Penang Bazaar bustling with Raya shopping
GEORGE TOWN: Despite its old history dating back to early 20th century, Penang Bazaar is anything but ancient when it comes to dressing you up for Hari Raya.
“This year, it is all about the songkok imam. It is very fashionable and popular,” said Syed Hamzah Syed Ahmad, who has been running his shop at the bazaar for 46 years.
Unlike the traditional flat-top songkok, songkok imam has a slightly pointed top.
Some variations also follow the contours of the wearer’s head more closely than the usual songkok, creating a trendy-looking skullcap.
Syed Hamzah, 87, said every Raya, he looked for the latest fashion in clothes and songkok to offer his customers.
“Every year people come to my shop and ask me what is fashionable this year, what’s the in-thing; so I try to keep up-to-date with the trends,” he said.
In the run-up to Hari Raya, the scene at the bazaar on Penang Road is a riot of colours with a dazzling range of shawls and clothes.
Another shop owner there, Mahdalina Husin, said the baju kebaya Nyonya is popular among children.
“It is something different. The parents find it unique so they buy it for their children,” said Mahdalina, 47, who works at her sister’s shop.
Mahdalina said their business would usually pick up during the Raya season.
“Compared to previous years, it is slower this year. I hope people would come and shop here as we have a wide variety of clothes to offer,” she added.
Parwin Kumar, 63, acknowledged that times had changed since he started operating his shop about 40 years ago.
“Back then, we did not even have time to sit and grab a bite as there would be too many customers,” he recalled.
This year, he said he brought in a variety of materials and jubah from Indonesia.
“As I understand the trend and what customers tend to find attractive, I source for what I feel they will like,” he said.
In fashion: Syed Hamzah showing the new ‘songkok imam’ at his shop in Penang Bazaar in George Town.