Trust and understanding, the locus of unity and harmony

Trust and understanding, the locus of unity and harmony

Recently (on 22 July 2018), Christians and Muslims gathered at the Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church and spent about three hours receiving knowledge, building rapport and strengthening friendship

They listened to Habib Hassan Al-Attas, Imam of Ba’alwi Mosque, who talked about the importance of keeping close relation among people of the various races and religions in Singapore through trust and understanding. (“Imam” is a prayer leader.)

The event, the fourth in a series of Interfaith Dialogue & Networking programme, was organised by the Siglap Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) in conjunction with the church, located at East Coast Road.

The Guest-of-Honour of the event was Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Mayor of the South East District of Singapore, Senior Minister of State for Defence & Foreign Affairs and Advisor for East Coast GRC.

Rev Song Cheng Hock, Associate Pastor of the Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church, and Dr Daniel Tan Thuan Siah, Chairman of the Siglap IRCC, and Ven Dr. K. Gunaratana of Mahakaruna Buddhist Society were among the guests in the audience.

Rev Song Cheng Hock making his welcoming remarks, while the other photo shows Dr Maliki Osman giving his opening speech in which he mentioned that many Singaporeans are still ignorant of the nuances of the Singapore society, hence the need for information-sharing programmes such as this “In conversation with Habib Hassan” event.  

Imam Hassan explaining the importance of having trust in promoting mutual understanding and appreciation and strengthening relationship among all Singaporeans.

Listening to prominent speakers in a gathering such as in this event is a good way to get people understand and appreciate our diverse cultural and religious practices.

Imam Hassan even passed round some photos on the subject of his talk for the audience to see, two of which are of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In his talk, the Imam mentioned that right to this day the main door key of the Holy Sepulchre is in the hands of a Muslim family. The other photo-shot shows a man in the Muslim family opening the door in the morning as people waited to go in.

The IRCC aims to deepen the residents’ understanding of the various faiths, beliefs, cultures and practices through inter-faith and inter-ethnic activities such as talks, forums, heritage trails and visits to places of worships.

Imam Hassan’s focus advice about the importance of keeping good relationship among all Singaporeans is “trust”. We must trust people to enjoy harmony, he reiterated.

He delved into the history of Islam from Islamic sources as well as his own research to explain “trust” by giving examples of how Muslims and non-Muslims as well as Christians enjoyed peace among them by trusting each other. He mentioned a few examples, such as:

(1) When Muslims were persecuted by the pagan Meccans, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) sent his followers to Ethopia where its Christian King gave refuge to them. Later, he himself, upon being invited by Medina (Madinah), left Mecca, the place of his birth, and migrated to Medina.

(2) The Prophet, after 10 years in Medina, re-entered Mecca with 10,000 of his followers. He instructed his followers not to take revenge on the pagans by abusing them and not to enter their homes and destroy their idols. He only removed all the idols that were displayed on the Ka’aba by the pagans because the Ka’aba, by God’s Revelation, is the point towards which Muslims face when doing their daily solat (5-times a day prayers).

(3) The door-key of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is kept by Muslims for centuries. (“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is one of the most important shrines in Christianity. Many Christians believe that it marks the place where Jesus was crucified and buried, and where he rose again from the dead. It has been a special place of pilgrimage since it was founded in AD 326.” – Google.) (See also article and CNN video, “Two Muslim families entrusted with care of holy Christian site for centuries” – https://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/26/middleeast/easter-muslim-keyholder/index.html )

Question-answer time: The microphone being handed over to a man sitting among the audience who wanted to ask a question.

More questions being asked. The questions included:   (1) Why do Muslims avoid touching dogs or take them as pets?
(2) Can Muslims eat vegetarian food (cooked) in Chinese restaurants?
(3) Can non-Muslims greet their Muslim friends with the phrase “Assalamu-alaikum” (Peace be upon you)? 

