Raya in Putrajaya this time around

Busy with cookies: Fitri (left) and Ridzuan putting pineapple tarts into containers so they can share them with their neighbours in Putrajaya. - MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: This Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be the first time that Mohamad Fitri Norsalim will not be celebrating with his family.

Due to the interstate travel ban in the conditional movement control order (MCO), the 32-year-old will be spending Raya at the federal administrative capital instead of with his parents in Labis, Johor.

“I have never celebrated Hari Raya without my family. The thought of not being with them makes me sad. I think I will get a bit emotional on that day, ” said the eldest of three siblings who is a staff member of Putrajaya Corporation.

Although he is unable to balik kampung, his parents will not be home alone as his younger sister, who also lives in the same town, will be with them for Hari Raya.

“My brother who is in Jempol, Negri Sembilan, is also unable to spend Hari Raya in the kampung.

“We will be making video calls to our parents to wish them and to see what (food) is on the table. Gosh, I miss my mother’s cooking, ” he said.

Fortunately for Fitri, he won’t be spending the festivities all alone as his housemate and colleague Mohd Ridzuan Mukhtar is also unable to be with his family in Jerteh, Terengganu.

The two have been keeping themselves busy these past few days making cookies.

“We thought of sharing it with our neighbours as they, too, won’t be going back for Hari Raya, ” said Fitri, who plans to make chicken curry to be eaten with ketupat and lemang.

“We may not physically be with our families but we will be with them in spirit. There will be other occasions for us to be together once the MCO is over.

“Although we miss our families, it is better to celebrate Hari Raya apart as we don’t want to put our parents’ health in jeopardy, ” he added.

Putrajaya, which has a population of about 120,000 people, usually becomes a ghost town during the Hari Raya break as most of its dwellers leave for their hometowns.

However, the scenario is likely to be different this time around as a majority will have to remain here.

Former photographer Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor, who on several occasions could not celebrate Hari Raya in his hometown as he had to be on duty, said Putrajaya was indeed “empty” during the festive break.

“There would only be three or four families in one block of apartment who would be around. The roads would be empty and outlets closed except for one mamak restaurant.

“It is all quiet and if you are alone, it can be rather depressing. I’m lucky that I have my two sons and wife with me.

“On top of that, I had to work, so the first day of Hari Raya went by rather fast for me, ” he added.

This year, Ahmad Irham will not go back to his kampung in Machang, Kelantan.

“It won’t be so bad because our neighbours are around. My wife will be making her famous nasi kerabu and we will send some to our neighbours.

“We will not have people coming over to the house due to social distancing rules.

“My wife is a nurse and she makes sure we heed the health advice, ” he said.

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