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28/10/2010 – Marriage Stories in the Press

The pick of today’s stories about marriage in the media comes from The Guardian. Below is the article, written by Helen Pidd:

Maldives hotel apologises over marriage blessing abuse
Unwitting couple branded swine and infidels at ceremony to renew wedding vows.

“The golden sands and turquoise seas of the Maldives are a favourite location for couples looking to affirm their love in a location more exotic than the local register office.

But an important lesson can be gleaned from one unfortunate pair who renewed their vows on a Maldivian beach: make sure you know exactly what you’re saying “I do” to.

The Maldivian foreign minister issued a grovelling public apology today to a Swiss couple who thought they were being blessed at an idyllic beach ceremony but were in fact being referred to as “swine” and “infidels” in the local tongue.

Police are investigating after a staff member at the Vilu Reef resort substituted marriage renewal vows with a stream of extreme sexual and religious slurs in the local Dhivehi language.

The public relations disaster unfolded after someone uploaded a video of the ceremony on YouTube, threatening the Muslim-majority country’s reputation as one of the world’s most exclusive tourist destinations.

“You are swine,” the unwitting couple were told. “The children that you bear from this marriage will all be bastard swine. Your marriage is not a valid one. You are not the kind of people who can have a valid marriage. One of you is an infidel. The other, too, is an infidel and, we have reason to believe, an atheist, who does not even believe in an infidel religion.”

After the video went viral, the Maldives government went into crisis management overdrive to protect its lucrative tourism industry.

“The Maldives is a world-class tourist destination famed for its warm welcome and excellent customer service. Episodes such as that captured on video have no place in our tourism industry or in our society more broadly, and are alien to our cultural and religious values,” said the foreign minister, Ahmed Shaheed.

He said he had instructed the Maldives diplomatic service to apologise to the Swiss couple face-to-face and offer them compensation. Those “guilty of wrongdoing” will be “brought to justice”, he vowed, adding that he would be seeking assurances from the Maldives tourism industry that the incident was a one-off.

“If we do not receive such reassurance, we reserve the right to take all remedial steps necessary, legislative or otherwise, to ensure that episodes such as that which occurred in Vilu Reef resort never happen again and do not tarnish the positive image of the country built up over so many years,” he said.

Punishments can be brutal in the island nation. Last year Amnesty International claimed that at least 180 people faced being flogged in the Maldives as a penalty for extramarital sex”.


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The Proposal: Feedback

Good news! The feedback we received for our proposal was great. We’re most certainly on the right track.

The official ‘deadline’ to submit the final proposal is 03/11/2010 so, all being well (*crosses fingers*), we’ll be able to make a start on actually filming parts of the documentary. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.


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Culture Clash: The Proposal (First Draft)

Apparently a tradition at Japanese weddings. T...

Image via Wikipedia

Subject Area:

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=london&iid=285687″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”237″ /] We aim to explore the traditions within weddings and rituals of different cultures. We will be focusing our attentions on the people of London as it is one of the most diverse cities in the world in terms of culture. “London is the most linguistically diverse city on Earth” (The Times, 22nd January, 2000, p.8). There is evidence to suggest that some 307 languages were spoken by London schoolchildren in 2008. We want to know what marriage means and represents for you.

Same-sex marriage, civil partnerships.

The rituals in some weddings differ to those in others. Offering of a gift in some cultures; receiving gifts in others. Dowry* or pre-nuptual agreements.

Proposing: in certain cultures you are marrying the individual and in others you are marrying the whole family.

Ceremonies: some last one day whereas others can go on for several weeks.

Wedding garments: from traditional suits and white dresses (signifying purity/chastity) ranging from white to red etc…

Weddings differ depending on social surroundings, religions and cultures.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=wedding&iid=7277289″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /] “In Asia, red symbolizes luck, prosperity, and happiness. In European traditions, the color red may also be a symbol for love, lust, passion, and power.

* Property or payment given by a wife or her family to a husband at the time of marriage. (In some cultures, it is the husband who pays the dowry to the wife’s family).

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=wedding&iid=7277188″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=wedding&iid=264208″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”353″ /]

How Will We Shoot the Documentary?

Our initial idea was to create a documentary that focused on three different weddings from three different religions that were all based in one city (London). Our idea progressed over time and we decided to explore the possibility of shooting our documentary in a ‘vox pop’ style. The vox pop style of film making aims to capture and ‘provide a snapshot of public opinion’. We will ask simple, open-ended questions such as ‘what does marriage mean to you’, ‘what would the bride and groom traditionally wear’ and so on.

Living the Dream…

Okay, so this isn’t us on set.  One day, maybe? You just never know. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=film+crew&iid=6184172″ src=”″ width=”408″ height=”419″ /]

Hello World!

‘Hello World’ is the default title for anyone blogging with WordPress and it seems kind of appropriate. If you’ve ever blogged before you may have felt that first blog posts can tend to be a bit awkward, especially as this site is 2 hours old and I’m technically writing to nobody. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that this ‘awkward first blog post’ is as awkward as previous ones. Hence the rambling.

So I’ll make this short and sweet. Next time you visit the site I’m sure you’ll hardly recognise the place as we’ve lots planned for the coming months. Until then…

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