Dr Maliki presenting a memento to Imam Hassan. A photo was then eagerly taken with the speaker: (From left) are Dr Daniel Tan, Ven Dr K Gunaratana, the Imam, Dr Maliki and Rev Song.

Another eager pose with the Imam.

At the end of the fruitful knowledge-sharing session, a fruit fiesta followed with the King of the Fruit (Durian), Singaporeans’ favourite, taking the main attention.
While enjoying the durians as well as the other fruits like bananas and rambutans, those who attended the function mingled and chit-chatted.

“Durian, oh our glorious Durian! If it’s not for our love of you we would have gone home by now,” they seem to say, with Mdm Noorliah Howdi (in the second photo) looking so happy for having chosen one that smells so very tempting.

Is Dr Maliki’s happy wife, Mdm Sadiah Shahal, signalling to say that she has eaten four durians or just four fleshy seeds?

The cheerful faces show that the fruit fiesta is superb; however, it is ending soon. But the knowledge, friendship, understanding and trust acquired in the event ought to remain for us to further build and maintain a happy, peaceful and harmonious Singapore.

Indeed by mingling together and understanding each other we can move in unity and harmony, a good effort which we Singaporeans have been cherishing and which we have to maintain for our happiness and survival together as “One People, One Nation, One Singapore”.

Shaik Kadir 

[Thanks to Mdm Noorliah Howdi (3 photos) and Dr Daniel Tan (4 photos) for their photo contribution.]

1 August 2018

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The glorious kampung spirit

The glorious kampung spirit

“A kite in the evening sky”, an autographical novel divulging in tales of kampung life in Geylang Serai, gets 3 publication rights since 1989

“A kite in the evening sky” has been published by three different publishers at three different period of time.

Just two days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year (on 13 June 2018), some 3,770 ketupat casings were hand-weaved from stripped coconut leaves in a marathon dubbed “Ketupat-thon”, a 12-hour feat for charity at the newly-opened Wisma Geylang Serai.

Called “Ketupat-thon Charity” the event was led by Malay Grassroots Advisers to support Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA). More than $36,500 were collected and donated to TAA for distribution to the poor and needy.

Some 600 participants, some expert weavers, some novices, weaved the casings which would be used to make ketupats (rice cakes) fr Hari Raya guests.

I was present at this event

Shaik Kadir with Dr Yacob Ibrahim and the other participants of “Ketupat-thon” at Wisma Geylang Serai on 13 June 2018.

SK’s article, “Tulis sejarah untuk warisan”, in “Pandangan”, Berita Harian of 13 July 2012. 

SK’s article, “Growing up in the heart of Geylang Serai”, in “Think”, The Sunday Times of 21 August 2011 : “A diabolical yell from a man inside the jamban (shared village lavatory) rang out, followed instantly by a continuous terrified scream from the well area. I jumped off and fled.”

Two scenes were nostalgic to me – the area now occupied by Wisma Geylang Serai and the weaving of the ketupat casings (with young coconut leaves called janur).

Way back in the early 1960 I lived in Geylang Serai and used to play bola chapteh (chicken feather “ball”) and gasing (wooden tops) with friends who lived in this very ground of Wisma Geylang Serai where attap- and zinc-roofed houses as well as a prominent wooden-beam and plank shop, occupying a sizable area, stood. It belonged to a Chinese construction supplies dealer.

The other nostalgic memory is that of ketupat casing weaving, a practice among some kampung households, held a couple of days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The ketupat would be cooked on the eve of Hari Raya, and eaten with serunding, lodeh and sambal goreng on Hari Raya when relatives and friends come visiting with the greeting “Assalamu-alaikum. Selamat Hari Raya”.

SK’s article, “Masa berkampung di Geylang Serai”, in “Pandangan”, Berita Harian of 13 July 2009.

Well, for us male teenagers, voluntarily joining a group of young people weaving ketupat casings not only enlivened the festive mood but we got to throw glances at the girls sitting in the same circle absorbed in the task.

