Selamat Hari Raya , Eid Mubarak to all.
Each year ,when we're in Leicester, on Hari Raya morning we will get a call from my former student in Singapore (we call her Trouble or Pest) to wish us 'Selamat Hari Raya' and 'maaf zahir batin'.
This year, when she called us, she had just come back from the Animal Shelter where she had taken 2 or 3 of 'her' dogs for a walk. Dogs need the exercise and she volunteers each weekend to do her bit for these abandoned animals. In fact her mother takes care of 42 abandoned cats, picking them from the market, near the bus stop, on the staircase - some were even dumped at her front door because they know she's a soft touch .
Trouble's family is unique. Her mother, stepfather and brother are Anglicans. She has her own flat where she lives and looks after her great-aunt, a Catholic. On her weekends, after 'working out' at the Animal Shelter, she visits her mum where she enjoys the best nyonya cooking east of the Suez and we too have been priveleged to enjoy such cuisine. Her Anglican mother cooks halal food for her daughter and us. In fact her cooking is halal every day of the year !!
Trouble, to us at least, is a unique Muslim. She converted when she was in her late teens. She lapsed for a while but she has found her way back. Life has not been kind to her. Abandoned by her father when she was still in her mother's womb, her childhood was difficult and tough. Her mother had to work hard at menial jobs to sustain the two of them. Other changes came into her life which were no less traumatic. Just when life was getting better, she lost her beloved in an accident at work.
But she kept her strength and her faith and never stopped loving and caring for those who need her, especially cats, dogs, birds, flowers, and abandoned plants !
I always smile when I recall what she said to her brother. In a light jovial way she said to him "Hey, J... bila gua mati , jangan bakar gua. I'm a Muslim" (When I die, don't cremate me). This brother and sister always joke about her funeral arrangements. He's a special Anglican and she's an exceptional woman and Muslim.
People like our Trouble and her family help to keep my faith in human beings.
SELAMAT HARI RAYA, LELY