This post is a little late in coming. It's the fifth day of Ramadan already and I am writing something about the first day. A thousand apologies.
The first two days of fasting was okay but I had problems for the next three days. I was down with some gastric pains to the extent that I spent most of the day in bed. Not really a good way to while the time in this holy month but the alternative was to forego the fast and line my bowel with some food. I've been to the doctor earlier today for some medication with the hope that I can see through this pain without the need of missing any fasting day, if possible.
Anyway, back to to the original intention of this post. It has been a tradition with us to spend the first day of breaking fast at my parents' place whenever possible. In fact, this year we spent the first two days of Ramadan in Singapore because they conveniently fell on a weekend.
Normally my mother would cook kacang pool for the first day (like she did last year, see story -> here) but there was slight change of plans because the fava beans she kept in stock had turned bad because of weevils. Instead, she cooked some lontong. Added to that, my wife prepared some mee goreng while my youngest sister brought some roti gulung sardin and begedil. My third brother and his family also joined us for the iftar and his wife brought along some mini meat pies and goreng pisang. Drinks included air katira (which I bought from a bazar ramadan stall in JB) and some watermelon juice. All in all, it was a truly a sumptuous spread. So I guess you can understand why some people say that they actually gain weight during the fasting month.
Later that evening, I did my terawih prayers at the Ar-raudhah Mosque that's located just across the road from my father's flat. As in previous years, the mosque committee has arranged for the prayers to be led by a team of imam hafiz (those who memorised the whole 114 surahs of the holy Quran) from Terengganu. All the imams are young men in their mid-twenties and they have such beautiful voices. One of them has a lovely recitation melody so similar to middle-eastern imams that it reminds me of prayers at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. I am quite proud that skills of our young imans are exported for good use to be shared with our brothers in Singapore.
The following morning, I accompanied my father to another mosque in Bukit Timah area where he is helping to cook some bubur lambuk. The cooking of bubur lambuk or rice porridge is somewhat of a tradition at most mosques in Singapore and Malaysia. The porridge would normally contain spices and some minced meat, and is distributed free to anyone who care to come and collect. It would be interesting to know how this tradition started.
At this particular mosque, Masjid Ba'Alwi, the bubur is prepared specifically for those who wish to break their fast at the mosque itself.
Ba'Alwi Mosque is located at Lewis Road off the main Bukit Timah Road, near the old university area. The location of the mosque is somewhat at odds with its surroundings. The dwellings around the mosque consist of private housing and condominiums. I doubt there is a single Muslim house within walking distance. Despite this, the mosque is very popular and has a large congregation. I haven't had the opportunity to study its history but I guess when it was first built many years ago, the surrounding areas must have included a Malay kampung or two. As the years progressed and private development swallowed the kampungs, the mosque must have faced tremendous pressure to relocate. Perhaps, its direct links to Arab benefactors has helped it remain where it is to this day.
I managed to take home some of the bubur lambuk that my father cooked. My father also bought some fava beans and thus my mother was able to prepare kacang pool after all. So for the second day of breaking fast, we had some bubur lambuk and kacang pool. Delicious.