It's nisfu shaaban. It used to be a big event when I was little. My mother used to make us go to the surau before mahrib, making sure we wore our baju kurung. It wasn't something I looked forward to (for various reasons) and it came without warning. My mother would suddenly announce that we had to go maybe around 5 p.m. We had no escape.
The surau was just a couple of minutes away, so we had to walk. It was very safe then -- walking in and out of relatives' backyards and compounds. The only thing you had to look out for were the chicken droppings. The old surau would be well lit and swarming with people. Everybody would bring some kind of dish or another for the jamuan afterwards.
The thing I didn't like was the congested saf. Sometimes you could hardly move! You also had to literally sit on each other's right leg during tahiyat. It wasn't comfortable. If you were late, you would have to make your own saf outside the surau. That could be messy on a rainy night. Now, the surau is no longer and we would congregate to any of the mosques nearby. It is definitely more comfortable.
However, in this new place that I'm staying, the atmosphere is totally different. I almost miss the little old surau in 'Tapioca Hill'. The surau committee here has sort of lost its zest for community spirit. For I feel that that is what the celebration of nisfu shaaban is about: that's when you meet with the furthest neighbour, or a new family in the neighbourhood. It is when you could meet prospective sons/ daughters-in-law, or even life partners. It is a chance to give and take the tight saf, and to learn jamaah praying for many children. It livens up the neighbourhood.
So last night it was a tete-a-tete with AHS and our duet at yasin.