Salleh Said Keruak
Setting aside the religious aspects of fasting during the month of Ramadan, the one-month religious obligation for Muslims brings out certain positive aspects in nation-building. The breaking of fast during Ramadan is done on a communal basis where family and friends get together to break their fast. Seldom do people ‘eat on the run’ like how our normally busy schedule dictates where we have no time to sit and eat or even eat together.
The breaking of the fast reminds families about the enjoyment of sharing a feast with loved ones. Friends and colleagues, whether Muslims or otherwise, socialise and strengthen their ties, which they would not do if not because of the fast. There is no better way of keeping those bonds strong than sitting together to enjoy a meal and the pleasure of each other’s company.
Malaysia is a plural society and when those of all ethnicities and religious persuasions are able to mingle and socialise, even during a religious tradition, then we can be assured of strong inter-ethnic relations and stability. Ramadan offers that opportunity for Malaysians to demonstrate they are Malaysians when they come together at the dining table because food, to Malaysians, is a uniting factor.