GERIK (Bernama): "Sadness gripped me when I heard the recitation of the ‘takbir raya’ on the morning of Hari Raya Adilfitri, as it brought back memories of my family back home.
"However, the longing in the heart was soothed by the encouragement from my comrades.
This emotional outpouring came from Captain Hafiz Ismail from the Royal Service Corps.
The officer in his 30s was on duty at the Sri Banding Camp near here at the border of the country, while other Malaysians - especially Muslims - were happily celebrating Adilfitri.
Admitting that celebrating Adilfitri at his area of operation was a challenge for him, Hafiz said this was not the first time and that every time Aidilfitri comes around Malaysian Armed Forces personnel always enjoyed a Hari Raya feast.
"There were gotong-royong activities such as stirring dodol, grilling lemang and cooking rendang tok and chicken for Adilfitri for about 300 members in the camp.
"Such joint activities preparing for the Aidilfitri feast will further strengthen members’ relationship especially during the festive season when we are far from our families,” he told Bernama.
The presence of Army chief General Datuk Seri Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi also brought cheer to the celebrations.
For Staff Sergeant Azlina Hakiman from the Royal Military Police Company 2 based at the same camp, the Aidilfitri celebration this year was her first experience away from her family in Johor.
The second child of five siblings said she often helped her parents prepare for Aidilfitri if she was in Johor.
"I really miss my mother's chicken rendang, which she cooks on the morning of Aidilfitri. I am sad that I am unable to celebrate with the family, to see the faces of my parents and kiss their hands on this very meaningful day,” said Azlina.
She however added that serving at the camp is important experience. - Bernama