Fast4Malaysia 2013 and other snippets.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, we decided to participate in the #Fast4Malaysia this year so here are some snapshots & thoughts:

j2 and I at sahur

j2 and I at sahur

Here’s j2 and I at Sahur (meal before daybreak) enjoying our meal together. We had croissants with mascarpone (from our raw milk suppliers-review on that later!), mango (given by our inlaws the day before), j2 had a chocolate muffin as well . We also had 2-3 glasses of water, as suggested by Auntie Zasz πŸ™‚ He decided to read a book and stay up, while I went back to sleep. I had given the kids the option to have a water only fast, if they wanted and I had said they don’t have to join in if they didn’t want to, j1 and k couldn’t wake up (j1 didnt want to join in this year anyway) so it was just j2 and I πŸ™‚

Later on, I went to my meeting at Whisk (oh the smells of delicious coffee), and I had to explain why I was fasting, although I am not Muslim. They were quite fascinated I think πŸ™‚ Due to my meeting’s extended time, I went to get McD’s for the Don and the other 2 (gasp! I know, we haven’t really had McD’s in eons, don’t tend to go eat), and I asked j2 if he wanted to eat or carry on, I didnt mind either way, he had done very well, making it to half day as it was, with no water even. He was really undecided so I said he can let Dad know when he’s decided. He later asked his dad to sms me to say he’d like to eat. So I told him again later, that I was VERY VERY proud of him for fasting for half a day, and for even wanting to participate πŸ™‚

After their BM classes, on the drive home, where we talked about the Abrahamic religions, and how many religions/cultures included fasting in various forms, and why Muslims fast during this particular month, and spiritualism, vs being spiritual, (yes, it is a long drive (and there was traffic) LOL) and that although we may not subscribe to any one religion, we should try and live out the basic tenements within all of those religions.

After the other 2 got distracted with another discussion, I had asked j2 about his thoughts on fasting (his essay is below) and all that, esp with what we’ve discussed before. He said that he thought it’s good to be a part of something like this, and that he particularly liked how people should do more charity, and think about nicer things and be nicer to people. He said that they should do that every day but he admitted that sadly that isn’t the case, is it Mama? So I told him, yes, that’s true, but so long as WE continue to try and be kind to people, to be considerate and do charity/social work on top of daily life, it will all pan out in the end. He nodded and was quiet for a while. K asked don’t poor people also have to go through not eating sometimes, cos they can’t afford it, so everybody does it to understand how lucky we are? I wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I said yes, poor people often struggle to put food on their tables, but we must also not waste food unnecessarily and be thankful, yes. He nodded and then changed the subject again (it’s like that UP dog, “squirrel!” and then get back to things LOL).

During our drive, K had later said that he’d like to live in England or something when he’s older.. and j2 asked him why? k was like I dunno.. j2 told him: theres nothing wrong with ours, why would you want to live anywhere else? Travel lots, yes, but here it’s where our home is, good things to eat, friends, lots to see. We are Malaysian. and then looks at me. I was trying not to tear up .. J1 says: are you ok Mama, it’s the low blood sugar isn’t it, cos you’re fasting.. I had to laugh πŸ™‚

I told the boys, yes, do travel the world & Malaysia, experience as much as you can, and yes, j2 is right, this is our home, where we belong. No one can tell you any different. πŸ™‚ Then the convo moved to less serious stuff, like BeyBlades and STGCC. I have very odd convos and discussion with my boys in the car or elsewhere, well, odd to some people anyway. πŸ™‚ I wonder if they will remember these convos later on, especially about the deeper stuff as it were.

We picked up minion SV who was also doing her 1st fast as well and headed home to drop the kids before heading to Pasar Ramadan TTDI (well you gotta have PARAM food every Ramadan right? :D). We met Flo (who was fasting too!) there too. It was tempting to over-buy (especially if you’re hungry!), but we made ourselves walk up and down and then choose carefully what to buy. Even then, I think we did go a little bit overboard LOL

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just some of the purchases!

