By Emma Victoria
RAMADAN this year is no longer about sharing of delicious food, gathering for fast-breaking or filling the mosque for prayers as the Covid-19 pandemic still poses a threat.
As Malaysia extends its Movement Control Order (MCO) until May 12, many will continue to stay home, including Muslims who are observing the first day of Ramadan today.
But, this is not the case for those on the frontlines in the fight against the virus.
A healthcare frontliner, Rosiah Ramli, 37, has decided to send her three children to the village as she couldn’t take care of them during the Ramadan month.
As much as she wanted to spend the fasting month with her kids, she has to sacrifice this year.
Rosiah told the Borneo Post, her daily 12-hour shift will drain her energy from preparing food for buka puasa and sahur.
“Previously, my job wasn’t this hectic and I managed to cook or get takeaways from eateries or Ramadan bazaar.
But, this year (due to Covid-19), I won’t have the time and energy to do so. I will have some canned sardines and instant noodles” she said.
Arnieyartiey Rahman, 38, said as a newlywed couple, it supposed to be an exciting and joyful moment to spend her first Ramadan with her husband.
However, due to the pandemic, the healthcare frontliner is now having mixed feelings.
“It is our first Ramadan together. We have been looking forward to observe this fasting month together as a new family. But, things are not going to be the same. I am also not sure how we will be celebrating Hari Raya next month.
“We used to take things for granted and able to go anywhere without worry. Now, I am now feeling paranoid (even) to go out as we don’t know who are the virus carriers.
Furthermore, I am (pregnant) and having a child soon, in a risky world,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mohammad Dasril Anas, 35, who used to buy food from the Ramadan bazaar, has to plan ahead for his ‘buka puasa’ and ‘sahur’ menu.
“It is a challenging time for us on the frontlines as I usually finish work late in the evening due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, I think most of us will need to cook our meal for fast-breaking since there is no Ramadan bazaar,” he said.
But, food is not his main concern.
The Miri-based doctor is worried of the possible spike of cases if people are allowed to go back to their hometowns during Hari Raya if the Movement Control Order is lifted.
“I had also planned to return to my hometown in Kuching but it has been cancelled now. I’m afraid that I might transmit the disease to my parents and family. I don’t want to take the risk. I want them to stay safe,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAS Sarawak information chief Zharudin Narudin, 35, said this year’s Ramadan will be on a smaller scale.
Due to the MCO, Muslims now appreciate the meaning of Ramadan, which is to be modest and focuses on the necessary, he said.
“We need to look at it positively as we want to break the chain of infection. It also limits people’s movement, thus people will only buy what is necessary and not overspend.
Though there won’t be Ramadan bazaars and congregations at the mosques for prayers, we can still do other things like donating to the poor with the help of technology,” he said.