In the late 1980s, with the memory of such kampung indulgence and spirit still fresh in my memory, I wrote my kampung days’ experiences in a book, “A kite in the Evening sky” which was published by EPB Publishers in 1989.

“A kite in the evening sky” was published by EPB Publishers in 1989. (115 pages)

I wrote it with the hope that present-day people would know that there were kampungs in Singapore. In the “Epilogue” of the book, I wrote: “I enjoyed kampung life with all its difficulties, peculiarities and qualities. And there was that kampung spirit we cherished…neighbours mingled easily to chit-chat or give a helping hand as houses do not have fences and children played together outside theirs or their neighbours’ homes.”

“A kite in the evening sky” attracted the attention of the Times Heritage Library to produce five books from five different authors to be made into school literature texbooks, and in 2000 Federal Publications published it.

“A kite in the evening sky”, published by Federal Publications in the year 2000 under the Times Heritage Library, became a secondary school literature textbook. (136 pages)

To revive and cherish the kampung spirit, early this year (2018), “A kite in the evening sky’ was republished by Marshall Cavendish with two additional chapters.

“A kite in the evening sky” was republished by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) in 2018.  This edition has two additional chapters. (160 pages)

SK’s article, “Pandai main chapteh”, in “Ekstra”, Berita Harian of 8 March 2010.

SK’s article,  “Tak boleh main di bawah pokok kelapa”, in “Ekstra”, Berita Harian of 15 March 2010.

The book contains my firsthand account of growing up in a Geylang Serai kampung in the late 1950s and 1960s. It was a time when children spent the hours after school playing with friends, eating fresh jambu directly plucked from the tree, hauling pails of water home from the public standpipe located at some distance away, attending prayers at the surau, learning to fast, learning to read the Qur’an as well as frequently attending cowboy movies from the 10-cents open-air cinema deep in Jalan Alsagoff and doing kampung roaming and visiting the Taj cinema, Garricks cinema and the Queen’s cinema, all along the Changi Road-Geylang Road stretch, to look at the display of photos of “Now showing” and “Coming soon” movies.

Like the chicken which had plenty of fresh air and exercises when they fought and chased each other, we teenagers had plenty of exercises too when we played catching, hide and seek, lereng, gasing, marbles; we went picking up thrown bus-tickets at the bus-terminus near the Taj cinema to play guessing numbers, we went “hunting” with self-made catapults; we climbed trees; we made our own chaptehs; we erected lampu colok to light up the kampung in the last ten days of Ramadan to enliven the Hari Raya mood.

SK’s article, “The thrills and spills of kite flying”, in “Review”, The Straits Times of 27 September 2010 : “Soon the blue kite for battle and started to ‘provoke’ it. A fierce battle ensued.”

We glassed our strings to fly kites; we flew kites high and far; we engaged in fierce kite-battles and we chased after “lost” kites during battles, sometimes injuring our bare-footed legs when we stepped on pieces of broken glass or exposed nails.

Many games we invented ourselves; many of the game rules we formulated ourselves, and many a times we furiously argued when the rules were flouted, and sometimes fist-blows ensued, but soon forgotten.

We admire the people of those days but we would not want the environment and its inconveniences, for instance of rushing to go to the jamban and finding it occupied; lining up to the “bathroom”, carrying pails of water from the government standpipes, all away from home. Definitely not!

Those were the days, my days and the days of many others, the days when kampung spirit prevailed. Today, we need to bring back the kampung spirit – the gotong-royong practice, the berkawan practice, the tolong-menolong practice.

Many in the kampung were poor but they maintained friendship. My family too was poor. My “jaga” father passed away when I was about seven and my widowed mother took care of me and my two sisters as we grew up enjoying our kampung days.

SK’s article, “The kampung memories that last a lifetime”,  in “Review”, The Straits Times of 22 July 2009: “My house had no tap, so I had to collect fresh water from the government standpipe some distance away. I usually did this at night, carrying two pails. It took a few trips to the standpipe to fill the water-drum in our tiny kitchen area.”

