When Raya ends
My girl asked the other day when Raya ends? I said in a month. She said, ‘Wow!’ Except that suddenly Raya ends today, at least for these week days, that is. Today is the start of the third fourth term for most schools, public and private; and also just a nice day to be back to work. But not yours truly. Unfortunately for some employees like me who work in the ‘non-Government’ sector (though mine is a unique one), we started work on the second day of Raya, last Friday. I even have to finish some work beyond our working hours until my colleague shouted: “its your Hari Raya! Go back home and celebrate it!”
For students in primary six or Year Six as from next year they are called, are not in celeberatory mood either. Next week is the start of their public exam in which if they pass the exam, will enable them to advance to ‘secondary level’. My girl used to say this is their puberty period, school-wise. I hope that doesn’t give them pressure to grow up quickly, young people these days!
So what is it like to celebrate Hari Raya in Brunei? We love celebrations and family-gatherings (not being sarcastic here, that’s the truth). Brunei is a close-knit family oriented community, so you wont be surprise if everybody knows everyone in Brunei. Hari Raya can go on for a month, with the exception of weekdays routine like work and school, that is.
My other half said its not as joyous or fun when he was much younger. I replied, ‘Of course. Its called ageing.’ Different people have different reaction when asked, ‘So, how’s your Raya?’
My sister is in the UK now, a first for her and family. A friend is now in Azerbaijan, working and will only be back in the middle of this month. My girl is cramming her head as she prepare for her public exam next week. And for us the whole family, it’s been crazy as we just moved in to our own home sweet home, a few days before Raya. Funny the whole family was in full swing preparing to celebrate Hari Raya and come first day of Hari Raya, we all over-slept!
What I did notice this year was the herds, should I say, of children sometimes as young as five, who went from houses to houses, just to collect ‘duit raya’ or the green packet containing money. I remember a few years back, some parents even dropped off their own children from one point and let these children roamed around, sometimes crossing busy roads, just to collect money. How sad was that? I am really relieved that this year there is none to report, at least from areas like Jerudong, Sengkurong or even Gadong. That’s from my own points. Have you seen any in your area?