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Of fasting and gullibility

August 8, 2011

I guess its not too late to wish everybody who takes the trouble to read this blog Selamat Berpuasa. Today is the eighth day of fasting. And its the first time I am performing my obligatory fasting duties away from home. Saying that it’s different is a no-brainer. Not too bothered about breaking fast on my own though. I take it just like having my dinner previous to the fasting month, just a little earlier than usual.

I went to the local Ramadhan bazaar twice last week. The thing about Ramadhan bazaars everywhere (well, I’ve only been to two, in Johor near my house and in KL) parking is a total nuisance. I went once by bike, and once in my car. Going to the local Ramadhan bazaar exposes the disadvantage of riding a superbike. Sure you get to park really close to the bazaar, but getting your bike in the right position to park is a nightmare. And the fact that my bike weighs 250 kilogrammes doesn’t help matters. So, when I drove there I expected further hardship. Which is my I resigned myself to parking a fair distance from the bazaar and took a leisurely walk there which was a good 200 metres away.

As far as the fare, I’ve got no complaints. It’s pretty much the same wherever you go. Just take your pick. Although I am very aware that what you see as appetizing during your visit to the bazaar may be totally deceiving. When you’re there, everything appeals to you. And you end up buying stuff you don’t really need and at the same time spending a small fortune while you’re at it. Being aware of this fact, I was very careful and bought only what I really wanted. Which was difficult. When you don’t get to eat any nasi campur for dinner, the sight of all the lauk they had at the bazaar could be really tempting. You feel like really going for it. Which fortunately I didn’t.

Sahur as always is nearly a non-event. After getting up (which gets increasingly difficult by the day) I just plump for whatever I have around. For now I have some buns in the fridge which becomes my daily sahur fare. Although I’d very much like to have a microwave to at least heat the bun. Eating a cold, hard bun is not something anybody enjoys I think. But as always I have got to make this work. In the coming days I might just start the car and go out for my sahur meal if I ever find the energy to do so.

All in all this year’s Ramadhan seems to be going by quite quickly. The first week is over. Before you know it, everybody will be leaving for Aidilfitri. I hope everybody enjoys the rest of Ramadhan.

OK, last thought. I’m watching Ibu Mertuaku on Astro Prima at the moment. You remember that scene where Kasim’s mother in law takes him to what was supposed to be his “late” wife, Sabariah’s grave? He reaches the grave and starts to weep uncontrollably, which is understandable. Then a guy comes over and asks Kasim why is he crying at his mother’s grave after which Kasim starts this rant at the mother in law (which produced the now legendary “ala Kasim” line).  My question is, when he reaches the grave, why didn’t he read the inscription on the head stone (“batu nisan”)? If he had done so, he would’ve immediately known that it was not Sabariah’s grave, would he? I guess that’s just one of the things you “let go” in a movie isn’t it? To go into such detail would just destroy the dramatization of it all.

The other thing about P. Ramlee movies, do you notice how he has these hidden messages about life (done on purpose or not, I don’t know)? I guess there are many examples but I can only recall one now. Last night I watched Ali Baba Bujang Lapok. The particular bit that caught my attention was when the thieves’ Sergeant (played by the late Ibrahim Pendek) conned many people by getting them to bet on a numbers game which involved a dice. The catch was that the dice only had the number 2 on it. So everybody started to place their bets on numbers from 1 to 6. Interestingly, the Sergeant did not allow anybody to bet on the number 2 (and everybody fell for it). Of course everybody fell for it and nobody ended up winning anything.

It just goes to show people’s gullibility isn’t it? Malays in general are suckers for fast money. Anything which promises good return (in the shortest amount of time, if possible with the least amount of effort) are Malay magnets, isn’t it? Jual tanah sana, jual tanah sini. Ambik komisyen sana, ambik persen sini (don’t get me wrong, some people really make it big this way. Although most times it ends in tears). Doesn’t it just makes you wonder? My take on it is this: anything which sounds to good to be true is usually just that. There’s always a catch there, somewhere. That’s why many Malays fall for the trappings of MLM schemes. And that’s what they exactly are, schemes. There are simply no shortcuts. Hoping that one day money and unbound riches would inexplicably fall from the sky is a pipe dream that would never ever come true. Unless you have a multimillionaire uncle who’s just died and left you said money and unbound riches. Which I still hope for until now.

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