Balm to soothe ‘balik kampung’ longing

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 April 2021:

With inter-state travel still disallowed to contain Covid-19 spread, Sunway Malls intends to bring forth the message of togetherness and homecoming with their mall wide ‘Ikatan Mesra Raya’ celebrations this year.

Until the end of May, all Sunway Malls will be decorated to represent a different mode of transport or various kampung scenes to recreate the ‘balik kampung’ atmosphere that may not be possible for those who reside outside of their hometowns.

Shoppers at Sunway Pyramid will be treated to a recreation of the familiar R&R stops that dot the highways in Malaysia; immerse themselves in a traditional kampung scene at Sunway Carnival Mall where vehicles from out of state have arrived home in preparation for a Raya feast or head to Sunway Big Box & Sunway Citrine Hub to travel to old town scenes featuring a vintage taxi.

They can also relive memories of hailing a train at the railway station set up in Sunway Putra Mall complete with a classic clocktower, visit the traditional Raya house in Sunway Giza or get a chance to experience celebrations by the water at the jetty and fishing village in Sunway Velocity Mall.

Sunway Malls & Theme Parks chief executive officer H C Chan said: “This past year has made us relook what it means to bond with family and friends, and also rethink how we celebrate our respective festivities. Sunway Malls would like to welcome one and all to celebrate a meaningful Raya by being reminded that home is where the heart is, no matter where we are.”

Further, Sunway Malls has also partnered with Woman Up by Kloth Cares to help families in need this Raya. All Sunway Malls nationwide will be collecting donations to purchase an Upcycled Raya Pouch or redeem it with a minimum spend. Each mall will have a designated beneficiary and all proceeds will go to those in need.

IPC Shopping Centre is embracing the hybrid compromise with digital ‘retailtainment’ offerings with its ‘Raya Kau Kaw Kaw’ campaign.

“We are living in extraordinary times,” said marketing manager Mark Tan. “Last year was the first time our Muslim friends experienced Ramadan and Raya during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the community is more prepared to adapt to the new normal of observing Ramadan and Raya this year, we have also equipped ourselves with a multi-channel approach that we have been adopting to better serve the households within our community.”

Among steps taken by the mall include opening up its decorated courtyard, located behind Machines at Level G, so that families can enjoy an ‘Iftar Picnic’ experience as they buka puasa (break fast) together from 6pm to 10pm throughout the season of Ramadan.

“This year, we have adopted a new festive layout, ensuring sufficient physical distancing while encouraging interactivity through augmented reality features on the interactive LED screen. We have also brought back special workshops and Små Buddies walkabouts for the first time since the pandemic hit so that our little shoppers can also experience their Raya Kaw Kaw.”

He said IPC Shopping Centre is also bringing back the shoppable Facebook Livestream that will be happening at 12.30pm on weekdays till May 5. Each day, the livestream will feature one exclusive participating tenant, which includes All IT Hypermarket, Brands Outlet, Dr. Hauschka, Harvey Norman, IKEA, Jurlique, Niki Cains Home, and Popular Bookstore.

“Shoppers can easily make their Raya purchases from the comfort of their homes, even for last-minute Raya shopping. With our recent partnership with DHL to offer nationwide delivery, we hope to continue spreading the festive cheer beyond the Damansara community.”

Meanwhile, PLUS Malaysia Bhd anticipates an increase in highway traffic travel during the upcoming period – following the recent announcement by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, that interstate travels for work, medical, educational and emergencies purposes are allowed, subject to the permissible conditions by the authorities.

“We remain committed to providing our customers a safe and comfortable travel experience during these challenging times. Our PLUS R&R businesses continues to remain open 24-hours (subject to local authorities’ directives) and all our 600 local entrepreneurs at our R&Rs are ever ready to serve the highway customers,” assured PLUS strategic stakeholder engagement head Syed Mohammed Idid Syed Ahmed Idid in a statement.

“This is in line with our brand promise of ‘Taking Good Care of you (our highway customer) every step of the way’ and we strongly advise them to also take a break every two hours journey to refresh, rejuvenate and to enjoy a hot meal or use the public facilities at the rest and service areas (R&R) along our highways. There is a wide array of choices and tasty offerings available as well as hot and refreshing beverages to keep one hydrated from our 29 R&Rs, 50 lay-bys, and overhead bridge restaurants.

“Highway customers have the choice to either dine-in or takeaway by using pre-order function which are available at 21 selected R&Rs enabling highway customers to comfortably place their orders earlier via the PLUS App. You may download the free PLUS Apps for details and view the Pre-Order offers.”

Bernama reported the Melaka International Airport (LTAM ) in Batu Berendam is conducting ‘buka puasa’ feasts for those who miss air travels to hometowns.

“We used to line up at the airport immigration but now we line up at the buffet table to grab food,” joked Hizman Hafsham, 35.

Accountant Hizman loves to travel so the the concept of breaking fast at an airport seems to have cured the travel bug in him by just being there.

“Even though I did not see planes taking off or landing, just being at the terminal is enough for me as I have not set foot in an airport for almost two years due to the (Covid-19) pandemic.”

LTAM manager Mohamad Nazri Mat Khalid said hopefully, the concept will ease the longing for an airport atmosphere since the pandemic hit last year.

“This is a unique collaboration and during the nearly 20-year history of the airport, this is the first time the concept of a Ramadan buffet has been held at the airport.”

He noted this collaboration is more of a win-win situation as there have been no commercial aviation activities at LTAM for 13 months while the catering business has also just started to breathe again.