Hari Raya, happy ke?

Raya is supposed to bring people close together but somehow I felt a bit distanced this year. Perhaps its my self diagnosed cyclothymia. Or just the things left unsaid.

No proper family photo.

No sesi salam2 cium tangan, cium lutut (LOL) mintak ampun. When in fact, I was very enthusiastic in Ramadhan to clean my house and get it sorted for Eid early on. Despite that, I pulled through the festivities. Get those eyebrows don, eyeliner on point, plaster on a fake smile and here we go. Seeking pleasure in the little acts of kindness and sedekah. InsyaAllah.

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I like giving away duit raya to the kids. It  is not a hefty sum but it’s enough. It is a form of sedekah. We started our morning with light breakfast at my MILs house followed by the Eid prayers. Then, we went to visit my husbands relatives before driving off to my parents house 2 hours away.

I have never actually visited the graves of my grandparents. My parents never brought me. My parents never did the same. They also hardly spoke of them – kinda reminds me of the Pixar movie, COco. Did something happen before that I do not know off? To be honest, the only living grandparent I get to meet for a while was my maternal granddad. I only remember him loving to watch that late night show of WWE wrestling. I have very little memories of him. Hence, when people say he was funny or smart – I am unable to relate.

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Kuih lapis is almost a must in any Sarawakians home for Hari Raya. Only difference being when you’re a Sarawakian living outside the state, your choice of kuih lapis is a bit less extravagant. We choose those simple straight line design but in Kuching (my hometown), you have all sorts of kuih design laid out on the table.

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My sister being the 3rd greatest cook in our family invited us over to her house on the 2nd day of Raya. Her menu spread was a fusion of Tganu-Srwk dishes which are Nasi Minyak + Laksa Sarawak. I think we spent about 5 hours at her place eating and eating with solat and movie watching in between. My dad even had an hour nap at her house. We watched The Pool ( A thailand thriller) and what was supposed to be a movie of suspense turned into a comedy once my brothers laced it with their humorous commentaries. Gosh. It was the same when we watched Misteri Delaila. Zul Ariffin became comical when I watched it with my brothers as they laughed at every emotional outbursts this muscular actor’s dialogues.

I had thought that Raya was over after spending 2 nights at my parents place but Mr Husband decided to end the trip with a short excursion to Bayou Lagoon Resort in Melaka. Till the next blog entry yah!

EID 2016 : behind the meaning of ‘charity begins at home’

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME 

I find this phrase constantly misinterpreted or misused by people to alleviate their guilt against being too generous. For instance, when we help Syrian refugees or the homeless in Kuala Lumpur – we are met with ‘haters’ arguing why go so far to help Syria if you could help Mak Ton at the kampung 5KM away. Well.. if you happen to stay near Mak Ton , then go ahead, no one is stopping you from taking action as opposed to just being ‘kesian’. There is no need to categorise Charity and make people choose.

Every NGI or samaritan has different goals and purposes – at least they are helping to make a difference to that one life they come across. The above phrase should not be made to support ‘kera di hutan disusukan, anak sendiri mati kelaparan ‘. It just shouldn’t. The latter proverb was meant to demonstrate a person being selfish or unable to prioritise. That is not charity.

This year I made my annual holiday visit back to my hometown Kuching, Sarawak. We stayed at LimeTree Hotel (a special entry on that later)

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As usual, it was a visit very joyful and boisterous since I brought my mother along. I wanted her to be happy and being able to see her siblings and other relatives there. We practically drove her everywhere and everyone she wanted to meet. Naturally, we met a lot of people from all walks of life – some well to do, the rest not so much. Some have happy families, a few are broken to pieces.

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Each house visit or ‘berjarah’ as we call it – was a life lesson to learn and digest for my family and I.

