Bookstores abuzz amid year-end bonus

Rokiah Mahmud

The commercial areas of Kiulap, Gadong and Delima were teeming with activities yesterday, as parents and guardians took advantage of the year-end bonus to load up on school textbooks, uniforms, shoes and bags.

Manager of Samima Sdn Bhd Mohamed Rafi bin Haji Tajuddien told the Bulletin, “Parents were already making reservations for workbooks and textbooks in early December.

“To ensure that this was managed properly, we came up with a system of asking parents to pay a deposit. They can pay for the books once they’ve received their salaries.

“As soon as their book lists have been confirmed, we will notify them via email and WhatsApp. This will save them from having to spend long hours browsing for books.

“Due to the current health restrictions, we have set up makeshift tents outside our premises, so that there will be plenty of space for customers to shop around.”

Mohammad Bajuri bin Haji Yusuf, a father of three, said, “We made reservations as soon as our children’s school issued the book list.

Parents shopping for essentials at a bookstore. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
A child fitted with a school uniform

“My daughter will be in Year 4, while my son in Year 3 this January. I usually prioritise their book lists over other school essentials.

“If their uniforms, bags and shoes are still in good condition, then we won’t need to buy new ones. It allows us to save on our budget as they are both attending religious school in the afternoon.”

Suhana, a mother of three, said, “One of my children will be attending secondary school in January. So a lot of preparation has been put into buying new school uniforms and sports attire, along with other essentials.

“As a mother, I am delighted to see my son moved on to Year 7. However, as a private sector employee who doesn’t earn much, I have to save a portion of my salary for back-to-school shopping.”

Meanwhile, several shops are offering special promotions and discounts on clothing, books and stationery for the benefit of parents and guardians.

At the same time, tailor shops are rushing to complete orders for custom-sized uniforms before the school re-opening on January 4, 2021.

Fairuz Hasri, a mother of two, said that she usually sends her children for fittings two weeks before the new school year.

“My children are quite large for their age. So it’s a struggle to find ready-made school uniforms for them,” she said.

A self-employed tailor said that despite the rush, making uniforms for the new school year is not as demanding as the Hari Raya season.

“Still, we do get last-minute orders from customers, and we have to honour their requests,”
she added.