Technology brings families together for Raya

Nadtee (top left) gathers with her family during Hari Raya.

KUCHING: This year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri was a different experience altogether as many Muslims resorted to online video conferencing to catch up with their families and loved ones following the conditional movement control order (CMCO) directive.

As much as technology helps bring people to stay connected celebrating Hari Raya, those who come from a large family would definitely feel the subdued atmosphere.

For Nadtee, 30, who currently resides and works in Miri with her husband Abang Zaim, 33, it was quite strange for her not being able to enjoy the occasion without meeting up with her large family.

The pandemic cannot stop Faezah and her family from celebrating Hari Raya together.

Coming from a large extended family, Nadtee, who hails from Kuching, has more than 50 cousins, including their spouses with 30 nieces and nephews on her mother’s side of the family.

“My extended family from my father’s side is large too.

“Normally during Hari Raya every year, we will have a big gathering or family reunion where all my cousins and relatives participate as the committee organises games and activities,” she told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted recently.

Sharing her experience celebrating Raya with a big family, she said she and her husband were supposed to be back to Kuching this year.

“We will usually coordinate everything together — from the colour of our Raya outfits to house decoration themes — everything in the same colour.

“Our baju raya this year was supposed to be navy blue but due to the CMCO, we weren’t able to make our baju kurung,” she added.

Although her family was unable to follow the tradition, Nadtee said she was fortunate to be able to meet her family via video conferencing.

She said she and her family did some rehearsals to choose the best video conferencing app for their virtual Raya gathering.

“We tried some options such as Zoom and WhatsApp video call. But Zoom only allow 40 minutes per session, so we opted for WhatsApp video call and need to stuff everyone in one frame so that we can see each other,” she said.

Rahim Unsang (right, on television), who is at Kampung Pusil, Bakam, Miri, chats with his children at Taman Alam Oasis, Bandar Baru Samariang here in a video call during Hari Raya. Photos: Ghazali Bujang

Meanwhile, information technology lecturer Faezah Sabawi, 32, from Miri said her family was committed to keeping the tradition alive.

Clad in a purple-themed outfit, Faezah, who currently works at I-Cats College in Kuching, said this would lift her spirits to enjoy Hari Raya although she is away from home.

“It is a sad time for everyone because we are unable to perform Eid prayers together. In fact, my brother, who should’ve tied the knot last April, had to cancel his wedding reception.

“Never have I been apart on Hari Raya but the video calls really help me to meet my family,” she said.

Asked on how she spent her first day of Raya, she said it was very quiet, without the usual visiting activity with her family members.

“When the state government announced that there would not be inter-district travels, I was already in tears.

“But on the bright side, we still get to see each other. Thanks to digital technology,” she added.

RAYA VIDEO CALL… Nur Fatini Rahim chats with her father Rahim Unsang who is in Kampung Pusil, Bakam, Miri through video call from her residence in Taman Alam Oasis, Bandar Baru Samariang, Kuching.
SAD TO BE APART… Muhammad Azizi Rahim,33, with his siblings (from left) Amsyar Nabil Rahim,17, Muhammad Firas,19 and Nur Fatini,24, chat with their parents who are in Kampung Pusil, Bakam, Miri via a projected video call from their home in Taman Alam Oasis, Bandar Baru Samariang, Kuching.