Yesterday, the issue of Muslim women in Malaysia eating in public during Ramadhan went viral on social media. This woman was having lunch at a mall and she claimed that it angered the public who saw her eating in this holy month.
Personally, I don’t mind if anyone eats in public during Ramadhan for whatever reason. I don’t think anyone should scold others who did it either because it’s none of your business. That’s how I feel about it. Then again I personally wouldn’t do it. Even if I don’t fast, I wouldn’t eat in public especially not in Malaysia because I just don’t like being stared at.
When I was younger, I visited Singapore during Ramadhan. Muslims or Malays are a minority in Singapore. So as a Malay, you don’t feel ‘superior’ in Singapore as you do in Malaysia. I saw some Malays smoking and eating at McDonald’s and it did feel a bit odd because in Malaysia we won’t dare to do such things so openly. But in Singapore, nobody cares.
The same for Malays with tattoos. You can see plenty of Malays with tattoos on their bodies in Singapore. Be it women or men. There was one time I saw a young Malay couple with tattoos at a food court with their kids. It was strange for me to see that but my Singaporean friend told me that’s actually quite normal in Singapore. Malays here lead different lives than those in Malaysia. Again, Malays showing off their tattoos in Malaysia is not something that is normal.
If I stared at Malays with tattoos or Malays eating in public during Ramadhan in Singapore, I am the odd one. Not them. While in Malaysia, you are the silly one if you get angry at people who stare at you when you eat in public during Ramadhan.
The woman could avoid eating in public during Ramadhan but she chose not to and then she felt that people can’t get uncomfortable with it because it’s her rights. I don’t agree with those who went to the extend to scold someone who was eating but that could have been avoided.
I believe we must know how to behave in a society no matter what your beliefs are. You have to adapt and you can’t be surprised or shocked when people act a certain way towards something that’s out of the norm or just deemed unacceptable to the majority.