Today is Monday. Not just any Monday but a Monday after Raya Holidays—I think the worst day of the year. The office is eerily quiet giving signs of mourning souls being dragged out of the on-going Raya festival. But like it or not it’s time to get back to work— to the ever-piling up paper work, trainings, class preparations and of course meetings. So we know life is not all the time a sandy beach—it’s just a bitch!.
|Abang Azli at Kg Puteh, KB now a headmaster of SMK Cini, Pekan, Pahang|
The travelling was fun. On the way back I enjoyed the serene darkness of Bentong forest at 3 am while driving at 0km/h on the steep Karak Highway. So it’s the fact that most of us were nocturnal drivers. And where is the fun of ‘balik kampung’ if there were no bumper-to-bumper highway traffic. But you know I realised one thing about us, Malaysians (Malays in particular), that we have all learned how to queue up. I think the message has reached everyone and now everyone has tried to behave and wait for the turn. It’s obvious when we made our stop at R and R. We saw many queues; at the surau people queue up for wuduk, outside people lined up some more for the wuduk as Fajr time was passing fast, at the toilets we queue some more. No one seems to jump the queues although everybody has to go. They all seemed calm and inched their way forward. I have never been so proud to be among these people who’s held their integrity and civilised behaviour so dearly. We even queued up at the petrol station which took us almost an hour to reach the pump; but everyone just stayed in the queue and moved slowly. Then one stupid lady tried to cut into the queue and some one let her in—see how sopan these people were. I smiled as I saw that lady’s car bearing a red diplomatic plate; aahhh of course she’s a foreigner, I guess they don’t practice this in her country.
|Masjid Kayu Besut, Terengganu|
|Ahmad at the anjung Masjid Kayu, Besut|
Abah, are we there yet? I heard my son asking from the back. The journey was terribly long and I took the longer route through the east coast. So everyone was complaining. I used to work and live in Dungun Terengganu for almost 15 years and this route had been our weekend route for so many weekends that we commuted between Kota Bharu and Dungun. I wanted to see the trees and the muddy trails again, the abandoned fruit stalls by the road side, the many mosques that we used to make a pit stop, and the kampung folks that stared at us for god-knows-why. Maybe those folks reminded me of my growing up years in the kampung. Back then everything would be happening at the “tembok” refering to the main road that went through our kampung. It would be livelier during the Raya season when the city folks came back and drove around in their fancy cars and glittering clothes. We just stood there by the road side and watched them like they were some creatures from the outer space that had invaded our sleepy kampung. Not much has changed over the years, I think; I could feel, see and experience the same things from those days. They have replaced some of the old mosques ; the move that cost someone an MB position. Well you don’t bulldoze an old mosque you know, that’s a terrible thing to do. An old place of worship carries a lot of history, traditions and barokah. It sholud be preserved at all cost; but for this stupid man it’s just a pile of dead woods. Hope he learned the lesson well. The new mosques are all big, outstanding and lavish. Some were deserted with a handful of local people came to join us for noon prayers. You could even feel the emptiness of the space with dusty windows and lizard wastes all over the place. I drove through and made some stops at the regular stalls that we used to buy kueh and stuff. A young lad was manning the stall; I guess it’s time for the kids to handle the business now. The kueh tasted sweetly the same and heavens know that it has been the taste that I missed for a long time.
|Beautiful anjung of Majid Kayu Besut|
|the traditional high wall and ceiling|
This time around the raya mood wasn’t much of a jovial but a “numb” of some sort. When you go to a dentist, the doctor would jab you with something before taking your tooth out and you will feel numb through out. You don’t feel pain no more no matter how the dentist hack your tooth out; you just feel nothing. This Raya I felt the same numbness. I did not feel a need for a new baju or songkok or new pair of shoes—no rush for the shopping rituals. I braved the traffic without thinking the long journey home because I did not want to miss my Ramadhan prayers. I did not feel bad for not visiting some relatives ; there was no need to rush here and there. All these years that we have been making a point to visit them—none has returned the favor and visit us back. So that’s it no more. I planned to skip the whole balik kampung thing but you know things just would not be the same. Being among the kampung folks reminds you of how life could be so simple. They seem to have nothing but happy nonetheless. How much do you think a makcik selling a few heaps of chillies and some bananas will make? More than your small change, I reckon. But she sat there as if making a career out if it….well actually it’s her life. When PM made a statement, people see political. We feel ashamed for people calling us poor because we did not do anything about it not because we think it’s untrue. I went back to feel and experience the so-called “ poor people of Kelantan”. I didn’t feel ashamed at all but proud to be among them because they are a bunch of happy folks that realize life isn’t defined by the rich politicians from KL but by themselves. Awesome, isn’t it?
|Attending a wedding in Dungun , Terengganu|
My Raya was sadly ushered by two deaths; one of my brother’s MIL and another of a close friend. In the midst of a celebration, death is still ultimately sad . I felt numb like a burning fire being splashed by a bucket of water; all’s left is the smoking ashes. Nothing else to cheer about.
So life goes on. Shah Alam is still quiet as students are still on their semester break. But come next week there will be a different story.
Enjoy your Raya mood folks!