Happy Deepavali celebrants!

People must be happy. For the first time in years, I heard the firecrackers go off of and on throughout Deepavali day and the days after!

Usually, at the turn of midnight, whatever the feast, there would be a loud night-shattering explosion of fireworks for about half an hour. Then, everything goes silent, and I would wonder if anyone is celebrating the feast! Whether it’s Chinese New Year — when we expect a lot of fireworks — or Hari Raya Puasa, you only hear celebrations for the first half hour of the festive day. After that, there is no sound of anyone celebrating the feast.

It was different this Deepavali! Firecrackers went off throughout Deepavali — not continuously, but intermittently — and there was movement in some Hindu homes — at least that was how it was where I live in USJ, Subang Jaya.

Urban Hindu homes were still shuttered with most out of town as in the case during Hari Raya Puasa or Chinese New Year with Muslims and Chinese respectively. But this Deepavali, some Hindus stayed home and celebrated.

It may be a sign that the financial situation for many in the lower income groups is changing for the better. In a way, it is. Prices of a range of essential commodities have come down. Or, the Budget has given people some good news especially in the form of the fuel subsidy and RM100 monthly passes for unlimited trips on RapidKL rail or bus services.

The Budget has given some relief to the B40 group. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of economic recovery, even if some contraction is necessary to manage resources efficiently with minimum wastage. The benefits may come later and people may be willing to enjoy the simple perks now while waiting for better things to come.

The Pakatan Harapan government now has to ensure a mechanism that will deliver the promised benefits to the people, especially, where the fuel subsidy is concerned which is supposed to take effect from April next year. The delivery mechanism has to be efficient and glitch-free so that implementation from April will go smoothly.

If the government implements the fuel subsidy successfully it will prove its ability to deliver efficiently. That would only enhance the government’s credibility in the eyes of the people.

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