Raya isn’t complete without the festive rumah terbuka where you savour all the amazing traditional fare and catch up with friends and family. Everyone ready to mingle and spread festive cheer, and what’s a better way to celebrate than opening your heart and home in a rumah terbuka? You know your friends are quirky, and in our muhibbah Malaysia, you’re sure to meet a few *interesting* characters along the way.
Here are 10 type or Raya guests you’re sure to get in your next open house.
1. The Raya King / Queen
There’s always one person in your social group who goes all out during their celebration of choice. You can spot them as the most beautifully dressed, with the appropriate festive bits and bobs and over-the-top embellishments. They’ll also be the most well-versed at the proper Raya etiquette and experts at the pomp and circumstance of an open house. They can range from elegant, graceful beings to obnoxious show-offs.
They’re the life of the party and nice to behold and admire from afar, but intimidating and stifling if you get too close.
2. The Kepohchis
Open house is a time to reconnect and swap stories but there’s this one guest who goes a little too far at ‘catching up’. The kepochi is you standard Malaysian busybody who wants to know everything about you, your son, where your son went to school, your son’s earning potential, and if your son has a girlfriend. They’ll notice your new curtains, the unfixed shingle, who’s avoiding the buffet table, who’s single, and which married couple are sitting too far away.
An interesting guest to hang out with if you want to know the dirt and don’t mind some pretty different opinions, but the worse if you’re at the wrong end of the interrogation.
3. The Know-It-All
The kepohchis will be all too happy to talk with you, but there’s one guest that will talk at you. Whether it’s the state of the nation, the latest Insta trend, or the proper way to cook serunding (which you made too dry, by the way), the know-it-all will know it all about Hari Raya, food, and the world in general – and will make sure you know they know.
They can be amusing for the first few minutes or two but when they start trying to teach you how to throw a proper rumah terbuka, it gets old pretty fast.
4. The Auntie(s)
This guest is a mix between the kepohchis and the know-it-alls, combining the need to pry with an overbearing sense that they’ve seen it all and you’re running your household (and life) wrong. They’ll be very concerned about your relationships and salary, your savings and investments, if you’ve paid off your house and secured your finances for your future grandchildren. Then they’ll tell you where exactly you’re faltering, whose kids are doing way better, and why you shouldn’t sing in the kitchen.
You can’t really avoid rumah terbuka aunties because they’ll come to find you. As the gracious guest, nod reverently and hold your tongue.
5. The Buffet King
Most entertaining at a buffet, but not so much at your open house. This type of guest will literally pile everything they can on their wobbly paper or styrofoam plate with little regard for table manners or sensible food pairings. Three cedoks of sayur lodeh, a pile of ketam masak lemak on a mound of nasi minyak, rendang ayam, a bunch of ketupat and maybe a handful of satay on the side barely covers it. Balanced under the plate will be bowls of bubur lambuk, lontong, laksa, and maybe a dessert plate. Their other hand holds the sirap bandung. And orange Fanta. They go for seconds, and thirds, and fourths plus a session of all the kuih muih they missed the first few rounds.
You can admire them for their balancing skills, but avoid lashing out in frustration about how you’re running out of food for the other guests.
6. The Raja Tapau
This one takes a prodigious amount of food too, but squirrels away the goodies in organised containers and plastic baggies to take home and freeze and enjoy until the next festival. The Raja Tapau will have similar physics-defying skills like the Buffet King, because they can stuff half the buffet in just one tote bag.
But like the Buffet King, they use their powers for the dark side because now there just isn’t enough to go around. Try to distract them with pre-bagged goodies, but it’s really hard to get them to ignore their instincts.
7. The Fussy Eater
Picky or following a certain diet, this guest is a particular brand of choosy that makes you feel like you’re serving wax. Every dish will have something fattening, unhealthful or unpalatable, or contributing to the diseases that plague our modern life. With all the carbs, fats, oils, and gluten in it, the traditional Raya spread is inaccessible to this guest, and they’ll gladly tell you about it.
They often end up in a corner munching carrot sticks you’ve somehow pulled out of the fridge.
8. The Kids
All are welcome, but kids can be a handful! Boisterous children bring some life to the party, but all that pent-up energy from holidays and sugar can be hard to contain. Walking around with a tupperware of curry to top up the buffet is suddenly an obstacle course, with children weaving around your legs and Legos inexplicably scattered over the floors.
Pretty soon someone will have a screaming meltdown for added entertainment. It’s best to completely close off areas that are out of bounds and keep breakable items hidden away in locked rooms. Hopefully, the parents will be there to calm tantrums and cart them away in embarrassment – until the next open house.
9. The Early Leaver
Then there’s the one who stops by for a glass of teh tarik and a plate of kuih and then is gone in 15 minutes even they’ve driven half an hour to get to your house. They often slip away without even telling you!
Guests are free to come and go at a rumah terbuka, so let them be. Besides, it’s nice that they showed up at all!
10. The Overnight Guest
Any rumah terbuka host understands that they’re opening their house to friends and festivities, but also to noise, stains, scuffs, and breaks and a general invasion of privacy. There’s also the inevitable cleanup and damage assessment for after, but in the meantime, they’re happy to welcome guests to partake with the celebrations – as long as they leave.
There’ll be one guest who just makes themselves a little too at home, taking over your personal couch and staying long after the other reasonable guests have left, missing the subtle signs you’re making to get them to leave so you can start cleaning up and getting their lives back in order.
They might even end up crashing overnight on your couch.
They can get on your nerves, but you still love them no matter what. And Hari Raya is a time for gratitude and appreciation, so take the time to cherish and build strong bonds with friends and family, near and close. And if you need more time to spend with them, get professionals to help you with the cleanup, hire experts on Kaodim!