Friday has always been the best day of the workweek for me as the weekend takes over my mundane routine... but today was an especially slow day instead.
Most probably because of the anticipation for the day to end fast had made me constantly checking on the time every so often.
From where I was seated, I was surrounded by time... my wristwatch, the digital clock on my PC, ticking time on my cell phone, the blinking time on my office telephone... and the clock on the wall.
All those time-telling devices could not make time to fly when you were not having fun. So I had to wait till the bell rang before I could dash-out from my zombie cubicle and into outdoor living.
I was excited solely because I already made a date with Wifey and Son to go shopping. Not just any outing, butHari Raya Eidulfitri shopping at Geylang Serai Raya Bazaar.
Once in a year in the month of Ramadhan, Geylang Serai is transformed into one, humongous, 24-hour outdoor market. Everything Malay, from traditional to modern can be found there.
From old, traditional Malay dishes and cookies, to clothes, knick-knacks for home deco are sold there. The only thing you will need to do is some legwork and the skill to bargain.
To add to the festive atmosphere, the whole stretch of roads surrounding the area like Changi Road and Sims Avenue are brightly decorated with Malay/Muslim themed lights.
Thousands of Malays from all over the island will throng Geylang Serai for shopping and thousands more will visit it again simply to feel festive joy that Eidulfitri is coming as the place is made alive and bustling with bargain hunters.
Many other races and tourists alike, will also not miss the light-up and bazaar to taste the not so commonly available Malay dishes during this period.
It has somewhat become every Malay's tradition to step into Geylang Serai during the Ramadhan Bazaar or Hari Raya celebration will not feel... complete.
For the Imran's family, we had an annual list of what to shop for... let me count the ways... nope, items.
- 2 sets Baju Kurung, a traditional Malay lady's dress,
- 2 pieces Tudung, a headscarf for Muslim ladies,
- 2 sets of broaches for the Tudung,
- 1 piece matching purse, and
- 2 pairs matching shoes.
For Son and I...
- 2 sets Baju Kurung, a traditional Malay men's clothes,
- 1 set Songkok, a traditional black velvet men's headdress,
- 1 set Kain Sampin, a traditional cloth wrapped at the waist.
- 1 pair shoes.
I am not sure about the current Malay community buying power, but the whole package of Raya Shopping seems to come with buying a new car too, as there were several large car showrooms in tents.
We broke out day's fasting at sunset with KFC meal at Singapore Post.
Unlike every year, we had to walk all over the bazaar until our legs turned to jelly just to get Wifey, her perfect Raya dress... and then crawl on further all four to get her 2nd dress. Only then, can we get both mine and our Son's Baju Kurung that is color coordinated to hers.
Tonight, the heavens answered my prayers as it was made especially easy for us when Wifey spotted both her chosen Raya dresses the moment we entered the bazaar.
I would have jumped for joy, but it would be too point of showing. So I gave a big smile instead while my heart sang the Internet "Yahoo!..." yodel.
Just next stall, we found both Son's and my Baju Kurung that color-matched each of her dresses and our Songkok. Yes!
"Can I go home now?" our son blurted out asking as he knew the hunt for Wifey's Tudung will be a torturous as we could not find the matching set.
The search made us went around the bazaar, but because of its sheer size this year, it seemed endless... but we found it just before 11:oopm.
Had a rest with drinks at Haig Road Hawker Centre while the stall prepared our packed food for the sahur, the early dawn meal before sunrise for our day's puasa or fasting.
Raya clothes shopping was officially done!
Amid all the thousands of people there, getting a cab is another nightmare... but not tonight as one empty cab just happened to pass by. Hurrah!
Next up, Raya dishes to order and cookies shopping!