Don’t worry mum, I’m not converting to Islam. As some of you may know it is Ramadan at the moment and as Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country it’s a big deal here. Bulan Puasa as it is known locally affects everything here. Some shops are closed, fewer people walking about, fewer tourists. Kuala Lumpur isn’t the same craziness as I know it to be.
What is Ramadan?
Now as you know, I have very limited knowledge of Muslim culture but you can see it as the equivalent of Lent. Instead of not eating meat, however, you cannot consume anything during the daylight hours, not even water! It is meant to put into practice your ability to show restraint so that you are able to control your desires instead of being controlled by them.
What this entails, however, is that when the sun sets everyone eats as they have been fasting for 12 hours or more (depending on where you are in the world). What this creates is queues outside every restaurant and hawker stalls filled with patrons.
A lot of people have invited me to join for Buka Puasa/Iftar or breaking fast as it is colloquially known. It seems to be quite the honour to join a practising Muslim for dinner at this time.
As some of you know, I have been Couchsurfing at a Muslim person’s home. So I have been waiting for her to eat dinner and in some respects, I feel I am participating in Ramadan.
It definitely feels quite odd. It’s as if I am transported back to childhood again when I am waiting for my mum to serve dinner. I can’t pick at the food before it is served as I will get told off. So I eagerly wait till I am told I can eat.
The Muslim call to prayer starts and then everyone eats. Everyone eats. The cacophony of cutlery clinking, mouths chewing and people laughing is wonderful. I feel honoured to join in on another’s religion and culture in what has otherwise been a closed door.
When Ramadan/Bulan Puasa finishes there is a big festival Eid/Hari Raya similar to Easter Sunday where extended family and friends come to celebrate. This is in two weeks (25/6 – 27/6). I would LOVE to join someone’s family for the celebrations as I have never experienced this. So here is my call to action.
If you are living in Singapore or anywhere in the Malaysia Peninsula and would like to invite me to your celebrations please SEND ME A MESSAGE! You can get in contact with my through Facebook, CouchSurfing, WhatsApp (if you have my number), Instagram or in person just LET ME KNOW! I promise I’m a delightful, charming guest and you would love to have me in your celebrations.
Please share this if you like it and perhaps share this article with someone who would be up for hosting me for Hari Raya.