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.
Technorati Profile


mandelism said...

muhibbah. the word, along with words like Bangsa Malaysia, majmuk, harmoni etc exist only in defination and Petronas advertisements.

I once attended a leadership camp during school time, and during one of the dinner, they server meehun with beef all over it. When the small group of Indians told the teacher that we can't eat it, he was like "eh ye ke..saya tak tau plak"

if only I was dare enough at that time to shout back in his face, that being in Malaysia all the 30-40years of his life he doesnt even know such basic cultural/religious sensitivity, its either he is blind, ignorant or plainly stupid. =)

While the Chinese and Indians will take the extra mile in making sure their open house are Halal and can be served safely to their Muslim friends, the Malays often fail to reciprocate it. The first, if not the only, serving will be beef! hahaha :)

coool. the problem is not having beef there, but make sure there are alternatives for others.

Anonymous said...

Dey Thamby! You are making your Malay buddies comfortable and happy but they failed to do that to others.

Seal in Astral said...

"I once attended a leadership camp during school time, and during one of the dinner, they server meehun with beef all over it. When the small group of Indians told the teacher that we can't eat it, he was like "eh ye ke..saya tak tau plak"

"hmmm it happen to me too and I hears it happen in some schools in another way. NVM ....

May I know when is the 2008 ponggal and where?


well, i think there is a differents between Muhibba and the term 'unity beyond racial diff" .

I daresay, we are muhibba enough in malaysia. For a multiracial country, we are HARMONY enough.

"Unity beyond racial diff" something like we address ourself as Malaysians. not indian or chiness or malays, bt as Malaysians.

Ammasmol said...

Muhibbah does not is only mubibbah if you shut your mouth and conform. Sadly it's the same story everytime. My sister is a teacher and at her school whenever there is a celebration or function, they go to the end of the world to make sure all type of beef dishes are served. Even in the vegetable dishes. They then tell my sister and her other friends who are Hindu and Buddist to just pick the vegetables and eat minus the beef. I wonder if you can tell the Malays..."Tak apalah..jangan makan babi...ambil kuah aje..sudah cukup" is really a shameful state of many years after indepence

blank said...


So what has your sister done to "educate" these people.

I am a retired soldier. As a non malay, I was provided with alternative ration to beef - either mutton or chicken. However, once I had to be attached, as technical advisor for an exercise with RAMD - Rejimen Askar Melayu, that does not cater for non malay rations. What did I do?.

I told them, if I do not get my ration by the following day, I am walking out. Guess what?. I got what I was deserved and entitled to. No bloody excuse.

Sometimes, when people become ignorant or uncivilised, you just have to "teach" them a lesson, either the nice way or the hard way.

So, has your sister taught any lessons to her colleaques?.

But, let's not ridicule an entire race for this kind of ignorance or blatant disregard. You will have such people in any society. just make do and move on, correcting those worthy of the one Malaysian race.

Be the change you want to see. Teach, if they are ignorant, distance if they are arrogant.

ciwan said...

What a statement.... you make them happy... but looks like they do not respect you at all....
and you are proud of it....valga 1Malaysia

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting people behind this one. Though you make some VERY fascinating points, youre going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different than what weve already heard. What are trying to say here? What do you want us to think? It seems like you cant really get behind a unique thought. Anyway, thats just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Excellent & thoughtful post.

Anonymous said...

This is a good,common sense article.Very helpful to one who is just finding the resouces about this part.It will certainly help educate me.