I broke fast with a group of good old friends yesterday at a hotel in KL. It is practically an annual affair that some of us will meet up every puasa to break fast together. The good part of it is that not only the malay friends who fasted would be around, my friends from other races would also join us for the breaking of fast and to catch up with each other.
It was truly multi racial and embodied the spirit of multiracialism. Even my Chinese and Indian friends, who did not fast, waited for the ‘Azan’ before having a drink and eat with the rest who fasted. Tempting as it was with all the food and drinks were in front of them, I was happy and respected them more for respecting our religious requirements.
However, whilst waiting for the Azan and chatting between us, we could see that several other Malaysians who did not fast, were making rounds after rounds to the buffet spread and eating whilst others waited patiently. I was actually observing one family closely and could not believe that they managed two to three rounds at the buffet table before the rest of us broke fast. Needless to say, my non-malay friends were terribly embarrassed. Someone also made the remark that it was as though we were eating their leftovers. An awkward moment for all of us as we saw them attacking the buffet table and eating in front of us.
I am happy that non-Malays also enjoy the Buka Puasa buffet spread as much as those who fast. I am also very happy that Malaysia’s unique multiracialism society is still strong and continues to be a strength to the country. I would however like to suggest that all Hotels make it a rule that those who attend Buka Puasa buffets can only eat when the Azan is heard, not before. You can take your food before that but only start eating and drinking when everyone else does. That would be a simple but a very worthy act of courtesy to those who fast. From my experience and interaction with them, I am also sure that our foreign tourists, once explained to them the significance of the Buka Puasa buffet, would appreciate it and have no problems following the guideline.
Our country is blessed with multi ethnicity and multi faiths. It is a strength, not a weakness. But it is up to us, the sons and daughters of Malaysia to continuously build on this strength, failing which it shall be a time bomb waiting to explode.