In the late afternoon that Friday, Amir and Hemi from Inspidea and the whole crew of Tavern In The Park began to set up the café for the event that night. It was for an intimate berbuka puasa in the former Hin Bus Depot with special guests – Puan Salmah and her clients from her Disabled and Elderly Home of Bayan Baru (Rumah Orang Kurang Upaya dan Warga Emas, Bayan Baru). Working together, they put up Raya-themed decorations all over the eatery. Once the caterer arrived, they arranged the kuehs in the serving plates.
Just a little after 7 PM, two large white vans arrived at the depot. Andrew, Amir, and Hemi from Inspidea joined the management of Tavern In The Park, to welcome Puan Salmah and her charges. Some of them, like Pakcik Osman and Pakcik Roslan, Amir and Hemi recognized almost immediately. Fathiha, who was completely paralysed, had to be helped onto her wheelchair. Pakcik Osman asked for a brief tour of the place and Amir happily obliged, pushing the elder man in his wheelchair around what used to be one of Penang’s bustling bus depot. Before entering, everyone gathered just outside the Tavern to take a group photo.
As the special guests were seated in Tavern, the team members at Hin Bus Depot Art Centre and the Bricklin Café were also taking their seats outside of the Tavern to join in the festivity. The Inspideans and the Tavern crew served the disabled and elderly guests their meals in time for berbuka. As the azan played on the local radio station, everyone started eating the delicious biryani rice, chicken curry and beef rendang. Even Fathiha enjoyed her meal as she was happily fed by one of the Tavern staff.
Once the main meals were done and everyone began eating the fresh local fruits, Amir stood up and gave a speech about the relationship Inspidea had with Puan Salmah and the DEHBB, starting with the Tricky Treasure Trip in 2014, as well as our contributions last year and this year. He elicited some laughs from the guests. A Tavern representative also gave a short speech of gratitude for the event.
Then it was time for a bit of merriment. Using Andrew’s MacBook Pro to playback the minus-one tracks, Hemi sang for the night. Three of them were Hari Raya songs written for M. Nasir, DJ Dave and Ahmad Jais, and one was a pop song from Anuar Zain. The audience was enchanted by his voice and some of them even sang along. A rapturous applause was given at the end of his performance.
The closing of the event began with a Thank You souvenir for Andrew, given by Puan Salmah. Next, Janey gave Puan Salmah three hampers. She returns the favour with a basketful of curry puffs! Soon after, the DEHBB guests were ushered back to their vans and everyone bid each other goodnight.
This was a simple event to give a little joy back to the disabled and the elderly residing at Puan Salmah’s Home. We hope to do more events with Puan Salmah in the future to help her with the costs of running the home. Selamat Hari Raya semua!