1 Shawwal 1400. August 12 or 13, 1980.
That year saw me spending my second Hari Raya (Eid) away from Malaysia. It was August, in the midst of Perth, Western Australia winter. I was in my first year of Electrical Engineering degree course at the University of Western Australia, and living in a 2-bedroom rented apartment on Stirling Highway, Nedlands, some 2 kilometers from the university. My housemates were Mohamad Amir Abdullah from Melaka and Mukhtar Hashim from Terengganu.
This was the morning of Raya in the apartment’s kitchen. A close friend and senior, Abdul Rahman Shamsuddin spent the cold Raya morning with us.
On the dinner table were a tin of cookies mailed by my mum, a fruit cake baked by me, and a “dodol” mailed by Amir’s mother. Dodol is a brown-colored sticky-firm sweet confection made of glutinous rice, coconut milk and palm sugar, traditionally prepared specially for Raya in certain parts of Malaysia, including Raub, Pahang where my wife would hail from. I had no inkling then that the other half in my future life would come from Pahang, because only 8 years later would I first met her. But that’s a story for another time 🙂
After this breakfast, I could not remember whether we went for the Eid prayers at Perth Mosque in the city or to the university’s Student Guild building where ISSUWA, Islamic Students Society of the University of W.A. normally held the prayers for those not able to go to the mosque due to time constraints to attend lectures, tutorials or labs.