Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Hello and YES its me again, after an absence for a few days (OK…OK…for a few weeks) I am back and as I have mentioned in my previous writings, I may not be able to post articles often, but I will from time to time, keep in touch with the world out there.

After coming back from Gummersbach, Germany, I wrote a very long article which was very well appreciated, not only by my friends who participated in the Leadership Programme, but also my Malaysian friends. Probably, that praises made me take things for granted, so much so, that I took things so lightly.

What I am going to write today is MUHIBAH. For my international readers – MUHIBAH means UNITY or could even me UNITED.

It has been a practice off late in some dinners that I have attended (mostly organized and hosted by the Government Agencies/Department) the host would mention in the menu card that the dinner for that day would be a MUHIBAH SET DINNER. In short it would mean that all races in Malaysia (Malays, Chinese and Indians) would be able not only to enjoy the dinner, but, would be able to eat all the food that would be served.

In Malaysia, there are many limitations when it comes to food. For example; The Muslims cannot ear pork, the Hindus and majority of the Buddhist cannot eat beef as for the Christians they are alright to eat anything as long as they are not a vegetarian or they have some self imposed regulation.

But when a menu in a dinners states it’s a MUHIBAH DINNER, then automatically it means that the food that would be presented on that day would be consumable by everyone.

I attended 1 lunch and 1 dinner recently, the lunch was organized by the Ministry of Higher Education – Graduation of the Community College Students in Malacca (200 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur), it was indeed happy to note that they had listed that they were serving MUHIBAH SET LUNCH – not that I went there all the way for the food. I was keener to witness the success of the students who graduated on that day rather than the food. To my shock, they had served beef. HOW MUHIBAH could that be?

A few months ago, I attended a dinner which was hosted by the Selangor State Sports Award Dinner – it was a night where the best sportsman and sportswoman would receive their award for bringing honor for the state.

Again, I was very happy with the fact that the organizer had put on the table the menu card and it says ‘MUHIBAH SET DINNER’. How nice.

But it was not to be, they had also served a beef rendang and beef soup. Not that I went there all the way for the food. I was keener to share the crowning of the sportsman and the sportswoman who brought prestige to the state. HOW MUHIBAH could that be?

I still continued to eat (minus the beef) as I was very hungry on that day, I was angry, but, not sure to whom I should express my anger to, there was a caring Muslim gentlemen (whom I don’t know from Adam’s) who asked the waiter serving our table why did they now have altrenative food for the other races - and the waiter did well by acting stupid.

MUHIBAH is a MALAY word and if the host who is not MALAY cannot understand the true definition of the word – it is excusable. (I am not completing this sentence……)

My Views… Till today when a Muslim friend visits my home for a dinner, my wife and I make sure that the chicken curry which we prepare is slaughtered the Islamic way and we also make sure that there is no pork served or even cooked in the kitchen (infact both of us don't even eat pork). It only takes a simple step to make a friend comfortable and happy. Lets not say one thing and do something else.
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