Multiracial Malaysians Help In The Making Of "Bubur Lambuk"

By Kurniawati Kamarudin

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Everyday throughout Ramadan, volunteers at Surau Al-Jabbar in Setapak Jaya would prepare "bubur lambuk" (spiced rice porridge) to be distributed to the people of the neighbourhood.

Head cook Supiah Isa, 57, is assisted by her son-in-law Ahmad Faiz Muhammad in preparing the porridge, from 10.00am every morning.

The free distribution of bubur lambuk in the area has been a tradition since the establishment of the surau, 12 years ago.

Supiah's porridge recipe follows the Kampung Baru bubur lambuk recipe, which has been very popular among dwellers of the nation's capital city. Both porridge may taste similar, but there is something special in the making of the bubur lambuk of Surau Al-Jabbar.


Surau Al-Jabbar was named after Supiah's late husband, Syed Jabaludin Syeikh Mohd Idris, who was better known as Jabar.

It is located next to the Small and Medium Industry (SMI) area in Air Keroh Dalam. Near the area are the Desa Rejang Flat and the Sri Semarak People's Housing Project.

The traders in the area are mainly vehicle workshop operators and hardware store owners from different races and backgrounds.

Ganesan, who runs a business selling used items is one of the contributors for making the bubur lambuk at Surau Al-Jabbar.

A tyre shop owner who calls himself Addy, as well as several other Chinese traders, also contributed towards the making of the porridge during Ramadan.

Ganesan said it has become almost like a ritual for him to contribute rice to the surau, several days prior to the fasting month.

He would send no less than 20 bags of rice every year, since he started his business in the area eight years ago.

Ganesan said the surau's congregation were friendly and welcoming. He could not help but join in their anticipation of Ramadan and looked forward to helping out.

"The members of the congregation are kind and respectful. So when Ramadan comes, I can't help but feel compelled to join in.

"When I found out they were making bubur lambuk, I did what I could within my means to help out", he said to Bernama.

Addy, meanwhile, gives cash contributions to the surau committee to help them buy the ingredients needed to make the bubur lambuk.

Addy who hails from Klang said he was inspired by the friendliness and sense of community of the residents there. Over half of his customers were also Muslims.

"I have been in business since 1998 and have made friends with the members of the surau here. They are really nice people and I feel inspired to help out.

"We should help people, regardless of their race or religion. After all, we are all Malaysians, 1Malaysia", he said.


Ahmad Tajudin, who owns an automobile repair shop in the area and is a regular at the Al-Jabbar surau, agreed that the members of the surau enjoyed a good relationship with the traders.

In fact, he said, during the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations, the Chinese traders would even help them dig holes to facilitate the qurban (sacrifice) process.

"The traders here enjoy healthy competition. We can sit down together to eat and joke, but everyone is always respectful and understanding of the other's religious and cultural requirements", said Ahmad, who had been conducting business in the area for over 10 years.

He said the SMI industry area was opened in the late 90s to help the "pasar malam" traders of Kampung Baru relocate after the closure of their site. The late Syed Jabaludin was also among those who opened up a workshop there.

Syed Jabaludin then set up the surau for the benefit of the Muslim traders and their customers.


For Supiah, surau Al-Jabbar holds a special place in her heart. Besides the memories it held of her late husband, she was also pleased with the community spirit involved in the projects organised by the surau.

"My husband had also opened his workshop here, so he knew everyone quite well. The people here help each other, irrespective of race. Whenever there is a gathering at the surau, everyone would chip in", said Supiah, who hails from Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, but have stayed in Kampung Baru for the past 35 years.

The Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was among those who frequented the surau, before moving to Kedah, she added.

Supiah said she would cook two large pots of bubur lambuk everyday, aided by volunteers at the surau. The distribution of bubur lambuk packets would usually begin after Asar prayers, with around 350 packets distributed to neighbourhood residents and passers-by.

She said the packets would all have been distributed in less than an hour.

"Praise to Allah, many from the public contributed towards the project this year.

"We would only be cooking until the 27th day of Ramadan this year, but hope people would continue contributing next year so that we can carry on with the tradition", she said.


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