WOU celebrated Hari Raya Aidlifitri with a simple luncheon at the main campus today, keeping the mood a little sombre and not too loud out of respect for the recent passing of the wife of the University’s Pro-Chancellor.
The event saw the participation of full-time students, led by student body President Chow Bai Quan, who lent their creativity in putting up the decorations. The Homestead hall was adorned with overhanging ‘ketupat’ packets and the walls were decked with angpow packets and greeting cards, making the venue extra elegant.
Guests were greeted at the entrance with a magnificent wooden panel, designed by the students, with the words ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ inscribed in Arabic. Each staff received a beautiful ribbon-tied door gift of kuih bangkit – or melt-in-mouth cookies - and every table had servings of lemang with serunding.
The gathering opened with a fashion show by six students who gamely paraded in striking baju kurung, baju kebaya and baju Melayu. This was followed by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong wrapping themselves in the traditional songket samping, with some help from Sharizal Inche Mohamed (Human Resources) and Mohd Yusuf Hanafiah (Library). It is said that the traditional Baju Melayu costume is not complete without the samping, a sarong-like cloth, with the fabric, colour, and the way they are worn giving a clue to the state of origin and standing of the person.
Prof Ho remarked that organising and celebrating the main festivals of the various ethnic groups is a standard practice in WOU. It promotes a spirit of camaraderie among staff regardless of race or religion, he added.
Taking cue from the ‘maaf zahir dan batin’ phrase in the Malay culture which denotes forgiveness, reconciliation, and renewal of family bond and friendships, he said, “We should appreciate this. Despite our busy schedule, we should every now and then reflect on our actions and, if necessary, seek forgiveness in a physical way and spiritual way for whatever wrongdoings we might have committed. This would bring us back to the heart of viewing each other, not as competitors, but colleagues, working together in a peaceful work or even learning environment.”
He continued, “From a global perspective, we see peace being challenged in many different ways today. I do hope as citizens of the world, we would come to our senses, and commit to making this world a more peaceful place for all to live in.”
He thanked the Muslim colleagues in the organising committee and the students for their contributions.
All then feasted on nasi briyani with dalca, fried chicken, mutton, cucumber-pineapple salad, and traditional cookies like kuih bahulu and agar-agar.