Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day 69 - The Festival that did not Happen

After trying yummie Chinese food at the University canteen, we bought a NUS sweater and polo shirt as a memory of our working stay here (I wonder how all this stuff fits in our suit cases). In the afternoon, I had my first review talk about my assignments here at NUS. After these two hours I was killed of exhaust - a long discussion in business English is quite challenging even if you are used to speak the language and like it.

In the evening we planned to attend one of the most important Islamic feasts of the year: the hari raya haji. We expected crowds of people, fancy lights, and here and there a slaughtering. As its name says, the "sacrifice festival" on the last day of the hadsch, the pilgrimage to Mekka, usually is centered around slaughtering an animal (usually a goat) and dividing the meat: 1/3 to the owner, 1/3 to the family and 1/3 to poor and needy ones.
We went to the centre of the Islamic community in Singapore. Nothing. The only mentionable sights include a celebration of some Chinese sect with lots of incense, noise and two man-powered dragons - and a terrible smell of animals around one of the big mosques. These poor animals are obviously spending their last night here, and the big thing will happen tomorrow.

So we had an Ice Teh O and a Ice Teh Tarik instead and rode to a the magnificent Sultan's mosque in Bugis. Beautiful mosque, especially a nice "Arabian Nights" flair at night. Again no slaughtering today. What a fail. Maybe that was due to the increasing PSI readings from the Indonesian forest fires. It was about 120, which is already in the 'unhealthy' range.

Just an iPhone shot, but you nicely see how the modern city is eating up traditional areas like here Little India. It is the same in Chinatown. The increasing haze is also visible and creates a somewhat spooky (and smelly) atmosphere...

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