Subtitled “Tales of kampung life in Geylang Serai”, the book, in its blurb, records: “Thoughtful, amusing and heartwarming, these stories hark back to simpler days and humble ways, offering us a vivid glimpse of the kampung that raised the child.”

The book is sold at $15:80.

According to the publisher, “In Singapore, the book is available in all Kinokuniya Bookstores and the Kinokuniya webstore: https://singapore.kinokuniya.com/bw/9789814794428 as well as in Popular bookstores. In Malaysia, the book is available in Kinokuniya KLCC and Popular Malaysia stores. Online, the book will be available over all Amazon platforms, The Book Depository and Fishpond World.”

The kampungs of Singapore are gone for the better but we need to retain and maintain the glorious kampung spirit in our satellite towns.

Shaik Kadir
26 July 2018

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Towards a harmonious society: Building a friendly and compassionate personality from young

Towards a harmonious society: Building a friendly and compassionate personality from young

On 20 July 2018 pupils of PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Kampong Chai Block 135 came to school, not in their usual prominent white shirt and red skirt school uniform but in colourful costumes.

The school at Block 135 Bedok North Street was celebrating the annual Racial Harmony Day. This event was a commemoration to remind Singaporeans of the importance of living together peacefully with people of different races working and living in Singapore.

The majority of them were wearing ethnic costumes – Malay, Indian and Chinese attire. My grand-daughter, Nur Iffah Bte Muhammad Imran, was wearing a purple baju kurung and sarung set.

Iffah with her teachers and a school friend.

Apart from wearing their respective communities’ costumes, a number of classrooms had been turned into mini museums with items belonging to the main races living in Singapore. “So that the children can better understand the different cultures,” says Mrs Ruth Neo, Centre Principal, in a circular to parents.

Some of the photos of the classroom cultural exhibits are given below:

Chinese language section.

Chinese and Malay cultural items and practices.

Home-use items and congkak (Malay game) and ketupat casing making.

Indian clothing and cultural items.

Good habits.

The school also participated in a food drive with the Food Bank that day. “Our objective for this initiative is to advocate awareness of food wastage and inculcate in the children the habit of helping people in need,” Mrs Neo added.

Delivering non-perishable food items to the Foodbank officials who collect and store them in the FoodBank van: Iffah’s grand-mother, Mdm Khairon, leading Iffah to hand over her two bags of donation. 

And for remembrance, a photo of Racial Harmony Day 2017:  Iffah with Teacher Casey (left) and Teacher Pauline at the carpark near the Foodbank van. (For last year’s Racial Harmony Day’s article, go to:  https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/racial-harmony-day-a-day-to-maintain-respect-understanding-and-friendship/ )

It is hoped that such initiatives as the Racial Harmony Day and the food donation and other character-building programmes would help form a personality in these children that would make them become responsible, caring and peace-loving future adults.

Shaik Kadir

(With thanks to Ms Suraya Md Hanif, Teacher, for the photos of the classroom cultural exhibits.) 

23 July 2018

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A successful epic mission: All cave-trapped footballers rescued

A successful epic mission: All cave-trapped footballers rescued

With the prayers and survival hope of relatives and friends and others all over the world, all the 12 young Thai footballers and their coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand, were rescued by 11 July.

Picture of photo in the front page of The Straits Times of 12 July 2018.

We salute the 13 stranded people for having the resilience in enduring the hardship they faced for 17 frightful days in a cave that was flooded, cold and dark. What’s also amazing is these young boys went without proper food, drink and sleep during this period.

A Singaporean diver, Mr Doughlas Yeo, who was among the international group of rescuers, was quoted by The Straits Times, 13 July, 2018, as saying: “When I look at the boys from the football team, they are my heroes because if they didn’t have the guts, they would not have survived.”

Picture of photos in The Straits Times (Page A6) of 12 July 2018.

We also salute and thank all the people involved in this rescue operation, including the expert divers and the rescue and medical teams as well as the numerous volunteers and countries that extended help to save the trapped 13.

