Eid or Hari Raya as its more widely known in Malaysia will be celebrated this Friday by approximately 1 billion people around the world. Basically, Eid marks the end of Ramadhan and along with that comes the obligatory celebrating. Unfortunately, with most Malaysians celebrating is synonymous with binge-eating. Yes, after a whole month of literally starving ourselves, Malaysians are fond of getting their own back by stuffing themselves with all sorts of Hari Raya delicacies.
So, with that in mind (and in the spirit of the impending zombie apocalypse) here's a few of my own tips on how to survive Hari Raya, some of which I do plan to implement myself over the next few days.
All the fat and calories from the beef rendang, pulut kuning, lemang and thousands of different cookies and cakes need to go somewhere. Don't even think about popping out to the gym or going our for a jog around the neighbourhood though. There's always bound to be that distantly related annoying pak cik or mak cik who will discover your very non-Raya activities and will tell on you and remind the extended family about how freaky you are for the rest of your life.
Be smart when trying to get your heart pumping. Instead of driving down to that open house down the road, why not walk? Instead of immediately surrendering duit raya to everyone under the age of 12, why not turn it into a game that involves some running. Something like Police & Thieves, perhaps? That way, you get some much needed exercise and save some duit raya on the fat kids that can't catch up...
#2. Doube Pat (Geddit? No?...never mind)
After visiting a number of open houses and having a variety of rendang meats thrown on your plates by your over-eager hosts, make sure to check how the old belly is doing. Give it a gentle pat. If the only room left in your torso is your lungs, maybe it's about time you stopped eating. Let the stomach recover and get some fluids into the body. If the host asks, just let them know that everything was Sedap Gillerrr and that you're on your third helping.
I know, it might be dishonest but hey, what's a little white lie when it involves your health and your hosts' oh-so-sensitive feelings on this day of celebration and forgiveness?
#3. Beware of Bathrooms
To those of you traveling long distances between friends'/relatives' Raya events there's always the tendency to stop at some public toilet in the middle of nowhere especially since you've just stuffed your face with an extra helping of dodgy lontong a couple of hours before.
Well, if one needs to go, one needs to go but if it can be helped, put it on hold until your next destination. You see, Raya time is the longest holiday period in Malaysia and that means the public loos on highways transform into highly toxic dumpsites. Just ask yourself: Is it really worth it?
#4. Wear your seatbelts
As basic as this tip might sound, the brain does tend to hibernate when the body's resources are focused on processing all that fat, Planta and sugar, causing one to forget one's own personal safety while on the road. Seatbelts can feel uncomfortable when your waistline has just expanded by a few inches but no matter how much your ketupat-filled brain tries to convince you that you don't need them belts, don't buy into it. Strap that sucker on and you'll thank yourself you did. Oh, and of course, drive carefully. Other people want to enjoy their Raya too, you know.
#5. Bounty paper towels
I think they're called Plenty these days but really, bring along a good bunch of toilet paper and wipes, whatever it is you fancy. Paper towels are OK but I think they're a bit harsh on supple behinds. A few bottles of Dettol, some industrial strength toilet cleaner and a kettle wouldn't do any harm when trying to sanitize a biohazard area.
Yes, all this because even your best plans to avoid #3 can go down the literal drain and when that happens a Plan B always helps. It's either that or on some occasions your hosts' bathrooms can be as bad as some public toilets, depending on what was on offer that one Raya morning...
Eid Mubarak everyone. Stay safe. Stay healthy.