Queensbay Mall in Penang is widely-regarded as one of the most creative when it comes to festive decorations, particularly their grandiose and elaborate set-ups in the past year
However, a complete lack of Hari Raya decorations in the mall’s central atrium this year came as a shock to one of its patrons, who highlighted the issue in a Facebook post that has since gone viral
In a Facebook post dated 27 June, Faten Rafie wrote: Central court of Queensbay Mall, which usual gets all the celebration decor is empty. Almost too stark naked. Walking in, once I am past the shock, I am enveloped in sadness. Am I still in Malaysia? Where we proudly claim of multi races living in harmony, sharing all the many celebrations from all the different ethnics and religion groups that makes us Malaysia. Yet it looks like the mall in in mourning.”
She further questioned, “Does CapitaLand Mall Asia, the company managing Queensbay Mall, deem Aidilfitri unworthy of the beautiful celebration decorations that they are famous for?”
“Maybe the demographic is not worthy in term of revenue to them, yet I see so many doing their Raya shoppings there, most with at least a couple of bagful of purchases,” she wrote. there’s no decoration planned for the central court or any other places apart from the 15′ corridor at the far end of the mall. Why is that the biggest celebration, by the main ethnic group, embracing the official religion of our nation only get a corridor (between Starbucks and KFC) worth of celebration decoration?“
The post – which has been shared more than 750 times – quickly gathered comments of outrage from many, some of whom vowed to never step foot in the mall ever again
A prominent Facebook personality with nearly 6k followers also weighed in on the issue, urging the mall to be “respectful of the major ethnic groups in the country”
On the other hand, some are of the opinion that the issue has been blown out or proportion
After all, how did a post on the lack of festive decorations escalate into a racial, religious or even political issue?
Joe Najib – whose Facebook page is followed by nearly 16k people – thinks the entire fiasco is “pathetic” and “ridiculous, saying that “social media has given voice to the real bigots”
In a post dated 29 June, he wrote:The racial sentiments / tension in our country today has gone to levels we’ve not witnessed in decades. It’s ridiculous. Social media has given voice to the real bigots, voices that were once confined to homes and kopitiam talks. Now it’s in the open. True colours have come out.“
Meanwhile, Queensbay Mall has released a statement on its Facebook page explaining that there are no elaborate Hari Raya decorations because the central atrium is due to undergo renovations soon
In the statement released on 28 June, the mall wrote: We would like to reassure you that Hari Raya Aidilfitri is an important festive occasion for our mall. In previous years, we have always had Hari Raya decorations in the centre atrium of our mall.Unfortunately, we were unable to continue this tradition this year as the centre atrium is undergoing a major renovation involving ceiling and flooring works in a few days’ time.“
Earlier on, the mall has already set up some Hari Raya decorations in another part of the mall i.e. ground floor of its North Court, which is significantly more low key compared to the central atrium
However, Faten, the writer of the aforementioned viral post, has noted that the decorations are placed right in front of Morganfield’s, which she calls a “watering hole most famous for their pork dishes”.
A quick look through the mall’s photos on Facebook show that Hari Raya decorations in 2015 were set up in the central atrium and the North Court in 2014
Recently, a woman was publicly scorned when she ate in public in protest of religious policing in Malaysia:
The incident took place at The Chicken Rice Shop in Quill City Mall on 25 June, Saturday.
On a more positive note, have you seen what could be the most adorable Hari Raya ad this year?
Just the burst of positivity we need!
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