Archive for August, 2011

Hari Raya food

Sometimes, the beauty of Eid comes to greet us in different ways.

When I was in Singapore earlier this year, my cousins hosted a small, informal gathering where we gathered with our aunts, uncles and members of the younger generation.

One of my aunts cooked Hari Raya, or Eid, food – ketupat, sambal udang Palembang and curry, knowing that I probably would not be back for Hari Raya.

“Eat up. Hari Raya in advance,” they all quipped.

This Hari Raya, I am again away from family and my cultural home. But the memory of the Hari Raya dishes that I had enjoyed at that gathering in Singapore sustains me; because the food was made, shared and enjoyed together with generosity and love.

And that, I think, is one of the timeless blessings of Hari Raya.

Selamat Hari Raya/ Best Wishes for a Blessed Eid.

selamat hari raya

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Being the recipient of rudeness is a bummer.

On my recent stay in Singapore, I encountered several instances of rudeness displayed by the service employees.

Here are two instances: one, at a downtown shopping mall, I approached the information desk where the girl manning it was reading a magazine. When I started with “Excuse me…”, she barked “Yah..” without looking up, as though I was interrupting her reading while she was lying on the sofa in her living room.

Another was a dreadful episode at Terminal 3, Singapore International Airport. My friend and I were placing our order at the coffee/toast stand. Another customer returned to the counter to retrieve something. So I move away from my friend to make space for him.

Then another of the workers, a woman carrying out some task behind the counter nearer to me, said “What?” to me with such a harsh tone and an ugly expression that I was shocked, and was caught totally off-guard.

I didn’t escape rudeness when I was up in the air. The Singapore Airline (SIA) flight went smoothly until a stewardess rolled her eyes when she couldn’t hear me. Since I paid a pretty good sum for the airfare, I wasn’t about to let such treatment go. I wrote a letter of complaint at the SIA website. I must say SIA’s response was prompt and very professional.

And rudeness persisted even after I crossed the International Date Line. At the San Francisco International Airport, I was at the immigration counter manned by an officer with the name tag Zhu. She pointed out that I had omitted to fill in a small section of the customs form. And then she added “Didn’t you read?’ After an 18-hour flight, that sarcasm really went down badly. Why couldn’t she be more professional: just ask me to complete the form, and skip the juvenile remark.

There are some motivation/inspiration writers and a school of thought that say that we should try to feel empathy or compassion for people who are rude; maybe they had a bad day or face some problems. Well, I’m not capable of being magnanimous to such individuals. They have no consideration for my feelings; why should I consider theirs.

To me, rude people, like racists, are crude individuals who are on their own sad little power trip. The world can do with less of their negativity and sour spirit.

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Obama signing

(Pic: Google images)

Obama greeting children

(Pic: Tom Uhlman/AP)

President Obama

(Pic: The Washington Times/AP)

President Obama

(Pic: (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

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