Hari Raya will be different but joy not diminished: President Halimah

Shoppers queue to enter Geylang Serai Market, on May 22, 2020.
Shoppers queue to enter Geylang Serai Market, on May 22, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Hari Raya Istana Open House is cancelled and family gatherings will not be allowed to take place in the light of Covid-19 safe distancing measures, but this does not mean the joy of celebrations will be diminished, said President Halimah Yacob.

Sharing about how her own Hari Raya will be different without visits from her family, including her grandchild, who usually visits on the first day, Madam Halimah wished all Muslims "selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri" and encouraged them to use technology to celebrate together.

"I am glad that while we perform our responsibilities as Muslims in fasting and praying, we have also upheld our responsibilities as Singaporeans to ensure our families and communities are kept healthy and safe...

"We can leverage technology to stay connected and celebrate together despite being apart. Some would have made plans to organise e-Open House to welcome guests while donning matching traditional clothes and enjoy Hari Raya meals as a family through video conferencing," she said in a Facebook post on Saturday (May 23).

While the Hari Raya Istana Open House is cancelled, Madam Halimah encouraged those who are missing the open house to visit the Istana virtually through The Straits Times' interactive graphic.

Looking ahead to the month of Syawal, which coincides with circuit breaker restrictions loosening after June 1, Madam Halimah also said that she hopes Singaporeans remain cautious and responsible to prevent a second wave of cases, as has been observed in other countries.

"This Hari Raya will be a subdued but unforgettable one as we celebrate it without visiting our extended families. As the Malay saying goes, "Jauh dimata, dekat dihati", our loved ones are from our sight but they are still dear and near to our hearts especially during this period," she said.