It’s Hari Raya tomorrow, and this year in particular it had some special meaning for me (not just any public holiday)… because i am visiting my friend’s house and it’ll be a first for me. i always knew we’re a multi-racial society and country (the nation building stuff aside), but somehow the environment that i grew up in offered so little of it.
i guess for the first ten years of my life when we’re still living in our old house, i fondly remember my malay neighbours giving us home-made cookies and us to them (on both CNY and Hari Raya). yet such a gesture was not carried forward when we moved, simply because we did not have any malay neighbours in our block.
and of course comes the school environment, where even in AJ there were very few exchanges about the different customs. but it kind of changed this year when i was doing my attachment, i had a malay colleague who was really friendly and outspoken.. she would talk to us and share snippets of what they do during ramadan, albeit minimal. in addition, my attachment offers me the chance to interact with the students who are fasting and they would sometimes share their mood for the day.. such small interaction offers a glimpse and understanding into a different culture (bit by bit)~
i guess even though such an ‘exposure’ didn’t last long, it meant something to me because for the first time (almost) in my life, i had such a close understanding of the muslim culture… that made me want to know more, and luckily our Rinie at home would also share with me when i asked her.
at this point i’ve digress from what i wanted to share… it’s about reciprocating… i once learnt in this self-awareness course that: to understand what kind of giving-person you are, you should look into what you will give to others when expressing gratitude or feelings. at this point mine is pretty clear: writing letters and notes to people, and i would definitely appreciate if people return the gesture. that said, today Rinie bought me a shirt and that was pretty unexpected…
i didn’t want to feel like i am taking her for granted, and besides the multiple ‘thank yous’ i did not know what else i can do to show her my appreciation.. that self-awareness course came into mind, so i bought her lots of snacks for her to munch when she’s out tmr~ it’s not really about ‘paying’ back but more of ‘i want to show you my appreciation’..
it leads me to think that sometimes we could overthink things, and something as simple as showing our care and concern for others may be interpreted as otherwise.. that said, i’m trying to be more introspective and become more aware of my surroundings.. just so that i can truly be comfortable around people and perhaps make them comfortable around me too.. but i guess part of me still wants to protect that clueless disposition and ‘hide’ in my own world.