20 September 2009 Hari Raya
1. The first to shower at 7, and then woke up my four boys, laying in their blankets, with faces tilted, slanted, mouths open, snoring, in the living room. Last year only Jejen made it to the mosque for the prayers. This year I want to make sure everybody attends.
2. We all walked to the mosque; rightly so. No parking anywhere. Five huge tents set up, to accommodate the ever increasing number of people. Having arrived early, I found a place in the mosque proper. Spotted a few Indonesians and two Caucasian-looking men in Pakistani attire, an intrusion into this once sleepy hollow. How times have changed.
3. Imam Maulud, as he is wont to do every year, instructed the congregation of the manner in which the solat sunat aidilfitri was to be performed. During the first rakaat, however, he failed to perform the takbir. People in the front row reminded him, until her realized his mistake. After the prayers and the tahlil, a few gathered to have slight snacks around the committee members who were wrapping up their counting of the days’ collection, the Imam sneered at himself, “Eden yang nyuruh orang buek boto, eden yang salah,”a rare touch of irony.
4. Family tradition: we all took family pictures. One family at a time, sitting in the couch. All the new dresses worn for this auspicious occasion have this new purpose: photo-op, which is delightful. We competed for the smartest pose.
5. Had a doa tahlil in the house, led by Normi, who now donned a white Cossack, a daily attire. First house to visit, Wan Cik; then Ma Lang’s.
6. Stream of visitors, exhausting. Too hot to follow my family to the graveyard; hidden reason, hate to leave my laptop and other valuables in this room. People have quick hands, when tempted, so.
7. Kak Teh and family came but I was fast asleep, from 4 to 6.
8. But throughout the day, whenever I could, I retreated into my room to translate: finished Borges’ “Mati Yang Satu Lagi”, started on Hatta Khan’s play “Kampung Baru Musical,” and coming close to finish editing my Warmth. Typed a bundle of Jamal’s poems, a strange mixture of religious exhortations, sufi impulses, unbeliever’s beliefs.
9. All text messages of well wishes, often as long as three pages, filled with poems, homilies, and Quranic quotations, received a standard reply from Zakaria Ali: Selamat HR. Maaf Z & B.
10. Ali, Jamal, Firoz are down there in the shed, gambling, joined by other village gamblers. Raya money is changing hands.
21 September 2009 – Monday, 2nd Hari Raya
1. My day to visit my brothers and sisters.
2. First, visited my father’s grave. Then to Bang Ngah’s house, but the gate and the doors locked. He and his clan had left early, to make their rounds of visits.
3. To Sungai Layang, Bang Sahak’s house. While there, Dol KP arrived with his family.
4. We caravanned to Hamdan’s, which I had never been before, in Kendong, Malacca side. The elegant bungalows there are built on one acre piece of land each, with a clear view of Gunung Datuk. But Hamdan was out, visiting. We headed for Port Dickson, to Kak Teh, who is not feeling well; extremely tired, frail.
5. In Seremban, visited my mother’s grave, where I read the Yassin, a miniature copy of which I remembered I kept in my wallet. I wished I did the same at my father’s, earlier; I forgot.
6. At Kak Lang’s I spotted two things. One, my sister’s recall is fast deteriorating. Two, her stepson, from her husband’s Aziz’s second wife, made a rude, illegal, cut on the way to the house. I gave him a contemptuous side glance. He parked his car in front of my sister’s house, entered the house. We were never introduced, or told, who this person was; he is probably no older than Zikri. He walked in out of the living room; everybody ignored him. There is already signs of that gangsterism in this kid, borne of being sidelined, the son of a mother who is never part of the family, outside the pale of recognition. Very early he is already damaged.
7. Then to Loma-Hisham’s, with Dol leading the way, in this complicated Paroi’s suburbs.
8. We arrived back at Kg. Rendah, just in time for the bar-b-q to get started, with Jamal and Ali, doing the fire and setting up the karaoke. Hot-dogs, chicken, and lamb chops, French fries. The party went on until 3 am, everybody except me, trying their talents at the mike. Jamal and Pajidin have good voices, able to pitch, and drawl. Pajidon’s daughter, too, is talented. The heavy rain did nothing to dam the spirit of the party. By one am I was ready to retire, which I did. Jojoi followed me.
9. Note: at breakfast this morning I prodded Padir to do something about those die-hard gamblers, still at it, from 10 last night, and now 10 in the morning. Padir told them straight: “Ini Hari Raya. Judi, berdosa. Dah, berambus!” They packed their cards, and pocketed their cash, and split, shamed.