My apologies for not having uploaded a blog post yesterday, as it was a public holiday in Malaysia (Awal Muharram, also known as ‘Maal Hijrah’) and I was out all day with my husband and some friends. And our outing has given me some input for a blog post today. Here’s a little tidbit about the public holiday:
Awal Muharram is an Islamic holiday which celebrates the beginning of the Islamic New Year, and is also the beginning of 10 days of remembrance for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala on the 10th day of Muharram in the year 680 AD. The word ‘Muharram‘ is derived from the word ‘haram‘, which means ‘sinful‘ in Malay, and this is a month that is considered most sacred of all besides the month of Ramadhan. During this time, Muslims are forbidden to fight; hence, a time for mourning and peace. Muslims celebrate this event worldwide, with the Shia Muslims (Shi’ite) spending the day mourning, some going to the extent of flogging themselves to commemorate the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, while the Sunni Muslims will fast and celebrate the day according to the Sunnah of Mohammed, which is in the honour of Moses’ rescue of the people of Israel from the Pharaoh, sometimes on the 10th day itself.
Since my husband and I are Malaysian Chinese, we did not really celebrate it the way of the Muslims, but we did spend time with some friends whom we have not seen in months! These are my college friends whom we are quite close with, so being able to find the time to get together was also another reason to celebrate. Our first destination was VCR, a little hipster cafe joint located on Jalan Galloway (now known as Jalan Sin Chew Kee) in the area of Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. Named after the abbreviation of ‘Video Casette Recorder’, even their Wi-Fi password was called ‘usedtape’. How quaint.
I called it a ‘hipster joint’ because of all the young Malaysian adults and yuppies who congregated there, either with friends or on their own with their faces glued to their MacBook screens. Young men decked in three-quarter surfer boardshorts, long sleeved Polo-necked tees and Canvas sneakers with iPads or man-pouches tucked under their arms, ordering coffee like it was their day-time alcohol. Young ladies perched on the benches and sipped at the decaf lattes and hot chocolate while nibbling on a cookie or two. They were either with friends or had their arms draped all over some young man of their choice. It was truly a sight to behold! I thought this happened at nightclubs but apparently, it goes on in cafes too. Backpacks, designer handbags, smartphones and other means of gadgetry were seen scattered all over the wooden tables in the cafe.
We ordered our lattes and cappuccinos and made up for lost time, catching up on all that had happened among us during the months we lost touch with one another, exchanging tales from work to dramatic relationships. We have all changed, that’s for sure, and all of us were contracted to our jobs. Others have either gone on to carve a name for themselves, left the country to start life elsewhere with someone they just met, or were still here but have somewhat dug themselves a trench to avoid the scrutiny of society.
A few long stories later, we moved on to our second and final destination at Chili’s in Bangsar Shopping Centre. This was also a result of the cafe personnel bolting from their smoking breaks outside to warn us about the City Hall tow trucks that have arrived to remove illegally parked cars from the premises. The boys dashed out to quickly drive off and park elsewhere, lest have the cars towed away with an RM300 fine to boot. But that had already spoiled our mood and thus, made a decision to leave for early dinner.
We had a great time catching up and exchanging stories. We have learnt that time is precious, friendship even more so, and we should maintain a balance of meeting up, working and having personal time out. Whether we successfully make it or not on meeting up once in awhile for coffee and dinner is one thing, but we still have to try and keep things together, or we’ll all start to drift apart.