Bulletin

An online magazine of news and opinions from the Asia New Zealand Foundation

Leadership Network member provides wedding guests 'Tips from the white guy'

Plenty of brides and grooms probably wish they could tell some of their wedding guests how to behave on their special day. Leadership Network member Bradley Scott had no qualms about doing just that.

Bradley and Nirupa standing outside an ornate Sri Lankan-style building in their wedding attire

At the end of January Bradley tied the knot with partner Nirupa George at a ceremony at the Shri Swaminarayan temple in Avondale, Auckland.

In the lead-up to the special occasion, Bradley shared a series of “Tips from the white guy”, basically a bit of guidance on wedding etiquette for his non-Sri Lankan guests.

Nirupa fled the Sri Lankan Civil War, arriving in New Zealand as a ten-year-old. As a nod to her heritage, the couple decided to have a Tamil as well as a Western wedding ceremony.

Since his engagement to Nirupa, Bradley had attended a few Tamil weddings. For a newbie, the experience can be overwhelming, he says.

“There’s 300, 400, 500 people all who knew what was going on. And then there was me.

“It’s just kind of really chaotic – what’s going on and where am I supposed to be?”

He provided guidance on suitable wedding attire: “I've received a request for #tipsfromthewhiteguy about Tamil wedding fashion. This one can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make it.

"The same style of attire as you'd wear to a western style wedding is a-ok. And, probably the default option for most of you. On the other end of the spectrum would be going all out, with a sari for gals and a verti and shirt for the gents.”

Bradley also clued guests up on logistics: “At the end of the ceremony, half of the room will be invited up on stage to bless Nirupa and I, and half will go to the dining hall for dinner. In either case, expect a queue. But once you're on stage and at the front - the blessing is done by sprinkling rice on our head, then shoulders, and then knees. Just remember the nursery rhyme, but without the toes part. Or, simply copy the thing the 100 or so people before you have done.”

The goal was to pre-equip guests with a basic cultural competency, he says.

“I wanted them to have fun and just be a part of it and not have to stress about those things.”

Bradley and Nirupa standing outside an ornate Sri Lankan-style building in their wedding attire

It’s been a massive month for Bradley.

Alongside juggling two wedding ceremonies, he’s managed to buy his first house and start a new job.

He’s chief operating officer at FaceMe, a Kiwi company creating Artificial Intelligence “employees”.

A team of around 30 people work for the Auckland-based company, and Bradley heads the crew charged with building the systems.

Imagine, he says, being able to walk into a bank and bypassing the queue to have your enquiry dealt with by a digital human.

“At the moment we have one at Auckland Airport in Biosecurity. They deflect questions from humans, allowing them more time for complex things or giving better service.”

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20 March 2018