Saturday, August 2, 2014

Let's not have open house for Raya anymore

I thought it is a well meaning Raya for me this time around.

For one, I did not stay at home only and waited for my relatives to turn up. Instead, we became the "assalamualaikum group", albeit one with a plan, rather than simply gate crashing. But it is to me as close to gate crashing as one gets during Raya.

I believe we should be able to gate crash any house during Raya. That's the tradition. Open house is not a tradition; it was concocted by some catering companies so that one would have to cater to a larger group, and hence had no choice but to hire them.

Pagi Raya in Seremban. The sampin did not match? Yes, I refuse to spend more money of those colourful songket that would probably match our new baju melayu. Yes, we even waited until last minute to purchase the baju melayu since we got discounts, not quite on the eleventh hour, but probably more on the 10th hour.
That's all. purely marketing gimmick by catering vendors! ;)

OK OK, that may not necessarily be the case, I must admit. People in KL would need to plan the visit to each other, rather than going to an empty house due to the person's visiting someone else's. But then again, don't we know of a gadget called cellphone?

I think by just visiting each other during Raya day, we avoid the need to have big feast. No need to prepare for kambing golek, no need for mee goreng, mihun goreng, karipap, laksa and ayam golek. Ketupat and lemang with beef or chicken rendang - our traditional raya dishes - are more than sufficient. 

And these dishes should last at least a couple of days, may be a bit more, so that the homemaker need not have to cook too often on the auspicious month.

I can tell you that doing open house is a tiring affairs. One would cater for a few hundred people over a few hours period. At time, one would be chatting with other (unfamiliar) guests rather than with the host. One would typically say hello when arriving and good bye when leaving, albeit one with an islamic touch.

In between dishes, one would be concentrating eating or chatting with your own family or some strangers, which in very small percentage, one would find common ground enough to become another friend.

Enough of me pot-pet pot-peting you here over Raya tradition. It should be joyful time for all, albeit a subdue one this time around.

The convoy - technically the second home Kg Pijoi, Seremban
Anyway, we did our Raya in Seremban this time around, complete with hosting a group of relatives over at our new home. Visited at least 2 houses in say a five-car convoy at least. And it only ended at around 1230 midnight, mind you. 

It is 14-hour Raya on the very first day, so it is a record of kind.

First house is Hj Ghazali's home in Pijoi, home of my inlaw Hj Roslan Ghazali,

The visitors
Raya is more joyful with the kids around
..and foods of course, with all kind of dishes.
At Pijoi, we had two delicious dishes. Nasi Lemak and Mee Rebus. Yes nasik lemak, mind you, on Ray day. But it was a delicious one. Take that as a compliment from someone who do not eat Nasi Lemak, unless it is the only dish available on the table. And even that I would take it very lightly.

And the anchovy sambal is damn good.

By 1.45 pm, I was getting nervous that we should be heading home to host the afternoon session at a nearly empty home. We had barely furnish it just in time for hosting this Raya event.

The bare house filled up with guests
Dr Aamir and Dr Syakirah with lil' Nafisah. Cheeky and cute baby.
"Too small a table or too much food?" asked my bro in-law and mathematician Dr Ahmad Kamal aka Bgmat. I am not sure how to answer him. Both are true, I guess, though one is more truer than another. (is there such thing? Truer? With more, somemore..hehe.) Which one; I'll let you decide on your own.
My mother in law and sis in law
Serious conversation, while having their meals on the floor! Sorry my brothers for the shortcoming of this raya day. Makan bersila saja atas lantai, ish ish ish ;)
Final shootout - which one do you prefer? E90 or F30? How about colour - black or white? Eh eh ni raya day entry la, not Paul Tan's blog. Berangan lebih. Thousand apologies LOL!
 But my house is not the last house for the day. We have one more do in the evening.

We have satay!
Satay Galore. Err this is just the beginning. I really mean it when I say galore.
Hard at work  - The chef!
There you go. Did I not say galore? The husband and wife team bbq-ing the satay at Hj Roslan's abode. But it looks like he is trying to serve in a ping pong game, I am not sure.Anyway, good satay even though I arrived late at 11 pm as the last guest.
The gracious hosts with their cute grandchildren Nafisah and Adam
I have more pictures but I'd leave it for Akmal to choose and upload on FB. I believe for the purpose of this blog, it should be sufficient.