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Flo and SV πŸ™‚

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almost time! πŸ™‚

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Here I am πŸ™‚

I made it, this time with no water at all (which in previous years I had done only water fasts). πŸ™‚ It was good to keep busy and try NOT to think about the fact that I was fasting, I suspect that helps you then not think about the thirst/hunger. I know it’s only a day, but I think it’s good to do these things (whether for Fast4Malaysia or not), as it is shared experiences, understanding what others do as part of their lives, etc. I like to think that it is good for my boys too, to see it, experience it indirectly or directly and for us to talk over these things, to have a little empathy at the very least as part of themselves. We seem to lack empathy and understanding these days. Tolerance just isnt the right word I’d use. Tolerance smacks of “I will stand you/your practices under duress” like traffic jams. I prefer to teach empathy and understanding in whatever limited way that I can, or to practice it as best I can. We don’t always, after all, we are human, everyone has prejudices, experiences etc, but how you choose to act on it, or NOT act on it, really boils down to you. Kids learn from the adults around them, that’s their benchmark, not necessarily from an exam subject or from their religious books. That is something that many adults forget or not think about, perhaps.

It is a week till the end of Ramadan, I’d like to wish all a peaceful, spritual, love-filled Hari Raya Aidilfitri. May there be blessings and understanding for all! πŸ™‚

Anyway, those are my thoughts for this year’s #fast4Malaysia πŸ™‚ Major Kudos to all those who participated, all around the world! πŸ™‚ you can see some of them on The Fast4Malaysia tumblr site πŸ™‚

Here’s j2’s πŸ™‚



Fast for Malaysia 2013, remembering way back when & what will the kids inherit

since j1 asked if he could try fasting to better understand what his friends go through, we have tried each Ramadan to do at least a day’s fast, we have often organized a “Muhibbah style buka puasa makan bersama-sama” where everyone (regardless of religion) can meet, chat, break fast together, whatever. I think it is good to do these things, partly as we’d like our boys to understand culture/history/religious practices, learn to respect each other’s differences/cultural practices, whether we follow the same or not. The ways that I remember learning as a kid, as a student etc. Respect, politeness, consideration, courtesy: this should be applied NO MATTER WHAT religion/background/ethnic background.

Respect is a two way street, and I find it sad, very very sad, what happens these days. Yes, there will always be prejudices/perceptions, I suspect that’s pretty much a part of the human condition, but how you act on it, how you behave towards others, will be a measure of who you are. Yes, there will always be xenophobes, religious bigots, MCPS, and other such narrow minded, restrictive peeps, but that does not mean that you should teach those same things in mainstream education. Kids learn from their adult examples, whether it’s in schools or at home etc. This is why I do worry for our country’s future, for my kids future here. Asking me to leave to go back to my country of origin, would mean me going back to Penang πŸ˜›

This is why I’d like to try my best in teaching my kids our history, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, that so many contributed to the country’s prosperity, growth and talent, beauty and creativity, that immigrants (from everywhere) are indeed a part of our country’s fabric from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy back when, who are our leaders of yore were, not what the so called history textbooks are supposedly teaching now. We have been fortunate in our friends and those we mingle with, different ethnic histories, different religions, but we have many shared interests and pet peeves, the other stuff is just part of the puzzle as it were. That’s my kind of Malaysia. That is what I hope my kids will still be able to inherit.

So this year, we decided to combine our annual Muhibbah Makan, with the #Fast4Malaysia event, first held in 2009.We first joined in 2009, and here’s the next one. We’re getting together with friends from all backgrounds, and having iftar together (Sahur is I know very hard to come together for buka :D) If you want to organise your own with family, friends, no matter where you are in the world. Fast in your own way too, whether it’s with just water (like some religions do) or no food/drink from sun up to down. Pledge this and post pictures etc πŸ™‚ More details below!