Foreigners celebrate Hari Raya away from home

Azlan Othman

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreign workers and students living in the Sultanate celebrated Hari Raya in Brunei Darussalam during such an unprecedented time, allowing them to remain healthy and safe, thanks to the proactive measures taken by the government to contain the virus.

Mohd Jaleel bin Haji Abdul Rahman from India owns tailor shops and has lived in the country for 24 years. He has two children in India and said he did not miss celebrating Hari Raya back home as he can go back in other months.

“With an exception this year following the COVID-19 pandemic, business is normally good ahead of the Hari Raya festive period.”

Nil binti Salleh, who has been staying in Brunei over the past 20 years, said she goes back every three months to Padang, Indonesia.

“I didn’t go back or Mudik prior to Hari Raya. I only sent money to my siblings back home for their Hari Raya preparations. My parents have passed away. I am aware with the current COVID-19 situation affecting the world and decided not to go back home,” she added.

There is a substantial community of foreign students residing and pursuing their tertiary education in the Sultanate.

Due to the pandemic, lecturers have also begun online lectures.

“We pray to Allah the Almighty to keep everyone safe and healthy. Since the pandemic stretched to Hari Raya festivities, we are celebrating here. We are fine with it, as there is no point in returning home,” said a foreign student who wished to remain anonymous.