Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ramadhan Faux Pas

Selamat Berpuasa, relevant friends.

Today, a fasting post.

Malaysians are the most generous people you might ever meet. This is especially true when it comes to food. 

As soon as I stepped into the country, the only thing people want to tell me about is food:

Malaysian: So how'd you like Malaysia?

Me: Umm, yeah, I like it.

Malaysian: Do you like the food?You can eat anything you want at any time of day!It's great, right?Have you tried …[epic food list]…? 

Every time. Without exception.

[Side note: HOW do you answer the first question?? I know, it's fair enough as an opener, but seriously, it's so non-specific, I never know what to say…] 

Malaysians of all races: enthusiastic about food.

Anyway, after a while this food obsession rubs off on you - all the things I used to hate - milo, nasi lemak (for breakfast), barley, soup noodles, etc - I now love. Although I do still hate durian and ABC and that weird fermented rice dessert thing? Sorry.


And it's not just a passion for food, but a passion for sharing. In the UK it's pretty rude to take food from someone else's plate. The only people who do that are those super annoying couples…you know the ones. No ones does that. But here? There is no space for food-possessiveness. You made the best order on the table? Watch out. It'll be gone before you pick up your fork (or spoon, haha).

After some getting used to, it is normal to share and offer food. Which is all well and good until it comes to fasting month.


Me: [picks up a banana from desk. friend nearby. offer] Banana?

Muslim Friend: No. I'm fasting.

Me: [0.0] Oh crap, sorry!!!!!!!!

[the offending bananas]

I am not fasting, obviously, and I have been drilled with food-generosity. It's like, 11 months of the year, to not offer food is selfish and rude. But to offer it during this one month…selfish, rude, torturous, TAUNTING behaviour! Who IS this girl??

Sorry in advance, muslim friends, for all the food I will try not to offer you this month… 

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