The story of Chrysanthemums

My husband and I like to joke with each other. I mean, really crude jokes. There was a joke, which I have been telling people since I don’t remember when. He didn’t tell me not to tell it to others. He didn’t tell me that this joke has somehow affected him a little bit negatively. It really didn’t hit me that I have become so insensitive. Until yesterday, I found out that this joke was not funny after all.

The joke (or story) went like this. It happened last year, sometime around March, April or May (I really can’t remember). One day, I was feeling really down. It was either about my work or my dissertation (again, I don’t remember). On this particular day, my hubby sent me to work. On the way to work, I guess I was in really foul mood and must have said a lot of shits. So, my hubby decided to cheer me up by giving me a little surprise. He came to pick me when I knocked off from work. As usual, I waited for him at the foyer of my workplace. I saw his car coming, he stopped at drop-off area and I opened the car door. I was stunned for 5 seconds, didn’t know how to react. Guess what?! There was a bouquet of Chrysanthemum on the passenger seat. I was obviously not in good mood that day, but I wasn’t angry. I took that bouquet of flowers and got into the car. I was silent for another 5 seconds and then I turned to my hubby and said, “Honey, do you remember that when we were in Bulgaria, I once told you that you shouldn’t buy Chrysanthemums as gifts for others when we are back in Malaysia?” He turned to me and asked why. I continued, “That’s because Chrysanthemums are usually used for prayers or for the deceased.” He was in total shock. Then we went to my mum’s place for dinner. And I told my mum the story and asked my mum to guess what flowers he bought. My mum said, “Please don’t tell me it’s Chrysanthemum.” And I replied, “Yes, you are right.” Then I turned to my hubby and said “Please do not buy clock for my family members and friends.” We had a laugh and continued our dinner as usual.

My family members and I are not superstitious people. However, we are after all Chinese and we try our best to keep some of the Chinese traditions or “pantang larang” (taboos) that had been passed down from our ancestors. Fortunately, my family members also understand that my hubby shares a very different culture from them. So, there is a mutual understanding between my hubby and my family members, not to sweat over small things like this.

To me, I love flowers. I love all kinds of flowers. Although Chrysanthemum is not my favorite (my favorites are calla lilies and hydrangeas), I still think Chrysanthemums are very pretty flowers. Back in Bulgaria, I had also received Chrysanthemums from my hubby. So what made this time so different and shocking? I’m no flower expert but I think there are different types (or species) of Chrysanthemums. Some of them look like Daisy (for me) and some of them look like Sunflower (for me again). So, if you want to know the kind of Chrysanthemum I received when I was in Bulgaria, look at the picture below. They look very nice and sweet right? (see below).

2014-05-20_192138

So why was this time so shocking? Because this time, the Chrysanthemum I received neither looked like Daisy or Sunflower, but it looked like this. (see below). So let me ask you, how would you feel if you see this flower bouquet on the passenger seat when you are not exactly in good mood?

2014-05-20_202018

When we went back home, my hubby explained to me what happened. He said that he went to the florist’s and he saw that the roses looked small and miserable. So, he didn’t want the roses. Then, the florist came and asked him who was he buying for and what was the occasion. Read carefully from here. My hubby told the florist that he was buying flowers for his wife and it was just for a casual occasion. After browsing, my hubby said that the only fresh and nicest looking flowers were the Chrysanthemums. So he pointed at those and taa-daa…the florist without saying anything, sold that to my hubby. In fact, after I heard this story, I got quite angry at the florist. Then, I told my hubby, “These flowers have to be fresh because people are frequently using them for prayers”. What’s worse was that it was approximately the “Qing Ming Festival” (Tomb Sweeping Festival) for the Chinese. Seriously?! I personally think that the florist was very unethical to sell that bouquet to my hubby.

Later on, when I met my friends, sometimes I would mention this story as a joke. For more than a year, I’ve been telling this as a joke to many people. Until yesterday, one of my best friends mentioned this on Facebook. So without thinking much, I again joked about it with my hubby. Later when we going to sleep, we chit-chatted and I started bugging him about not giving me anymore surprise gifts. After non-stop bugging for about an hour (I think I’m a pest), he finally told me that the reason WHY he now prefers to bring me to choose my own gifts rather than buying them on his own. The reason is that he is constantly WORRIED he will make another mistake like the “Chrysanthemum incident”. Then, it struck me that this incident has affected him in such a negative manner until he is afraid to give me anymore surprise gifts. There was a silence for 5 minutes. I realised that I have been such a horrible wife for making him feel horrible all these while.

Honestly, I blame that stupid florist. Her action has affected us (especially my hubby) quite negatively. She may have done it unintentionally but I believe she should have at least informed (if not warned) my husband when he pointed at the Chrysanthemums. She shouldn’t have assumed that the wife of my hubby is also an “ang moh” (Caucasian). Unfortunately for her and everyone else, that wife (me) is a Chinese.

So here, I want to apologize to my hubby for insensitively joked about this for more than a year. I’m so sorry. Please don’t be angry and continue to buy me surprise gifts. If anything of such happens again, don’t worry, I’ll burn the shop of the seller. Okay, maybe not burn but I’ll go back to the shop and slap the seller. 😀

Every time I pass by this florist’s, I feel so disgusted. Such an unethical florist. To the florist: May your boyfriend or husband buy you only Chrysanthemums (NOT the nice colourful ones) for the rest of your life!

 

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