Reviving kampung spirit via
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.
“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.
Two participants were interviewed for some comments about their skill in weaving ketupat casings.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.)