No Rest For The Faithful During Idul Fitri

While others celebrated Idul Fitri with family and friends, some Muslims spent the most important Islamic holiday working out on the streets or in hospitals, performing crucial tasks to make sure the public received basic services. Amanda Larasati, a 27-year-old nurse at Mitra International Hospital in East Jakarta, said she has been celebrating the first day of Idul Fitri with medical staff at the hospital for the past three years. “I have to serve the public and anyone can get sick at anytime. The patients who are hospitalized here also should be taken care of,” Larasati said. “Of course I miss the times when I was still able to spend the first day with my big family. But this is what I call consequence.” She said she could still celebrate with her Muslim co-workers at the hospital even though it was not as lively as celebrating it with the family. “We bring ketupat [rice cake], opor [chicken curry], rendang [beef cooked in coconut milk], and cookies from homes and we will eat together at the hospital,” she said. She also said it was nice to spend Idul Fitri, also known as Lebaran, at the hospital by serving the sick as it reminded her that God had blessed her with more. “When I look at the patients, I feel blessed and lucky because God has given me a good health. But I hope I do not have to work next Lebaran,” she said. Ali Syah, a traffic police in Matraman in Central Jakarta, also said it was his duty to serve the public regardless of the situation. “It is my duty to serve the public by maintaining the traffic security in the city every day, including in a big day like Idul Fitri,” Syah said, adding that he has been doing this for the past three years. He also said he wanted to celebrate it with his big family, but he did not have any choice. “I don’t have any choice. Thank God my family understands my job,” he said. “I prefer not to think too much of it [working on Idul Fitri]. I believe if I do my work well during Idul Fitri, God will reward me someday.” Rahmasari, a Transjakarta busway operator working on the Pulogadung-Dukuh Atas route, said this was her second year of not celebrating the Islamic holiday with her family. “My mother is always complaining but I tell her that everyone has different jobs with different responsibility and consequence,” Rahma said. “Besides, working on Idul Fitri is not as tiring as the other days.” She said she was sad over not celebrating the first day of Lebaran with her family last year. However, having witnessed that many of her Muslim friends at Transjakarta worked during a big day, she felt that she was not alone. “I know I am not alone and I can still share the Idul Fitri day with them [friends],” she said. “It is only the way how we celebrate it that is different. We are celebrating it by serving the passengers while most people by gathering in one of their family’s residence or visiting their neighbors door to door.”

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