14 Dec

An envoy of about 15 people left Uncle Sabri' s house in a state of excitement and headed north. Our destination was a Malay village located south of Ipoh. After all the hustle and bustle of loading the 3 cars, we departed at 9.00pm. Baaaalik Kampuuung!.... wooooo..... Baaaalik Kampuuung!

15 Dec

After only 4 hours of sleep we woke up to the sound of cockerels with sunlight glistening through the curtains. Only then did I get to survey my surroundings. The bungalow was made out of bricks, one of the few houses that was not made from wood. Behind it were ponds filled with fish and beyond that were fruit trees. The house had no fence. Anyone could just walk right up to the front door. There was no traffic jam and we, young people needn' t worry about being kidnapped. No wonder so many retirees prefer to spend the rest of their lives away from the city. I looked forward to celebrating raya in such a tranquil environment.

The first thing we did was head to Kampar. It was in this busy town did we buy meat and vegetables for raya' s feast. Back home, we got a taste of cooking the "kampung" way. All the cooking was done outside the house. The vegetables and "lemang" were prepared on a mat on the floor, the "rendang" was stirred in a huge wok above a fire fuelled by chunks of wood and the other gravies and curries were cooked on two stoves. But soon, our energy level dwindled and we retreated into the house for a much-needed siesta.

The fruit orchard was the next to be explored. There, we plucked and tasted some of the juiciest, sweetest fruits ranging from mangosteens, durians and langsat to rambutans. It wasn' t easy and after that adventure, we all needed baths, pronto!

After breaking fast for the very last time in the month of Ramadan and eating all the lovely Malay delicacies, we youngsters couldn' t wait to start playing with firecrackers. I, for one, enjoyed it immensely as I seldom play at home because the houses are too close to each other and the threat of being caught by the authorities loom large.

16 Dec

Selamat Hari Raya! This day was full of joy and new experiences as we went visiting friends and relatives. But before that, everyone from the adults to the kids took turns to "salam" with each other and also ask for forgiveness for any misdeed or any rude word said during the past year. I sincerely hope that this practice will not vanish as it brings the family closer. It is indeed refreshing to see even the adults asking for forgiveness from each other. We visited many houses, even a few in Ipoh. At each house there was sure to be a wide array of food on the table. Really, what is Raya without it' s delicious food! Everywhere we went, we " salam" with everyone. This "salam" gesture of holding the other person' s hand and bowing our heads breaks all barriers and instantly bonds the two persons. Touch can really work wonders.

When we arrived back home, the older boys were still not satisfied with just one night of firecrackers, so while they were outside causing havoc, we girls were inside chatting and giggling. It was only at 2am the next morning did we finally stumble into bed.

17 Dec

Sadly, after 3 days of fun with my fellow YA' s, it was time to leave. It was plain to see that each and every one of us had a ball of a time. We were so tired out that we immediately dozed of to sleep in the van!