Technological Advancement Killing Off Practice Of Sending Raya Cards

By Norazurra Aziz and Rosmarie Khoo Mohd Sani

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Malaysians used to send greeting cards to wish each other Selamat Hari Raya, but the practice seems to have died off.

It has now been replaced by information technology and the short message service (SMS).

Gone are the Raya cards sent in various shapes and designs, with pictures, love messages and even music, later hung in various parts of the house as part of the Hari Raya decorations.

In a random survey conducted by Bernama, many young people said they no longer bought Raya cards which they considered an archaic practice.

Anis Nasuha Zakaria, 19, said she was not interested to buy Raya cards which she said were costly, and she would need to write the messages or sign her name and post the cards.

"This is the era of technology, so we can just download interesting messages with pictures, and send them through the smartphone without incurring any extra cost," he said.

Assistant town planning officer in Kuala Lumpur, Norshazilawati Zamidi, 30, said she had stopped sending Raya cards, and the last time she did that was in 2004.

"To me, sending Raya cards is no longer relevant. However, I still get some from my friends, so I reply with Raya cards too," she said.

She added that if the practice of sending Raya cards was to be revived, there should be a campaign to promote it among the younger generation.

Guest researcher at the Academy of Malay Studies, Universiti Malaya, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Karim said although the sending of Raya messages on cyber space was relevant and could be continued as it was in keeping with the times, it should be confined to friends.

"I feel Raya cards would be more appropriate if you want to send Raya greetings to VIPs, corporate leaders or the elders in a family.

"This is because the cards contain beautiful messages and symbolise warmth and respect," Nik Safiah, a language expert, said.

However, she reminded that proper language be used in Raya messages sent through cyber space, including Whatsapp.

"We have to be mindful of our language so that the message sent has a positive effect on the recipient and can strengthen ties," she said.

However, there are still people who prefer sending Raya cards and they feel the warm, thoughtful gesture should be retained.

Nurhafza Mohamad Mustafa, 33, a language teacher at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), said technological advancement never stopped her from using the "old way".

"I still have friends sending me Raya cards each year, and I would reply them. This exchange helps to evoke nostalgia and heighten the Raya mood.

"The young today feel less for Raya, but I prefer sending Raya cards to help create the mood. I do not want this practice to die off," she said.

She added that although sending Raya SMS-es was cheaper and faster, it did not have any sentimental value as these messages could not be kept for remembrance.

Meanwhile, Raya card sellers lamented the decline in business from such greeting cards when less people now bought them.

Of the few who still bought them, most were women who chose cards with nostalgic words.


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