IPOH: At a time when many Muslims are celebrating Hari Raya, some choose to work at restaurants that stay open during the festive season.
Most, if not all, of them do it to earn extra money and it means giving up precious time with their loved ones, but they say they gain camaraderie and fond memories in return.
College student Muhammad Nilam Muadzam A. Shaffie, 21, decided to join the Chicken Rice Shop in Ipoh Parade for 10 days and found working during Raya an interesting experience.
He felt bad not being able to enjoy the festivities with family and friends but his parents had told him that he should work to get pocket money during his month-long study break.
“I celebrated the first day of Raya with my family but by noon I had to be at work,” he said.
The restaurant was packed on the first and second day of Raya and at times, he found it hard to catch his breath because there was a seemingly endless stream of customers.
“But the people were nice to me. They wished me Selamat Hari Raya,” he said.
Sushi King waitress Hannis Nabila, 19, said she felt a little sad working during Raya because she could not spend the day with her family.
“I missed the fun. They were planning activities in the evening but I decided to work because I need money for my studies,” she said.
Another waitress, Nur Ain Ibrahim, 26, said she had mixed feelings over going to work on the second day of Raya.
Part of her still wanted to celebrate with her family in Manjoi but another was excited about seeing her colleagues decked out in baju kurung and kebaya.
She said that having been a waitress the past two years, she was used to working during the festive season.
Besides, her company treated her well by giving her double pay and an allowance as compensation during those times.
“My family also understands the demands of my job because they are in the food business too.
“Seeing my colleagues in their traditional costumes, including my manager who is of Indian descent, makes up for it,” she said.
“And many customers are nice enough to ask if I am alright with working on Raya. I tell them that I am happy to be at their service.”
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