Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Most Memorable Hari Raya (Personal)

I was awakened today by the sound of our neighbour's ghastly yelling. It's been a while since I'm roused from my sleep by a loud, ringing noise. It is after all the festive holiday, one that doesn't concern me so why bother getting up early. Truth be told, I was angry. Why is it that THEY get an entire week off but WE only get two days? It's not fair and I'd like to think I'm sleeping in as a sign of protest.

His voice was getting louder by the minute, or maybe that's how it seemed to me at that time. "Bersihkan tahi anjing kamu!", he yelled. "Kamu jangan buang sampah di tempat kami la!", Adrian retaliated. ... ADRIAN?!

I immediately jumped out of my bed and rushed downstairs. Apparently, this episode wasn't over yet. Reinforcement has arrived and Adrian was receiving severe verbal punishment from (suprise, suprise) the neighbour's daddy who came home to celebrate raya with his son.

"Kamu tahu tak undang-undang? Kalau anjing itu tak ada lesen, saya boleh panggil polis datang dan ambil anjing kamu!", he threatened. Adrian turned fuming red and replied, "Saya budak universiti, tahu apa itu undang-undang! Kau tak perlu ajar saya!"

The man got so irritated by Adrian's response, he practically screamed his next sentence, "Tunjuk saya lesen itu la! Kau ingat aku tak tahu kau menipu? Kamu tengok plat kereta saya." He points to his Toyota Unser and there printed on his car plate were the words, PUTRAJAYA. "Saya officer kerajaan," he proudly declared.

Taken aback, Adrian turned diplomatic, "Ok sir, sekarang baru jam 7 pagi. Kita janganlah cakap terlalu bising." "SAYA MAHU BISING! Saya akan buat panggilan polis, dan kamu akan tahu siapa saya!" and the man marched back into his house. Adrian, equally pissed, stormed back into our house and started mumbling profanities. It was clearly a poor start to the morning.

After a while, Adrian cooled down and asked me to purchase some kuih to give to the neighbours as a sign of apology. "We can't keep this sort of things in our heart," he told me. Adrian wanted to apologise himself but he was rushing to return to KL. Truth be told, I wasn't too happy with his decision. The man was clearly being a prick, why should Adrian say sorry?!

But it was a favor for Adrian and I had to do it. While I was shopping around the kuih section in Jusco, I kept thinking about how unfair most things are in this country. I just saw an elder malay man threaten a helpless chinese boy using his power in office. The same power the country bestowed upon him to HELP the people. The entire system is screwed up!

As I waited in line to pay for the kuih (still engulfed in rage), I noticed that the cashier had his Raya clothes on. He was frowning the entire time, I would be too if I were him. It's Raya and instead of being home with his family, he was doing a price check on a loaf of Gardenia bread. Of the 5 people in front of me, none of them even bothered to wish him happy holidays so I thought I might as well be the first.

After he handed me my change, I greeted him with my perkiest tone, "Selamat Hari Raya!". His face suddenly lights up and he gave me one of the warmest smile I've ever received in my life. He thanked me and I noticed even after I was walking away from the counter, he was still looking at me and smiling. It's as if he has been waiting for ages for someone to wish him that, which really is suprising. I'm glad I made his day.

The rage in me was instantly put off. I don't know why but all I could think about was getting home quickly. "Sir, kami ingin meminta maaf pasal kekecohan pagi tadi," I apologised to the neighbour's dad. "Oh tak apa, saya sendiri pun dah melampau," he replied. After a brief exchange of self-blaming remarks, we called it a truce and I handed him the kuih.

I wished him, "Selamat Hari Raya sir" and he followed it up by giving me a very familiar smile, very much like the cashier's one. Amidst all the war and tragedies happening around us, it's sometimes better to just forgive and forget. That is after all what Hari Raya is all about.

8 comments:

Jason

The putrajaya number plate doesn't mean they are government officer lah, i think.

Benjamin

Most high ranking government servants are stationed at putrajaya if i'm not mistaken.

qiwei

Hey Ben! It's really nice of you to wish the cashier 'Selamat Hari Raya' and apologized to the neighbour. That's being a true Malaysian - berbudi bahasa dan berbudi pekerti.

CY

Great job on being the peacemaker! :)

*clap clap

Benjamin

qiwei: it's a myth la this berbudi bahasa dan pekerti thing. A true Malaysian would just count the change to make sure it's right and then walk away with their bag of goods.

cy: haha, thanks man.

cheng sim

i dunno what to say actually. i think this is like one of ur best entries yet. yeah, i just wish Malaysians will turn to a light where we could all be courteous and friendly. festive season aside, i just wish there's more Malaysians who would utter a simple 'thank you' or 'excuse me' whenever they're in public. so, out of 5 people, you're the only one who greet that poor fella. my diagnosis? one out of 5 Malaysians are actually friendly and thoughtful.

the cashier guy should at least take out RM5 from the cash register and hand it to you as duit raya. hehe. i dunno. selamat hari raya, man =)

Benjamin

I actually got freaked out when I went to Aussie the first time. Everyone were saying please's and thank you's and... SMILING! I'm like, are you mocking me?! But yeah, it's gonna take a while before Malaysia reaches that standard of politeness.

Wei chengsim, continue blogging la..

-Princess Shin-

That's sweet! Congrats on you making the first move! =)

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