Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will you have me over this Hari Raya Puasa ?

My Paper, Tuesday, August 21, 2012, Page A4, Home, Viewpoints
From http://epaper.mypaper.sg/cnd/fvxen/fvxp/fvxpress.php?param=2012-08-21
Source Website:
http://news.asiaone.com/News/Mailbox/Story/A1Story20120821-366513.html
http://news.asiaone.com/News/Mailbox/Story/A1Story20120821-366513/2.html
By Joy Fang, joyfang@sph.com.sg, my paper, Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012



The days of yore (long ago), when open doors were common and neighbours bonded, thanks to a ubiquitous kampung spirit.
PHOTO: The days of yore (long ago), when open doors were common and neighbours bonded, thanks to a ubiquitous kampung spirit.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-nPZubOk5FAM/UDO7MGsfjhI/AAAAAAAAT3A/rHzvLNtnSYs/s1600/20120821.085921_harirayafood.jpg
http://news.asiaone.com/A1MEDIA/news/08Aug12/20120821.085921_harirayafood.jpg
http://news.asiaone.com/News/Mailbox/Story/A1Story20120821-366513.html




PHOTO: Joy Fang
My Paper, Tuesday, August 21, 2012, Page A4, Home, Viewpoints



This may be surprising, coming from someone who was born and raised in Singapore, but I have never been invited to anyone's house to partake in the festivities during the Hari Raya Puasa period.

It is not that I am socially inept, mind you, but I must confess that I have very few close friends of other races.

As a member of the majority race in Singapore, it is easier to stick to forging friendships with others in the Chinese community, especially now that I am in my 20s.

It was a different story when I was in school.

Then, schoolmates of all races spent significant amounts of time together on a daily basis.

We shared our "grievances" against teachers and pored over difficult assignments together. But those times are behind me now.

The friends I made then have moved on. Some have emigrated, while I have lost touch with others.

Now that I am immersed in the working world, my chances of building bonds with people of other races seem to have become slimmer.

The people I meet in this phase of my life have, for the most part, been due to my work.

The relationships with those I meet in the course of my work are kept mostly politically correct and formal - regardless of race, language or religion - and are hardly the kind you would want to pursue after a long day's work.

I consider myself lucky in one aspect, though.

My best friend is Sinhalese and - surprise, surprise - we met at work. He is a rare example of someone whom I not only get along well with at work, but want to spend time with even after that.

I joke with him constantly about how he is my only non-Chinese friend, and he retorts in mock indignation that I need to get out more.

But that is the challenge that many in my age group face.

Singapore is becoming increasingly urbanised, with more than 80 per cent of its population living in Housing Board (HDB) flats.

There are racial quotas in HDB estates, primarily to encourage ethnic integration. But it is still not easy to truly interact and get close to people of other races.

We live in homes that are beautiful and modern - but they are gated, distant and a tad cold.

Keep your door closed and you can shut yourself away from the outside world indefinitely.

Compare this to the days of yore (long ago), when open doors were common and neighbours bonded, thanks to a ubiquitous kampung spirit.


Source Website: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Mailbox/Story/A1Story20120821-366513/2.html

My dad lived in a kampung near Serangoon Avenue 2 until he was 27, and he would reminisce about a time when doors were left wide open during the day.

Neighbours would pop by freely to chat about anything under the sun, or congregate to listen to stories told over the radio.

They would share extra food from festivities such as kueh (bite-size desserts) and sweets.

That being said, all is not lost for Singapore's society.

Last year, 20 per cent of the total marriages here were inter-ethnic ones, up from 13 per cent in 2001.

Some 50 per cent of the 3,967 inter-ethnic civil marriages registered last year were between Chinese grooms and brides of an "Others" ethnic group.

Meanwhile, 24 per cent and 22 per cent of Malay grooms and brides, respectively, had inter-ethnic Muslim marriages with partners of other ethnic groups.

It is a sign that all is well, even if my predicament may otherwise suggest.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently highlighted the efforts by those of other races to take part in iftars - or the act of breaking fast - after he attended two such events in Kebun Baru and Teck Ghee.

"Glad that Singaporeans of other races and religions could join us in this meaningful Ramadan ritual," he wrote on his Facebook page on Aug 12.

A National University of Singapore law undergraduate, Ms Azilah Azini, 19, told me recently that she views Hari Raya Puasa as a celebration for all Singaporeans.

At her Hari Raya "open house" yesterday, she invited her Chinese and Indian university friends, while her family members took the opportunity to host their Korean, Thai and Punjabi friends and colleagues.

Such celebrations feel more joyous when one gets to share different customs with friends of different races, she said.

For me, her actions serve as a reminder that I should start living my life with a more open spirit. Indeed, I should venture outside of my comfort zone and make that effort to meet people of different races.

I should be proactive and make that first move.

So, let me just say that I'm free this weekend.

Anyone wants to host me for a Hari Raya makan session?
By Joy Fang, joyfang@sph.com.sg, my paper, Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012


Wish all Muslims a happy Hari Raya Adilfitri !
PHOTO: Wish all Muslims a happy Hari Raya Adilfitri !
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tIUeHaMtwgI/UDO7LSF8kZI/AAAAAAAAT20/KRcnP-WdunQ/s1600/hari_raya_wallpaper_free_download_for_pc_desktop_background_2012_.jpg
http://mybikeshopsg.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/hari_raya_wallpaper_free_download_for_pc_desktop_background_2012_.jpg
http://mybikeshopsg.com/



HELPDESK
我的字典: Wǒ de zì diǎn


Inept: 无能 (wú néng)
Indignation: 愤慨 (fèn kǎi)
Congregate: 聚集 (jù jí)
Comfort zone: 舒适区 (shū shì qū)



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