Singaporeans get nostalgic in holy month

DUBAI — Singaporeans in the UAE are missing the ‘Geylang’, a food bazaar on a long stretch of road in downtown Singapore, which is alive with shoppers from all walks of life buying food packs for Iftar.

By Lily B. Libo-on

Published: Fri 27 Aug 2010, 12:40 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:20 AM

Mohd Jahari B. Sabar and his wife Suharti binte Mohamad point out that in Singapore they seldom cooked Iftar food during the holy month of Ramadan and would, instead, opt for the family food packets which cater to different choices, and are all available in Geyland — the food bazaar.

“Muslim women prefer to buy food packs for the family because we go for taraweeh prayers every night. There is not enough time for us to prepare food after we arrive from work,” they say.

The food bazaar, which resembles more like a food festival in the busy street of Singapore is what Singaporeans miss about Iftar here in Dubai, says Mohd Jahari. “Here, we have to cook our own native food, which is special and unique to Singaporean Muslims. But thanks to the shortened working hours here, we get the time to cook Iftar food at home.”

He adds: “Spending Ramadan in our home country means that we have to rush for food packs as we head for home.”

He also reveals how Singaporeans in Dubai assemble for Iftar when families — both Muslims and non-Muslims — come together with home-made food. “There is an attempt to simulate the festive mood of Geyland, as we dine and pray together.”

Musdalifa Abdulla and Noorhudah binte Ismail, another Singaporean couple, say they also miss the lively atmosphere of the evenings when families go together for taraweeh. “Women go with their daughters in the ladies section of the mosque and perform the taraweeh prayers as their husbands do the same in another part of the mosque. The houses of the Muslim Singaporeans are decorated with lights right from the first day of the holy month of Ramadan,” says Noorhudah.

The entire street of the ‘Geylang’ is also bedecked with festive lights in all shapes and forms as families go there to shop for food packs, as well to buy new curtains, carpets etc, from the more than 400 open stalls selling practically all items that Muslim families require to prepare for the Eid celebrations. “I used to shop there with my wife, my six-year-old-son, Furqan, and my four-year-old daughter, Maryam,” says Noorhudah, with a sense of nostalgia.

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