Lesson on Patience

This was perhaps the numero uno lesson we learnt multiple times. We had to endure long hours of elderly folks tale which were reminisced as far back to the 1940s. We had a hard time differentiating facts from fiction as we were unsure whether the storyteller had dementia to begin with. Not only that, the ‘laughing session’ too was difficult to go through as the same jokes were repeated from one house to another especially when we were visiting the same string of siblings house. But we understood that this was one of the few forms of elderly entertainment one gets when technology and apps like FaceBook or Twitter is so alien to them. The stories weren’t a bore, in fact rather entertaining – just on loop mode.

And of course we had to be patient when people started asking us about a second child or specializing. Not that we haven’t been warned by social media but this is something youngsters nowadays must be prepared to put up with. Older generations have no malicious intent when they ask these things – its just part of the conversation. There is no need to retaliate by asking them back, ‘you’re getting old – when are you dying?'” as suggested by some social media accounts. Kau ni biadap ke apa? Tkde rasa kasih pada orang lebih berumur?

Once we grasp the idea of being patient – we knew better to hold our tongue and construct our sentences in a polite tone. It does not hurt to be gracious. Even my young son Ee is learning to withhold his innocent urges. One night, during a house visit, he was so sleepy and wanted to go home but knowing that his grandmother was still in the middle of an amusing conversation with the other guests – he did not threw a fit and forced everyone to go home instantaneously. He did not say ‘dah.. jom jom’ out loud. Instead, he whispered to Mr Husband that he was tired and such. Mr Husband acknowledged his problem and muttered a response that he’ll need to be patient and we will leave once Grandmother’s done. My son waited quietly at the chair and we allowed him to exercise his patience too for a while (like another 10 mins) before finally signalling to my mother that we really need to go home.

Lesson on ‘listening more’

Sometimes we forget that those elderly relatives we are visiting were once young people just like we are. If they were previously English speaking executives – you would most likely still hear them conversing in English. apa ingat dah tua.. cakap Melayu jak?

Thus it is interesting to see how with age their perceptions on life becomes more relaxed and less materialistic. Yes, importance of continuous education be it in a formal institution or on the streets are emphasized even more. So are values of being a woman when it comes to raising a family. But now apart from talking about their glory days they too impart crucial advice about living life itself. To explore. To travel. To have proper human interactions – we had to praise ourselves for not checking on our handphones frequently as we immerse ourselves in their stories and such.

Lessons on Charity

Charity does not always have to come in the form of alms or money. It should instead be cultivated as a state of mind. The act of being kind and benevolent to each other. And this is something we can teach ourselves and our children.

Empathy is Charity. If we could put ourselves in a less fortunate persons shoes we soon learn that we tend to have more than them. And that we could help them improve their lives in one way or another. These help can be in the form of advice, motivation, yepp.. monetary aid or at times as simple as lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Diligence is Charity. When you care about your job, perform your duties well and dare to take on bigger responsibilities  – that is also a form of charity. Especially when others could benefit from it. Imagine a diligent book keeper in a small town takes great pride in his choices of book collections and magazine choices – he is not only doing something that he loves but also sharing that with his town members as he leads them to discover useful interesting literature around them.

Or take a shopkeeper in a small town who prouds himself selling fresh fish and vegetable to the customers daily. He not only will gain financial profit for his business but unconsciously will set a trend of healthy eating among the people in his town. It may seem like something of no choice at first, but later people will thank him for helping them keep on a good heart and low cholesterol levels (medically speaking)

Righteousness is Charity. Which is something really hard to get by these days – adab and akhlak. A moral compass. Us younger generations are trapping ourselves into the web of championing human rights and all sort of #fightfor manifestos that we sometimes end up breaking the hearts of our parents or teachers who taught us morals not through self help  or parenting books but from examples and hand down family values.

Righteousness may not have a theory or hypothesis behind it – sometimes its just an act of doing something with well meaning intentions which makes you feel ‘right’ about it. And accepted by the major public.

And these are things you can learn and teach at home -starting from the young to the eldest member of the family. The next time you think about the phrase

CHARITY STARTS AT HOME

treat it as something along the lines of

MELENTUR BULUH BIAR DARI REBUNGNYA

Eid Mubarak 2016 : Bringing Sarawak to Malacca

“Selamat Hari Raya”
There’s a lot of greetings like above going on for the past few days as Ramadhan comes to an end. I will miss the time when we learn to solidify the traits of self-control and self-discipline. A time when we re-learn what and who to prioritize over wordly matters.

