10 September 2017.
Hari Raya Qurban was more than a week ago. The surau run by the Islamic Welfare Association where I'm chairman had our own qurban of 4 cattle and 1 sheep, which was about the usual number we've had for the last few years. The difference was, this was the first time we'd done it with the new secretary of the association. To cut the story short, the old secretary had been holding the post since I became chairman, and I let him run the show undisturbed all this time. But late last year he lost his temper several times at several of our functions ( and I kept quiet ) and finally said publicly (but not in front of me) he wanted to quit the post. Finally, after a reminder from R.O.S. about our overdue AGM, and the old secretary refused to arrange for it after a few reminders from me, I and the other committee members organized for it, and we appointed the new secretary together with the other office bearers. The old secretary made it easier by just not turning up. So this qurban without him turned out ok, anyway.
We had to do it on the day after the Raya itself, because Raya was on a Friday. It would have been too rushed for time, with the Raya prayers and Friday prayers within a few hours, and it was within the 3-day tashreek anyway. Even then we started later than usual - 10.30 - because the imam who did the actual slaughter had to marry-off someone first. After refreshments after the qurban the imam himself suggested that we should start training someone else to take over the job, plus (showing his trembling hands) he's getting old for it (he's coming to 80, in fact). Nan, the bilal, who was there said he's willing to try next time, but he's not much younger himself.
The wife and three of my children had their own qurban that same Saturday, back at Lonek, which the children had arranged with their cousins months ago. My eldest son chose to celebrate Raya in Keluang this year, for the first time. So by the time everybody was back in the house, we had about 5 kg. of beef, parts and bones in the freezer. We promptly made some "sup tulang" and "rendang hati".
This Monday the oldest of the grandchildren, Arsyad and Iman, both 12, will sit for their school examinations. I hope they have prepared themselves well. These are so competitive today. Everybody sends his child for extra tuition now, as with these two. I hear they cost a bundle, and I believe them, because one of my golfing "kaki", a retired teacher, also does tuition, and he's not exactly complaining about the money. In fact last year he went for a trip to Europe and England with his family!
I've been following some of my friends' banter on the fb. In the past I'd occasionally chipped in, but lately have not. They're just making conversational comments, and what might pass for innocuos remarks could turn into gory thrust & parry with unthinking replies. As one of them said, we're entitled to our opinion but must also respect other's. In person we're usually more restrained because the other party is right there to give it back. But restrain is something I've to still learn, because even while playing golf I can still shoot my mouth. But if you study the details you'd find there's always reason for the "shooting from the hips". Age and previous superior position held ( say, an Appeals Court Judge ) have not deterred me from shooting from the lips.
Sadly, I also lost a friend this week.
Lt. Col (R) Arham Nordin succumbed to illness suffered for a few years but gotten worse only since last Ramadan. About three weeks ago I saw him from a distance at the mosque, being helped by his sons as they left after Friday prayers. I heard about his hospitalisation and grave condition but kept postponing a visit because of my three grandchildren attending nursery and having to pick them up at 5.15, which is about the hospital visiting hours. Regretfully, it's too late now.
Arham was 65, and was very active (and vocal) with the surau's activities. In fact except for this last Ramadan, he would be the regular alternate bilal for our tarawih prayers. Sadly, his children decided to hold the funeral prayers at home. Many, including me, couldn't take part in the crammed space. Many I spoke to also regretted not being able to join the prayers. The surau is only 200 m. away. It would have been a great honour to have the big crowd that came all join in the last congregation in Arham's final worldly farewell. I suppose family wishes take precedent. May he rest in peace.