The Ultimate Raya Rant – What Makes My Raya Rumble
Celebrating Hari Raya in the city definitely is my favourite part of the year! It’s a time of flashing technicolour lights, searing hot sambal goreng and little green bombs exploding with dollar notes. Now, I don’t want to be anyone’s downer but it’s not always rainbows and sunshine when it comes to visiting family and friends in the month of Syawal.
As much as we’ve shared first class experiences with Raya visiting, we’ve all also encountered some bumpy rides along the way. Let’s talk about some of these bumps today – these inexplicable minefields that rear their ugly explosive heads when we’re visiting and being visited. This is something of a potluck we’re having right now, you and me, so please feel free to contribute down below in the comments. I really want to know what makes your Raya rumble too!
Ring Ring – Selamat Hari Raya!
Don’t you just love it when people call to say that they’re coming at 8pm and then arrive at 1am?
It gives me so much time to roll out my red carpet and start decapitating my roses one by one so that I can shower you with petals when you arrive! By 11pm, I’m wondering if I should take out my kompang and practice some welcome songs to provide festive background music for your special appearance. By midnight, my head is filling up with so many questions.
Were you travelling by sampan to get here? Next year, can you please produce a movie trailer in advance so we can all huddle together and watch it over and over again in excitement while we wait for the gold class 3D experience that is your visit? Finally, please excuse my cookies if they happen to jump right out of their containers and into your mouth – they’re been waiting for this wonderful moment since 8pm.
Solution: Just say no!
I’d suggest slipping GPS trackers into their drinks so that you can record their Raya migratory movements next year. But if that’s too unpractical for you, perhaps you can fashion a huge CLOSED sign with flashing neon lights to hang over your front door after 11pm every evening. You can also simply inform them politely that your bedtime is 11pm and that you’d greatly appreciate it if they can arrive before the witching hour next time.
I’m sure that if people are nice and kind enough to visit you, they’ll be nice and kind enough to accommodate your opening hours as well.
Children = Chaos
We’ve all heard that there’s no limit to how much we can love our kids, but there are clear limits to how much we can love other people’s kids. Many people try to child-proof their apartments for the Hari Raya visiting period and I think this is most wise. It’s becoming very common to see kids running full marathons around dining tables at open houses these days.
You almost feel a civic obligation to get into the spirit and spray Gatorade all over the little athletes – hydration is so important after all. “Oh, I thought he looked thirsty,” you can explain to the parents, “Custom-made, non-washable silk? I had no idea! Maybe next year you can think about getting a dri-fit baju kurung or even better, a mobile titanium cage?”
Solution: Child-proofing your apartment
I’ve noticed that when it comes to child-proofing their homes for Raya, women are mostly worried about crystal containers and crystal ornaments sitting on their dining tables. I can’t help wondering why women tend to be so obsessed with crystal containers. My mom is one such woman and I still can’t understand this fixation on crystal at all.
I sometimes imagine her sitting alone at home arranging cookies in transparent crystal containers and laughing sinisterly while whispering to her unwitting captives, “Soon you’ll all be gobbled up, but for now I’m sentencing you to my crystal prison complex where you will experience zero privacy for the rest of your lives.”
I attended a friend’s open house once where her crystal-ware crisis was highly evident. She was very excited about hosting her first Hari Raya in her new home with her new crystal-ware, new curtains and a pre-loved husband (like-new, no scratches – see to believe!) but I noticed how agitated she became every time a toddler tried to parade around wearing her crystal-ware lid as a songkok or hugging one of her crystal vases as his unwilling dance partner.
“I don’t know what I should remove from the table when kids come over. Everything?” she lamented. I told her to imagine hanging a spiked lasso from each blade of her ceiling fan and switching it on – whatever can survive that violent ordeal can stay. “Or you can imagine a tiny James Bond running across your dining table,” I suggested, trying my best to be helpful. Unfortunately, I had my work cut out for me because her response was, “Why can’t James Bond learn to respect the crystals of others?”
Behind closed doors
Once very long ago, I was looking for the toilet at a relative’s house when I accidentally wandered into a room that almost made my F&N spontaneously eject my system. It wasn’t just the fact that someone had actively beheaded thousands of magazine pictures of various music artistes and movie stars and decorated the room in such a way that brings to mind the interior decorating styles of cannibalistic headhunters. It wasn’t just that there was a cat on a laptop staring at me as if it was challenging me to an Anak Metropolitan showdown at the carpark downstairs. It was the girl sitting on the bed who completely terrified me out of my wits.
There she sat in silence, staring back at me, painting her nails. She was in what seemed to be a low-cut telekong and amusement park hair featuring rollercoaster attractions. I later realized that she simply had rollers in her hair and she was wearing a white night gown. But for those few seconds of my life, all 3 Suzanna movies from my childhood flashed before my eyes at shocking speed and incredible high definition.
Solution: Keep your private areas private
What could have prevented this whole drama that managed to embarrass both of us and knock so much breath out of me that I almost choked out my two lungs? Simple! Kindly close the door to your room when you know that you have guests over and you’re looking like a Pontianak from Marie Antoinette times.
All that glitters is not gold
Whenever I see anyone wearing a baju kurung featuring way too much glitter and sequins, I’d imagine that their morning started with an urgent call from the FBI. “The sun has shut down. WE NEED YOU AS BACK-UP. Please activate Baju Kurung: Protocol Disco Ball now. Your mission, should you accept it, is to walk around and illuminate the entire planet with your shiny baju kurung.”
But in reality, this passion for sparkle usually has less to do with issues of national security or an impending apocalypse and more to do with, well, fashion trends that are sadly beyond my scope of understanding.
Have you ever hosted a guest who wore so much glitter make-up that you found yourself cleaning your house the next morning and discovering parts of her face all over your house? This also happens when your guests wear dresses riddled with glitter and sequins.
Unless your mom was a floating ball of light and you feel obliged to represent your ancestry even though you were born with features descended from your human dad, there’s really no need to have too many sequins on your baju kurung. Personally, when I see someone walking into my house with a dress dripping with sequins and glitter, I secretly wish I had a human-size ziplock bag for her to crawl into and stay until she’s ready to leave.
Sometimes I get it, you just want to make an impact and hope that people will remember you. Shiny, shiny you. And honestly, I think sequins on dresses are really pretty! But 5 months down the road, when I’m sitting on the couch watching television and I feel glitter in my hair and I suddenly remember, “Oh, this was from that girl,” my sentiments are not going to be of the happy sort. I’m not going to call you up and say, “Oh guess what I found a piece of your dress on my couch today, I will cherish it forever.”
Solution: I have absolutely no solution for this.[divider]
Did I miss anything?
I love Raya visiting and it’s a magical time for all of us, so I hope I haven’t come off as some sort of Raya Grinch! I just want to accumulate all the Raya rumbles that I can think of into one post because nobody seems to talk about these things and I feel like it would be a fun topic to discuss. I’d really like to extend this discussion over in the comments; please share your thoughts and stories down below! And last but not least, here’s wishing a Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to all my lovely readers![divider]
Rafiq is the resident funny guy at Muzlimbuzz.sg. A big fan of movies and television, he is a freelance writer who blogs at www.omgsianz.org