Skip to main content

Muslims gear up for Ramadan

It's best to stick to simple meals during Ramadan.
 Ramadan, the annual month of fasting, will begin on August 1, this year and preparations to welcome the holiest month on the Muslim calendar are already in full swing.

Muslims who observe Ramadan are counting down to the special month by preparing themselves --mentally, spiritually and physically -- for the fast.

They constantly remind themselves that Ramadan is not just about refraining from eating and drinking during the day but also a time to be very close to God by offering more prayers than usual and to practice patience, humility and spirituality.

Some Muslims began fasting in June for a few days a week to ease their bodies into the month-long fast in August. My late father would do the mini fast three months before the start of Ramadan and when it finally came he grew accustomed to the idea of waking up at 4am for the pre-dawn meal (sahur), going without lunch and having a glass of water by his bed at night to hydrate.

My father also worried about food wastage during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. His trips to the Ramadan bazaars, (which will sprout like mushrooms after a rainy day during this period), were carefully planned to factor in the amount that we as a family (father, mother and nine active growing children) could consume.

We could choose our favourite kuih (Malay cakes) but only one type please. We were not allowed to ask for more than we could eat. That lesson has stayed with me and I find myself being very frugal during my jaunts to the bazaars which I enjoy very much.

Ice kacang is a perennial favourite in Malaysia.
Malaysia will be a gourmand's paradise during Ramadan. Dishes from all over Malaysia will be on display at the various dedicated bazaars, major food chains and hotels. It is a ploy to entice the starving Muslim to eat till he or she drops."That is not a good idea," my late father would intone.

Consider this advertisement in the New Straits Times (July 6, 2011): " Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre; Flavours of Ramadhan in the heart of KL; Over 500 dishes from the four corners of the world."

It continues: "Dine in comfort and enjoy the convenience of a dedicated surau, imam and an on-site ablution facility for Maghrib, Isya' and Tarawih prayers."

The cost? RM98++ per person but bookings before July 15 will receive a five per cent discount. No thanks! RM98++ is a lot of money and too much to pay for a meal! Consumers keep complaining that meals are priced too high at all eateries and bazaars during Ramadan but no one is listening.

Halal food outlets (suitable for Muslims) will be packed just before the sun rises and after the sun sets and trying to get a seat at these places is almost impossible. But for many working Muslims who cannot be at home in time for the evening meal the scramble for seats will be a constant struggle.

Most people would rather break the fast at home with family members and close friends and at a fraction of the cost of a meal at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre or other places which serve Ramadan buffets. I refuse to be intimidated by the bloodsucking food operators!

Comments

Joceline said…
Finally found my way into your blog via of all persons, the one and only Shamsul Amri. I came across the FB remark from him. Anyway, love your blog, the way you put things, so elegant and effortless.

Ramadan ... all those memories of our days in NST ...

Popular Posts

When a card came out of the blue ...

This post is prompted by a remark made by my good friend Wei Lin. She saw me reading a card I had received from a friend recently and said: "Traditional cards are so old-fashioned."

I wondered if that was true and decided to probe into the issue. A Google search revealed numerous articles on the debate between traditional paper-based cards and e-cards. Tracey Grady's examination of the pros and cons of each type is informative.

In my opinion, e-cards are not substitutes for the real (traditional) ones and they shouldn't be. I treat e-card e-mails with suspicion because spammers could be using them to download viruses and software onto my computer.

I have never sent anyone an e-card and I don't plan to; I dislike the cold impersonality of conveying greetings electronically.

I have always liked sending and receiving cards the traditional way.

The ritual of going to a bookshop, browsing at the card section, picking a suitable one for the recipient and then walking to a p…

Sabah is Veena's paradise

Life is seriously good in Sabah, says Berita Harian Sabah bureau chief Veena Rusli.

"Every inch of Sabah is amazing. What is there to complain when you live, work and play in a holiday destination?" adds the bubbly Seremban-born, who has called Kota Kinabalu home for more than four years now.

Veena looks at Sabah, known as "the land below the wind", with the eye of a person who appreciates the simple things in life. Living in Kuala Lumpur for many years as a journalist had taken a heavy toll on her.

She extols the virtues of a stress-free life which she has found in Kota Kinabalu.

Unnecessary pressures such traffic jams and flash floods are minimal in Kota Kinabalu and these lessen the impact of  managing the worries of everyday life .

I met Veena in Kota Kinabalu recently. I was there to attend the RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge which took place at the Suria Sabah mall over the weekend of July 4-5.
I was struck by her bubbly nature. Her cheerful, frie…

Why Shamsul Amri dislikes Facebook

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 petty, bitter, rude or offensive.

"I refuse to rea…