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raya abroad is a b***h.

*drooling, drooling, drools* ah yes..kuih tart nenas. a must-have kuih for raya. i daresay, eid mubarak in malaysia would not be the same without this said kuih. the makciks and kuih makers must have raked tons of profits overcharging their customers every year, as muslims (and some non muslims as well) prepare wayy in advance for this celebratory event that takes place in the holy (or maybe not so holy) month of syawal. fyi to those who are not familiar with the term raya, is it the time for muslims back in my home country let their inner glutton loose and stuff their bellies with ridiculous amount of food and whatnots in the false pretense that they have truly deserved to behave this way having fasted for 30 days in the previous month of ramadhan. this is all of course my personal point of view. what amazes me is that even though i am continents away from home, this mentality; this behaviour has not changed nor improved in the slightest bit, at all!

but nonetheless, we all are aware that raya is a cause to bring families together, time to self reflect and to forgive and forget of all past sins&wrong doings that might have been committed and bla..bla..bla..you know all the good stuff and none of the negative affirmations of human values.

so back to my powerful insights, MALAYsians are without a doubt the same no matter where you go. i’ve encountered some people who are simply ridiculously ignorant to the whole idea of being away from home and the need to gather amongst your countrymen of the same religion regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, social status and the different purposes of being abroad on the 1st day of syawal! (nevermind the first week or the whole celebratory month!). okay, so i get that hurricane irene had caused some damage to the general consulate (and the celebratory mood was somewhat bleak and far from the typical enthusiastic feel like back home), therefore there weren’t any open events for malaysian muslims to go to. but to me, and i must quote a friend of mine who is fast becoming one of my favourite persons here in NY, “raya is all about strengthening and maintaining the silaturahim (relationships among muslims), who (wholly)cares about the fancy raya meals?” true, true. it is a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling to be around the people who are from the same country as you are because the comfort is in the closeness shared among ourselves, collectively. to be able to speak in your mother tongue with different dialects, to listen to takbir raya and to exchange salam raya with one another..these are the little gems that should matter! if there is a feast to be shared, then that’s definitely the icing on the cake, honestly! what’s sad is that there are people who ruins the spirit of raya with their petty and shrewd thoughts in their pathetic attempt to safeguard their so called closed community/small group of people. which is stupid and pure nonsense to me, especially if you are in the position and power to do the complete opposite!

my first open house here in states was hosted my a family friend who also works for the malaysian government and was gracious enough to invite both aliaa and i to his house for raya makan-makan. it reminded me of home with kids running around making plenty of noise to the akaks and makciks doing what they do best when being gathered in an event such as this; gossiping chatting away and faking pleasantries while sucking up to their bosses and bosses’ wives. i was too busy enjoying the feast and couldn’t be bothered but when one of the akaks approached me with a lame attempt to start a conversation (more like itching to know why someone like me is at the open house in the first place) and made a fleeting remark saying that she is so sick of the raya food due to the amount of open houses she has been to since the 1st of syawal, i felt the need to stuff my ayam goreng percik drumstick into her mouth! but nah, it is raya afterall, and you know forgive&forget, sins and all..bla..bla.. so instead i said to her, “ooh ye ke? this is my first open house. kitaorang tak tau pulak ada open house kat tempat lain, asyik kata by invitation je, takkan nak hentam belasah crash je kan? nanti buat mulut pulak sindir orang kat belakang, makanan tak cukuplah, apalah..nilah, tulah..” okay, so i didn’t exactly say those last words but yeah, it went down something like that.

i ended up celebrating raya at a friend’s place ala potluck for dinner with a few close friends enjoying burnt rendang tok while watching yasmin ahmad’s mukhsin AND complete with some mouth bashing of this year’s raya experience! it wasn’t awesome, but truly memorable. after all, it was just another day in new york city.

i hope your raya celebration was much more grand filled with happy memories with loved ones. since it is still the month of syawal, i would like to wish all malaysians at home and abroad a ‘selamat hari raya aidilfitri, maaf zahir&batin’.

..and like what my maksu loves to say,” kosong-kosong ye, sampai tahun depan pulak nanti” heh. true that. cheerios x

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