Time flies very fast; it has been a year since I started working in this beach town Kerteh, Terengganu. I still remember I reported into one of the petrochemical plant owned by our very own NOC in the final week of Ramadhan. The challenge was substantial, being thrown into new place alone with limited amount of money and was struggling to adapt to the new atmosphere and culture.
Today, here I am, still here and manage to make myself live comfortably although the environment is very different from my hometown, Banting. I hear and speak the different dialect, learning to eat local food and starting to enjoy it, slowly accepting the different culture and norms of the locals; I find myself being slowly assimilated into the laidback lifestyle of sleepy town Kerteh.
However, the story is different when I step into the office. The workload had started to get bigger day by day, but thankfully, I have a bunch of supportive colleagues and bosses that always ready to offer assistance when I need it. I started to get immersed and stressful at work, but thanks to this sleepy town, I can de-stress once I call it a day in my office although a lonely life will greet me once I am home. Somehow, I can accept the calmness of this town as tranquilizer that keep me calm after stressful day at work.
Ramadhan come again, and this is my second time fasting far from home. Truthfully, I still miss my mom’s cooking but here I have to celebrate this blissful month alone most of the time. The bazaar is not as big as one found in Banting. The food choices are limited and the price is exorbitantly expensive. Yet, it provides me with a whole new perspective about the Ramadhan in the East Coast, not literally. Most obvious thing is I can see a lot of people wearing coveralls with various colours that drop by to get some food for breaking fast. Yes, they are just like me, petrochemical plants workers and contractors from the nearby petrochemical plant complex in Kerteh. Somewhat I feel that we are like the Teletubbies wearing coverall with different colours. That is the most obvious thing that I cannot see in Banting. At least I know that I am not alone, most of them are like me, celebrating the month of Ramadhan far from family.
I hope I can improve myself to be a better person in this year’s Ramadhan. I will fight my way to survive in this town; it slowly becomes my second home where I could rely on should I need a tranquil retreat. This town teaches me how to adapt to changes fast, being dynamic and inculcates a good working culture. To my family, I hope all of you are fine there and I am doing very fine here. Nonetheless, I still miss all of you days and nights; I look forward to see all of you and celebrate Hari Raya together. Happy fasting and I pray that all of you are blessed in this month.