Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back to the Village for Celebration….

When I was a young boy my friends and I used to go to the town for celebration after the Aidilfitri prayers and the feasting at the mosque (or madrasah) were done. We went to the movie to see a new Malay film or sometimes just frolicked around with other friends. There was't any big shopping malls or complexes then to roam around and watch people enjoy themselves shopping or eating at the food courts. We just enjoyed the town's offerings.

Now, people in the towns and cities go back in droves to the villages to celebrate festive days like the Aidilfitri and Aidil Adha. Those who could not get any leave of absence to go back to their hometown and villages for the occasion felt very bad about it. The towns and cities become quite empty - or at least the roads become so. I suppose even the non-Muslims take the opportunity to go on vacation for the period of the public holidays.
going back to the villages

The Muslims especially the Malays who do not go back to the villages for the Adilfitri (or Aidil Adha) vacation are normally those who no longer have their parents or any close relatives in those villages. Or who never came from the remote villages but originate from the towns or cities themselves. Some whom I talked to, felt very sad about not having a place to go to in the village. Their 'kampung' on the vicinity of the towns or cities have become a part of the metropolitan area and lost its rural splendour.

Going around the rural villages during the festive days, gives one a full realisation on how the nation has progressed. The wooden houses have been renovated to feature some of the the most modern architectural designs, combining traditional Malay woodcraft and the wonders of concrete, fibres and aluminium. We have wooden frontages and concrete halls and kitchens aplenty, replete with modern furnishing and cooking facilities. In the huge courtyard are expensive cars glittering in the sunlight - not three or four but going up to eleven or twelve. All the kids returned home with their new luxury cars and hordes of children. It's a sight that warms the heart tremendously for those who have many children, and a sad, sad moment of reflection for those who have none. The gathering of children and relatives is what that makes the festive days a real festival. And now they all come back home to the kampung….
the 'halaman rumah' (courtyard) filled with cars is a common sight

Rural roads can become jammed up. Especially with a lot of food and fruit stalls lining up the road and inviting travellers to slow down for a good look or slowly stopping by to make a purchase. In Negeri Sembilan the Seremban-Kuala Pilah road is famous for this, especial between Ulu Bendul/Terachi and Tanjung Ipoh, my hometown. The trip can take up to two hours on a really bad (or good shopping?) day. You can really get all the varieties of food stuff and local fruits or appetisers that you want.
a group pic of relatives

On the fourth or fifth day after Aidilfitri, the villages are quite empty again with only one or two old cars left behind. The towns and cities are crowded to the brim again. All attempts to make the rural areas more attractive to the young to live and work in, seem to have little results, except in rural ares where an urban sprawl had been created. But these places have little that can give a village atmosphere and even the Malay population there will go back to their villages for a few days of authentic 'hariraya' celebration to satisfy their nostalgic yearning.

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