Monday, 15 October 2007

Day of Celebration, Let's Eat

Saturday was the public holiday marking the end of Ramadan, called locally Hari Raya. I know what you're thinking: do I get a workday off in lieu? Yes, to be taken anytime in the next month but if I was Muslim, I'd have got Friday afternoon off as well. The Lord giveth and he taketh away.

Hari Raya (it's Malay for "Day of Celebration") is super simple. You go home and have a family party. I knew this was coming actually as I was in the baking ingredients shop at Sembawang station a couple of weeks ago (buying bread flour) and the place was packed with Malays buying cake mixture, blocks of lard and arguing the finer points of single versus double chocolate chips.

Sunday was visiting day with everyone in their best clothing. Mothers desperately trying keep the hats on boisterous boys and young ladies checking the line of their new outfits. I met one such visiting party waiting to make their way up to the 12th floor. As I descended, I could hear the clamour getting louder and the lift doors opened to a wall of bright silk & batik. I slightly wish I hadn't been holding an empty wine bottle at the time as the Westerners' reputation for alcoholic obsession needs no reinforcement by me. Recycling can be a socially thankless task.