I found a shop in Mid Valley selling halal bak kua or roast meat squares which reminds me of Chinese New Year’s eve dinner at the ‘Nad and Niz’ abode. The tradition of having CNY dinner at their place began since— I cannot remember when, but definitely since Nad became a Muslim and they got married and Nad’s mum had passed away. That made us the only people who would actually gather for reunion dinner, with all the Chinese dinner shebangs, halal of course and stayed through the night in their cosy Clementi pad.
Year after year, the same people attended. Our relations, fostered through our youth group days which began in the terrace house in Pheng Geck Avenue. Through the years, we sort of evolved into a close knitted family of siblings in faith. To say I literally grew up amidst them is an understatement. It was always steamboat dinner/Nad’s chicken wings/salad and other stuffs. It was always catching up with what’s up and who was doing what. It was always a series of playful banters and then games or listen to the inhouse ‘kitaro/m.nasir’– Bro O do his music stuff. Or just yak.
As the years go by, the table began to see spouses and later children. For a while it got noisy and lively like a big noisy clan. And then the tradition kind of stopped for a while because many due to work or marriage had left the island and the only ‘reunion’ was on emails. Last week I was told that the reunion would be revived and of course I was not there. They might still be there as I am typing this but it’s ok. I got my halal ‘bak kua’ from Mid Valley and I think of all of them.
My weekend, other than the halal bak kua went without a new ice-cream flavour this week. I attended a discourse today in which the husband presented an academic paper on ‘Islamisation of the Malay Mind’. My intention was just to see him present, take some photos and off I go. But I saw that the speakers for the morning session were Prof Mulyadi from Indonesia and Abdul Halim from Singapore and I decided to sit through it all.
Prof Muliyadi’s presentation on the translation works being done in Indonesia of the sacred Islamic science scriptures from Arabic to Bahasa Indonesia was really, really impressive and I was in awe at the amount of translation work they are doing there, despite the lack of fund that they are facing. Abdul Halim presented on Islam and education of the muslim minority in Singapore, which was the paper I actually wanted very much to listen to, for updates on things back home and also since now, from the outside looking back on the system which I was entrenched in for many years prior to this.
It has been a long, long day and I am now looking at my diary. Today’s ice-cream flavour is supposed to be Green Tea. Which I didn’t have any but I did have Green Tea cheesecake from Zen. Does that count?
Image taken from here.