RAYA RU­MI­NA­TIONS

A great time to be with fam­ily and friends; and there’s the World Cup too

New Straits Times - - OPINION - Azman Ab­dul Hamid is NSTP (Con­ver­gence) For­eign Ed­i­tor

THIS year, for the first time since set­tling down, I will not be go­ing back to ei­ther Sungai Pe­tani or Linggi for Eid cel­e­bra­tions. Those from my side of the fam­ily in Kedah and my wife’s in Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan un­der­stand why, I think.

We were sup­posed to go back to Linggi this year but since her par­ents (and mine) had passed away some years ago, the kam­pung now feels a bit empty.

The only def­i­nite is that we will visit my wife’s par­ents’ graves on the sec­ond day of Raya as is cus­tom­ary since my ‘ma­suk suku’ or mar­riage in 1994.

How time flies. Per­haps reach­ing the age of 51 has af­fected me, too, as my work­ing life has reached 27 years and count­ing.

No, not a midlife cri­sis. Def­i­nitely no more thoughts of work­ing at an­other place al­to­gether as one gets more com­fort­able work­ing at the same place for a long time as the circle of friends and net­work of pro­fes­sional col­leagues are also more fa­mil­iar.

In my late 20s, dur­ing the mid90s, I did not think about what I would be fac­ing three decades and three chil­dren later.

What I re­mem­ber the most is how Raya was one of the most en­joy­able times spent with fam­ily, friends and rel­a­tives when our par­ents were still around, watch­ing and pes­ter­ing us about things to do around the house.

Now that I am a par­ent, it is my turn to watch over, pester and ca­jole the kids over house chores. Not a pretty sight.

The end of Ra­madan and Raya cel­e­bra­tions for us in Malaysia prob­a­bly mean our fo­cus will once again be back on the po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments since the for­ma­tion of the new gov­ern­ment.

No doubt po­lit­i­cal watch­ers and an­a­lysts will be dis­cussing the way for­ward for the na­tion and the chal­lenges fac­ing the new oc­cu­pants of Putrajaya, and also to check how the op­po­si­tion is do­ing more than a month af­ter the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion.

Any gov­ern­ment will need time to get go­ing and they will be given time to de­liver till the next as­sess­ment in a few years’ time.

As for the op­po­si­tion, Umno and the oth­ers, too, will have time to re­assess their strat­egy.

In a sense, for us, the chal­lenge is not so daunt­ing as the coun­try is sta­ble and peace­ful. Con­sider the chal­lenge for some coun­tries which more of­ten than not are un­sta­ble or worse, riven by war, pre or post-Ra­madan.

I have been to Oc­cu­pied Pales­tine, post-war Iraq and south­ern Thai­land, and I can say that com­pared with those places which have suf­fered hu­man­i­tar­ian tragedies con­tin­u­ously or from time to time, our chal­lenge is to build on the progress achieved over the years while avoid­ing the kind of prob­lems that be­fell oth­ers.

De­vel­op­ments out­side our bor­ders can also af­fect us, whether it is ter­ror­ism in the shape of Daesh, or eco­nomic tur­bu­lence by way of the ups and downs of oil prices.

Maybe a lit­tle re­lief comes in the form of the World Cup in Rus­sia for an­other month. I am a fan of Eng­land but they have never de­liv­ered since win­ning the Jules Rimet tro­phy in 1966.

I am ex­pect­ing the usual sus­pects to be there at the late stages in­clud­ing Spain, Ger­many and Brazil. Like they say, per­for­mance is tem­po­rary, class is per­ma­nent.

The warung and ma­mak restau­rants will once again be the lo­ca­tion to have teh tarik and watch matches with friends.

Well, that’s my Raya ru­mi­na­tions for now. To all Mus­lims, I would like to wish you, ‘Se­la­mat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Bathin’. Also, drive care­fully and be safe while en­joy­ing Raya.

In a sense, for us, the chal­lenge is not so daunt­ing as the coun­try is sta­ble and peace­ful. Con­sider the chal­lenge for some coun­tries which more of­ten than not are un­sta­ble or worse, riven by war, pre or postRa­madan.

FILE PIC

Raya is one of the most en­joy­able times spent with fam­ily, friends and rel­a­tives.

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