Pe­nang Bazaar bustling with Raya shop­ping

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By N. TR­ISHA tr­is­hang@thes­tar.com.my

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.

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