Ramadan Diaries: A Bride’s First Ramadan in Singapore
For new bride Puti Ayu Setiani, not only is this her first Ramadan in Singapore, it is also her first as a wife. Although Puti & her husband, Delta Purna Widyangga, had been married for 6 months, they only started living together 3 weeks ago as Puti was still completing her studies in Indonesia while Delta was already working in Singapore after graduating from Nanyang Technological University.
Delta says, “We are really glad that the time we begin to live as a husband and wife coincide with this blessed month. It is challenging yet we are very happy. We cannot ask for a better timing for the start of our journey of “mendewasa bersama” (grow & mature together).”
Delta says that things are still slightly awkward between them as they had never dated. “At times, we find ourselves telling each other stories about our childhood because there’s so much left to know! We’re still introducing and explaining the different family members we have too.”
Despite the awkwardness, both agree that this Ramadan is better with each other’s presence where worship is concerned. Puti said with a laugh, “If I’m spending too much time on Facebook, suddenly my husband will pass me the Qur’an or Al-Matsurat (a compendium of prayers & supplications) for me to read.”
Delta responded, “Or a lot of times Puti will remind me that today my Qur’an memorization has not advanced, or I still have a few pages left for the day’s tadabbur (recitation) target. A lot of nasihah (advice) to each other, and a lot of sharing of hikmah (words of wisdom) for the day is very nice too.”
While Delta is used to having Ramadan in Singapore having lived here through his studies in NTU, Puti is feeling slightly homesick. When asked how Ramadan has been for her here, Puti whines, “Very challenging! It’s because of the different culture between Indonesia and Singapore. Most Indonesians are Muslim, but not in Singapore where Muslims are a minority. In Indonesia, Ramadhan’s atmosphere is very exquisite. We can really feel that it is already Ramadhan. For example, before sahur (pre-dawn meal) there will be people who go around the village with the ‘bedug’ (bedok: a type of slit drum made from a large hollowed log) to wake you up almost everyday. But in Singapore, Ramadan is rather quiet.”
[quote]”Even for iftar (breaking fast), the atmosphere when we were waiting for maghrib was very warm in Indonesia. It’s call ngabuburit. It means to do something as walking together with your family, or chat with neighbors, or buying food for iftar. And of course I also miss the azan (call to prayer) that is usually echoed from one mosque to another in the village (sahut menyahut).”[/quote]
“Oh ya, in Indonesia usually there are places like a bazaar for food to iftar in a lot of places. And I really miss that.”
Looking at my surprised expression – Has she not heard of the notorious but beloved Geylang Serai Bazaar? – Delta explained, “Puti knows about Geylang Serai, but in Indonesia smaller scale of bazaar Geylang can be found in most residential area.”[pullquote_left]”If I’m spending too much time on Facebook, suddenly my husband will pass me the Qur’an or Al-Matsurat (a compendium of prayers & supplications) for me to read.”[/pullquote_left]
Puti’s sense of homesickness, or at least her yearning for a similar Ramadan experience in Indonesia shone through once more as she tells us that the thing she misses most about Ramadan in Indonesia is the sound of bedug (bedok) that wakes people up for sahur as well as the echoing of the Azan. “In each residential area in Indonesia, there is a minimum of one masjid, usually 2 or 3 so you can really hear the bedug and azan for Fajr and Maghrib.”
As we parted, I advised Delta to bring Puti to either Haji Md Salleh Mosque at Palmer Road or Petempatan Mosque at Sembawang to let her hear the sound of the bedok as these are the only 2 places I knew of in Singapore that still uses it to call for prayer.