I enjoyed this years Ramadhan very much. I felt that the opportunities to do good were abundant – it was only a matter of whether I opt to grab these rewards or otherwise. There were times I got too tried after a shift – that I missed Sahr. Thank God that was only one time. Most times I find that I could actually wake up early to sort out the household and perform Tahajud prayers if I want to. Insya-Allah.. now I only have to make it a routine.

I also love Eid this year as my parents are coming over to my place for the celebration. In fact, my whole family will be staying here for a few days to join in the fun of beraya in Malacca.
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My little family is in red this year. Mr Husband bought our outfits during Raya Eve. Yay.. Free baju. He he..

After the routine Solat Raya and salam2 cium lutut – the whole family followed my husbands family to go house-hopping at the relatives and basically Eat. My father was concerned that it would be odd to have strangers (referring to themselves) barging in to another persons house but really – they are not total strangers at all. They have met before – when Mr Husband asked for my hand in marriage bringing his rombongan from Malacca to our house for the merisik ceremony. In a way – they would know each other. Then he was more relaxed. And he had the most fun – it was evident judging from the amount of food he ate.

We enjoyed rendang, kuah kacang, sate. Mother made her special Sarawakian Raya dish – Daging Masak Hitam. A sweet beef dish adorned with raisins. It was so good.. I did not want to share with guests. He he..

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The 1st day of Eid passed by really fast. Our energy levels were draining by the end of the day despite eating and drinking at every house we went to. Ironic right?

Did you guys do anything special for Eid?

Raya 2014 : Travelling under WPUA with Air Asia

Selamat Hari Raya everybody. Camne Raya kitak tek? 

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As a civil servant from Sarawak working in Semenanjung entitles me to a special ‘treat’ from the government. That is a once a year FREE FLIGHT back to my hometown whenever I choose to use it. And these free expenses cover Mr Husband and my son till the age of 18 years.

WPUA

Air Asia’s smart top people have introduced the Waran Perjalanan Udara Awam (WPUA) flying programme to kind of bring them closer to public agencies and truth be told, I felt like a First Class passenger on board the flight under this WPUA.

In short, we get pre-selected Hot Seats, Hot Meals with a snakc box and most importantly FREE 40kg worth of baggage space each! That’s enough to bring back lots of kuih lapis for a home business. Hehe.

My brother who was using his warant as well under MAS even envied our food selection and ‘special seats’. He got an economy class seat of which he said was far more cramped than the Hot Seat in Air Asia aircraft. Now that he’s mentioned it, I am choosing Air Asia again next year.

PUTRAJAYA CENTRAL – EXPRESS RAIL LINK (ERL) – KLIA2

We traveled from Malacca using our own car and parked at Putrajaya Sentral. The facility charged us MYR4/overnight parking which was a cheaper alternative to park at KLIA2 itself. Then we took the ERL for a mere, very comfortable 20 mins journey to KLIA.

The transit train was well on time and we noticed other young families doing the same.

Adult fees were MYR6.90 per way.

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KLIA2

As most people have commented elsewhere, it does involve a lot of walking. A bit of a challenge for the elderly or small children but if you know where to ask for help, I’m sure the relevant authorities at KLIA2 could help make your journey smoother and more convenient.

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KLIA2 was an airport connected to a shopping mall –  which makes any woman scream for a bit of  ‘light window shopping’   prior to boarding.

We checked in at the counter as the computer system was down and had plenty of time to just rest before getting on our flight. Hazeeq enjoyed his Upin Ipin movies and snacks while waiting.

Already we were hearing familiar Sarawakian accents at the airport by staff to passengers during boarding.

“Mintak boarding pass kitak kak”

“Kitak tiga nait sama kah?’

“Kitak nait dolok.. embak miak”

Hello Sarawak. Let the fun begin!