Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Last Week Of Ramadan

There are only four or five days left to the fasting month of Ramadan for the Muslims here. I've been told that this has been a particularly difficult year because instead of the usual rainy season, this past month has been completely dry and has been one of the worst haze seasons in recent years.

Of course, work slows down during this month. At work, Richard was requested to schedule any 'major' maintenance for the night shift as the day shift teams would have no energy.

The shopping malls seem to be quite crowded, especially in the afternoons as people go there to stay cool and try to past the time more quickly. Some are drifting around window shopping but I've also come across people just leaning over the racks, resting. The crowds have been building steadily too and is reaching its peak now with the last few days of shopping left.

I usually do my shopping on the weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds but look at the place yesterday afternoon.

This was the line to pick up my purchases. Before I got to this line, I had to go line up at another queue to pay for my purchases. And because I bought items from two different areas of the store, I had to go line up at two different cashiers to pay and then another two different pick-up lines. The funny thing is that somehow, I've grown more tolerant and I understood it.

Almost all Muslim employees will receive some form of salary bonus before Hari Raya Idul Fitri (thats what comes at the end of Ramadan). This will go to the new clothes, the food and drinks for entertaining and trips to visit family and friends. As you can probably guess from reading some of my older posts, the salaries here are small so, even a bonus of a month isn't a lot and so, this also seems to be the season of incurring debt (just like credit card debt near Christmas I suppose).

The best thing about this time of the year is that there is almost no traffic on the roads at 6pm (but don't go out before that). By 6pm, everybody is at home (or at a restaurant), waiting to break their fast and the roads are clear for us to get anywhere. Although, if we're planning to eat out somewhere, we'll have to call ahead to make reservations because all the restaurants seem to have a full house every night.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A salary bonus for being in a different religion? Now I've heard it all!

Mike said...

I usually shop late in the evening to avoid lines like that. I don't think I would need anything that bad to wait in those lines.