When the Malaysian permanent mission to the United Nations in New York wanted to celebrate Hari Raya last Tuesday, it had to be cancelled as Hurricane Irene, accompanied by strong and high-speed gusts of wind and heavy rain, left much of New York’s roads under water.
However, the mission made up by holding an open house to celebrate Raya yesterday, with Malaysians quickly filling up the mission’s spacious hall with their spouses, children and friends to greet each other and savour the array of Malaysian delicacies on the buffet tables.
Malaysian men and women, dressed in their traditional and colourful national attire, ploughed their forks into the mounds of food that were as quickly replenished as they disappeared.
The New York Perwakilan women’s group, led by Datin Sharifah Raguan Hussein, the wife of the Malaysian permanent representative to the United Nations, Datuk Hussein Haniff, had prepared the food.
Also present at the do were heads of Malaysian government agencies, MIDA and MATRADE, as well as the newly-arrived Consul-General Syed Mohamed Bakri.
Also spotted were foreign diplomats, including the Philippine permanent representative to the UN, Libran N. Cabactulan, whose friendship with Hussein dates back to their former postings in New York.
“Gatherings such as these provide an opportunity for Malaysians to meet their fellow countrymen living in other cities and states. It is an occasion to meet old friends and establish new contacts,” said Hussein.
Juwita Seman, who is from Melaka and lives and works in Manhattan as an engineer for WSPFK, a general consulting firm that was also involved in the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers, described the open house gathering as a “rare opportunity to meet fellow Malaysians”.
“I have come here along with my husband, an American, who loves Malaysian food,” she said.