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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Selamat Merdeka Raya... Eid Mubarrak!

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Anak bulan di langit senja,
Tanda akhirnya bulan Ramadhan,
Sebulan sudah kita berpuasa,
Kini masanya menyambut lebaran

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, image hosting by PhotobucketOriginal image credits: Malaysian flag (from here) & Putrajaya Mosque (from here)

Pantun (or Malay verse) is not exactly Walski’s forte, but he tries. Most of all, he’d like to wish all Malaysians Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Eid Mubarrak to one and all...  
(some thoughts on a special national day raya, and more, in the full post)

Because the Hijri calendar revolves around our everyday-use Gregorian calendar, lagging approximately 11 days every year, this time around Aidil Fitri falls one day before National Day. Which is nice, because it means that Walski can take the whole week off without any guilt. And boy, does he need a break.

Extra-long holidays aside, Walski is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps Raya falling in such close proximity to Hari Merdeka is meant to remind us of what it means to be Malaysian during festivities.

Be it Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali or Christmas, Malaysians have always celebrated together. That’s one of the things that makes our nation unique. Granted, many of our cultural celebrations have their roots in the various creeds held by the various cultures that make up our nation. But that has never stopped Malaysians from celebrating as one people. And so it should be.

As time progresses, however, Walski cannot help but notice that there was a lot less hesitation about joining each others’ celebrations in days past, compared to the present.

If you recall, back in 2006, there was this advisory e-mail that made its rounds, warning Muslims about the “dangers” wishing someone Happy Deepavali could pose to their faith. Since then there have been many other articles, sermons, and what not, constantly reminding Muslims that jeopardy to their faith lies in... well, just about anything not officially labeled “Islamic”.

Walski’s talked about before in the past, in more than one post, so he won’t repeat himself here.

We won’t delve into why this has progressively been happening over the past several decades, but for someone who follows these developments with a keen interest, Walski really wonders why we seem to be steadily retreating back into our own demographic comfort zones, rather than forging forward as one people.

Perhaps Hari Raya falling one day before Hari Merdeka is to remind us that we should embrace that uniquely Malaysian practice of sharing our festivities, not reject it. And in doing so, help forge us as one nation, of one people – one bangsa Malaysia.

And so, that said, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, to all Malaysians, wherever you might be...