A different Ramadan this year

Ramadan bazaars selling clothing (pic below) and delicious food (above) are not allowed this season. Muslims, however, can purchase them through online portals. — Filepic

Traditional celebration of holy month is ruined by deadly coronavirus

THE fasting month for Muslims will begin in a few days’ time.

Normally at this time of the year, my mother will be very busy preparing for the holy month.

She would have stocked up her fridge with precious items to ensure the family has enough during Ramadan.

But somehow, the Covid-19 killer virus has disrupted not only her plans, but of the Muslims community at large.

There will be no terawih prayers, and no moreh, another light meal that Muslims in Malaysia enjoy in Ramadan that is served in mosques or surau after terawih.

We can no longer have gatherings during this time in view of the movement control order (MCO).

For as long as I could remember, it has always been a family tradition that my two other siblings and their families, who have been staying elsewhere, would stay over at my mum’s place in Kepala Batas, for the pre-dawn sahur meal and to break fast during the first three days of Ramadan.

All of us would take days off for this perfect family get-together, and it had been getting ‘merrier’ through the years with our children joining in the fun.

My mother has been affected emotionally by this recent development, as she has been looking forward to this period of time each year.

Another missing piece for the Ramadan jigsaw this year would be the bazaars that serve their multi-racial crowds with delicious spreads and sweet beverages.

For safety reason, the Penang Security Council Committee (JKKN) has decided to cancel all Ramadan bazaars in the state to curb the spread of Covid-19.

I, for one, would miss the lady and her grandson whom I believe sell the best traditional kuih that I have ever tasted in Taman Sri Serdang, Kepala Batas.

Hopefully, I could still get the delicacies via the e-Bazar Ramadan online portal, a platform set up by the state government to support Ramadan bazaar traders in conducting their businesses online.

After going through the MCO for more than a month, I believe many of us are now used to the new normal – putting on a mask and practising social distancing.

It seems many are quite willing to trade off a little of their freedom just to break the chain of the infection, and saving our family from further misery at the same time.

With chances of being declared a green zone on the horizon, things have started to look up for Penang.

But there is still work to be done, be it post-MCO or post-Covid-19.

It’s a challenge for the state government to reboot the economy which has been badly impacted by the pandemic.

For people like us, we must not rest on our laurels in combating the deadly disease.

Perhaps for the Raya celebration next month, a simple nod coupled with a smile will suffice to greet our loved ones, instead of the usual salam (greeting).

We should be counting our lucky stars for we still can celebrate Ramadan with our family with food on the table.

This pandemic shall pass. To all my Muslim friends out there, stay safe, stay at home and selamat berpuasa.

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