Every year, my family gather together on the grounds of Brickendonbury Manor for the Merdeka Carnival. Think of a British garden fete meets Malaysian Independence day and that’s Merdeka Carnival! Malaysian expats all over the country come down to eat (no word of a lie- it’s seriously a national pastime) meet friends, and have a lovely family day out. We do it every year- aside from Christmas, it’s the only time in the year we gather together as a family. When my niece was 5 days old, my sister still came along! So, we ‘re pretty serious about it. My family always pick a spot by a shady tree, plonk down picnic blankets, chairs and a tent (in case the weather fails!) and take turns making the rounds of all the food stalls to bring back treats to share.
My gang of nieces and nephews love it- there’s so much for little kids to do like face painting, a bona fide Punch & Judy show, mini teacup and train rides and this year, bungee trampolines! And all of it is free. The bubble guns however, were not. All of the kids made sure bubbles were in healthy supply for the afternoon!
Even in a bubble storm, my big sister is still embroiled in her reading! Take that Rory Gilmore. My other big sister (stay with me here, I have three older sisters!) and I went to get some munch, and being the noodle heads that we are, we went to get some noodles.
Sorted! We made our orders and watched them fire up the wok for our lunch. Noodles in hand, we collected a few extra goodies- steaming cups of sweet, milky tea- and walked back to our picnic spot. The queue for Roti was enormous, so I’m gutted we didn’t get any this year! I captured a few pics of it being prepared instead. The ghee soaked dough is slapped, flattened and fried and it’s the tastiest thing in the world.
Look at these knuckleheads
They are awesome. Boys, man. Boys and wrestling are like peas and carrots. Boys also make sweet accessories for their dear old aunties….
Pretty fetch, no? (“Stop trying to make fetch happen!” wink wink)
Afterwards, my Dad, sister and I went to say hello to the war veterans, who tug at my heart strings every year. I love rifling through their photo albums, so lovingly and thoughtfully put together.
I listened in as one of them traded stories with my dad “I was in there in ’57” “I was there in ’69” and then left them to chat. One memento was a special menu for a 21st birthday at the army base- what’s Queen Pudding, anyone know? I love that this was carefully saved after all this time. From where we were standing, we had prime spot to watch the raffle giveaway and the tug of war. My other sister won a night’s stay at the Hyatt in town, yeeha! Every year, we also go ballistic over the Lion dancing- there’s something about those beating drums and big lion eyes that gets me every time- I can vividly picture how exciting and scared I used to be watching it as a child! Also, this year was all about the Kung Fu demo. Always know your Kung Fu!
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with these little munchkins, eating treats that my mum kept mysteriously pulling out of endless bags, and enjoying the Autumn sunshine. After a day spent with my family, I always feel like my batteries have been recharged, that I’ve been fed chicken soup for my soul, and maybe a new laughter line on my face.
Till next year Merdeka Carnival- it’s been another great year.