
When this SIL heard of our plan, she told her DS1 that he had to get married by this year according to 'feng shui' and the only solution was to stay with them until he gets his flat. It seemed that she wanted to prove that her DIL was willing to stay with her. It seemed that the couple did agree to her request but, after all the preparations, her future DIL, refused to go through it and insisted on getting married after she got her new flat. Imagine the cost of postponing the banquet etc to a year later.
BTW, we were invited to the wedding banquet only as she had all along been stating that we are, in her own words, "ke ren" ie. guests and not family members. Only those she are close to, that is, DH's sisters are invited to the tea ceremony. She has always been playing such 'relations' games from Day 1. She would 'angkat' DH's sisters and unless she can get benefits, DH's SILs are competitors.

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Re: Need advice on how to deal with unreasonable request

Postby Jennifer » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:04 am

I think we should just close 2 eyes when it comes to dealing with pple with such competitive nature.

Life is too short.

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