Hello from Kuching, Sarawak! I am in East Malaysia, spending time with my mom’s side of the family for raya (that’s what we call Eid here in Malaysia) writing on my laptop which is connected to the internet via my mom’s hotspot haha.
We spent raya morning in Klang, where my dad’s side of the family is. I had a whole plate full of nasi impit with kuah kacang and nothing else. I must stress that nasi impit or ketupat or lemang with kuah kacang is my absolute favourite raya food. I care so deeply about kuah kacang and its authenticity that whenever I am served “peanut sauce” in the US it just breaks my heart. Anyway, I don’t have any pictures of the meal because I ate it all too quickly.
Now on to my favourite part of hari raya which is honestly the family pictures! I consider it a tradition cemented into the celebration of hari raya.
We didn’t take many pictures here in Kuching because we arrived at night on the first day, and everyone was already tired and selekeh. Raya here is quite a different feel from raya in KL. We only started regularly going back to Kuching for raya in, maybe, 2013? So I’m still not totally used to it. I grew up beraya in KL, going to only 3 houses for raya in baju kurung and then on the second day switching back to ~jeans~ or whatever and chilling. Here in Kuching, it’s a lot more happening, as they say. People go to house after house and eat cakes and drink fizzy drinks. And we kind of wear baju kurungs until the 3rd/4th day! Also, my mom’s family is huge so there are so many people to see and houses to visit. Yesterday, we went to 4 houses in about 4 hours. We used to go to more but my grandparents are getting older and they just tak larat to go berjalan so much anymore.
At one house, my sister was taking a picture outside the house when I saw a chicken behind her. I know it’s not a big deal to many people, but neither Klang nor Kuching is really a kampung so this was a shock to me, a budak bandar through and through. Case in point:
It just occurred to me that this is the very last time I will visit Kuching before I graduate, insya Allah. Oh my god. That means raya next year will be different, in one way or another. I might have to apply for leave? Or if I somehow work abroad, I may not even be here for raya (not that this is the plan, by any means).
Also, now that I am older and my cousins have gotten married, I am forced to consider how things will change if I or any one of my siblings were to get married. I hate thinking about how things would be different… would one of us not balik Kuching? Someone would have to raya somewhere else?! Where would we stay if we do balik sini? How would we all fit into Nenek’s house? Ugh, I hate thinking about it. But most likely, there are fewer rayas like the one I’m used to ahead of me than there are behind me. (Before anyone asks, no, I am not about to get married, I am not seeing anyone, not even close. My cousins growing up and having adult lives just freak me out.)
I guess my point is that seeing my cousins and even some of my friends work, get married and have kids is making me appreciate things the way they are now. They take turns going to each other’s side of the family, have babies to think about when they travel, have to go back to work so soon after raya… I’m still in school and raya is during the summer which means I can come home for it. I can spend time in both Klang and Kuching very easily, and I spend the entirety of Syawal with my parents, my sisters and my extended family and I LOVE IT THIS WAY.
Anyway, I hope your raya has been great, filled with time spent with loved ones and lots of good food. Thanks for stopping by to read this during the festivities. Until next week! 🙂