Friday, October 29, 2004

Big Brother and the morality police?

It amazed me to see a recent headline of thestar.com.my, which was in the vein of “Muslim food oulets only allowed to open after 3pm during the fasting month.” Ayoyo… yet another example of the government taking it upon itself to think on behalf of its people….

My take on the month of Ramadhan is that, yes it’s a holy month, yes it’s a time for cleansing, yes we all undergo this not eating/drinking from dawn til dusk, blah blah blah yadiyadiya… but … LIFE GOES ON! It being fasting does NOT mean meetings don’t happen, or that training sessions should not take place. *of course that doesn’t happen in [company name], right? Ha ha ha* You should continue performing as you usually do, PLUS carry out your fasting. Example: If you work as a waiter, you still wait on tables and serve food, even if the aroma of food makes you salivate! It’s still your job, and you need to take such challenges in stride during the fasting month. And if you cave in, well, is it the customer’s fault for wanting to eat? Or your employer’s fault for ‘making’ you work as a waiter? Nope.. it’s all YOU. Your morality, or steadfastness, or whatever you want to call it… it is strengthened by overcoming challenges thrown at it. Kinda like your muscles… if you don’t subject them to stress, they atrophy! But use them, challenge them… yes that aerobic session, that yoga class, that jog around the track… they will make you ache, but the next time you go thru that challenge you’ll find it easier, no? So back to that hapless waiter… if he gets though the first few days of fasting without too much of a problem, I bet if ever a customer orders his favourite dish, he may be tempted, but I doubt he’d crumble.

…. But I guess that’s it, eh? The Terengganu government would rather not chance it?

The Terengganu food operators should have enough gray matter in their noggins to figure out ON THEIR OWN who their clientele are (i.e. a mixed crowd, or predominantly one race/religion, etc), and how the fasting month impacts these customers. Then act accordingly. Chances are, they would come to the conclusion that there is no need for them to bother starting business until at least 3pm, and at the same time it would benefit them greatly to be open right until subuh itself to accommodate those who want to sahur with outside food. But for the local government to take it upon themselves to regulate the Muslim food operators’ “start time” is just ridiculous.

Seeing as the majority of Terengganuese are Muslims, I would assume that most food operators also Muslim. But what about the non-Muslims? They have as much right to their favourite “Pak Man’s Nasi Lemak” for breakfast, or “Mek Pah’s Laksam” for lunch, haven’t they? Is the government so scared of the possibility of the local Muslims not fasting if they cook food for others, or of they know their fave restaurant / warung is open? Or are the food operators (or anyone else for that matter) totally incapable of independent logical rational thought that Big Brother has to do it for them? Or is it Big Brother’s plan to ensure the state residents are totally incapable of independent logical rational thought?

Another thing: This directive is NOT applicable to chains such as KFC and McD’s. Huh? Where’s the logic in that? Perhaps it makes sense to them because these chains are not perceived as “Malay” and therefore do not pose a temptation to the spineless brainless creatures who inhabit the state of Terengganu? Or is there an assumption that non-Muslims do NOT partake of Muslim/Malay food and only flock to fast-food chains or “their own” restaurants?

Ugh!

To me… the bottom line is… it’s a matter of mind over matter… and it’s personal. Regulate and interfere all you want, Big Brother: only we individually, and The One, know just how “sempurna” we are in fulfilling our religious obligations.

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