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My Malaysian Affair - Chapter 7
Ramadhan in Malaysia
Sure enough, my friend was true to his word, and after Tarawih prayer, we met in Geylang, which is the predominantly Malay district of Singapore. The streets were alive with lights and colour, and families were walking through the many stalls selling new Baju Malayu (clothes), songkoks and flowers. The atmosphere was festive, and I would have liked to have stayed another night in Singapore to experience it again. We ended up taking supper at a warung (hawker stall) at midnight, and it was not until 1am that I reached my hotel. However, with Singapore being the safe country that it is, I never once felt threatened or scared.
The next day was hot again, and it was with difficulty that I made my way up to JB again. In JB, I got to see something strange, yet it made me happy. I walked into a Marrybrown fast food restaurant just before Maghrib, to see ifthar proceedings in a restaurant in Malaysia. I looked around and saw that everyone in the restaurant had bought their food, and was sitting down, and talking, not touching the food at all. It was strange and wonderful to see this, and when athan was called over the radio, everyone began to eat together.
I smiled at one man who was with his family, as they broke their fast, and when he smiled back I approached him, and joined his family. Again, it is the wonderful brotherhood in Islam, which allowed such a relationship to develop so quickly. Speaking to him, I discovered that he too had just come from Singapore with his family, and was going to visit some family back in Malaysia. Before long, he had to leave to catch his bus, and I bade him and his family farewell, and a safe journey. We parted ways, and I made my way towards my bus. Then I noticed him running after me, and when he got to me, he quickly shoved something into my pocket. He said it was from his wife, and was for my dinner, as I would get hungry on the bus. Stunned by their kindness, I barely managed to thank him before he disappeared again. I still have that MYR$10 note that he gave me, and will keep it as a souvenir of my first "ang pow" I have ever received for Eid. It will always remind me of their exemplary kindness which makes me proud to be a Muslim brother to them.
I spend the rest of Ramadhan in Kedah, making the most of my short time in Malaysia by going out and talking with the people of Malaysia. I enjoyed finding out more about the people of Malaysia, and most were willing to have a discussion. I was curious about them, and they too were curious about this Chinese Muslim who wore traditional Malay clothes. It was through this communication with the Malays that I was able to learn a lot more Bahasa Malayu, the national language. I was also able to learn more about peoples lives in Malaysia, and was more in touch with the Malaysian people.