Skip to main content

Breaking the fast with orphans



Some 300 orphans from five welfare homes and orphanages in the Klang Valley (pictures) were treated to berbuka puasa (the meal which breaks the day's fast, also known as iftar in some cultures) at Nikko Hotel, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Members of the media were also invited to the event, which was organised by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Malaysia's biggest fund management company. It is a yearly occurrence.

The special guests received duit raya (the customary cash gift for Eid ul-Fitr, the first day of Shawal that marks the end of Ramadan), dates and cookies for Eid ul-Fitr.

PNB is among many corporations in Malaysia that organise berbuka puasa for the underprivileged sections of the community in Malaysia.

While I laud the move by these corporations, I could not help but wonder why hotels are chosen as the venues for these social functions?

What is wrong with community halls, mosques or school halls?

Other members of the community -- rich, poor, thinkers and construction workers -- and not just officials from the corporations should be part of the guest list.

The idea is to get to know the orphans and to reflect on their situation. Do they eat properly, go to school and get access to medical care?

Close your eyes and imagine that you are an orphan without the support of a loving family!

The Prophet (PBUH) described Ramadan as "the month of mercy".

He said: "I am the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this," putting his index and middle fingers together. (Al-Bukhari).

Hotels are anything but cheap.

What is the message that organisers are trying to get across to the orphans? That mee rebus (noodles with thick gravy) costs RM 28 a plate at the coffee house of a luxury hotel? That taking your meals at a hotel is something to aspire to? That five-star hotels are the only places for celebration?

Don't get me wrong. I am not against the occasional dinner treat at a hotel but I do not condone teaching extravagance and wastage to Malaysian youngsters.

The aim is to help them to help themselves.

Comments

justmytwocents said…
I completely agree with you. If you really genuinely care about these unfortunate children, why choose to show it yearly in the form of lavish, unnecessary extravagance? What about regularly visiting them, checking on their needs. Do they have enough books and stationery? Do they get good medical care when they are sick or have to make do with what those orphans can provide? What about their non-material needs like care, affection and occasional pat on the back or rub on the head? This whole Ramadan 'charity' really needs to be revised to prevent more and more organisations getting it wrong when planning such event especially in this holy month of Ramadan.
FAEZAH ISMAIL said…
Thank you so much. As a society we must do more for the underprivileged. The question is, do we want to?

Popular Posts

Why Shamsul Amri dislikes Facebook

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin People who do not use Facebook fall into three broad categories. The first group is completely indifferent to it, the second finds it mildly irritating and the third dislikes it intensely. Malaysia's prominent sociologist Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin is of the last type. I made the mistake of asking Shamsul, who is director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, if he was on Facebook, the social network which was hatched up in the dormitories of Harvard six years ago. "I have a face and I keep thousands of books. Why do I need Facebook?" How do you react to that reply? I didn't. I meekly invited him to elaborate on his reasons. "Facebook will take away my soul and I won't allow that to happen because I am a believer," says Shamsul fiercely, who launched into a tirade of accusations against Facebook. Ninety per cent of the things you read on Facebook are either p

Buah Tarap: A chance encounter

You learn something new everyday. My friend Alina is very fond of repeating this. And I agree with her. Today I tasted the Buah Tarap (Tarap Fruit) which is said to be unique to Sabah/Borneo. My colleagues and I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah this afternoon; we are here for the RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge which will take place at the Suria Mall over the weekend. After checking into the Beverly Hotel we walked to a nearby eatery for a spot of tea. It was then that I chanced upon the Buah Tarap and began snapping away. My colleague, who had eaten the fruit in Bandung, Indonesia, was excited to see it. He bought one for us to try. The stall vendor split the fruit into two and we bit into its flesh. Everyone liked it but describing its flavour remains a challenge. The fruit, which looks like nangka (jackfruit) or chempedak,  has an unusual combination of tastes: it is sweet but not as sweet as the jackfruit nor as chunky. Words fail me. It feels so light t

Who am I?

Malaysian artist Jeganathan Ramachandram will be exhibiting his paintings in Singapore if a deal with a company to display Human Watching: A Visual Poetry on the Science of Human Watching in the island republic is successful. The intuitive artist told Survey that the move is still under negotiation. Human watching made its debut at Galeri Petronas in March, 2009 and was well received by both art critics and art lovers. Fourteen portraits representing females and males born on each of the seven days in a week were put on view. The depictions (acrylic on canvas) were based on his observations of human behaviour for the past 14 years. Images of seven females and seven males inform viewers through symbols of their strengths and weaknesses and their relationships with other people. Those who have seen Human Watching identified with their profiles almost immediately. Admit it: you are curious about yourself! Males, who were born on Sunday ( bottom picture ), were pleasantly surprised t