Observing Ramadan in Malaysia

Ramadan is a religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Holy Quran began to be revealed.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience and humility. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer even more prayer than usual. Also, asking forgiveness for the sins of the past, asking for guidance in the future, and asking for help with refraining from every day evils and try to purify oneself through self-restraint and good deeds is involved in Ramadan.

However, in Malaysia, the month itself has been tainted with the extreme gluttony during the entire month of fasting. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, I don’t mean to sound racist but the gluttony among most Muslims in Malaysia can be seen in the Ramadan Bazaar. A few hours before breaking fast, a lot of people will stampede the bazaar in order to buy loads of food for the breaking fast. Sometimes you can see a man buying food in the bazaar as if he’s rationing for the war, which I find pretty ridiculous, because they are supposed to fast for the sake of God and practice moderation in the daily lives, especially during the fasting month.

But I think moderation doesn’t come in a package with some Muslims in Malaysia, as some even go for feasts or breaking fasts buffet in expensive hotels. I know that there are a lot of people who fast during the day and yet they indulge with food during the night, and I am not sure what the learn from their fasting. Probably just hunger, and not other things that’s supposed to enrich their soul with the benefit of fasting.

Fasting is actually good, according to medical studies, as it helps the digestive system to rest and for the body to detox, but I’m not so sure how many of Malaysian Muslim actually benefited from fasting as all I can see through my own observation is the practice of gluttony and impatience as an added bonus during the entire month.

It’s funny to note every year that even though the Ramadan month haven’t even reach the third day yet, Eid sales as well as songs is already in the air. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of that, but, I’d like to give some tips to the non- Muslim on how to cope with the Ramadan and take advantage of the Malaysian culture during the entire month. This year, Ramadan falls on 1st September 2008, which is today, so, here’s some tips for the non-Muslim…

1. If you’re a non-Muslim and yet your physical appearance looks like a Malay, please try not to eat in public, as the religious bodies will be letting out their minions to catch and punish the Muslim who are not fasting and have the guts to eat in public. Trust me, those minions won’t even bother to look at your Id.

2. Try to avoid offending them as some of them don’t really practice patience during the entire month… and they don’t hold their tongue either when they are arguing.

3. Some are really nicotine deprived, so if you are a smoker, avoid smoking in front of Muslim men if you don’t want to get a tongue lashing from them. (yeah, they cannot smoke too when they are fasting)

4. Be extra careful when you are driving… hungry stomachs can do a lot of damage to one’s driving skills.

5. If you are a food fan, Ramadan is the right month for you to go food hunting…in the Ramadan Bazaar, that is. There’s variety of food for you to pig on, and if you go and shop for food near the time of breaking fast, you might get them for a cheaper price.

6. Ramadan is also good for you to eat in hotel buffet. Some hotels really offer good price. So does fast food restaurant.

7. Never tapao lunch from a mamak shop if you see the shop is closed and yet the back door is opened. These kind of mamak shop are usually targets of the religious officers who is probably on the loose somewhere, ready to fine you and humiliate you, even if you’re a non-Muslim. Buy food from a non-Muslim restaurant instead, if that’s possible.

8. Mat rempit will be on loose during the sahur time, so don’t expect them to be quiet during the entire month…trust me, this is the month they are more active than ever.

9. Buy some new clothes during the raya sales…they’re quite reasonable.

10. Buy raya cookies only after raya. The stock clearance sales is dirt cheap. If you know where to find, you can even get a jar of those sweet delights at Rm2. And yea, stock up on breakfast cereals during Ramadan too. Usually they are dirt cheap during Ramadan as breakfasts cereals are one of the essential ingredients to make raya cookies.

11. If you’re a non-Muslim and you have kids who are studying in the public school, tell them not to eat in front of the Muslim kids, because your kids would definitely get into trouble if the Muslim kid report to the teachers that your kids eats in front of them. Your kids will be accused of not respecting Ramadan month, and that alone will be very troublesome. While some Muslim kids are pretty patient and respectful towards others, some are really reluctant to fast and gets jealous pretty easily on the ones who are not fasting. They’ll do anything to get the ones who are not fasting to be humiliated. (This comes from my personal experience…boy, I get into so much trouble when I was younger)

and lastly

12. If you are trying to loose your jiggly bits, why not join the Muslim in fasting and try to loose weight? Temptation to eat will still be there, but the environment would be more encouraging as there won’t be so many buggers who will purposely eat pizzas or Secret Recipe cheesecake in front of you. You will probably loose weight, granted, if you’re not a glutton when you break your fast.

Happy Ramadan and happy fasting to all Muslim, and may your good deeds during the whole month be rewarded by God.

Cleffairy: Ramadan in Malaysia is certainly weird…instead of eating with moderation, some seems to be indulging with food during the breaking fast. Oh, well, at least Ramadan bring good news to food industry entrepreneurs.

