Thursday, 24 May 2007

Then and now, here and there

A friend just got back from a trip to China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) and came back telling of how hospitable the people are. She went with her tour guide brother who has made friends with a number of people there. They were invited to the Chinese friends' houses for meals and were taken out to visit museums and interesting places. She was totally awed by their friendliness and welcome.

A relative, whose husband is Algerian came to visit recently. He was going back to Algeria for a vacation and the wife lamented on how they had to do the shopping for gifts for (almost) everyone at home! I mean, the whole village. Her husband, H, explained that neighbours were really close knit, even closer than one's own flesh and blood. What Islamic spirit! If there's death in one's family, the neighbour will make sure your meals are taken care of, at least for the day. If there's a wedding, your neighbour will vacate his house for your faraway relatives to stay in -- don't think about booking a hotel. Aww, so nice. I even received an invitation to a khatan ceremony in December, lodgings included!

But I remember not so long ago (go back 30 years) when my grandparents 'threw' a kenduri, practically the whole kampung would turn up to lend a hand. One person would be the main organizer, and others would simply fall into their roles, literally. I suppose it wasn't as simple as that; but that is how I remember it to be. So in the end it wasn't really someone 'throwing' a kenduri, but always 'organizing' a get together where everyone works for their meal, so to speak. Some, however, would just turn up to give moral support and make merry, not lifting a finger. But these were accepted roles as well.

I guess their sense of belonging was a lot stronger then, and one certainly does not want to be the odd one out and be a social outcast. Will we live to breathe that day?

So, we were China and were were Algeria and possibly a lot of other places, that still treasure that way of life that when we experience it now, it seems alien to us. There may be a time when there are more webkenduris than virtual ones.

1 comment:

Azri said...

Wondering whether things will be the same in China or Algeria 30 years from now..hmm...
Webkenduri, good idea!!

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