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In Singapore, ‘digitally estranged’ seniors grapple with how to celebrate Hari Raya via FaceTime and Zoom

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Abdul Rahman Mohsen, an 85-year-old Singapore widower, would usually go to the mosque each day for prayers, and spend time afterwards socialising with friends.

But his Ramadan routine was upended this year when Singapore announced the suspension of religious services as part of its partial lockdown, or circuit breaker, to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Singaporeans were also barred from visiting other homes, although this will change when restrictions are eased from June 2 and up to two visitors a day are allowed – as long as they come from the same household.

Hari Raya Idul-Fitri, or Eid al-Fitr, which fell on Sunday, was especially difficult for Rahman.

He has eight children and 20 grandchildren, and would usually expect a steady stream of visitors to his three-bedroom flat, with exchanges of green packets and shared meals. But this year, it was just him and his domestic helper.

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