Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Great "Balik Kampung" Exodus

Salam...time fly and Eid ul Fitri just around the corner. True Malaysian with their “balik kampung’ ritual will be a part of Eid celebration. Im not exceptional to this phenomenon and I experienced it all the way since I went to Semenanjung for my pre- u and to UK for my tertiary education. Along my journey, Im much more dealing with air transport (what choice do I have except tongkang ..ehehe). I had a big dilemma to decide when to buy the ticket. To get cheap airfare, early booking is needed. But sometimes we are not even sure when will be the raya break started. Some lecturer will do make up classes so that they can ‘balik kampung’ earlier. Thats mean we can go back earlier too if there is no more lecture. But if we purchase in advance, so there is slim chances to change unless you pay for 1st class.

There was one incident when we went for the check in, the staff at the counter told us that all of our name were not in the list. At that time we felt so hopeless over the possibilities to be stranded in Semenanjung. And I don’t want to spend my Eid in the college. But somehow the problem resolved because it was not our mistake at all. We had the authorised ticket but somehow our names had been deleted from the system. During that time, the cheapest flight means the earliest morning flight. So usually my friends and I will leave the college in the late afternoon and lepaking at the Subang Airport Terminal 3. We then break our fasting together at the A&W, the only available fast-food. The adventure of going back home will be more exciting if it was the same timing with my sister. So we will be lepaking together from the evening till the next morning. It was tiring but we always in happy mode. The excitement to go home, finish the remaining ramadhan and celebrating eid with family is what we always looking forward as ‘perantau’.

Almost 5 year in UK, Im so lucky that we had our Ramadhan during the winter. The fasting was short unlike now where my friends in UK fasting longer hours during the summer. During winter, we had a short semester break that was about a month. So I took the opportunity to go home for Eid whenever possible. But again, as a student of course money is the main constraint. To get cheap flight is not easy during this time. And furthermore Brits like to travel during the winter to the hot and sunny countries. So the airfare during that time is relatively high. I need to search for the cheapest and there is one time, I had to gamble. I asked the travel agent to find the cheapest for that peak season so she suggested that I fly from Manchester to Amsterdam with British Airways and from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with Ch*na Airlines. The problem was Ch*na Airlines was crashed in Hong Kong few months before my trip. No wonder there is so many available seats and the price is cheaper than any other airline. I took it and Alhamdulilah I had a safe journey. But that was the first and the last..ahahaha!

Above is the story of the yesteryear and the scenario is much different now. Nowadays, with the existence of budget airline at the national and international sector, it encourages the mass ‘balik kampung’ exodus. Our Malaysia National carrier also offer competitive price and there is always extra flight available during the festive season. The breaking of monopoly in air transport in Malaysia is really spill the advantage to people like me. Even I consider myself pretty late in making decision to go home for Eid, the good bargain ticket is still available and also the connecting flight to Kuching. So, this year I will celebrate my Eid in Malaysia... yessssss!!!!! Lin also manages to get her leave and join me in Kuching for at least a few days. Then I will stay few days in KL before flying back to Perth. I will be in Kuching from 14 to 24 Sept and KL from 24 to 27 Sept. I can still go to Bazaar Ramadhan and eat all my favourite food...ahahaha so happy! Its time to do the spring cleaning and pack for "balik kampung". Flight will be tomorrow night and some last minute shopping need to be done. And the end of wake up call from my mum...ahaha. Thanks for calling me for sahur every morning.

p/s Ok Kuching blogger -Abg Putra, Uncle Pharo, Pak Ngah, Sdr Razak Putit - come over to my house for raya ok!! Dr Sam InsyaAllah see you in KL. Dont think can meet up with blogger friends in KL coz sure most of them 'balik kampung', so maybe next time.