The price of diamonds, according to the poll, has dropped more than half
in places like New Delhi and
In Tokyo, the price of an 18-carat gold
wedding band has fallen by more than
That's not all. The cost of a wedding dress, tuxedo and limousine rental, wedding cake and honeymoon suite at a
five-star hotel have all plunged.
The poll may not be that accurate since
it is measured against the
Most Asians have less money to spend
these days because whatever they have
saved is worth less.
Still, there is no doubt that the
wedding package industry has become more competitive which is
good news for singles who believe
in the institution of marriage.
But in Asia, the Year of the Tiger isn't
exactly an auspicious time to get
hitched. With the economic uncertainty, it makes sense for couples to postpone
The only “comfort'' for Asians is that
currency speculators have attacked other economies, including that of Australia and South Africa.
Last month, the Australian media blamed
George Soros' US$20bil Soros Funds
Management and the US$16bil US-based
Tiger Management as among the 100 major
hedge funds, which control at least
US$100bil, for attacking the Australian dollar.
And Australian leaders such as Prime
Minister John Howard have begun to sound
like Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir
While others have labelled these
currency traders as “evil forces'',
Howard described them as “poorly informed illiterates''.
Even the Australian media, which had
blamed Dr Mahathir for speaking up
against currency speculators last year, are beginning to sound like the Malaysian press.
One Australian newspaper has advised its
readers not to travel overseas,
especially to the United States and
Ironically, these same newspapers had reported that incompetency, bad
management and corruption had allowed currency traders to move in and attack
They even lampooned Dr Mahathir's idea that currency trading must be regulated, adding that he had made it worse by speaking up.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
blamed him for the currency depreciation
in a documentary, Dr Mahathir: The Wounded Tiger.
Some Malaysians, who regarded the local
press as docile, began to believe
everything they read in Western
publications and on the Internet.
But as the Australian dollar continued to fall over the last 18 months, the Australian media have changed their tune.
Even Merrill Lynch, which sold off its
Australian dollars, has been rapped with
warnings it may lose future trading
opportunities with the Australian
Reserve Bank, the equivalent of Bank Negara.
Currency traders have hit back at
Howard, saying he runs the risk of
creating a credibility problem and
appearing to be out of control.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted a
currency analyst as saying that Howard had “no serious understanding of policy direction''.
The reality of the situation is that
there has been retrenchment in the
tourism industry as fewer Asians
Demand from Asia for base metals has dropped, resulting in declining prices of
aluminium, copper, lead and zinc.
And, according to the Australian
Financial Review, the Australian
dollar is expected to slide to a record low of US$0.55 in the next
Love-struck Australians are unlikely to heed the bad omens expected in the Year
of the Tiger.
According to the FEER poll, it's cheaper
to marry in Sydney or Canberra these days
that is, if you hold the
When exchanging vows, Australians shouldn't forget the familiar ring in their media reports these days.