So I was awake at around 8am (It’s a miracle) and I wondered why the fuck is my mother telling me to ‘hang my clothes nicely’ at 8am, she usually does it at 9:30 at night. So I inquired on the divergence of the constant variable, and apparently, she had a weekday off (fuck), because it was Hari Raya.
Now apparently, Hari Raya comparatively to the Chinese towards Chinese New Year (At least the ones in Singapore) Hari Raya is a fucking big deal to Malays, with their meetings of extended families that reach the 100s, profuse amounts of Malay delectables (Like the Onde-Ondes I treasure),and there’s only 1-2 days of the national holiday, but you guys can extend the celebration to over a week.
However, other than the Malays,the 13.3% (~0.718067 million (2013)), or other races compelled by neighbor pressure, typically no one else gives a fuck about the festival other than the fact that there is a work/school holiday. And also seeing what I had planned to do today, watching Attack On Titan and indulging in the 1st social gathering since I’d been released from prison (Yeah it actually took that long, I’m still a loner, I’m really just leading the life of a famous hermit), I didn’t even know.
Now most people opine that the majority of prisoners in Singapore, are black, and from what I have observed(Which of course, isn’t empirically substantive), they’re right. And if they’re mostly Black, they’re mostly Malay, which means my cellmates were mostly Malay, which means that most of them, celebrated Hari Raya. And since I was in prison for 5 weeks (Or 3 weeks in prison, and 2 weeks in the worst fucking place ever), that is the only reason I’m giving a solitary shit about this festival.
Now the benefits of being in prison while Malays are fasting a month before Hari Raya, is that their desires to be generous (Does that come from fasting?) and their resolute spirit to either eat less daily or engage in a full day hardcore fast (Which unlike me, they didn’t have the assistance of a mental stimulus fueled by unrelenting thoughts of suicide) while we were transitioning a move to the yard, they’d cover the food with a travel catalog and sneak the bread into my cell, so that my buddies and I could eat it later.
My Muslim cellmates, would tell me how important the festival was to them. One of them, dictated when he wanted to reveal his crime of Awol (which is apparently really easy to pull off), based on the date of Hari Raya, because if he admits his crime early enough, he could have the chance to finish his sentence before the festive season, so he can celebrate it with his children and family.
One of my fellas at IMH, who was intended to be discharged during Hari Raya, (and then subsequently be sent back after it was over, in the eyes of the family, there’s somehow an exception for tolerance to mental hysteria during Hari Raya) made the highly compelling argument that he was obligated to be released earlier, because he had to attain a suitable Hari Raya Baju.
Now, due to genetics or food (Probably the latter), he’s really fucking fat, and shops in Geylang Serai do not have shirts of sizes up to 3XL, and the man was measured to need 5, so if he wants the Malay shirt, it has to be tailor-made, and since he was probably released only like a day or two before, he probably won’t be able to get it. I hope he doesn’t have to celebrate Hari Raya nude, Muhammad wouldn’t like that, which is unfortunate for Australian Muslims.
So as I was in prison, frequently exposed to my Malay buddies’ love and desires to celebrate Hari Raya, I recalled that quote from Roger Ebert, which I can’t seem to remember and fucking find, so somebody if they can, please identify it and write it down on the comments section, but he said something along the lines of, there’s always something fascinating from the things that people derive great joy from. And thus from there, I too, started to develop a liking (Just a little), of this festival, of Hari Raya.
And this shows that even if initially you don’t give a solitary shit about something, if you take the chance to open your mind(or be obligated to due to boredom in Prison) from other people’s different passions and hobbies, you can develop an interest to those yourself, or at least, enough to write a Facebook post about.
And as I wander the world rife with fans of Twilight, Transformers, Justin Bieber and fucking K-pop, I resolve that though I might disagree with their preferences, and interests and tastes in general, I sure as hell won’t say that mine is somehow better, unless of course it concerns the existence of God, in which case, it’s pretty definitive.
And for all my Muslim pals who are unfortunate enough to have to be in prison during Hari Raya, because once I went out from prison, I heard from their family members that instead of backdating their months in remand, they were instead sentenced to RTC. It feels absolutely horrible I know, even more so when you can’t even see the message I’m writing that’s directed to you, it’s quite futile on my part I know. Do be assured, that for most cordial Malay families, they’re probably hoping that you’re doing well in prison, or gossiping and viciously lambasting you for committing a crime, either way, they’re thinking about you, which means you’re more important than the family member who attends the festive gathering, only to then sit quietly in the corner of the house, attempting to hide his complete inability to talk to people by flipping back and forth, the windows on his phone (That was me, it was fucking depressing) .
So fellow Malay friends, as I stay confined in my room staring at blood-spilled gore bursting from the entrails of exploding Titans, I’m glad people outside are experiencing the pleasures of social activities and food that took more than 5 minutes to prepare.
Happy Hari Raya. I hope you enjoy it.