Friday, November 02, 2007

To Open is to Eat and Be Merry

When I was a kid, hari raya was at the most a 3-day celebration.

And I am not just talking about Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Deepavali or Chinese New Year would be the same too. Especially on the first day of raya, all houses would open their doors. We kids would be tricktreating at as many houses as our legs could carry us. Raya wasn’t even about the angpows. It was about wearing new baju kurungs (and feeling all rimas lemas pasai tak biasa) and being allowed to roam about with your friends, and washing down sweet cookies down the throat with sweet red pandan syrup.

Raya in Kuching camp was the best as there were so many houses to go to. Even on Aidil Fitri, we would still be visiting non-muslim houses. They would let us in even when it wasn’t their hari raya. I remember one Deepavali when we visited a Punjabi house and were served chapattis. Yum! Oh and I love that sweet ball thing served at deepavali-celebrating houses, it was so powdery that you MUST never open your mouth once you have bitten on it. Ngamho. And the red and black hard kuaci(s) on Chinese New Year! Awesome.

There was no such thing as Open House concept. It was Hari Raya kan? Of course houses would be opened!

It is so different now.

Raya is one month long. Raya is only during weekends. One Open House after the other. Buffet style. Eat all you can.

Living in KL, I feel the difference. Kampung may be different.

We only had 3 groups of visitors this year. One was Yamtuan’s sister’s family. Then the cab-driver’s family – I dont even know his full name (he’s listed in my phone directory as Teksi Den only) and he doesn’t know mine too, except I always call him to send me to KLIA whenever I need to travel. He came for raya with his family because the wife wanted to ask me about government grants, tak apa lah... The other family was my neighbour. They were on their way to Pasar Malam, and dropped by for maybe 5 minutes?

All my friends, even other neighbors, when I ask them to come over for raya, they would always ask me, when exactly is my open house going to be. I always replied, everyday sure open one – if not open, how to enter, aiyah..

And when I tell some friends that I would like to come visit them for raya, they would tell me, don’t come today, come on certain-certain date as that date will be their Open House do.

But friends, it is not about eating. I don’t care if you don’t serve anything at all!

We are always too busy aren’t we to see each other? And friendship does require some form of maintenance, at least once a year, no? Only once a year of meeting friends. Eating? I do it more than 5 times a day everyday! Trust me I can recognise one bowl of laksa from a distance away but i may not be able to recognise some friends even when I am standing right next to them. People change, development happens. Expansion and reduction, tucks and nips, lines and botox happen.

I do see the good of open day and I will always try my best to attend whenever we get invitation. And because of Open House concept too, Syawal is really extended because ‘houses’ need weekends to ‘open’.

Cheers for Open House concept. But I just don’t do Open House. Trust me, my house open all the time. You eat what we eat. Far from fancy, and you dont get caterers, you only have me and my suspicious-looking dishes.

I dont do open house. Never done it and probably never will too.

Does it mean friends will never come over? No good food, you wont come meh?


I definitely know that it means my Aidil Fitri cookies can last until the next Aidil Fitri!

I have three Open Houses tomorrow. I will be so merry-go-round Yamtuan will have to roll me home.


Anonymous kna said...


I agree whole heartedly with you on this.

I don't know when this trend on 'open house' concept started but to me my friends and relatives can come to my house for Raya anytime provided they call first to see if I am at home.

Must we eat something substantial while visiting our friends or relatives house?I don't really care.Kuih raya also ok.My other half doesn't agree with me on this but she is the one doing th cooking, hehehehe!!!

All this open houses on weekends are clogging the roads on Saturdays and Sundays until 13.11.2007 :-((.


6:25 PM  
Anonymous The Man From The Pru said...

Huh? 3 guests? You forgot the first one...the man from the Pru :)

9:02 PM  
Blogger JoKontan said...

Saya dah tak buat rumah terbuka, where everybody would come. Letih kot..

I prefer on a smaller scale. Kawan kerja satu group or Kawan skoloh satu group or sedara satu group.

Hmmm,. (tappin my lips, just like Arip) mebbe we can do kawan blogger satu group this Saturday..

4:37 PM  
Blogger Mohd Dzahier said...

Dear Ood,

remember your house in Kuching? Laksa Johor is a must kan?? and we could just go out and play all day from one house to another. that was Kuching. Missed that so much.

Well, so much of the open house... some people do it at the Hotel. I attended a few. dah jadi boring la plak.

Ok take care.

2:26 AM  
Blogger OOD said...

I know friends who compare menu of the open houses before deciding which house to go. Raya has been reduced to eating. It is bad enough that Ramadhan too has been a month of indulgence and binabadan..

As for the traffic jam on weekends, err... sitting in passenger seat, i am not much affected. Hehehe..

Pru man my man..
lupa! you must forgive me! You know my memory size is 1GB onni and already filled up with junk and spams.
Yes, i hereby acknowledge that you and your wife were our very first guests for raya this year.
I did prepare lunch, but everything got burnt that day, even telur goreng became a bit too tanned. We try again next raya ok?

jo bro!
kawan-blogger raya-do? Yey! Serious? Jangan main-main tau!
You have many readers, you call them all you will have to do your raya-do at convention centre.. INVITE me ya?

5:09 PM  
Blogger OOD said...

MD bro,
open house is good, but it changes the whole face of raya celebration. It just shows that we are getting much busier these days (and food matters a lot).

I dont do it for many reasons, for one - you know how my house is kecik-macam-jamban-sepah-macam-reban.. i cant have 10 people in it before everybody turns blue from lack of oxygen. What will the neighbors say? Suicide cult. Hehehe..

5:13 PM  
Blogger Arena said...

I find your writing so amusing and funny. We do have open house but kalau kawan nak datang by all means.. MY open house gabung dengan the whole family with mum and dad's guest and my 2 other sibling punya guest. my frenz akan arrive paling awal, my relatives will arrive at 3 and stay sampai malam. penat macam nak pengsan tapi best.. masak sendiri tu..

1:49 AM  

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