People flock to Ramadan bazaars after absence of two years

SINGAPORE: Since he was a younger boy, Khairul Kamarudin has been serving to out at his dad and mom’ stall Aliya’s Kitchen at any time when they arrange store at a Ramadan bazaar. 

That is till the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to his routine when Ramadan bazaars weren’t allowed to function. 

When CNA visited his dad and mom’ stall at BazaRia Marsiling bazaar close to Woodlands MRT station on Tuesday (Apr 26) night, the 30-year-old advised CNA that it was “nice to see the patrons coming back”. 

He missed interacting with folks and now appreciates it when his former prospects return to the stall. 

“Because people haven’t been to a bazaar for two years, now (there are more) people of all races coming down to enjoy the event,” mentioned Khairul, on one of the variations he has noticed within the crowd after two years. 

“People should go to any of the bazaars in Singapore, just to experience the cheerfulness, the excitement, the queues … Singaporeans love to queue right?” 

Several metres away from his dad and mom’ stall, the queue for Ramly burgers prolonged past the bazaar’s coated areas and solely grew longer all through the night. 

Although stalls weren’t packed as tightly in contrast to pre-pandemic occasions – and there was extra space to transfer round – the bazaar was nonetheless an assault on the senses.  

Shafiq, an worker manning the Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak stall on the similar bazaar, described the gang as “overwhelming”. 

He labored at Ramadan bazaars for greater than 5 years earlier than the pandemic. 

“You see the crowd … Ever since there’s no safe distancing … we can’t control (them). It’s good for the business. After two-and-a-half years of the pandemic, it’s quite remarkable to be back,” he mentioned. 

“The vibes are different compared to the past two years, when we didn’t get to celebrate Ramadan. Now we get to enjoy the festive season month.”

Muslims in Singapore ushered in Ramadan on Apr 3, main up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri on May 3.

“MORE FREEDOM” 

Some prospects at the BazaRia Marsiling bazaar expressed comparable sentiments concerning the crowd.

Ishuarwin Kaur, 19, advised CNA she would go to a Ramadan bazaar yearly earlier than the pandemic and even go to every bazaar just a few occasions – “specifically for the Ramly burgers”. 

“I think it’s more crowded than (even pre-pandemic crowds). Because the hype is here (after two years of having no bazaars),” she mentioned. 

In the road for Ramly burgers together with her, 25-year-old Kavinath added that they visited the Geylang Serai bazaar earlier than the SafeEntry obstacles have been eliminated on Tuesday. 

“That time we went, we needed to do SafeEntry. But today there’s more freedom, it feels like we can roam around,” he mentioned. 

For sisters Syaza and Natasha, the queue for Ramly burgers was too lengthy. They ended up with solely finger meals and snacks. 

Nonetheless, they felt the general crowd was muted in contrast to the previous. 

“Of course, (the bazaar is) on a smaller scale this year … But (the smaller crowd) could also be due to the fact that it’s a Tuesday and people are also going to break fast soon. They may have already bought their food beforehand, so they’ve gone back home to break fast,” mentioned Syaza. 

Over on the Geylang Serai bazaar, first-time guests Jiang Hao and Xuan Ling mentioned the Ramadan bazaar met their expectations. 

“After the last two years of COVID-19, we wanted to find somewhere interesting to visit. So we found this bazaar happening, and it’s been quite a long time since (going out) … with the whole COVID situation,” mentioned Jiang Hao. 

Fellow Ramadan bazaar first-timers ought to go to simply to “experience the Ramadan spirit”, he added.

CROWDS COULD BE BETTER

For just a few first-time distributors on the Geylang Serai bazaar, the crowds may very well be higher – although the SafeEntry obstacles have been eliminated on Tuesday when CNA visited. 

“We expected it to be even more crowded. Those stalls that are known are quite crowded, but the newcomers … they are not (drawing) that big of a crowd,” mentioned Fattah, 27, an worker on the Rancho Meats stall. 

Even although there was a shorter queue on the entrance to the bazaar as a result of there have been no extra SafeEntry obstacles, Fattah added that the gang dimension is also due to the truth that it was nonetheless a weekday. 

“When it comes to the weekend, we’ll find out how it goes … as it’s the last weekend of Ramadan, so it’ll be the busiest weekend,” he mentioned. 

At Latif’s Briyani, 66-year-old Mohamed Salim, who was serving to his sister-in-law together with her enterprise, mentioned the crowds “could be better”. 

“Weekends are okay. But as I said, it can be better. Because the bottleneck is at the (entrance). No TraceTogether today (but) not much difference,” he mentioned. 

As for first-time guests, Mr Salim solely had one piece of recommendation: “They have to bring a lot of money. With fasting month, you will want to drink a lot and buy everything to eat the minute you break your fast.” 

Despite the less-than-ideal crowds, he added that he loved the “family” environment on the bazaar. 

“We’re a family: This guy, that guy; they help us out, we help them out,” he mentioned.

“If they don’t have certain bags, or they don’t have spare change, we give them. We don’t have, they give us. We give them biryani for a break, they give us drinks for a break. It’s a family atmosphere here.”

People flock to Ramadan bazaars after absence of two years

Grace Yeoh

Source : channelnewsasia.com

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