On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

All abuzz over the bride

While it was not a well-kept secret with talk of the wedding already circulating for months, the announcement was well managed.  

One must remember we are talking about the wedding of a Prime Minister who is 67 years old and certainly he must be accorded the respect and dignity without the matter being turned into a media circus.  

It is not something unusual; in Japan and many European countries, there are certain ground rules for the media from the royal houses or office of the heads of state.  

Naturally, the press would have liked to publish everything they manage to get their hands on but one must remember that there would be no end to people making claims of being close friends of the family members from a mere photograph or a quote printed in the papers.  

Rightly, Abdullah’s main concern was the accuracy of information pertaining to the wedding.  

On Wednesday, word leaked out at around 8am that an official announcement would be made in the afternoon. However, many politicians and close friends of the Prime Minister were still caught by surprise.  

While they had to wait for the news, one thing was certain – the Prime Minister had kept the plans to just family members.  

Last Friday, Pak Lah said he preferred a private ceremony attended only by close relatives at his official residence.  

He has been in good spirits over the past week, replying to questions on personal matters from the media with witty repartee. 

He has also become a target of friendly banter wherever he goes and he has taken all this in his stride.  

The Prime Minister is undoubtedly aware of the jokes being circulated at his expense but he is a man of good humour.  

“For the Malays, when you are getting married, people like to pull your leg, make fun and tease you, especially when you are marrying for the second time, what more if it is the third and fourth time. I won’t go beyond two,” he told reporters last week, adding that he had known Jeanne for the past 20 years.  

Last week, he answered all questions from when he fell in love to his honeymoon plans openly. There was even a question of whether he went down on his knees when he proposed.  

The media was relentless with their questions, even asking private details like whether he addressed Jeanne as “darling” or “sayang” but the Prime Minister sportingly answered, even revealing that he had ordered a wedding ring.  

Jeanne, 53, may not be a familiar name to Malaysians but she is set to capture the attention of the people.  

There are already over 233,000 entries in the Google search engine while Yahoo has over 196,000 entries; someone has already sent a short piece to the Internet encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, on Jeanne.  

Any news item about Jeanne, who studied at the Assunta Secondary School, is almost certain to top the charts.  

Jeanne has been a relative in the family, being the late Datin Seri Endon Mahmood’s former sister-in-law.  

She has a reputation of being an organiser, a role she handled well in managing Putrajaya, and at a media open house a few months ago, she mingled well with journalists who knew her personally while keeping a low profile at the same time.  

More importantly, she is known in the family as an ordinary and simple person who loves children and the younger family members.  

It was a point that Pak Lah singled out when he spoke to reporters last week about his wedding.  

Malaysians wish Abdullah and Jeanne the very best and pray that the couple will have happy days ahead. May their marriage be blessed.