Man thankful he can celebrate CNY with mum in S’pore


SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man whose application to enter Malaysia was approved by authorities faced a difficult decision on whether to spend Chinese New Year with his wife in Selangor or his mother here.

Since March last year, Hidayat Ngay was forced to be away from his wife due to tighter border measures.

He said he felt relieved when his application to enter Malaysia was approved two weeks ago, but the approval also put him in a dilemma as it was obtained ahead of Chinese New Year.

Hidayat, 65, who converted to Islam more than 20 years ago, had to decide whether to be with his wife who lives in Shah Alam, Selangor, whom he had been away from for about a year now, or to spend time with his 97-year-old mother in Bukit Timah here for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Following the closure of the border, Hidayat, who moved to Shah Alam four years ago, had to return to Singapore alone as he did not have a long-term visit pass.

However the stalemate ended as his supportive wife suggested that he should spend time with his mother for the Chinese New Year and return to Shah Alam after the celebrations.

“For the past four years, I have celebrated Chinese New Year in Shah Alam. As Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days, I would only return to Singapore (to be with my mother) a week later.

“However, for this year I spent time with my mother first, ” said Hidayat, who choked up as he reminisced how his mother gave him blessing to embrace Islam.

“Alhamdulillah, my wife is very understanding. Even though she knows I had the permission to travel back to Malaysia two weeks ago, she didn’t say come back now. She said, you stay there (Singapore)... finish your Chinese New Year, only then come back, ” said Hidayat.

Hidayat noted that he would then spend Ramadan with his family in Shah Alam.

Met by Bernama at a food distribution centre in Pasir Ris, Hidayat is one of the Singaporean volunteers who prepares food packs for Malaysians here.

After returning to Singapore last year, Hidayat said he immediately joined the group.

The group has distributed more than 180,000 packs of food to Malaysians since March last year, with an average of 1,000 packs a day.

Inspired by the philanthropist Ebit Liew, Hidayat is grateful to be able to return to Malaysia, but at the same time had mixed feelings as he had to leave this group after almost a year together.

“It is a mixed feeling because after doing all the work here with all the other volunteers I feel very happy. I thank Allah for giving me a chance to get to know them and in a way I got the chance to work with them to give all these contributions to society, ” he said. — Bernama

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