Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

While the fasting month of Ramadan in most countries around the world ended on April 20, Muslims in Southeast Asia had to wait one more day as the sighting of the crescent moon could not be confirmed on Thursday by religious authorities. Therefore, Eid al-Fitr 2023, locally known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri/Idul Fitri, Hari Raya Puasa or Lebaran (in Indonesia) falls on April 22.

This year, I was able to return to Singapore and Malaysia during Ramadan and went back to my old neighborhood to visit the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar with its festive light-up. The pasar malam (night market) was not without controversy this year, mainly due to vendors' grievances about the cost of renting stalls and stiff competition. This even became a topic in Singapore’s parliament yesterday, when Edwin Tong, the Culture, Community and Youth Minister, had to answer questions from an opposition Member of Parliament.

Locals and foreigners alike still enjoyed the bazaar. Stocking up on duit ray envelopes which are given to children during Hari Raya Puasa, I not only found a good selection of the traditional green packets (sampul hijau) but stumbled on a duit raya envelope with Mario Götze and Thomas Müller celebrating Germany’s victory at the World Cup in 2014. Stuck with leftover stock, the stallholder at the corner of Geylang Road and Joo Chiat Road was probably waiting for a sentimental German to pass by.
Götze duit raya.jpg

Are you curious about Singapore’s multicultural heritage and where the tradition of giving out green envelopes comes from? Does it matter in today’s business world? What do you need to know about religious sensitivities?

If you work with colleagues in Southeast Asia or are considering an assignment in Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia, let me help you understand this fascinating part of the world better. With more than 30 years of experience, I am happy to support your personal and professional journey and share some tips - where to find the best Teh Tarik or Duck Rice stall or even a Ghostbuster – along the way.
Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar.jpg