About cleffairy

Recently having fascination with ancient history.
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23 Responses to Observing Ramadan in Malaysia

  1. roses says:

    hey, thanks for the tips on what-not during the Ramadan.
    if buying war-rations is the worst u have seen, then u have seen nothing..
    i saw a Muslim man who Quran out and Quran in every sentences eat damn pork during the puasa time…
    healthy Muslim man…holds no reason to skip fasting since he can’t use women monthly period as a reason.
    oh yeah, did i mention he ate PORK?!?! despite the kind warning of Chinese bystanders telling him “that god-damn meat is PORK. you are MUSLIM. Kenot eat BABI” yet he still stuff it down

    hmmm..however, i agree on fasting for health purposes. i do fasting sometime too but not for one month. that needs a lot of determination..

  2. cleffairy says:

    Well, Rose, trust me, we can certainly get into trouble if we eat without discretion during the Ramadan. I can’t believe there’s such thing… I mean how come a Muslim man can eat pork in public? OMG…and he was actually told that the bloody meat was pork! I’m shocked…I mean, if he really wanted to gobble it down, he should at least do it discreetly, he must have no respect towards the fellow Muslims….

    And in the month of puasa, healthy Muslim man gobble down…*snort* the man must be pregnant lah, that he can skip puasa! So much for quoting Quranic verse in his daily lives.

    Yeah, you can loose some jiggly bits and detoxing when you puasa, but then again, it takes hell of determination to do so.. hahaha… πŸ˜€

  3. lz says:

    i agree with u, the mat rempits are really active during this period! my house is just beside the main road of my place. the road used to be a good site for rempit-ing. luckily there are traffic lights now, heheh!

  4. Heh, Heh, I am going for my Ramadan month food adventure again!

  5. roses says:

    i hate Muslim’s ignorance and hypocrisy. telling others what not to do and what is non-halal, but he himself does it.lucky for me, so far, most of the Muslim i met are thousands time better off…
    especially Malays ladies. they are such darlings of friends…

    determination to loose weight during puasa is definitely something i am lacking of =(

  6. Babak says:

    hi there well i am a muslim but not a malay i didint not much of the information that is mentioned above. nice tips dude. really it is sad to hear such things. myself really become hell of a good doer in this month .wat bothers me the least is the empty stomach hope many of none muslims experience the true ramadan at a certain point. true that many people show up their bad habit’s in this month but i believe that the true purpose of this month is to reveal the bad sides of everyone’s personality. hope that non muslims are enough rational to put the fault on the person not on the religion.

  7. cleffairy says:

    Lz… yalorr….every time start puasa, I start to get headache from the Vroom Vrooms when I join Muslim friends for sahur in mamak stalls…really cannot tahan the mat rempits. Whoa, at your place they gt stop at traffic lights? Wow, that’s news to me, cuz in KL here, they don’t bother to stop even at red lights…they must be racing to the morgue. 😦

    Pete… somehow I knew you are going to hunt for food this month… just be careful not to over indulge. If you put on too much jiggly bits then later very susah you know? Those slimming program very expensive… anyway, dun forget to blog about your food adventure πŸ˜›

    Rose, I agree with you. I hate the hypocrites too…but those that I mingle around with is okay…not really extreme or hypocrite. In fact, they’re very polite and nice. I guess there’s just rotten eggs in a basket, causing the rest to stink.

    Babak, thank you for visiting and commenting. I am not so sure where you get my link though. And I’m not sure where you’re from too, but sadly, in Malaysia, Muslim are generally viewed as Malays. The society and even government itself seems to forgot that there are converts and non-Malays who are Muslim. Usually, converts are really sweethearts, they really observe the Islamic teaching pretty well and usually are not extreme in practicing Islam. Unfortunately, most the gives problems during the month of fasting are mostly Malays…some are really hypocrites and not sincere to themselves, so I guess that is why all these things happened. I believe that the true purpose of Ramadan is to teach the Muslim about patience and to be humble before God. Not to mention that Ramadan also allows you to think about the poor who are starving on daily basis when you are fasting. By fasting one would realize that they are very fortunate and would do charity in order to ease the unfortunates sufferings. I believe this is the true purpose of Ramadan, but unfortunately, not many thinks that way.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the religion itself, because I know that the religion itself promotes peace and charity. What I’m blaming is the so-called devotees who are tainting the religion by behaving badly and yet still dare to preach to others on how they should behave. Well, babak, since you’re a Muslim, I sincerely wish you a Happy Ramadan and may God reward you for all your good deeds this month.

    πŸ˜›

  8. pamina says:

    babak,

    thanks for saying that. i wouldnt go around saying i hate chinese just because my 2 next door chinese neighbours are complete whackjobs. one keep an annoying pooch that wouldnt stop yelling day and night and the other have is just plain rude.

    during this good month, muslim or not, let’s try to respect each other and be kind. try not to be racist either.

