The closure of the month of Ramadhan saw deepavali and hariraya festivities merging. There was bright colorful lights illuminating homes and lots of food and delicacies laid out on the tables. The crowd circulates around the laden tables then find a convenient seat among friends to tacle their gatherings.
What makes the difference is whether the crowd is just interested in the food and delicacies or the chance to meet new and old friends, cement broken ties and repair strained relationships. The common problem is that we get tied down to the table we first sat at from the beginning to the end of the visit, without adequate opportunities to move around and meet people with a drink in hand. Why not? Because the syrup drink or fruit juice that is served is taken together with the food in substantive gulps rather than sipped a little at a time like the prohibited type (alcohol).
Hence the preference for the buffet style 'makan' where we can walk around and choose our food. But still we have tables for the real strenuous work to deal with the wet messy stuff like curry, cassarole, masak asam pedas, lemak pedas etc.You can hardly deal with the Malaysian dishes without sitting down, especially when using your fingers to dig in ( see pics).
The way to get around this problem, therefore, is to have some participatory shows, where guests could move around and join the fun. But to get the guests to do so, as in joining unscheduled dancing or singing, is still a problem. We tried this at our open house gahering recently and had some success. For the singing we had to rely on Nasir Wahab and Karen to get the action going (see pics).
But still. it isn't easy to get the guests involved. Everyone suddenly gets so shy. Perhaps it would be necessary to dim the light but that would throw the gathering into a different kind of ballgame. And there were the more religious members of the community in attendance ( see pic).
As such it is necessary to get popular and friendly TV personality like Nasir Wahab to move around and mix with the crowd, take photographs and shake hands to make them feel at ease and ready to join the fun a frolics. Nasir belted out a few popular numbers to the cheering crowd makin the evening a memorable one. While the food served were the usuals at such fectivities we also had something different including 'satay tulang' ( it's more fun to eat than the usual satay) and some fresh durian although 'pengat durian', roti jala and pulut were already served.
Our Indian friends and neighbors also joined us later in the evening though they had their guests to attend to. Peter and Ivy represented our Chinese friends and neighbors to complete the multiracial mix while Dr Jagjit only managed to pop in a brief moment because of prior engagement. . Shariff the DJ, was wonderful and frequently made everyone chuckle and laugh with his ready wit and humorous presentation.
I do hope that everyone enjoyed the evening.To those who could not make it, let's wait for the next hariraya.