By Nur Shazreena Ali & Natasha Jee
KUCHING: It was a quite an experience for two West Malaysians to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri for the first time in Kuching.
The duo — Muhammad Ibrahim, 31, from Kelantan and Rozaifis Rofiei 31 from Perak who is currently working in Kuching — was supposed to go back to their respective hometowns to celebrate the festivity with their families.
Both even booked their flights back earlier this March, but due to the hassle of applying for the inter-state travel permit and taking into the consideration of the safety of everyone, they decided not to return home.
New Sarawak Tribune met them dressed in their baju Melayu at Kuching Waterfront yesterday and found out how they celebrated Hari Raya here.
Despite not being able to be with their families, the duo found a way to make their Raya a memorable one.
Muhammad said it was a rather quiet celebration for him, but he is glad he is still able to celebrate with his friends here.
“I have been working in Kuching for almost three years and each time Raya approaches I would go back to celebrate it with my family. However due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have decided not to go back first.
“I feel a bit lonely, but I am glad that my friend and I can still celebrate the festivity in a peaceful environment,” he said.
For Rozaifis, the travel restriction has given him a chance to experience celebrating Hari Raya in Kuching.
“This is the first time I’m celebrating Hari Raya away from home. But we must accept the fact that this Hari Raya is not the same as before,” he said.
Asked whether the duo had tasted any Hari Raya dishes yesterday, both said they were fortunate as many of their friends gave them traditional Raya food such as ketupat, rendang and lemang.
“We are really grateful because our friends and neighbours really shared the Hari Raya spirit with us.
“This Hari Raya will definitely be a special one for both of us,” he added.