Well, there you have it. It’s official: we’re heading to our second extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) for this current pandemic. While things will be more or less the same as they were before, there’s one looming thing that’s coming that’s going to be completely different this year: Ramadan.
Malaysians find Ramadan a special time, not only because it holds special significance to Muslims, but it often showcases the best kind of dining and food experiences that we have. And… well, that’s not going to happen any more, among other things. How shall we cope? Let’s discuss the ways:
The Internet to the Rescue
The most obvious way to cope, of course, is simply the most obvious: find out what you can get done online, and do that! And to be fair, there are a lot of things you can do. Here are some of them:
#1: Shop for Groceries Online and Get Stuff Delivered
One of the things we’ve learned during this time was how many delivery options we have for not only getting food into our homes, but also household staples. Sure, our hypermarkets do deliver, but it looks like even Grab is coming to play with their GrabMart offerings, to say nothing of the dedicated grocery providers like HappyFresh and RedTick. Don’t know where to start? Check out this guide from Klook here.
Just be aware that, because of the MCO, everyone and their brother-in-law is ordering online, so expect some delays and plan accordingly.
#2: Get Fresh Produce Deivered Online
Sure, getting dry goods would be easier online than it is off, but surely you can’t expect the same for fresh goods and produce, right? Surely it’d be impossible to get fresh meat and veg during this time of constrained movement, unless you’re willing to wait in line and shop alone by your lonesome?
That’s simply not the case. Once again, online retailers come to the rescue, with providers like Lazada coming to the rescue. If you even live nearby, some wet markets even sell online using GrabFood, which is impressive, and will be a lifesaver for a lot of people.
#3: Ramadan Bazaars…? Online? Really?
One of the most beloved Malaysian institutions during this time of the year is the Ramadan Bazaar, and with the news of the MCO, there was a possibility that, like with many things, Ramadan Bazaars would have to be cancelled.
So it comes as a very welcome surprise to find out that hey, guess what? GrabFood is teaming up with Ramadan bazaar providers to help deliver some of those famous delicacies to your home! Right now it’s still an announcement and we’ll keep you posted on what cool deals they’ve got online, but what we’ve seen so far looks pretty cool.
Upgrade Your Offline Habits
I gotta admit: technology is cool and all, but another thing people can do to face harder times is to change how you’re doing things. Hopefully this crisis can spur people to do things better, not only for themselves, but for others.
Here are some suggestions:
#4: Change Up Your Ramadan Habits
For Muslims like me, growing up, the standard model for the sahur — i.e., the pre-dawn meal you’re supposed to have before starting the day’s fast — was pretty standard: rice and lauk, just, you know, served at the wee hours of the morning while you’re half-asleep. Same with iftar, the meal that breaks your fast in the evening: some kuih, maybe rice, some fruit… okay, a lot of kuih, rice and fruit.
There’s a problem with that, however: a lot of that takes a lot of work, and assumes that you’ll be able to buy certain things easily… which might not be the case this Ramadan. So what’s a good Muslim to do?
Fortunately for us, there are loads of tips and tricks you can get into that will be a big help, from such diverse places like from the health & fitness community, to even other Muslims changing their habits to match their new lifestyles. This is something that we’ve been doing for a few years now, so I’ll be covering more of this space in the coming weeks!
#5: Look Into Tech-Based Alternatives
Now, now, I did say this was going to about upgrading your offline habits, but bear with me here.
As a Muslim, one of the things that people extol about Ramadan is about how it brings Muslims together for the holy month. Well, it can’t be literal anymore, since we’re trying to flatten the curve, but hey, just because you can’t see your friends and loved ones offline doesn’t mean you’re locked away from them!
There are lots of tools available for you to set up all sorts of meetings, everything from Qur’anic classes to just a bunch of family getting together and hanging out online, such as Zoom and Hangouts Meet.
#6: Find More Meaning During this Difficult Time
And finally, something a little more real:
Ramadan is coming, and it looks like it’s going to be a hard time for everyone, not just Muslims, but all Malaysians. For many Muslims, Ramadan is often a time for reflecting on the hardships that people who are less fortunate than us go through, and a reminder of the struggles that underpin their lives.
In many ways, this is another challenge a lot of us are going through, and it’s been filled with lessons and experiences that remind us of not only what we’re able to survive individually, but the kinds of things that we, as people who belong in a society, need to do.
We’ve been asked, often, to make sacrifices, not only to keep ourselves safe, but also for our most vulnerable.
So let’s make this Ramadan count, because everyone is depending on us.