Whether you like a hole-in-the wall bazaars near your housing area or the bigger scale ones like in Putrajaya and Kampung Baru, for 30 days straight in the month of Ramadan you won’t be deprived of choices for what it seems like every 10 km you can spot a street adorn with red tents and bumbling hungry crowds.
But Alas! Our go-to spot to buy berbuka dishes will be suspending its annual appearance this year due to the concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.
At present, our Senior Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that there will be no Ramadan bazaars allowed to operate in Malaysia for as long as the MCO is still in force. This also includes the “drive-thru” and “pack and pick” methods previously mooted as alternatives for the bazaar.
To those who are on the fence between savouring tepung pelita or saving humanity, we urge you to take a rain check on Ramadan bazaars this year as the upsides may surprise you!
#1 Less Food Waste
I bet you didn’t know that Malaysians dispose of around 15 million kilogrammes of food waste every. single. day. Yes, pick your jaw up from the floor now. According to Malay Mail in 2019, the numbers show an increase from 15 to 20 percent during the fasting month. Imagine the monstrosity of food waste we can avoid had we been a more conscious consumer? Now is the chance. If we could skip just one year of bazaars, we could salvage mother earth from yet another filthy mountain of food scraps in the landfills. And please guys, for years to come, self-reflect and buy what you could stomach for one sitting only. And as for the food traders, donate the surplus of food to the needy and poor instead of dumping a perfectly good meal in a trash can.
#2 Saving The Turtles
It’s virtually impossible to live in a world with no plastic, but putting an end to the usage of single-use plastic is not a far fetch dream either. Zero Waste Malaysia co-founder Khor Sue Yee said, a huge chunk of the trash produced by the bazaars will end up dumped in the sea. This will in turn increase the amount of micro plastics which has surpassed the numbers of plankton as the main source of food for marine life. Ideally, a sustainable solution requires the involvement of large corporations but individual action is something that we all can practice. Check out these NGO’s to know more about environmental conservation.
#3 A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
Bazaar Ramadan is a minefield for your pocket. One wrong step, one sniff of caramel pudding and there goes your well-earned buck down the drain. Who could resist the temptations of bazaar Ramadan? The medley of colours, the waft of mouth-watering aroma, containers after containers of iced cold drinks. No wonder research shows that Malaysian spend on average RM900 a year during Ramadan. It’s a difficult feat to buy moderately when all your senses are on a high. Skip the bazaars this year and order your food via online food delivery. This limits your chances of overspending as you are being more guarded with your senses. All of us have been victims of joining the queue forming in front of a Roti John stall even though you have two Kebabs and Nasi Kerabu judging you from your plastic bags. Yikes!
#4 There is still a risk of Covid-19
We know some of you have had your hopes up high for the movement order to be lifted before Ramadan, especially after seeing a declining trend of new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia. But as long as there are still new cases, we need to be vigilant. Even China waited for another two weeks after their new cases dropped to zero okay. I know you guys miss your Apam Balik and Ayam Percik but we can’t turn a blind eye on the tremendous amount of contact that will take place if we were in a packed bazaar. There is just no way to practice social distancing and we can’t take the risk even if regulations are made to control the number of entry into a bazaar at a given time.
#5 Healthy Home Cooked Food
You know what they say, home cooked foods are far more healthier. You get to control the amount of salt and oil that goes into each dish you make. Plus, you are aware of the quality of the proteins and vegetables that makes up your dishes. We know that some of you are probably going to rely on food delivery services throughout this MCO, especially those who are away from their families. But fasting for 30 days AND breaking your fast with a balanced diet?? We’re pretty you’ll be saying goodbye to the MCO with a hot new bod. Maybe it is time we flip some recipe books and scour the net for easy and healthy recipes to cook from home.
The news of the extension was certainly received with a heavy heart for all of us. But since the first announcement of the movement control order, we have been seeing positive change to our environment like the improved Air Pollutant Index (API) as recorded by the Department of Environment. It is only fair that we acknowledge the silver lining of the MCO and the cancellation of Ramadan bazaars for the benefit of our mother earth too!
Catch Hello I Have Issues with host Zher and Keanu as they unravel the topic of Zero Waste. You might be able to learn a thing or two about conserving our planet!