Raya Reflections: Cherish Your Loved Ones Beyond the Festive Season

Staying connected with loved ones during the festive season can sound a lot easier than it looks but is a challenge when everyone is glued to their devices in today’s evolving digital world. This Hari Raya, we wanted to take the time to appreciate our loved ones through the eyes of the people of Sunview. In a series we call, “Raya Reflections,” we will be taking a look at how appreciating past and present family traditions allow us to strengthen bonds with our loved ones and greater community to deepen connections and encourage togetherness.

In Sunview, we are fortunate to have many employees from different walks of life who appreciate the big and little things about their loved ones. This Raya Reflections, we sat down with our fellow employee in renewable energy (RE), Ili Khulaika (IK), Quantity Surveyor of our LSS department, who looks at Raya in a new way after moving across Peninsular and East Malaysia. Ili Khulaika shares how she appreciates her family by cherishing previous family traditions and creating new ones this Raya.

What are your plans this Raya? Do you and your family have any special traditions that you do during this festive period?

IK: This year we will be going back to my hometown. I’m from Perak and my husband is from Puchong. So, we will be in Perak this year!

We (me and my husband) will focus on decorating the house and take a look at furniture, especially couches. My father-in-law will bakar lemang but just only for our family. This recipe has been in my father-in-law’s family for generations where we use actual fire, not the regular stoves we see today.

As for me and my husband when we have open houses to attend every year, I will make my signature cookies, my mom’s special recipe, which are pineapple tarts and crunchy cornflake cookies. We will visit family and friends. Pagi Raya, we will have a prayer and ask for forgiveness from family, take photos and eat together. We will have a session of forgiveness (sesi maaf-maaf) where we admit our wrongdoings with each other and we will cry, gaduh balik dan baik balik (laughs).  

Sounds like an exciting Raya ahead! How would you compare Raya this year and Raya in the past few years, say three (3) years ago?

IK: My late maternal grandmother would make lemang, dodol and wajik durian every Raya. Last pandemic, my grandmother passed away because of COVID and we do not have that now. Back then when I lived in Sabah, we also used to have Raya cards so everyone will exchange Raya cards with one another, and we would send the cards to our family members and friends in Peninsular which we do not do anymore. I felt like I miss that because there were Raya cards and sometimes these Raya cards have music. Nowadays, there are only digital cards or wishes via social media which does not have the same personal touch. This Raya, I have a niece, the first grandchild for my parents which is exciting!

As now is the festive time to shower forgiveness and show appreciation, what would be something you can share from your relationship with your family that you have learned?

IK: Before we had our own family, we would gather with our immediate family without other people, so I feel like I miss that. It is nice to be able to gather with my siblings and now my siblings are married, so some of them would balik kampung somewhere else so we are not all in the same place at once. There is something that seems to be lacking or missing because not everyone is present. So now because we have our own family, we also need to exercise our own responsibilities with our family during that time.  

However, when it comes to family, location does not matter as long as you are together, and you can even have chosen families. This is true for myself as growing up I was born in Perak, grew up in Seremban and attended secondary school in Sabah, now I am in Klang Valley. During my time living in Sabah, my parents transferred there for work, so we would spend Raya with their colleagues from Peninsular Malaysia, we would gather with them if we did not go back to Peninsular for Raya. We would cook together in Sabah as though we were in Peninsular Malaysia. So, they were like our own family, but in Sabah.

In all these places I have lived in, as I get older, every year, I selalu fikir, is this the last puasa or last Raya? Maybe it would be different next year. So, I try to do my best every Ramadan and Raya.

Do you have any advice for everyone else celebrating Raya when it comes to appreciating family/loved ones this Raya?

IK: No matter your family background, you need to appreciate your family and try to treat them as good as you can as we do not know when our family members will still be around. As human beings, we will tend to be dissatisfied with some family members, but we need to get rid of those feelings and appreciate your family when they are still around. For example, as we grow older, our siblings are also all grown up, so their lives are different, and they may go towards a different path from yours. So, you may be trying to understand the path your siblings take, while appreciating them more.  

For myself, I have four (4) siblings and I am the oldest. So, I will always be the one to tell my siblings things dan selalu marah-marah. That is why sesi maaf-maaf itu lama (laughs). I would be like I asked them to do this and that. That’s a tradition (laughs).  

As we embark on the joyous festivities of Hari Raya, I would encourage everyone to cherish the moments of togetherness, express gratitude for blessings both big and small, and extend acts of kindness and generosity to those in need.

Times and the people around us will change, however, Ili Khulaika shared with us how it is important to cherish the small and big moments with our loved ones, from festive season to everyday life. At Sunview, we take great pride in the work we do for the ones we care for the most and Ili Khulaika is one of many who choose to cherish every Raya season and the moments shared with loved ones outside of the workplace.

To learn more about living a meaningful life that matters for your loved ones and greater community, check out our career opportunities or contact us.

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