Fatpapas founder Sheikh Haikel on creating an online variety show for a bazaar platform

Ramadan is here, and this year, while we may not be able to enjoy the many offerings from the Geylang Serai bazaar due to the pandemic, Fatpapas founder Sheikh Haikel is lending his star power to online marketplace B. Halal, to help merchants sell their goods online. B. Halal is an online marketplace created by web designer Muhammad Alkhatib and businessman Hamdan Razali for sellers to sell all things halal. When the news broke last month that all Ramadan bazaars will be cancelled due to the Circuit Breaker measures in place, the founders decided to work with Haikel and actor Aaron Aziz to host a live-streamed variety show. In a Zoom interview yesterday (23 April), Haikel, together with his wife, Anna Belle Francis, shared with Yahoo Lifestyle SEA why bringing the spirit of a Ramadan bazaar online is so important to them and the sellers. Haikel, whose father used to manage a stall in the Geylang Serai bazaar, said, “I’ve always been a Geylang Serai boy; every Hari Raya, my dad used to open a stall, where he would sell all sorts of things, from kain (cloth) to flowers and jewellery.” While there won’t be a physical bazaar, Muslim consumers can go online on apps like B. Halal to shop for Raya and Ramadan goods. “Because of the situation that we are in right now, we thought of everyone – from the guy who fries wahde (fried doughnut) to the aunty who sells sotong (cuttlefish) and the man who sells toys and curtains – together with B. Halal, we wanted to extend the platform to include a variety show and interview the people behind the bazaar,” Haikel added. Besides their marketplace, B. Halal is adding comedy skits, religious sermons, a financial advice segment and community outreach programmes for charities.