Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Raya '07 : The Rest of the Hari Raya Break Days

Day 2 was suppose to start with a visit to some more relatives of ours in Kelang but I had to opt out of the trip. Woke up the second day feeling terribly bloated from all the food that I had the day before. One unfortunate side effect that I’ve seemed to have developed from dieting in the past year is that I keep feeling nauseous if I had too much to eat. I usually would take a cup of tea to keep that feeling in check but it didn’t really work for me that day. Given my predilection of getting motion sickness especially when I feel nauseous, I decided to forgo the drive out to Kelang and decided to stay home to recover.

I stayed in continuing my game of “Neverwinter Nights 2” that I’ve already spent nearly a few month’s worth of weekends on. The game storyline was still quite addictive even after all the time I’ve already spent on it. I was also expecting to have to entertain the neighborhood children who would usually turn up at your front door mainly to ask for their share of duit raya. Strangely enough, I hardly saw any come by this year. In fact, I did not see any children going out to visit the houses unattended like they normally do in previous years. I’m guessing that the recent tragedy of Nurin Jazlin was still fresh in everybody’s mind and would not dare let their children go out unattended like they would normally do.

In a way I was relieved that they did not turn up as I’ve never one to be patient with the greedy money grabbing children whose only reason to come was to get a duit raya packet from you. It’s bad enough that some don’t even sit long enough to eat something but to blatantly ask that you just give them money at the door when you open it was downright rude. But then again, the lost of childhood innocence due to the tragedy would definitely be regrettable. It’s terrible that children cannot feel safe in their own neighborhood and have to relent being cooped up in their own houses. Things have really changed since I was a kid back when dinosaurs walked the earth.

Those who went to Kelang came back at around 4 pm. They had planned to go straight to my uncle’s place in Sunway but it turned out that his whole family would be celebrating Hari Raya at his in laws place in Cheras. Since we didn’t really have any place else to go and visit, we just decided to spend the rest of the evening at home to recover from the past 2 days.

Day 3 was basically the last day of Hari Raya celebrations for us as most of the other members of my family started work on the next day. We had some friends of the family visiting but the highlight of the day had to be when both of my two brothers current girlfriends and my sister’s current boyfriend came to visit the family. It’s almost a rule in the family that if you wanted to bring anyone to meet the parents, a Hari Raya visit would be the best time. Everybody have forgiven everybody else for their past year’s grievances and everyone was in a more receptive mood to be introduced to the person you currently dating. Of course with them visiting, all eyes would fall on to me being the only one this year who had not brought anyone to meet the parents. I don’t know why they put on this act to be surprise that I didn’t since I have never brought anyone home to meet my parents. At least none of my female acquaintance.

Once the visits were done and over with, a few of us decided to spend sometime doing some shopping for my mum’s overseas trip. She wanted to get a new bag to replace the one that had a broken zipper as well as some warm sweaters to being to the trip. Since I had to pick up my monthly stash of comic books at my usual comic book shop, we decide to go out to One Utama to shop after my stop at the nearby Centerpoint mall. One Utama was already packed with shoppers when we go there so I guess that the crowds were already starting to come back to KL after the long weekend. Mum found the sweaters that she liked and I lucked on some t-shirts on sale from the DC Comics merchandise store that I had my eye on before. The original price was way too much for me to consider to be reasonable for a t-short but at a 70% price slash, it was hard to resist. Even my youngest brother got a few for himself even if he was not a comic book fan. We ended the day with a trip to Giant to get some groceries to stock up before mum left on her trip.

Day 4 was a quite day since everyone who had to work was already going back to work. Since we didn’t plan to do any traveling this year, no one, with the exception of me, took an extended leave of absence from work. I actually had to since I would be just wasting my allotted annual leave again if I didn’t clear them by the end of the year. I spend most of the day hooked on the computer playing my computer games. I guess in hindsight I could have done something more active than that but I was just in the mood to do a bit of online dungeon crawling and simulated hack and slash against an army of monsters. I did helped out my sister make a fresh batch of our cookies but baking wasn’t really something that I could get excited with. In the end I decide to do my laundry as I would hate to cart back my dirty clothes back from my parents’ place instead of to like any other sane person.

That night we went to my aunt’s place nearby for dinner as well as my cousin’s birthday celebration. There were quite a few people there when we arrived. The thing with my aunt was that most of the guest who came sounded very familiar even when you have never seen them before. This is because my aunt and her family were involved in voice acting jobs for local TV stations. They have lent their voices to several translated dramas and animated series which was always a hoot for me since I used to watch some of their work when I was younger. As a child I also did some voice work for radio but that stopped after my voice broke and I sounded too old for the parts that I was given up to that point. It was too young to do older parts on the radio so I just stopped doing them which effectively ended my 15 minutes of fame. Seeing some of the faces that I knew from back then and finding out who was doing which character in which cartoon series made for quite an enjoyable time.

Day 5 of Hari Raya was the last day I spent at home in Selayang. It was mainly my packing day as I had a few items that I needed to take back with me to Sunway. Chief among them were the homemade cookies that my sister made and the last bit of the dodol that I made. I’ve always made it a rule to bring back some of my Hari Raya cookies to share with friends ever since I was at boarding school. Nowadays I bring them back for my coworkers and a special batch for my boss. I also brought back some of the homemade berasak (check out what it is in a future entry) and tempeyek kacang that my second sister brought back from her visit to our Johor relatives while she was there visiting her in-laws. My aunt in Pontian would make them only during Hari Raya and the berasak especially was well worth the 1 year wait to get them.

Once mum got home, we started to pack up our things to leave. Mum had to meet up with the other participants of the conference that she was going to at KL Sentral so we made our first stop there. After saying our goodbyes, we went straight to Sunway to drop me off at my apartment. While the time spent at Selayang during the Hari Raya break was an enjoyable one, I was happy to be back at my own place. Guess that while having your family around you can be fulfilling, sometimes you just need your space to sit down and reflect on what you have. Of course for me it also meant that I could start going to the gym again to work off all the food that I’ve eaten during my Hari Raya break.

Whatever the reason was, I was happy to be back on my own.

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