29/03/2024 11:01 AM
From Balkish Awang

More than two decades ago, festive celebrations were incomplete without the cherished tradition of sending greeting cards to family, relatives, friends, colleagues and business associates.

Youngsters, in particular, would eagerly await the arrival of the postman bearing cards from their friends and loved ones, and, sometimes, even local celebrities. Those days, particularly in the run-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it was quite common for ardent fans of Malaysian artistes to send Raya cards to their favourite singers or film stars who would reciprocate their gesture.

And, on the first day of Syawal, they would decorate their living rooms by hanging the colourful cards on a string for all to see and admire.   

The traditional paper cards have long been replaced by electronic cards – their essence of conveying sentiments of joy and happiness remaining the same – delivered virtually through platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok or Instagram.

Nevertheless, a check of e-commerce platforms by Bernama showed that there were vendors selling Raya-themed paper greeting cards. However, the cards sold were mostly miniature versions and based on buyer reviews, these greeting cards were used as decorations during Aidilfitri.




Some people, especially the older generation, continue the tradition of sending physical greeting cards. In fact, according to media reports, it is also the choice of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim King of Malaysia.

In a recent post on His Majesty’s official Facebook account, Sultan Ibrahim is seen signing 200 greeting cards.

“The King greatly enjoys sending traditional Aidilfitri greeting cards because it strengthens the relationship between the palace and the people regardless of religion and race,” according to the post.

Meanwhile, Pos Malaysia Bhd group chief marketing and communications officer Fiona Liao said the national courier services company is striving to revive the tradition of sending paper greeting cards.

“Sending greeting cards during (festive) celebrations is a cultural heritage that fosters close relationships among the people. Therefore, this tradition needs to be revitalised, especially among children," she told Bernama.

She said although digital cards, in a way, also convey the sender’s message, physical cards hold more significance purely because of the effort put in to buy the card, write a message and mail it, emphasising the sender’s sincerity.

“Pos Malaysia’s intention of reintroducing the sending of (physical) greeting cards is to revive the spirit of the tradition and nostalgia of the past. Even though technology has changed the way people communicate, the exchange of greeting cards is not only meaningful but deeply appreciated as well. It also strengthens the bonds of a community.

“Despite the convenience that technology offers, there’s nothing more joyful than receiving a greeting card from loved ones. So we would like to urge the current generation to preserve this tradition and continue nurturing the sense of joy and goodwill evoked through the exchange of greeting cards,” she added.

Liao also said to commemorate this year’s Aidilfitri celebrations, Pos Malaysia has issued a special “Setem Ku” stamp collection.




Meanwhile, in an effort to evoke the nostalgia of physical greeting cards, a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, is incorporating them into its decorations to mark Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which Muslims will celebrate in about two weeks.

In line with its Kiriman Raya (Raya Delivery) theme, the foyer of the Curve in Mutiara Damansara exudes a retro feel with hundreds of Raya greeting cards plastered on the walls and attached to strings hanging from the ceiling.

The “showpiece”, however, is a replica of the almost 100-year-old Bukit Rotan Post Office building. For the record, the Bukit Rotan Post Office, located in Kuala Selangor, Selangor, and opened in 1926, is still operational.

Interestingly, the “post office” in the mall, a collaboration between Pos Malaysia and the Curve, comes complete with a mailbox and counter to allow visitors to send Raya greeting cards or gifts to their loved ones, with this service available every weekend from now until April 14.

The Curve owner Boustead Properties Bhd chief executive officer Jazmi Kamarudin said they chose the theme, Kiriman Raya, for this year’s Raya celebrations as they wanted to reignite the tradition of sending physical cards depicting designs related to Malay culture and provide an opportunity to people of all ages to enjoy the exciting experience of connecting with their friends and loved ones.

“We want our mall visitors to immerse themselves in the nostalgic tradition of exchanging Raya cards… our theme instils in them the spirit of generosity and kindness whilst fostering unity," he said. "Overall, our theme serves to remind us of our traditions and noble values and to celebrate Raya meaningfully.”

Incidentally, the Curve was awarded the title of 'The Most Extensive Display of Raya Greeting Cards' by the Malaysia Book of Records for showcasing over 10,000 Raya greeting cards throughout the mall – the largest display of its kind in Malaysia.


Translated by Rema Nambiar



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