Saturday, September 05, 2009
Great Raya Hunt
We are into the third week of Ramadan month and there is not much time for Hari Raya Aidilfitri shopping left because it is done only on weekends.
We had our first today but nothing major that we should panic about since we have done our preparations little by little throughout the year. That cuts the cost quite substantially in anticipation of price hikes normally as any major festive season draws near.
We had a last minute “what if” thought about our dining chair cushion covers, to see if we can coordinate the fabric closer to the new gray colored sofa covers we intend to use this year.
So Wifey and I set off before noon to Woodlands Central in the hope to get a set made for the six chairs. Word of mouth is that Woodlands shops charges lower than the popular places like Bedok and Geylang.
Knowingly at this point of time, a few weeks to Hari Raya, we expect the prices to be on the high side. I budgeted the made-to-order for the six pieces to be about S$200.00.
But discovered, after hopping from one shop to another, that the cheapest quoted price was S$280.00 while the most extravagant was S$856.00… for a S$39.90-a-metre fabic.
Either the price was too high or the fabric was not remotely close to the sofa as we had hoped for. So we ditched the desire to match the two for this year. We stay with the present off-white covers we made extra when we first bought the dining set. Done!
We stopped over at my parents’ place to give them their monthly spending money. This month, both Mom and Dad each got extra money to spend for Aidilfitri in the form of Zakat from me. A practice all of their children do during the Ramadan month.
We spent our time there just resting our tired feet and chit-chatting with Mom and Dad. Had our Zohor prayers done and continued our journey to shop at Geylang Serai, the hot spot of all Raya shopping.
Together with Sonny whom we arranged to meet at Paya Lebar MRT, we began our Raya shopping at the first bazaar in front of the Singapore Post.
Wifey bought headscarfs at her friend’s booth and then we were into the toughest part of any Raya shopping for this family… finding Wifey’s perfect Baju Kurong Melayu, our traditional Malay dress to wear during the Raya celebrations.
After that Sonny and I will know what color of our clothes will be… a family tradition adopted by most Malays to be color-coordinated as a family during visits.
Geylang Serai started off decades ago with one or two clusters of tents where makeshift Raya Bazaar were held apart from the many shops there, but throughout the years, the tents have been getting larger and spread more throughout the vicinity.
This year is no exception. It is even grander than previous years despite the recession. There are probably 5 to 6 humongous white tents spread throughout Geylang Serai, Joo Chiat, Kampong Melayu, Tanjong Katong Complex, City Plaza and right to Paya Lebar MRT.
Though overwhelming, we had much ground to cover.
After scouring the hundreds of shops there for 2 hours, Wifey found her first dress at Zee Shan in Tanjong Katong Complex! A Malay version of the perfect black dress that was reasonable priced at S$99.00.
Wifey was happy but Sonny and I were even happier that the first dress was found within the 2-hour span. One down, one to go!
We stopped and broke our fast for the day at Istanbul Restaurant in Malay Village. Ironically, they served very nice Vietnamese Laksa that came with Mango Salad. Both Wifey and I had that while Sonny tuck into his favourite dish, Fried Noodles.
Thought we would be there all night, but luck has it, Wifey found her second, and even two more extra dresses at Geylang Serai Bazaar, in front of the newly built market totaled at S$100.00 for all 3 pieces! Awesome bargain!
The same goes for Sonny and I. Three pieces of Baju Kurong Melayu for the guys at S$100.00! Two pieces for Sonny and one for me. I have too many from the previous years that were worn a few times during the celebrations but Sonny has to have his replaced because he outgrows them.
Normally we will buy 2 sets of our traditional clothes every year.
One is worn on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri when we visit our parents and grandparents, while the second one is during our visits between siblings and relatives on a later date. We normally charter coach for the whole day, hopping from one house to another like a marathon.
Aidilfitri will fall on Sunday, 20 September 2009. The following Monday is a holiday, so a long weekend for celebration. We will continue the celebration with the whole coach-load full of family members for another outing the following Saturday, 26th.
Like every year, it is going to be a fun-filled family bonding day which everyone looks forward to. Mom and Dad always look proud and happy when everyone gathers together in their best clothes and the cheeriest of atmosphere come Syawal.