Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Food for thought

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today I joined my friends Nadiah and Ilham as volunteer tour guides for Masjid Negara, under the Islamic Outreach program. It was my first time and I was really just supposed to observe how my friend did it and what she said. But as it turned out, Masjid Negara was swarmed with tourists that day and there weren’t enough volunteers around. So Ilham and I decided to give it a shot, even though at first you could tell from our faces we were terrified! The first couple we approached was this Indian couple, who weren’t Muslims, but they still sat down in front of the main prayer hall and bowed their heads, I assume paying their respects like they would at a temple. But they were in a hurry so we didn’t get out our full arsenal of information, just the parts that we remembered. But it was enough to get us warmed up, get our juices flowing.

I talked to some American ladies afterwards, a grandmother, her daughter, and her cute baby grandson. Her daughter’s husband works in KL so she was visiting them and her grandson. It was really fun explaining to them about Masjid Negara, it was like I was putting all that stuff I learnt in architecture to good use. And they were really very nice and friendly, and interested in what I was telling them they even asked some questions about prayer, hijab, etc. they even wanted to take a picture of me! :P

Later on we were asked to give guided tours of the mosque so at first all three of us showed two Australian ladies around, but later we broke up into 3 groups, Nadiah taking the Aussies, Ilham had a French guy and an Indian lady, and I took an Italian couple from rome. They didn’t seem too engaged though, maybe because of my own lack of enthusiasm and maybe because they weren’t that well versed in English. But the lady asked some questions, but knowing that I had done a less than satisfactory job I handed them over to a senior uncle who took over. But what was weird was that the uncle seemed a little unsatisfied that we were allowed to give tours since we weren’t properly trained yet. He seemed really peeved. *shrug*

It was a really enlightening experience, and good for me because it meant I had to think on my feet and sharpen up on my knowledge about not only Masjid Negara, but about Islam and Malaysia as well. Time to get studying...Hoping I can continue doing this throughout the semester and beyond, but we’ll have to be properly trained first. Anyone interested can contact me for more details. Training will be sometime in early August.

Later on we prayed Maghrib at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru. I haven’t been there in the longest time, and it was nice to see all the familiar small lanes and alleys that I used to visit as a child. We then ate at this really nice thai place called… okay cant remember the name but it started with an “S” and ended with a “vit” food was good and decently priced, ambience was commendable and service was quick. Only thing that ruined our dinner was this creepy guy who asked us for money. Really freaked us out that we left. o_O

I love my friends. Whenever we get together we always talk about really interesting topics. Okay, they talk, and I listen while offering my thoughts here and there. But its always fun nonetheless.

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