Roots Made of Concrete

Picture courtesy of sister-in-law, well, I hope she doesn't mind since I nicked it off her FB without permission.

Despite insisting that I was not going to get into the spirit of Eid, as it turns out, I had a lovely, lovely Eid. It was a lot more relaxed than the previous years – my family would usually make the trip to Johor before Eid and spend Eid in KL and Eizwan’s family almost never travel to Kelantan anymore since the entire family is here.

Eid is mostly a KL affair for my family, which still surprise a number of people. They look at you incredulously and splutter, “But, but what about your kampung (village)? What about your buffaloes, geese, and ducks and the long stretches of paddy fields?” It is well known that Eid in Malaysia (well, actually, any holiday really) is a time for people to balik kampung (going home to your village) to reconnect with your roots.

Well, I’m always connected to my roots since my roots are made of concrete.

It is really hard to explain to people that my grandmother would not know what to do with a buffalo, and as mind-boggling as it may seem to some, there are those of us who grew up in the city, my generation, the generation before me and the generation before them. I’ve no idea what my great-great-grandfather did before he left for Malaysia (or Malaya back then). Legend has it that he hopped onto a little sampan (a tiny boat) and paddled all the way from Java to make a new life in Johor. In the city.

My paternal great-grandfather came from China. There might be ducks, geese and paddy fields from where he came from but I would not know. Not much is known about him at all, from the stories I’ve heard, he was keen on forgetting where he came from, the few things he brought with him from China was a little seal bearing his family name. He got himself converted and married three lovely young women as one did back in the day, but that’s another story for another day.

Me, Eizwan and SIL at a relative's house.

So, no. I’m as city girl as it gets. Plus, if there were geese during my Eid, it would make my mother very unhappy. Geese and her are no mixy. They are sworn mortal enemies. My mother still speaks of them in a hushed whisper, faint lines of trauma visible on her face as she speaks about the time a gaggle of geese chased her down the road when she was coming back from high school with no one to rescue her.

Come to think of it, if you can get geese in the city, why do you need to go back to the village for the holidays?

But Happy Eid everyone! Hope it was as wonderful as mine.


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