To promote friendship and understanding among races and religions in the country, Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), invited all Malaysians to fast in solidarity with their Muslim friends on Sunday, May 29. This was followed by a breaking-of-fast dinner at Syeun Hotel, Ipoh.
According to PWW president S. Sumathi, the event has been held in Ipoh for five years running.
“This is the only way how we, as non-Muslims, can appreciate and better understand what our Muslim friends go through for 30 days.
“It’s very challenging when they’ve to fast, work and perform their duties at the same time,” said Sumathi, who went without food on the day of the event.
A member from Perak Pink Champion Association, Tun Norul Huda Noor Rasid, 62, was thrilled by the encouraging response from non-Muslims.
“Over 60 people, the majority of them non-Muslims, gathered for buka puasa. There’s a sense of camaraderie among us that’s truly engaging.
“They fasted and skipped food just to buka puasa with us. They told us to take our food and drink first and then ate together,” she added.
Dementia Society Perak’s administrative assistant, Prema Nair told Ipoh Echo that she has been participating in the event for several years.
“‘l never refuse whenever invited. I tried to fast and I know it’s not easy.
“Malaysians understand the spirit of Ramadan very well, regardless of their beliefs and ethnicity. This is an opportunity for me to meet up with friends and to make new friends, as well,” said Prema.
Past president of Soroptimist International Ipoh, Jean Chai explained her reasons for fasting, “I want to understand the Malay culture and traditions in order to live in harmony. We, as Malaysians, are supposed to spread love and harmony in the country. As for me, I’m not a Chinese but I’m a Malaysian-born Chinese,” she said.
Pathma Devi, Perak Malaysia Hindu Sangam, shared her experience of being a regular at the get-together. “This is the biggest crowd ever. This is what we want. We want to be known as Malaysians and we’re the true representatives of the country.
“Every year, I’ll go to my best friend’s house, who’s a Muslim. We’ll cook and buka puasa together. It’s like our annual event, as I grew up surrounded by many Malay and Muslim friends,” she said.
After the dinner, the participants gathered on the stage, with miniature Malaysia flags in their hands and sang the national anthem together.