Selamat Hari Raya (Happy Hari Raya) to all my Malay and Muslim friends! This year’s celebration marks my 7th Hari Raya with Imran.
Since we are in the midst of all the Hari Raya celebrations and festivities, today’s blog post is dedicated to celebrating my relationship with Imran, and how our multicultural relationship has made me a better person.
Just to clarify things: I’m Chinese, Imran’s Malay. So Hari Raya is mainly his family’s thing, since by race, I celebrate Chinese New Year. Every Hari Raya, I take part in Hari Raya celebrations where we visit Imran’s relatives together, and stuff ourselves silly with tidbits and food served at his relatives.
The both of us come from completely different backgrounds but at the end of the day these differences hardly matter, we consider ourselves each other’s best friends and life partner-in-crimes.
So what’s it like dating someone who is of a different race and religion than you?
Well, firstly you become mortified at friends who believe that Malays HAVE to – as if by some sort of law – get married at void decks. It is not mandatory guys!
Then you start to wake up in the middle of the night craving amazing homecooked Malay food – omg Nasi Ayam Penyet and Keropok Lekor. You get so excited whenever you see a Pasar Malam (night market) or better yet, when a new restaurant has a Halal food sign (*imaginary first pump*) because now there’s a new place to try out during couple date night!
Then you start listening to Malay songs and memorizing their lyrics by heart (my favourite Malay song is Belaian Jiwa, which I car sing constantly with Imran), and after engaging in a duet with your Malay significant other, you realize that maybe, just maybe, the saying that “Malays are the better singers” is correct because EVERYBODY in your boyfriend’s family CAN SING except you.
Funny realisations aside, my relationship with Imran has made me a better person in that I have gained new perspectives and new understandings of a different culture. Most importantly, I learn to love unconditionally and unrequitedly despite our racial and religious differences. I look forward to many more Hari Rayas together with Imran, my goal in 3 years? Be an expert at cooking all the flavorful Malay dishes, because what would be a Hari Raya family gathering without some tender-loving home-cooked meal?!