It has been a very, very busy month for me! For starters, Muslims fasted for several days into August, and celebrated the Eid on the 9th or 10th, depending on your country of residence (for us Bruneians, it had become a ‘tradition’ for us to celebrate the Eid one day later than other surrounding countries, so we celebrate on the 10th). It has been a hectic day and night, trying to make the house look presentable and to prepare foods and drinks for serving the guests on the eid during the day, and hopefully, making the most of the last days of Ramadan and searching for the special night, the Lailatul Qadr, in the evening.
As I had just restarting my halted dreams of furthering my studies, and starting my new semester in an online university this year, I have to sit for the final exams. Which starts on the 12th. That means just two days after the Eid. It has been a long standing tradition of the Muslim Malays in this region to celebrate Eid all month long – The houses are kept open for relatives and friends to come and visit, food and drinks kept being served, almost daily invites to feasts, all month long. For the exams, I had to travel to the neighbouring state capital called Kota Kinabalu, which is 6 hours minimum car travel.
The countryside on our way to Kota Kinabalu
Along the way, I get to see many things. As Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country (Although Sabah, of which Kota Kinabalu is its city, many of its citizens are Christians) Islamic architecture and its influences are everywhere, just like in Brunei, but not as prevalent. Half way going to the city for a lunch stop, in a waterfront shopping area, there was a tower with a clearly Islamic influence complete with a onion shaped dome on top…On closer inspection that said tower is actually a water tower.
The Water Tower in front of the sea view shops
In the city itself there are a number of mosques that are note-worthy – these will be featured in the following posts. The place where my exam was held is a mosque of the local university, perched upon a hill with spectacular views of the city. It also featured very impressive usage of Islamic ornamentation throughout the place. We spend some time sightseeing the city, especially considering I have not visited it for several years (almost a decade, actually) and I have very vague recollection of my last trip.
A view from our balcony in our rented apartment. From the distance you can see the Mount Kinabalu range; the mountain itself is on the east side, exactly where the sun rises every morning.
I will post about the mosques we went through as I had mentioned, as well as the articles under new categories I had mentioned before.