Awal Ashaari recalled being nervous when he celebrated Hari Raya for the first time with Scha Alyahya. The couple struck a friendship while co-hosting reality show Sehati Sedansa back in 2008. They started dating a year later. During Hari Raya, he visited her family home.
“I was nervous because I had to sing. Her uncle is popular 1980s singer Syed Sobrie. Her aunt who was married to him is also a singer, Sheril Aida. So they made me sing in front of everyone,” Awal, 35, said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Scha, 34, said: “I warned him!”
Luckily for Awal, he had some experience performing in public. He sang Michael Buble’s Sway to the delight of Scha’s famous uncle and the rest of the family.
“I remember the whole family dancing along,” he said. Awal also remembered how Scha and her parents would later join him for a Hari Raya celebration with his extended family.
“As we were still dating at that time, I felt it was one of the biggest things that she did for me. She didn’t know anyone on my side but she had the guts to just come with me to celebrate Raya with my family. I was touched,” Awal offered.It was also then when Awal knew that Scha was the one for him.
“I still think about the moment when my mum and her mum celebrated Hari Raya together for the first time. This is the kind of family bond that I want for the rest of my life …”
They got married in 2012 and their daughter Lara Alana was born two years later.
“When Lara was born, I remember it was a few days before Hari Raya. So, she got to celebrate her first Hari Raya as a newborn,” Awal shared.
Now, the three-year-old is a celebrity just like her parents. Lara stars in her own TV show on Astro called Lara Oh Lara and has 2.8 million followers on an Instagram account. Thanks to lucrative endorsement deals with family-friendly brands, Awal and Scha revealed in May that Lara has started filing income tax.
“She gets paid accordingly when the whole family becomes brand ambassadors. It’s our responsibility to pay taxes so that’s just something we have to do for her as well,” Awal said.
When it comes to raising Lara, the celebrity couple agrees that a child should not be carried away with fame. Awal said that a lot of thought went into making sure Lara grows up to be a grounded individual.
“There are a lot of people who shower her with gifts. It comes to a point when I think, ‘Alamak, I don’t want my child to be spoiled.’
“So, we are firm with her. We tell her that she has to listen to us, go to school and sleep early. We instill a lot of discipline in her. At school, we tell the teachers not to give her any special treatment.”
At the end of the day, Awal and Scha believe in fostering a positive family-centric environment for their daughter. Just as her first Hari Raya together with Awal was a joyous occasion, Scha hopes the same for Lara.
“I want her to be surrounded by her loved ones. I want her to be able to play with her cousins. I want her to have a festive Hari Raya.”
And being a fashionable family, what will they be wearing this Raya? Thanks to brand partnership with Jakel, the family has their Raya outfits all sorted out. Awal said that Lara loves dressing up and already has her own style icon.
“For Hari Raya, mother and daughter will get matching looks. I think Lara is influenced by her mum a lot. Probably by looking at the way Scha dresses, Lara also wants to look like her mum,” Awal said.