Pictures taken from Page A6 of The Straits Times of 12 July 2018.  The picture on the left is that of Mr Ekkapol Chantawong, 25, the coach who, during their ordeal in the cave, motivated the boys and gave them encouragement. The other picture is that of Mr  Saman Kunan, 38, diver, who died when he ran out of oxygen while returning from the chamber where the boys were trapped.

It was a great relief to hear of the good news that the 11- to 17- year-old boys and their soccer coach, Mr Ekkapol Chantawong, 25, have been rescued and are recuperating from their ordeal in a Chiang Rai hospital and will be discharged soon.  Welcome home, heroes!

While we celebrate the safe return of the football team, we are reminded of Mr Saman Kunan, the diver, who lost his life in an attempt to save the stranded young people. Rest in peace, Saman.

This episode is a display of great humanity and unity.   Trully “Great things can be achieved when people from various nations work together for a commom goal,” wrote former Thai minister Nalinee Taveesin on her Facebook on 10 July 2018. True indeed.

We are facing great natural disasters like droughts, floods and earthquakes in many parts of the world that have destroyed crops and homes and killed people.  It is about time that people all over the world set aside their political, religious and racial differences and work together for humanity’s common good.  This Chiang Rai cave rescue operation is a good lesson to follow in forging humanity and unity for our common survival on the face of this earth.

Shaik Kadir
13 July 2018

Previously posted on 7 July 2018 in this blog:

Ordeal of stranded Thai boys: We are with you, and we pray that all will be rescued soon”  ( https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/ordeal-of-stranded-thai-boys-we-are-with-you-we-pray-that-all-will-be-rescued-soon/  )

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Kashmir Gang meets regularly after success of Mission Kashmir

 Kashmir Gang meets regularly after success of Mission Kashmir

Recently the Kashmir Gang met again, this time at Mr Ahmad’s home in Woodlands for a Hari Raya gathering as well as to discuss the Gang’s next mission.

At Ahmad’s home: The four couples take turns to gather at the home of one of the couple for each Hari Raya and discuss their next mission location. Sitting from left are Shaik Kadir and his wife, Khairon; Latiffah and her husband, Noor Mohamed; and Masod and his wife, Aminah. The hosts (standing) are Ahmad and his wife, Radiah.

After a hearty briyani lunch and tempting sugi dessert prepared by Ahmad’s wife, the Gang comprising four couples then relaxed themselves with teh tarik to discuss where to go next. After toying with some suggestions, the country agreed was India again but this time to Hyderabad where its briyani is world-famous.

One may ask, first of all, why these four couples call themselves the “Kashmir Gang”.

The couples, who have performed the Haj, are Ahmad Fraij and his wife Radiah; Noor Mohamed Shaik Hussain and his wife, Latiffah Abdul Majid; Masod Ros Majid and his wife, Aminah Markam; and Shaik Kadir Shaik Maideen and his wife, Khairon Mastan.

These eight people who separately registered for a tour of North India (Kashmir, Delhi & Agra) met at the Changi Airport on the day of the departure on 5 December 2009 and found themselves among the only four couples going for the trip.

North India tour: At the famous ski resort, Gulmarg, Kashmir. At extreme left is our Kashmir guide, and second from right is Shaik Kadir’s daughter, Munirah, who joined her parents for the tour. 

In Agra, India, with the calm and enchanting Taj Mahal in the background before the Gang entered the monument to view its interior.  Taj Mahal was built by the  Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an emblem to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. (The lady on the extreme left is our Agra-New Delhi guide while the lady second from right is Shaik Kadir’s daughter who came for the tour.)

The four couples had a wonderful and enjoyable time together, and became fast friends.  Henceforth, they took turns to gather at the home of one of the couple for each Hari Raya and discuss the suggestions for their next tour.

Last year the Gang met at Masod’s home and the previous year at Shaik Kadir’s home and next year it would be at Noor Mohamed’s home, insya-Allah.

