Malaysia’s ‘Open House’ ensures all are welcome on Eid

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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
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Malaysians enjoy the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others during Eid. (AN photo)
Updated 05 June 2019
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Malaysia’s ‘Open House’ ensures all are welcome on Eid

  • PM, king open their doors for Eid
  • Malaysia famed for being multicultural

KUALA LUMPUR: In Malaysia, Eid is not only a time for close friends and family. It is a time when people throw open their doors and invite others to join the festivities.

The country’s Open House tradition has been around for decades - although its origin is unknown - and takes place during the country’s major festivals including Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, Christmas, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad and his Cabinet hosted an Open House on Wednesday, while King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is hosting one at his palace on Thursday in his home state of Pahang.

While these events attracts thousands of people, and can involve public transport arrangements and catering trucks, there are also smaller-scale offerings of hospitality.

“The food is the main attraction,” Siti Khadijah Kamaruddin, a 34-year-old working mother, told Arab News. “It is the only time where we would have a feast of lontong (cubed rice with vegetarian coconut curry), rendang (spicy stewed meat), satay and kuah kacang (skewed meat with spicy peanut sauce). Sometimes we even have a barbecued whole lamb.”

She said it was a family tradition to have an Open House on the first day of Eid, when relatives, friends and neighbors were invited to enjoy a glorious feast. “During Open House we simply open our gates to others so they can come and visit us. It is an enjoyable time for me as I am usually busy with kids and work, so have little time with friends and family. It helps me to cherish the good moments with them!”

Malaysia is one of the most multicultural nations in the region. It is home to Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and people from other ethnic minorities. It is normal for visitors and residents to be exposed to different cultures, languages, traditions, religions and cuisines.

Adrian Pereira, 38, is a Christian who works in the non-profit sector.

“I like the Open House tradition because it brings everyone together,” he told Arab News. “Growing up in a small town in Kota Tinggi, we always frequented our neighbor’s house during Hari Raya (Eid). We built strong bonds and friendships during that time. Of course, I still remember ketupat, rendang, satay, which are my favourite dishes! Although some of these foods are available throughout the year, it has a special and magical taste during Hari Raya.”

Imran, an Arab-Palestinian based in Kuala Lumpur, said he enjoyed the tradition of sharing food and happiness with others.

“The kuih raya (Malay cookies) in Malaysia are so tasty, especially the kuih nenas (pineapple cookies). Also sometimes they have durian fruit, which is a must-try!” he told Arab News. “One of the most beautiful things is everyone gets something during Hari Raya. Children get duit raya (green money packets), older people enjoy the festive cuisine and delicacies. Houses are open for people to visit each other.”

He said Eid was special to every Malaysian because it resonated with the idea of forgiveness.

“People remember their family members, they practice silaturrahim (strengthening ties), they forgive each other, this is beautiful.”

He also said the Open House tradition was a great leveler as it was something everyone could participate in.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.