Saturday, November 5, 2011

Silence on a Sabbath - All about sarcasm, hard-boiled eggs, coconuts, kittens and moving on

Extra service. I found this uber-nifty sign during the Malaysia Day bazaar last September 16. It now hangs on the wall behind me in my office. Every time a client comes to me with some corporate work, I point to the sign and asked whether he would be interested. Funnily enough, no one has been keen to 'purchase' my sarcasm. I wonder why...
Boiled eggs. I accompanied my dad for lunch. For starters he had Malaysia's quintessential hard-boiled eggs. We normally have it with white pepper and soya ketchup. I don't advise you having too many though, it would have the side-effect of stopping you from doing your business.
We love our coconuts. Malays and Indians are very big on coconuts in our cooking. It goes into our main dishes a well as our drinks and deserts. That is why we are a little on the err... stout side, compared to the Thais and Indonesians who uses less coconut. One of the Malay's most famous dishes is the Nasi Lemak (literally fatty rice). You cook the rice in santan (coconut milk) with a couple sprigs of the pandan leaf. We have this for breakfast. Of course it isn't very healthy. No truly delicious food is!
Father of the Kitten. A friendly stray dropped by my table asking for scraps, but there aren't any. She however allowed me to stroke her head and tickle her chin. I love cats. Especially friendly ones. Cats always remind me of Abu Hurairah, a Companion of the Prophet, and the esteemed narrator of many traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. As a child, he had a cat which he dotted on, hence the name Abu Hurairah (Father of the Kitten), He was born in what is now Yemen, and his actual name was 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr Al-azdi. He died in 681 at the sprightly age of 78.
Death on a Sabbath. Early this morning my Mak Ndak called me. She is my late mum's elder living sister. She said that she cannot come to my house today because she is with my Mak Teh, who is the wife of my late Pak Teh, my mum's elder brother (Get it?). Anyway, Mak Teh was extremely unwell, she said. Not half an hour after that, Mak Ndak called me again and said "Mak Teh dah tak de" (Mak Teh is no more). The mosque was right in front of the house, so the body was washed in the religious rite of Islam, and then they waited until the afternoon Zuhur prayers, to perform the sembahyang jenazah (prayer for the deceased) together with the rest of the congregation. Mak Teh is to be buried later in the afternoon at the Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery, the last resting place of her late husband, as well as my mum's. Together in life, together in death. The sky was overcast and the weather cool, and tomorrow is the Muslim festival of Eidul Adha. I think she has been granted an auspicious day to be called back to her Most Compassionate and Most Merciful Creator. I was not so close to her, but I would still miss Mak Teh. She always smiled when she greeted me. The quiet kindly sort, you know... 

2. Oh Tired Vessel
Oh tired vessel,
Oh beautiful soul,
Your journey has ended,
Your travels are complete
In its wavering purpose
Across an uncertain sea,

For certainty is only with me,
Hope is only with me,
And your homecoming,
Your final harbour,
Your sweet repose,
Is my promise.

Smile, beautiful soul,
And endure but for a little while more.
For nothing will you ever want
When your homecoming is with the One,
For who else shall be waiting for you
Behind the mortal door?

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

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