Since 2009 the Gang had gone to: Sri Lanka, South Korea, Vietnam (Hanoi), Europe (a number of countries including Italy, France and England) and Spain & Morocco, the last being in December last year.

Shaik Kadir’s article in Berita Harian (8 April 2016): ” ‘Kashmir Gang’ meets in Hanoi”. The red pen marking in the second column shows the comments of Shaik Farouk, Ahmad’s son, rendered in English in this blog article.

Shaikh Farouk, Ahmad’s son, who was present at our 8 July 2018 Hari Raya gathering, believes that friendship is important for the well-being of a person. In my article in the Malay national newspaper Berita Harian of 8 April of 2016, he said: “It is clear that all people love to have close friends, especially when they are abroad. My parents are lucky to have met with three other couples during their visit to Kashmir a few years ago who share similar interest – travelling.

Shaikh Farouk Ahmad: “The name ‘Kashmir Gang’ is really creative.”

“Travelling fosters friendship among them, and they became close friends and frequently contacted each other by phone or via Facebook,” Farouk said.

The Kashmir Gang too felt that friendship ought to be lasting:

  • Ahmad: “We are helpful, and easy-going and very concerned about each other in the Gang. This is important in maintaining friendship for long.”
  • Khairon: “We talk and laugh aloud. We connect very well. We understand each other’s feelings and we tolerate each other. There is chemistry in us.” 
  • Noor Mohamed: “We feel good when we are in each other’s company. We talk about anything under the sun. We joke and we share our thoughts.”
  • Aminah: “We have been enjoying the most beautiful and true friendship since 2009. We are happy when we are together. This is important in friendship.”

In the Berita Harian article Farouk was reported to have added: “The name ‘Kashmir Gang’ is really creative. I also like to listen when members of this Gang talk. It’s full of fun and laughter. They will talk happily for hours. Only close friends talk like that.”

Shaik Kadir
11 July 2018

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Ordeal of stranded Thai boys: We are with you, we pray that all will be rescued soon

Ordeal of stranded Thai boys:
We are with you, and we pray that
all will be rescued soon

Photo of The Straits Times article (partial) of 3 July 2018, front page, announcing that the missing group of 12 boys and their coach has been found stranded in a cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Photo of The Straits Times article (partial) of 7 July 2018, page A10, announcing the death of the rescue diver.

We are greatly saddened by the death of the diver who swam in the flooded waters of the cave to bring aid to the 12 schoolboys and their coach who were on expedition to the Chiang Rai cave when a sudden rainfall flooded the cave, trapping the group for about two weeks now (7 July 2018).

The group’s ordeal has been flashed across the world and many countries, including Singapore, have sent their expert divers and rescue teams to Thailand to extend help to the trapped group.

We salute all the rescuers and the sympathisers all over the world as well as the bravery and resilience of the boys and the coach in battling thirst, hunger, fatigue, worry, lack of sleep in the cold and dark cave.

We extend our condolences to the family of the rescue diver who gave away his life to save the boys, and we pray that the group will be rescued soon.

Shaik Kadir
7 July 2018

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Reviving kampung spirit via “Ketupat-thon” 

Reviving kampung spirit via

“Ketupat-thon” 

More than 3,000 ketupat casings, weaved from stripped young coconut leaves, were hand-made in a marathon dubbed “Ketupat-thon”, a 12-hour feat for charity at the newly-opened Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday.

Weaving ketupat casings is a kampung skill worth reviving to maintain kampung spirit of working together among neighbours.

“Ketupat-thon Charity” was led by Malay Grassroots Advisers to support Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA).

The event, started from 4:30 am with the sahur (the pre-dawn meal) in preparation for the day’s fast – 28 Ramadhan coinciding with 13 June 2018.  Meals for the sahur as well as for iftar (breaking of fast at exactly 7:14 pm that day) were catered for at the venue.

