Instagram feed ✿

I write verbose posts about polyamory, love, lust, and self-discovery on my other blog Victoria's Imaginarium.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya!

Since yesterday was Hari Raya Aidilfitri, I'm gonna post something about Malay culture, which is also the major part of Malaysian culture. As a Chinese-educated Malaysian, (I attended Chinese schools both in primary and secondary level), I have not much knowledge about it, so forgive me and Wikipedia (lol) if I give wrong statements in this post.

I was shopping at new Jusco, Melaka 5 days before Hari Raya, so I saw all those decorations of Malay culture, with the accompaniment of Malay songs and Malay traditional music as background. Suddenly a feeling of nostalgia hit me--very strongly--and I couldn't explain why. I have never experienced it before.

Compared to my other course-mates who studied in Sekolah Kebangsaan (national school), I can say I am not familiar with all these Malay cultural elements; I can't even speak Malay fluently, which is why when people speak Malay to me, I always reply in English or look stunned for a few seconds as I quickly translate the reply-to-give in my mind. Needless to say (but I'm still saying it lol), I did not have much Malay friends until I become one among the JPA scholars in INTI-IU.

Since I mentioned it, here I would like to tell readers who are racist-minded, stereotyped thinking of Malays you bear does not apply to all, or perhaps, does not apply to most. My Malay friends are all good people and we all mingle well. All it takes to achieve unity are tolerance and respect, NOT the abolition of hak keistimewaan (privilage of the natives) nor cancellation of nationality. Recently the tenseness between Chineses and Malays in Malaysia is getting more and more worrying, if you are a Malaysian and you feel nothing, or even worse, you behave as an agitator, p-l-e-a-s-e appreciate the effort made by our independence-fighters. Think of the number of lives lost to chase foreign power out of our country and also the number of lives we are going to lose if we do not unite among ourselves.

Okay back to the topic :) When I was taking pictures of the decorations for Hari Raya in Jusco, I could feel people were looking at me wondering why I behaved like a katak di bawah tempurung (Malay idiom, frog at the bottom of a well. Meaning: ), but later I saw a few people taking pictures with professional camera (black, with protruded lens). What we shot were the same scenes:

Malaysia flag. We are still in Merdeka month :)

The green rhombus with strings attached to it is called ketupat. Ketupat is glutinous rice packed in palm leaves, one of the most famous traditional food in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippine, Brunei and Singapore.

On the stage were some Malay traditional musical instruments, food and handicrafts made from rotan (rattan) and mengkuang leaves, such as mats, hats and baskets.

"It is common to greet people with "Selamat Idul Fitri" or "Salam Aidilfitri" or "Selamat Hari Raya"(in Malaysia) which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "mohon maaf lahir dan batin" in Indonesia and "maaf zahir dan batin" in Malaysia, which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)", because Idul Fitri is not only for celebrations but a time for atonement: to ask for forgiveness for sins which they may have committed but was cleansed as a result of the fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan.

It is customary for Muslim-Indonesians and Muslim-Malaysians to wear a traditional cultural clothing on Eid ul-Fitr." --Wikipedia

I would touch on the most popular Malay traditional clothes for Malaysian women, also considered as national clothes--baju kurung.

"A baju kurung is a loose-fitting full length dress, consisting of a skirt and a blouse. The skirt is made from a long cloth with foldings on one side; the blouse is collarless, has long sleeves, and extends to between the hips and knees. It is usually made of silk, imported from Japan, South Korea, Turkey or India, or from the Malaysian States of Terengganu or Kelantan. The modern baju kurung commonly expresses lively colors and geometric patterns. Traditionalists prefer fabric from peninsular Malaysia's eastern states of Terengganu and Kelantan, where the culture of batik and other hand-designed fabrics is still strong. The baju kurung is also worn by non-Muslims (including Malaysia's ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities)." ---Wikipedia

Me in baju kurung. This was taken last year when I participated KLIMUN (Kuala Lumpur International Model United Nation), delegates were asked to attend the opening ceremony in traditional costumes. This pair of baju kurung was borrowed from my roommate as I did not bring along mine to campus. I added effect to this photo because the original tone color and my hairstyle at that time (yeah, edited) were ugly.

While now, I'm back home but I left them at hostel, or else I can wear mine and take another picture of better quality. Mine is plain blue with some decorations with needlework, bought for JPA scholarship interview (my parents insisted so because it has been a tradition for students from my secondary schools to wear baju kurung to attend interview). My first time wearing baju kurung was a total disaster, due to my clumsiness. I stepped on the long skirt and nearly fell down on staircase; later in the interview room, my skirt got stuck between one leg of the chair I sat on and the floor. (..............)

Anyway I get the scholarship in the end, I think the interviewers didn't see how I tried to fix myself. Also, luckily I did not embarrass myself again the 2nd time I wore them, or else all delegates from 3rd KLIMUN would remember my name. :S

At the end of this post, let me share with you a quotation I find interesting:
Going to church does not make you a Christian, just like standing in the garage does not make you a car. And racism does not make you holier than the rest ;)

Eid mubarak to all Muslims!
Selamat Hari Raya to all Malaysians!



  1. Happy eid too, Sin Ruow! (:

    Going to church does not make you a Christian, just like standing in the garage does not make you a car. And racism does not make you holier than the rest ;)


  2. seriously?u go to Chinese school??i personally think u speak well bahasa malaysia..

    thanks..happy raya 2 you too!!

  3. Ahaha! Like this post! And I've just figured out that the real ketupat is filled with glutinous rice, not the normal rice. LOL! My bad... XP

  4. oh ya,forgot to write this..ketupat usually is normal rice..some small malay ethnic have different ketupat (the one i know is ketupat luehor lepat lueh) that one is made of glutinous rice..

    have u had lontong?the texture of the rice is same with ketupat..

  5. Nisa! Haha I type good BM not speak la :P Yeah I think I had lontong, is it the one we usually eat with satay? The 'glutinous rice' thingy is copied from Wikipedia, but I didn't take the exact phrase so I didn't quote wiki. Thanks for correcting :) actually I have no idea what is glutinous rice too hahaha