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azan memories

it is around 715pm, and the calls to prayer are heard all over town.

i am transported back to my early tweenage years.
we are at a beach in Port Dickson. it is one of the rare occasions that we are together with the relatives: for a variety of reasons, my dad isn't "close" with his family, and it's rare to get toegther apart from the mandatory Aidil Fitri and other occasions.

Someone's rented a beachhouse, and we all converged there for the weekend.

i am standing on some rocks with my cousin, as night falls.

It's maghrib, and the muezzins start calling out the azan.

I'm talking or joking with my cousin, and she hushes me up.

I'm puzzled and rather taken aback. She was okay 30 seconds ago!

Yeah so it's prayer time... so what??

I notice she's whispering stuff, perhaps following along with the words of the azan.

(I learn much much later that there are some "call-out lines" [whisper-along lines?] recommended when one hears the call to prayer).

I feel... so out of place.

A few minutes before this, I'd already been made to feel "malu" and awkward: So there I was in a swimsuit, while everyone else - male AND female - was in shorts and teeshirts, because one shouldn't show so much skin. I was SO out of place. On top of that, the blue-and-yellow swimsuit was for "girls" as opposed to "women": i.e. no padding in the chest area. So my nipples were pushing against the poorly-designed swimsuit that had the YELLOW portion exactly where my budding breasts were. My cousin made a comment about my being "tak malu" (having no shame). I already had the towl draped around my waist so that my thighs were covered... i couldn't cover my chest/boobs except by kinda folding my arms high on my chest - any other way and I'm probably draw *more* attention to them!

Then came the whole azan-shushing-"call-out" observation.

can we say "outsider"?

I mean, I'm not "blaming" my parents for making sure I had a swimsuit instead of teeshirt & shorts like the others - by that time perhaps I should have known better anyway? But .. i *didn't* know better... plus the whole "acknowledging and keeping silent during azan" thing... I was caught is such an awkward situation... sooooo not helping the self-confidence...

An even earlier memory:
I might have been 8 years old.

In those days, the cal to prayer would also be aired on the tv, followed by the reciting of a doa or some sort, the same exhortation to Allah, ending with something related to "granting us a place in paradise, that You have promised (".. yang telah Engkau janjikan.")

So one evening, this parent of mine, who at that time was a fun person to be around, seemed to have a sense of humor, and made us laugh,, he motioned to my brother and me while this post-azan exhoration was going on.

"Listen, listen!" said the parent, with this mischevious grin on its face.

My brother and I were all excited wondering what this parent was up to.

Then came the last few words ".. yang telah Engkau janjikan."

"There!" exclaimed the parent jubilantly.

"Tak janji pun!", said the parent. (rough translation: "What promise?")

My brother and I, still very young, and [if you don't know by now] without much if any "religious" upbringing, ,, and at that time having that parent kinda up on a pedestal for the jokes and fun stuff,,,, so we howled with laughter and mimicked what we'd been shown.

over the next few days, whenever the tv was on, and it was prayer time, and the doa was being said, we'd wait excitedly, and as we heard "... yang telah Engkau janjikan." we'd hop up and down, and dismiss what we'd heard, saying "tak janji pun!" "tak janji pun!" and laughing ourselves silly.

Until the OTHER parent heard us one day.

*gasp!* "what are you saying??!!!"

"[this parent] taught us! So funny!" was our reply.

Well, we got a sound scolding, and warned never NEVER to say that again.

Spoilsport :p

I *assume* the other parent got a severe telling-off about it.
So there you have it... yet another glimpse into the past that's helped shape me into the person I am today: "spiritual" but "not religious" [among the *many* labels one could throw at me lah, haahaha... i reject them all. I am what and who I am!]


p/s: showing my ignorance yet LOVING the link: found out that MINBAR is not just the homeworld of the Minbari, but also a pulpit in a mosque! :-)


  1. You have my empathy.

    My mom just made me do math. Lots of it.

  2. oh well...
    it kinda brought me back to my childhood when i used to recite takbir raya during non-raya days...
    bad thing to do, i've been told...
    well... i was just a kid at that time... duh...


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