We ended the first day raya  celebration at 0030 hours. That's a mere 14 hours after we started visiting each other.

We are not done yet as far as Seremban is concerned.

On the fourth day, we visited another to Mak"s sister in Paroi and had a lovely tea with them. Make that lunch at 4 pm. Makcik Norma is a sister to Mak - same father, different mother. I guess in that sense, she is an Adam, as much as Mak. But her mother is not my Nenek Bulan, but Nek Salamah Ismail. Spent nearly 1 1/2 hours with ample of foods including lontong and nasik himpit. The kuah kacang is really good.

I guess Tok Adam had 3 wives. I am not sure I had met her mother.

Just for the record, with Nek Salamah, Tok Adam has four children. Eldest is MC Norma bt Adam. She is 68; she told me so at the table, whereas Mak would have been 75 this year. I guess Tok Adam married Nek Salamh when Mak was about 7 years old. Second would be MC Maznah bt Adam, who married her cousin PC Rosli. He passed away a few months ago. Third is PC Sofian b Adam, and finally we have MC Saripah bt Adam who passed away a few months ago too.

Family photoshoot at the dining table
OK I am done with Seremban. Let's move to KL now and on my side of the side family.

On the second day, we spent our time at KSham's house with her hosting a family gathering with our uncles and auntie from bapak's side. It was a lively Raya, and very joyful for us, I must say and at the end of the day, we visited another home we have not visited for years.
The Hariris in Ampang. This is early at 12 pm I think when the guests have not trickled in yet
By making an on the spot visit during the Raya days, we are able to visit more homes and we need not have to stuff ourselves over a short period of time, after spending the whole month fasting. 
Food, food and more food..
Another Hariri at the dining table, Rahi's despite not feeling as healthy and cheerful as Syawal
We need not be invited to come, Raya days are an open license to go visiting, and I am sure we are not there for the foods. The Raya biscuits are more than adequate thing to munch. Anyway on Raya days, our mouth should be used more for chatting than munching.
The greater Bab family. In this picture included are two of the remaining Bab children - MC Salmiah and PC Shahruzzaman aka PC Yut, and their families with the Hariris.
Complete with the rendition of the 2014 instrumental Raya song by the Hariri pianist
Don't you agree?
Like visiting this Auntie of mine. Since the death of my uncle Pak Long, I had seldom visited his family. I guess I am close to him than anything else, so without him around anymore, I didn't bother. We did meet occasionally at family functions. But that's normally more by chance than by design. But this Raya, I was determined to make it a different Raya.

So my sister and I visited our auntie Mak Long and our cousin Kak Nora. It has been awhile since we were at their house, and mind you, in the mid 90s, we used to live next door to theirs up to 1998. So in essence my kids should know some of their kids reasonably well.

They are after all second cousins.

Again, the Babs family or aka The Hariris and the Zainuddins, this time in Ampang Jaya.
On the fifth Raya or Friday, my  brother and family came avisiting from Sg Petani. We weren't really prepared to have visitors that morning, to be honest, as we had only returned from Seremban at 0230 hours in the same morning.

But biskut kerings are available, of course. I offered to get lemang at the 24-hour BTHO lemang stall that would operate through out the month of Syawal, but was offer was turned down by the guests.

It was about 9 am, with them already having breakfast, I did not attempt to offer heavier dishes other than biskut kering!
So that completes my Raya week. I have a Sunday Open house, I have more relatives to visit in KL, so I am sure Syawal will be a busy month. The fact that I have not started my Puasa 6 yet, which I think is a step backward personally. I need to make up the heavy Raya week with more fasting I think.

And think for the Gazan more. [sigh]

Selamat Hari Raya, everybody.


I did my grave visiting and cleaning a couple of days before Raya days. Not much to clean; Mak's grave is generally well kept. Just a few stray grass here and there.

Moga dihari yang mulia ini, ruh Mak dan bapak sentiasa dirahmati Illahi. Amin.
Pusara bunda 2 days before Raya. All the stones and tiles were cleaned up.

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