The End of Ramadan

Well, the long month of Ramadan officially ended here in Indonesia tonight, much to my (and many others’ relief). The first and last weeks are always the hardest for me. The first week is difficult because I need to get in the rhythm of waking and eating and then sleeping and waking and then sleeping and waking again. All this because of the kids’ school schedules. Indonesia is a multi-cultural, multi-religious nation, but depending on where you live, customs and school schedules can be quite different.

When we lived in  South Sumbawa which is almost completely Muslim, the kids were given most of the month of Ramadan off for vacation. Here in Bali where most of the population is Hindu, the kids get a couple of days off for Ramadan while their main vacations are planned around the major Hindu religious holidays. And with four children in three different schools, schedules vary from day to day. One child has PE on Tuesdays and needs to get up at 5 AM, another two have PE on Wednesdays and needs to get up early that day, but the other two can sleep until 5:30, and the last has her PE day on Thursdays. Anyway, I think you get the point.

So tonight is Takbiran (the last night of the fasting month) and everyone in the kampung is driving around in vehicles celebrating. I’m on the third floor, as usual, writing. No getting up at 3:15 tomorrow morning. A relief.

The point, though, as I have mentioned before is to control our desires and needs and to remember the less fortunate. In this small kampung where so many exist on a subsistence level, it is impossible to forget the less fortunate. All I need to do is look next door where my neighbor still has half of his roof missing from the storms last January because he doesn’t have the money to replace the tiles. Or a glance at the neighbor to the west, who has a house with the thinnest plywood serving as the walls for his dwelling. The old Christian saying often goes through my mind, there but for the grace of God…

Controlling the desires and needs is something else. That is a lot more difficult. I am a smoker – I’ve quit many times only to begin again once I hit a period of stress. For me, Ramadan is a powerful reminder that I can control those needs and desires if only I have the resolve. Unfortunately, outside of Ramadan, the pleasures of smoking outweigh just about everything else.

Tomorrow morning is the day of community prayers that take place here in Singaraja in the large field just down the street from the police headquarters. Tomorrow, I’ll finish up the month of blogs and videos on Ramadan


~ by drbrucepk on September 30, 2008.

One Response to “The End of Ramadan”

  1. Hi Bruce….it’s good to read all your posting about singaraja, especially those related to ramadhan and lebaran. I was grew up in singaraja…and I happen to be a muslim too. My mother is a balinesse, my father is a javanesse.

    Singaraja was really a melting pot, where anyone from different culture and religious view can live together in harmony. That’s why I love Singaraja more than any other place in bali.

    Now I live in Jakarta…and I missed singaraja so much.

    I suppose..many of your writing on bali, have a very unique point of views, ie : from a moslem-westerner view point, while most western writer tend to write about bali from the Hindhu perspective.

    When I was in Singaraja, I lived in Kampung Baru, a next village of Kampung Bugis where you celebrate lebaran.

    Keep sharing your nice posting Bruce, I am following you…



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