Monday, September 22, 2008

THE SIGHT, SOUND AND SMELL OF RAMADHAN

It's already the final week of Ramadhan and I think the atmosphere is not as cheerful as that of the previous years. The only indication that Syawal is approaching is the Pasar Ramadhan during the day and the prayers at the mosque. I have been getting a little bit nostalgic lately, recalling how we used to celebrate Ramadhan and prepare for Syawal. Those were definitely the days. Nowadays, a different scenario has taken over and most of the time, we no longer hold on to certain traditions. Working mothers no longer hurry home to prepare dishes for the family. Now, everything can easily be bought and I have to say that the choices can be quite confusing. Daughters no longer labour in the kitchen preparing cookies and other traditional delicacies. Sons no longer help to give the house a new coat of paint or even clean it. We no longer send Hari Raya cards to our relatives and friends. They have been replaced by text and multimedia messages. In fact, only a few houses in my area have been putting up the lights to welcome Syawal. It is sad but true. We have definitely become a modern society. A modern society which thinks time is so precious that we don't have time for time-consuming activities such as choosing appropriate greeting cards for different people, slaving away in the kitchen preparing food and dishes for our beloved families or even exchanging kuehs with our neighbours. A modern society whose joy comes from shopping for new clothes and enjoying Ramadhan buffets. A society so robotic, automatic and plastic. Ramadhan and Syawal, sad to say, have become so commercialised nowadays. Everything is about reaping profits from the spirit of Ramadhan and Syawal. But this has not dampened my spirit. I will try to do my part to ensure that certain traditions live on. I guess this is the only way I can still hold on to the happy memories of yesteryears.

Monday, September 1, 2008

RAMADHAN AL-MUBARAK

Today is the first day of Ramadhan and I am taking this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Ramadhan. This year is going to be the fifth year I'm spending the fasting month with my mum and the fourth year without my dad. He passed away in 2005, a year after I got my transfer back to my hometown. The heavens shed their tears last night which makes the weather cool and nice today and I see it as a blessing from Allah. Today is also a public holiday and it means that a lot of people will be able to enjoy the breaking of fast with their family members. I'm not sure what I'll be preparing today. Something simple and wholesome maybe. I'm hoping I won't be seduced by the aroma of the food and kuehs sold at the Pasar Ramadhan. Every year, we tend to spend unnecessarily on things that we don't really need during the fasting month. I also received quite a number of text messages from friends and colleagues last night and I apologise if I did not reply some of them. So to those who did not receive any reply from me, I'm wishing all of you a Happy Ramadhan.

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