A new way to cel­e­brate

Cel­e­bra­tions may be dif­fer­ent but tra­di­tions re­main the same

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page - im­ran@thes­tar.com.my By IM­RAN HILMY

They may not be to­gether phys­i­cally to cel­e­brate Hari Raya this year due to the cur­rent re­stric­tions on trav­el­ling, but many Malaysians will still be meet­ing up with their fam­i­lies and loved ones — through video chats and phone calls. In his ad­dress to the na­tion, the yang di-Per­tuan agong praised Malaysians for dis­play­ing high dis­ci­pline, per­se­ver­ance and pa­tience through­out the MCO pe­riod.

Hari Raya Aidil­fitri will be a lonely af­fair for for­mer post­mas­ter Yus­soff Jo­har and wife Wan Chah Wan Chik as they will miss hav­ing their four chil­dren and eight grand­chil­dren.

Yus­soff and Wan Chah, both 65, said it would be es­pe­cially melan­choly for them even though they ac­knowl­edged that the sep­a­ra­tion was nec­es­sary due to the Covid-19 pan­demic.

“We ac­cept the fact that this Hari Raya Aidil­fitri will not be the same as be­fore,” said Yus­soff.

He said his four chil­dren live in Ser­dang, Pu­chong, Se­tia Alam and Me­laka with their own fam­i­lies and hoped to be back in Pe­nang to cel­e­brate.

But be­cause of the in­ter­state travel ban, the trips were can­celled.

“Our home will be a bit quiet without our grand­chil­dren run­ning in and out of the house,” he said.

Wan Chah said she only made ke­tu­pat and their chil­dren’s favourite ren­dang and a few va­ri­eties of cook­ies.

She said her chil­dren couri­ered Raya cook­ies a few days ago.

She said she de­cided not to cook dodol as their chil­dren would not be with them.

“Nor­mally, they would all be here to help us, but since they are not here, we de­cided to skip the dodol,” she said.

Wan Chah said they would cel­e­brate Hari Raya Aidil­fitri with close rel­a­tives and neigh­bours in Kam­pung Bukit Kechik here.

She hoped the pan­demic would be over soon and they could meet their chil­dren again.

“I hope we can all see each other soon,” she said.

PE­TAL­ING JAYA: Sep­a­rated by state lines and travel re­stric­tions due to the Covid-19 pan­demic, video calls are the only way Malaysians can see their loved ones face-to-face this Hari Raya Aidil­fitri.

It is how Mohd Hafiz­zudin Ma­suut, 32, will be com­mu­ni­cat­ing this Raya with his youngest brother and their mother, who are both at the quar­an­tine cen­tre at Sarawak Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for Covid-19 in late April.

As his mother and brother bat­tle the virus, Hafiz­zudin’s fam­ily is also griev­ing for their fa­ther Ma­suut No­rawai @ No­rani, 61, who suc­cumbed to Covid-19 on April 1.

“My mother’s test re­sults just came out – she is still pos­i­tive.

“My brother, who re­cently tested neg­a­tive, con­tin­ues to be quar­an­tined at the hos­pi­tal for 14 days,” said Hafiz­zudin.

In to­tal, nine peo­ple in his fam­ily, in­clud­ing rel­a­tives from Hafiz­zudin’s late fa­ther’s side, tested pos­i­tive for the virus; four fam­ily mem­bers are cur­rently still at the quar­an­tine cen­tre.

For this Raya, Hafiz­zudin, a main­te­nance su­per­vi­sor at Petronas who lives in Shah Alam, will just have a small gath­er­ing with two of his sib­lings.

“We will call our fam­ily mem­bers in Sarawak via video.

“Raya feels very odd this year. We had such joy­ful Raya cel­e­bra­tions as a fam­ily in Sarawak in years past,” said the sec­ond of five chil­dren.

Hafiz­zudin re­mem­bered Ma­suut as a tac­i­turn and firm but af­fec­tion­ate fa­ther, a dot­ing grand­fa­ther to his three grand­chil­dren and an ac­tive mem­ber of so­ci­ety.

“He al­ways did his best to ful­fil his fam­ily’s wishes,” he said, adding that his par­ents were both re­tired civil ser­vants.

For sales­per­son Si­ra­jud­din Nordin, 49, what he would miss most while cel­e­brat­ing Raya in the new nor­mal was meet­ing fam­ily mem­bers, shar­ing hugs and press­ing palms on the spe­cial day.

“This year’s Raya will be very dif­fer­ent and ev­ery­one is deeply af­fected,” he said.

Si­ra­jud­din, who lives in Sepang, now uses video calls to ex­change Raya greet­ings with his rel­a­tives in Ipoh, among oth­ers, as in­ter­state trav­el­ling is barred.

“This is Raya in the new nor­mal. I will have my in-laws visit my house dur­ing Raya but there won’t be many of them, of course.

“They are also con­cerned about the virus and we will all be tak­ing pre­cau­tion­ary steps.

“We’ve al­ready re­minded each other to avoid hug­ging and press­ing palms as much as pos­si­ble,” he added.

Raya this year is also be­ing cel­e­brated amid an eco­nomic down­turn as many Malaysians grap­ple with un­cer­tain­ties at the workplace.

Si­ra­jud­din, who works at a ve­hi­cle deal­er­ship, said his workplace could not op­er­ate for months dur­ing the move­ment con­trol or­der (MCO) pe­riod and while he had re­turned to work re­cently, it has not been the same.

“We could not op­er­ate for months dur­ing the MCO pe­riod so em­ploy­ees were put on leave and we re­cently started re­turn­ing to work.

“Raya is also dif­fer­ent this year be­cause we got only three days off at work com­pared to a week in pre­vi­ous years.

“Any­way, it’s okay to get only three days off be­cause we can’t even cel­e­brate much, and we can’t go freely wher­ever we want to,” he said.

Photo: RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/TheS­tar

Down mem­ory lane: yus­soff and Wan Chah view­ing old pho­tos with their chil­dren through video call at their home in Ba­lik Pu­lau, Pe­nang.

— IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Closer than ever: Hafiz­zudin and his fam­ily in Shah Alam cel­e­brat­ing Hari Raya with rel­a­tives liv­ing in Kuching, through a video con­fer­ence.

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