Sunday, September 26, 2010

The impersonal open house


The Malaysian Open House is a tradition that is likely to continue for a very long time.
It has been non-stop feasting for many Malaysian Muslims as they continue to manage or visit open houses during the month of Shawwal which began on September 10.

Many have expressed admiration for this "unique and peculiar Malaysia tradition".

The Malaysian open house or rumah terbuka (in the Malay language) is mostly held during major festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Diwali, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Hari Gawai, among others.

It is the season to welcome relatives, friends, colleagues and sometimes strangers from the different ethnic groups into their homes.

The activity creates goodwill and may lead to friendship for some people.

While I like the idea of an open house, and by extension an open heart (because that is what the gesture implies), I find the sort organised by corporations a little impersonal.

I prefer small gatherings of family and close friends. I am actually terrified of mingling with thousands of people I do not know.

That was how I felt when I attended the Maybank Eid-ul-Fitr open house yesterday.

I was told by Prakash, the corporate communications executive at Maybank, that the open house hosted by Malaysia's largest banking group catered for 3,000 guests.

If it had not been for Yani, an old school chum who is now working for Bernama, the national news agency, I would have skipped the festivity.

I wanted to meet Yani, whom I have not seen in a while.

I found out at an Eid-ul-Fitr dinner party prepared for close friends at the home of another pal later that day that some people accept invitations to open house dos of the kind I had alluded to earlier for the same reason I appeared at the Maybank function: to meet up with buddies.

Many more do it to network with vendors, customers, business contacts and even competitors besides using the opportunity to be seen with the powerful and famous.

What happened to the idea of enhancing ethnic relations?

Nowadays, the desire to promote ethnic harmony and understanding during such occasions seems less important.

It is all about making lots of money now.

1 comment:

pannekoek said...

Yaniiiiieeee...........so nice :)