Workers hold fast to their puasa


Making an honest living: Abdul Hussien (right) and Ibrahim Ghany dutifully fulfilling their responsibilities at City Hall, Esplanade, in Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The blazing sun only steels their resolve to maintain their tasks even during Ramadan.

And it only takes a day for Ibrahim Ghany Abdul Hamid to adjust to the abstinence of food and drink while continuing with his work as a Penang Island City Council (MBPP) sweeper.

“I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years. The first day is tough but after that, it’s like normal, ” the 59-year-old said.

Like general workers in local authorities nationwide, the 3D work – dangerous, dirty and difficult – goes on during the fasting month.

Ibrahim Ghany said he would try not to unduly strain himself during the fasting month.

His colleague Abdul Hussein AM Mohamad, 58, said he would take an hour’s break at 10.30am, which is the standard break time they are allotted.

“We are used to working during the fasting month, rain or shine. It doesn’t really affect us or make us more tired than usual, ” he said.

MBPP’s general workers start their workday at 6.30am and finish at 3.30pm.

And after a day’s honest work, the best thing to look forward to is the breaking of fast.

Ibrahim Ghany said their work shift makes it convenient for them to go home and help their wives prepare the meals.

“We cherish it. I always go home and help my wife get the dishes ready.

“My five children are between the ages of 15 and 30 and all of them, including my son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandson, will be with us for buka puasa.

“It is important that the family breaks our fast together during the holy month, ” he said.

Ibrahim Ghany said he hopes to visit his octogenarian father and mother who are in Penang this Hari Raya to seek their blessings and forgiveness.

“Everything was total chaos last year. I didn’t dare visit them last year and my son and daughter were not around during the movement control order, ” he said.

Abdul Hussein breaks his fast every day with his wife, four children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

“There is no greater joy than that. We could not organise anything last year and it is really great for us to be together this Ramadan.

“We seldom buy food. We prefer to cook it ourselves, ” he said.

Mohd Hidzir Mohd Hanifa, 33, works in MBPP’s Landscape Department and also enjoys the chance to break fast daily with his 37-year-old wife, four children aged between six and 13, two siblings and parents.

“It’s not just me; every one of us misses this togetherness that we couldn’t have last year. We are looking forward to a joyful Hari Raya Aidilfitri, ” he said.

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