Telum vox pops: Celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri amidst ‘new normal’
By Elyse Chong
Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan, is the time for Muslims to bond with families, friends, colleagues. For businesses and corporates to host large gatherings and feasts. This year’s Raya celebration is a new experience for media practitioners.
“This time round most of us cannot go back to our hometowns to celebrate Raya with our families due to the CMCO. I had to celebrate Raya in the newsroom, where in the past, we have always been covering the Prime Minister Open House and the Istana Open House,” said Aisha Hani Azmir, Reporter of BERNAMA Newswires.
Bureau Chief of ANTARA News Agency Agus Setiawan, too, where his plan to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in his hometown in Indonesia was disrupted and had to stay in Kuala Lumpur.
“The ‘new normal’ does not distant relations with our families and friends by much,” said Muhamad Shaifullah Tayep, the Sponsored Content Champion at OHBULAN!. Firdaus Azil, Broadcast Journalist of Astro AWANI, also shared the same sentiment on celebrations in the Astro AWANI studio for this Raya.
In the past years, companies and PR professionals uphold the tradition of ‘Jamuan Hari Raya’ as a way to build rapport and to show appreciation to the media. This tradition was not in place this year due to the ban on large events and gatherings.
Aisha Hani says, “For me, it’s the thought that counts, even though ‘Jamuan Hari Raya’ is not allowed and we cannot see each other, it doesn’t mean we cannot communicate.” She welcomes PRs and corporates to always keep in touch with her via messages and emails.
Muhamad Shaifullah was grateful for Raya greeting cards sent by some corporates and companies, and for messages sent through WhatsApp and social media.
It is meaningful when preserving relations with the media for corporates and public relations are done at a personal level, emphasised by Agus.
Though COVID-19 is currently the heavily covered news, journalists are also looking into other types of news. Muhamad Shaifullah enjoys receiving stories from companies about contributions or assistance provided to needy Malaysians. On the other hand, human interest stories are a breath of fresh air to Aisha Hani, who hopes that such news would lighten up the heavy-hearted mood of Malaysians. Meanwhile, Firdaus has been following up closely on the 11th by-election (PRK Chini) taking place on the 20th June while weaving through the stipulated SOPs.