Thursday, September 8, 2011

Raya doloe-doelo (The Eighties)

Raya in 1983 - the boys
Raya in the 80s are typically celebrated alone in my lecture hall at Monash.

Don't get me wrong; we would hold Solat Raya most likely at the Sport Centre as the praying room at the Religious centre would be too small to hold all of us at one go, even if we were to borrow the next door room from the Buddhist Society.

Yes, each major religion is accorded their own room with the Chapel at the centre of it, obviously. You are talking about Australia here and not Malaysia, so Islam and other religion had to play second or third fiddle. And after the solat, we would disperse to attend lab/lectures at our respective departments.

No kuih raya, or lemang on the 1st of Syawal. In fact, no one of my friends would even know of the existence of Raya in my department - well, sort of. It is business as usual for me.

But this entry is not about raya at Monash. I am too lazy to scan the old pictures from my album, so I would write an entry with ready-made scanned pictures.

Honestly, I am the last person who should be writing about this as I was not around, but being someone who like to write, I am sure bapak would have written me letters about raya celebration at home.

Alamak, budak-budak assalamualaikum dah datang!
Bukit Kerajaan 1983 - the road leading to our house, and the kids enjoying
themselves. I am reasonably sure they are only posing for this picture ;-)
In the 80s, Kuala Kangsar was our home, and by this time, we lived in the government quarters at Bukit Kerajaan, next to the Kuala Kangsar OCPD's house and the Malay College principal's house. We were in esteemed companies.

There was this one year (1981) that we Perakians celebrated Raya a day earlier than the rest of the country. The then Sultan Perak, Sultan Idris Shah decided to declare Hari Raya a day earlier (Aug 2) than the rest of the country; I believe after the Keeper of the Royal Seal had declared Aug 3, 1981 to be the Raya day for Malaysia.

It was a bewildering time for us. And living in the royal town itself would cause a great dilemma on whether to follow the Sultan, or the rest of the country. To make matter worse for us, Bukit Kerajaan is just a stone's throw away from the palace (which is located in Bukit Chandan).

That year, he (the Sultan) decided to follow the falak calculation, and because "ketupat dan rendang dah masak, alamat basilah kalau esok tak raya." Apparently people had been expecting the next day (Aug 2) to be Raya day - so they decided to start cooking Raya dishes, only to be told by the Keeper otherwise. It seems that the other excuse would be that he (the Sultan) refused to let his subjects fasting on the 1st of Syawal!

But bapak would not have any of these; the rationalization seems illogical to him, so the family - perhaps the only family in this royal town to be fasting, in solidarity with the rest in the nation. Yes, we were visited by many guests, and they were all treated as if it was Raya day, but were politely informed that the family is still fasting.

The boys enjoying themselves during Raya 83
I am not sure where Bapak and the kids had their solat raya - perhaps he performed the takbir and solat at home.

Apparently we were even visited by our cousin's family from Bagan Serai on the very first day. Wak, Mak Ngah, AbgNet and the rest of the family visited Bukit Kerajaan, and I guess they would have been surprised by the non-celebration at the Hariris. However, obviously, they were served raya dishes ( I guess whatever that was available, though I am not sure if it include ketupat, lemang and rendang or not.) Obviously they perhaps would be too embarrassed to eat in front of fasting persons, but bapak would not have anything with it. He would encouraged them to eat and eat and act as if he was celebrating one himself.

At least that what I was told by AbgNet when he read this entry.

These pictures above were taken in 1983, with the kids celebrating Raya day in Bukit Kerajaan in Kuala Kangsar. It was odd to say the least; for I don't think I would like to experience this in the new millennium. It made mockery of a religious festival, although to be honest, thirty years on, we have not really come to any close to settling the argument - one way or another.
The picture is bad, and this turned out to be our second last
Raya in Kuala Kangsar and the second last raya with bapak. There was another
raya in 1984 in KK, before moving back to Taiping.
Bersongket and bersampin and an attempt to
tie teh sampin ala P Ramlee. You should watch how
P Ramlee did it in Madu Tiga - to tie the sampin that
is (and not to marry three wives) LOL
He made it too easy!!
Our first Raya in Taiping and without bapak (bapak died a week
or so before this Raya Haji. I had the privilege then to take
this picture as I had taken an extended leave of absence from
my classes due to bapak's demise. This is Aug or early Sept 1984 ,
or 10 Zulhijjah to be precise.
Could this be Raya day with the patriarch Tok Adam? He is all dressed up.
Can you confirm AbgNet please? He passed away in 1986, so this could be sometime
in the 80s too.

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