At 7 am, “Ketupat-thon” commenced after a half-hour instruction on how to weave the ketupat casings or moulds in reviving kampung skills as well as maintaining the kampung spirit of working together or gotong-royong. Local celebrities entertained them with jokes and songs.

The multi-racial presence of Sparkletot kindergarten children and residents from an elderly home made the event livelier.  The children and the seniors tried their best to weave as many casings as they could and had lots of fun showcasing their effort.  They were among some 600 participants.

Multi-racial participants

Not sure of the next weaving move.  No problem.  Just glance at the huge LED monitor nearby that repeatedly provides all the weaving instructions.

The elderly, the youthful and the very young – all weaving themselves together for charity and fun.

Great concentration: Thanks for taking time to volunteer for the charitable event, “Kethupat-thon”

Participants’ comments

Two participants were interviewed for some comments about their skill in weaving ketupat casings.

Mr Rahmat Rabi…initial confusion eased within minutes.

A participant, Mr Rahmat Rabi, was a bit confused with the weaving. He said: “I forgot. Actually, I can weave kerupat casings but I did not do it for a long time, so I am doing it by trial and error now.” However, some 20 minutes later, Mr Rahmat, who said that he volunteered to participate in Ketupat-thon to revive this home-skill, had already weaved three casings.

Mdm Salmah Bee…learned ketupat casing weaving from her late mother.

Another participants, Mdm Salmah Bee Abdul Kader seemed to be an expert ketupat-casing weaver. “I have done over 150 moulds already since the marathon started this morning,” she said with joy, looking at her watch.  The time was 10:30 am.  She said that she had the experience of helping her late mother, Mdm Ainon, in weaving ketupat moulds every Hari Raya when they were living in the kampung in Jalan Senang.  “The young ought to learn this skill which is creative,” she added.

Result of “Ketupat-thon”

It was a great success.  The charity drive won an entry into the Singapore Book of Records with more than 3,775 ketupat casings beating the previous record of 2,200.

Achievement:   Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman receiving the Singapore Book of Records Certificate.

Charity collection

The “Ketupat-thon” participants’ ketupat casings went on sale for three hours from 8 o’clock last night.  More than $36,500 were collected from the sale and well-wishers and donated to TAA.

Another achievement and Grassroot Advisers show happiness: From  right, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Mr Masagos Zulkifli and Mr Zaqy Mohamad (extreme left) showing happiness to have collected $36,568. The cheque will be handed over to Mr Muhammad Harmizan Abdul Hamid (second from left), Chairman of the Executive Committee of TAA.

When the ketupat casing is almost completely woven, a gap or a small opening was left at its top.  It is through this opening that, when the ketupat is to be cooked, rice is poured in three-quarter filled and then the opening is sealed with a final weave.

Bundles of the rice-filled casings are immersed in boiling water till the rice gets fully cooked, occupying the whole mould tightly.

The squarish-shaped rice cake, flavoured by the young coconut leaves, called ketupat is cut into convenient pieces before the casings are removed easily wih the fingers. The rice cake is eaten with dishes like rendang, sayur lodeh, serunding, sambal tumis and sambal goreng. It is a favourite of the Malay Muslims for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Eid ul-Fitri or Celebration Day of Charity) which falls tomorrow (1 Syawal or Friday, 15 June).

Time for celebration

The writer of this article with Dr Yacob Ibrahim, retired Minister, who watched the participants in action in the morning, and “SSEAYP Friends” with Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman.

Weaving ketupat casing is an art.  Malay mothers, during kampung days, did  pass on their skill to their children by even weaving the casing with colour ribbons for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri home decorations.  However, such ketupat decorations as well as woven ketupat casings can be bought, nay, even bunches of already-cooked ketupat are available on sale, especially at Hari Raya Bazaars.

Eid Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr) to all Muslims.

Shaik Kadir

14 June 2018

(Photo credit:  While most of the photos were taken by the writer, three of them were contributed by Mr Yacob Hussain with thanks.)

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