PETALING JAYA: When Jamaliah Yaacob returned from Friday prayers and was greeted by her son Azlan Esa at the door, she was pleasantly surprised and filled with “happiness and gratitude”.
Like many other families, the 73-year-old woman and her husband Esa Kasid, 76, cherish the chance to spend Ramadan together after two years of separation from family members due to the pandemic and border closures and closures who followed.
They are happy that their son Azlan, 36, who has worked in Singapore for three years, has finally been able to return home to observe Ramadan with them this year.
“As parents, of course, we want our children to be present during the festivities, especially for the breaking of the fast and the sahur,” Esa said.
Jamaliah said that as a mother it was difficult not to see her children during the movement control order (MCO).
“I have a daughter who lives in Florida, USA, and we haven’t seen her for a long time. Maybe now her family can come back to Gelang Patah for a visit.
“The MCO was quite hard on us because even our three other children who live in Johor couldn’t visit us.
“So as we enter the endemic period, I pray that MCO does not happen again and that the pandemic is under control,” she said.
Meanwhile, Azlan is happy to be able to go home for Ramadan on his days off now that the borders have reopened because he has missed his mother’s home-cooked meals so badly.
“Everything my mother prepares, I will eat. But I crave laksa Johor and nasi kerabu as well as local kuih,” he said.
During the previous Ramadan in Singapore, he had to manage to break the fast with whatever was available as he worked long hours.
“For sahur, I just picked up something, warmed it up in the microwave,” as he described his Ramadan away from home, all the more grateful to be able to return to Johor to spend some precious time with his parents during the holy month.