A few months back, I have been persuaded to attend some meetings of a group of Muslim mothers who were planning to make an 'Eid celebration' of sorts in my son's school on the 27th of January 2007. Obviously, these mums also send their children to the same school and because of this similarity that we share and the fact that we are all Muslims, I decided to join them.
To have an 'Eid celebration' to me, is quite vital for the Muslim children here because of the obvious fact that Islamic events are not celebrated in England unlike Muslim countries where you get holidays for Eid, Maulidur Rasul and Awal Muharram. If the children are expected to participate in their Christmas parties at the school just before the Christmas holidays - which I do not mind at all, I assure you (I even made some of those black bottom cupcakes for my son's class' Xmas party then) - indeed, these Muslim children should be allowed to celebrate their own festival which is Eid, and I feel, even more so in my son's school where the majority of the students are Muslims. To me, these types of religious celebration should be made 'common' and normal just like a Chinese New Year party for the Chinese or the Hanukkah Celebration for the Jews (in America) - and furthermore, and this is very important - the celebration should involve anyone who would like to join and on the flip side, everyone should try to join in these things or at the very least respect the need for these religious celebration because we are all whether here or in Malaysia, living in a multi-ethnic, multi-religion and multi-cultural society.
I needed to state these things because of the fact that during the preparation and the organising of the 'Eid Fun Day' at my son's school, the Muslim mothers who were organising it faced so many hurdles and problems that needless to say, tears were already flowing even before any progress was made. But these women did it in the end, with God's grace, alhamdulillah - although, even up to the end of the event, problems arose.
There were more worrying problems that the organisers faced initially, like a clear rejection of the event by many of the non Muslim parents but that in the end didn't really worry the organisers because all they wanted for their very first ever try at organising this Eid celebration was for people - anyone for that matter - to actually attend the event and alhamdulillah on the day, many muslims did come, (although the Shiites refused any participation in the event to mourn the Muharram murder of Saidina Husain at Karbala) and thus making it a success. Only of course, it would have been nice if many more non muslims attended but for a first time thing, I feel, you can't ask for more. Yes - the whole thing was a success if you set aside the petty problems that gave (and is still giving) the organisers a headache.
The problems were not organisation problems. Not huge and disastrous problems that could cause these hard working mothers to fail miserably in their cause but simple petty human related problems - which are, I think, the worse of all. Not because the minds of these mums are equally petty and so they take these too seriously but because of the nature of women - women get emotional when things like these happen: other women back stabbing them, bad mouthing and quarrelling. Dissatisfied people making rude and unwarranted comments. Disagreements which led to some other sisters to work themselves up by talking and talking and talking about their dissatisfaction and complaints to this person, that person and then many, many other people until it creates a big rift between two groups of people.
One thing I have learnt from watching a popular TV show recently (it was Celebrity Big Brother, I would let you know!) is that if you are upset about a person - just shut your mouth. Okay, I take that back. You can share with your husband or your close friend your complaints - just to relieve a little of your stress and perhaps to get opinions - once. And then just shut it. Don't go on and on about your grief until you start to exaggerate, and then start to call names and then ending up igniting a war between two opposing sides - just because you couldn't keep your mouth shut.
Why are these type of things so common with women? I can only wonder whilst I listened to my friends' discussion and 'debriefing' earlier today. They mentioned that 'the other side' will probably make a more formal complaint soon during a PTA meeting and they needed to prepare their rebuttals. I pray that all will be well during that PTA meeting, for they have persuaded me to attend it but I do, do hate confrontations - and I am nervous about the meeting.
Sigh. Enough of that.
So what was my little contribution for the Fun Day? Due to my ill health (bouts of asthma lately) I declined to volunteer on the day but somehow, my mouth blurted out this a few weeks before that; "Mm..I'm quite a creative person..I think.." And so, I was awarded for that piece of brilliant self promotion with 2 responsibilities. To paint the 'Eid Mubarak' banner and to paint/do a mosque for the 'Pin the Mosque' game (as opposed to Pin the Donkey - just in case you didn't get it). As you can guess, the 'Eid Fun Day' was not a religious event at all because it was supposed to be a celebration for the Muslim children AND anyone and everyone who would like to have fun. There were colouring competitions, guess the amount of sweets competition, face painting, henna painting and even a clown. Plus, of course, there was food. Lots and lots of it sold at a very reasonable price, all donated by the parents - takings to be given to the school, of course.
After the hours of slogging over the banner and the mosque - done in a slow pace and only at night when the boys could not cause any trouble - believe it or not, after all the above, I couldn't go to the event because I wasn't well enough to volunteer for the whole day and there were no more tickets to be bought for normal entry - it was either volunteer for the whole day or tickets, you see. And so I went to the hall before the event to send my food contribution (more black bottom cupcakes!) and was so very impressed with the whole arrangement, the whole setting of the tables and the decorations all done by the muslim mothers that I felt a little disappointed and sad about not being able to attend.
But I consoled myself by saying that at least something of me (or mine) is at the event even if I myself couldn't be there and honestly, really, I was happy and glad to have done my part for such a worthy cause.
Note: Pics of the hall were taken when I went there BEFORE the event, people were still setting up and only the volunteers were there.
Picture of mosque that my boys are holding in the 2nd last pic is the one without the dome - that needs to be pinned during the game. Inset pic: mosque with dome attached!