By Fitri Shahminan in Bandar Seri Begawan/The Brunei Times | Asia News Network –
Bandar Seri Begawan (The Brunei Times/ANN) – With just under a month to go until Hari Raya – Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan fasting month – Muslims in the country will soon be busy preparing for the much-awaited festive season.
It is also during this time of the year that many of us will begin laying out a plan on the dining table during sungkai (the break of fast), asking everybody in the family what they want to wear for the festive season, what furniture to purchase to beautify the house, how many open days should be hosted and to some extent, what automobile to buy, and so on.
Should we go overboard and splurge our money on brand-new traditional clothes cara melayu and baju kurong, new furniture and tonnes of food? Is it necessary to look fashionable and be seen as among those living luxuriously?
A Bruneian undergraduate studying at HELP University in Kuala Lumpur, who just wants to be known as Fydah AR, believes that Hari Raya should rather be spent moderately than stylishly.
“Years have gone by and I’ve grown to comprehend that style doesn’t matter much during Raya,” she says.
She feels that Hari Raya is more about who we spend it with, as opposed to how we spend it.
“Why waste a lot on tailoring new bajus, when you can save up a few hundreds to spend on other Raya necessities for the house or family. Like maybe, plates, decos, things that are tangible and worth our money,” the students say.
Fydah advises Muslims who celebrate Hari Raya not to go beyond their means just to look posh during the festivity.
“Don’t go loaning from the bank just so you can get a new automobile for Raya, or new television and sound systems. That’s where it is already wrong, because Raya is a celebration of our journey to strengthen our beliefs, family ties and also for forgiveness,” she says.
“Raya is not about boasting who has the latest car, latest fashion in baju kurung. This is where I can state that we as humans, have forgotten the true meaning of hari Raya.”
Siti Farishah Momin, a private hair stylist and make-up artist, states that “it’s quite difficult to try and save during Hari Raya because there are always a lot of sales going on at that time.
She deems that Hari Raya is becoming more of “commercialised affair”, explaining that automobile dealerships tend to offer attractive prices and packages, which is also the case with electronics and other household items.
“They (retailers) know that people have money to spend during Raya,” she said, adding that people usually saved up during the prior fasting month.
When asked about the prospect of holding open houses, Siti Farishah feels that the number of days that households opened their doors to guests depend on the individual’s capacity to host them.
“Like for our family, some years when we can afford it we have separate open house (days) for say, my parents’ friends and another day for my friends. So it really depends on the family.”
“But I know that most families just hold it for one day to save time and money,” the 28-year-old adds.
Eng Siok Tin, General Manager of the Wealth Management Unit at Standard Chartered Bank Brunei is of the opinion that Bruneians, in general, should think ahead for their future and not get carried away with preparations of the festive seasons.
“Even during the festive season, you need to set some cash aside for future savings,” Eng says.
She feels that recycling previous year’s decorations opens creative avenues and also encourages people to save money.
“In the past years, our advice (to the public) has always been to re-use old furniture and home appliances that are still in good condition to save money.”
She advises against buying food and drinks in massive quantity simply by guessing and without proper evaluation.
“Even I myself, sometimes tend to order more than I need during Chinese new year. But if you can cut down on the number of cakes, for instance, it would be good. You can save your money for better things for future ” she says.
She goes on to remind Bruneians to spend within their budget and not to use up all their cash during festivities.
“Plan your open houses well, you do not necessarily have to host more than once during the month,” Eng says.
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Submited at Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 at 10:00 am on Uncategorized by jessica
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