  9. cleffairy says:

    Pamina… I hate people with pooches who just can’t keep quiet too. maybe one day you should go and talk to the pooch and tell it to be quiet or else you’ll cook him up. Tell the pooch that people eat dogs in China. LOL…

    I’m not trying to be racist, but honestly, some really disappointed me because they’re simply hypocrite. You know, I really hope that Malaysians realized that there are Muslim converts too. One of my friend who is a convert went for tarawikh in a surau during the night before puasa… and he was quite pissed because one of the congregate over there told him to get out of the surau because he is not a Malay! What the hell is that! So unfair. If you’re not a Malay then you’re not qualified to be a Muslim? I think that is downright wrong!

    Anyway, Pamina, happy fasting.

  10. ktx says:

    hey heyyyy…hehe. u got it right. i dun knwo abt u, but v sure tag along the gultton spree during ramadan. lol. some of the delicacies r only available during these period…which can be a real treat! there is never a year i never host a buka puasa round at home, but i m not too sure i will do it this year….depends on mood and availability …hehehe.. chewah!

  11. KevinP says:

    As the society gets more affluent, things start to change… mainly because the businesses will find ways and means to make these people part with their hard earned money. What better ways than to tempt them with “delicacies” at the end of their puasa? Then again, a couple of indulgence a month isn’t that bad a thing…. is it? Anway, gluttony is for the elite few, but retribution comes swift with high blood pressure, heart attack and problems with your digestive system… bla bla bla…

  12. cleffairy says:

    ktx, actually there’s a glutton in every one of us. Haha, even me. I’m craving for a pizza with loads of pasta. Damn! Maybe I should go and raid your house for food lah. πŸ˜›

    Kevin, food industry will never die, because Malaysians are practically ‘starving’ and ‘lazy to cook’ for their meals. Hmm… i think you just scare the ruthless eaters out there away with your ‘swift retribution’ description. πŸ˜›

  13. KevinP says:

    clef… there are poor folks.. with poor man’s illness… gee.. come to think of it there are no such thing as poor man’s illness… LOL..

    detox is an interesting subject. Well, maybe I can share with you guys some stuff that I do and the stuff that comes out of it… its less hideous and messy as suicide but its rather goo-ey..

  14. cleffairy says:

    Eh, Kevin, share with us la, detox experience… I never have the need to go through detox…dunno how it’s really like! πŸ˜€

  15. mcky1224 says:

    Clef, thank’s for your tips for non-muslims! I have been controlling on not to drink or eat in front of Muslims the whole day yesterday. I went to Ramadan Bazaar nearby my faculty to hunt for food for my dinner after finish my class yesterday. I bought a cup of sugar-cane and started to drink without realizing it was only 6:30pm~ My friend saw me and say: Ohh, tak puase! Well, what I am trying to say here is, we are all living in multiracial county, why do we have to adjust to them so much? On the other hand, why are they feeling so hard just to ACCEPT non-chinese eating pork?.. Aiks, no point arguing over this unanswered question also…

  16. cleffairy says:

    I guess that is why we will always remain ‘Malay, Chinese and Indian’ and not Malaysian. We try to adjust to each other instead of ACCEPTING the good and bad about each other. 😦

  17. Hajar Alwi says:

    ~sigh… couldn’t agree more to that cleff. I find it distressing that Ramadhan is associated with gluttony and that people are starting to drift away from the true essence of it. The most common conversations I have are not about Terawih or the pursuit of self-reflection @ cleansing but it always revolve around “What’s for iftar?”. Don’t start talking about the acceptance, because as long as we are unable to cease with the finger pointing, blame game and seeing beyond the color @ race @ religion, racial unity will always be a subject that’s only worth dreaming about.

  18. cleffairy says:

    I really hate to see gluttony during Ramadhan…because I have always felt that during the fasting month, people are supposed to feel the suffering of the poor who probably goes hungry every day. fasting is nothing in comparison to the starvation that the poor are feeling.

    You’re right, we all can only dream about unity if we don’t put our differences aside.

    happy blessed Ramadhan to you, Hajar.

  19. mohd jeffrey says:

    The fasting month is the Month of spiritual training for all muslim, they have fasting in spiritual and phisical way, phisical way, not eating, drinking, and having sex for husbund and wife in sun rise until sun set, and in spritual way, by not doing all bad deeds, bad words and bad thoughts, non-muslim must understand and respect the Muslim who taking fast, by not eating in front of her/him.

  20. fs87 says:

    hi,

    i was wondering if anyone can help me.

    for muslims not from malaysia, for example, from england, and who are on holiday in kuala lumpur during the month of ramadan – what happens if they dont fast for their own reasons? can they get caught? or does that only apply to malaysians? and not foreign muslims visiting malaysia for a holiday

    thanks!

    • cleffairy says:

      Hi, thank you for dropping by. I am not so sure if the syaria law in Malaysia also applies to Muslim foreigners who are visiting Malaysia. But to be safe, it is better if the Muslim who do not fast when they are visiting Malaysia don’t eat in public to avoid unwanted circumstances…

  21. sen says:

    Hi
    Check this ADVT Song .
    Specially for Tamil Speaking Muslims.

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