The holy month of Ramadan has dawned upon us again. Ramadan is special to me as it always brings me back to the time when I was a student at a local public university. I stayed in a hostel dorm and I remember an occasion when I had to go over to my Muslim course-mate’s room to rush an assignment for class.
We worked late into the wee hours of the morning and at one point my course-mate told me to stop as it was time for “Sahur”. I honestly did not know what “Sahur” was at the time and only found out after my course-mate explained it to me that it was the early morning meal before fasting starts.
What tugged on my heart strings was that all the other Muslim inhabitants of the dorm told me to join them for “Sahur” by sharing the packed food they bought just a few hours before. They made me feel the warmth of family when I was far from home. In hindsight, they were actually the only family I had at the hostel.
So I find myself again reminiscing about the times when I was with the only family I knew in my hostel. It didn’t matter that we practised different religions. The “Sahur” experience, in my opinion, amplified the Malaysian values of moderation, peace, respect, and, above all, unity. To me, it turned friendship to kinship and forged a lifelong unbreakable bond.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed things this time around. Merrymaking might be toned down or muted and this is evident as some states are not allowing Ramadan bazaars while some are allowing them to operate under strict standard operating procedures.
However, do not let your festive spirit be hampered. I call on everyone to let the holy month of Ramadan serve as a guide for all of us to do more good and to help each other.
We are, after all, a brotherhood of men, and it is our sense of togetherness and unity that will see us through these trying times.
Yeap Ming Liong