It is an oft-repeated refrain one tends to hear increasingly that time really does fly. Indeed, it does feel as if it was only yesterday that the began fasting at the commencement of the month of Ramadan. The days turned into weeks and before one realised it, the month of May is already over. So, after all the restraint of observing the fasting rituals, `tis time to rejoice.
The joyous spirit of the occasion however is certainly not universally uninhibited – some merrier in the festive mood compared to others.
Basking in the full glory of football success no doubt are the global followers of Liverpool – the club, if not the city. (Quite oblivious to some, the city has another illustrious but far less feared top level club – Everton residing in the blue half of the city).
The Reds lifting the 2018-2019 European Champion’s league was a Ramadan moment as the team has been registering many `converts’ from among Muslim fans round the world.
In the spirit of Syawal, let us rejoice in the peace, bounty and plenty we in this country are still blessed with and let there be harmony for all to enjoy
Their pair of fleet-footed wingers – Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Senegalese Sadio Mane have been `poster boy’ Muslim players – turning in sterling performances propelling the Merseyside club into a formidable team this season.
Much has been made of their own capacity to perform as professional athletes and holding steadfastly to the rigours of religious abstention. No food or water from dawn to dusk – which in the northern hemisphere spring-into-summer months can last up to 18 hours – might well put them in breach of their employment contracts.
But to Liverpool’s credit, their German manager Jurgen Klopp has come out in support of both Salah and Mane and left it to both men to choose to hold on to their fast even during the most crucial of ties. To their credit, they have not made too much of a fuss over their status which could so easily be manipulated any which way.
This is in contrast to some other Muslim footballers playing for other premiership teams who tend to pout and preen without half the success these two are enjoying.
Compare the adulation showered on the pair with the opprobrium heaped on the hapless Abang Botak (the Bald One). In today’s present incarnation of `Smile – You Are On Candid Camera’, all your most unconscionable acts will be broadcast for the entire world to see; with condemnation following immediately.
A video recording of a less-than-hirsute motorcyclist (the now-notorious Abang Botak) smashing the windscreen of a car in blatant case of road-rage bullying has resulted in super quick police action.
With video evidence in hand, the police easily identified and apprehended Abang Botak, produced in court and duly sentenced. If proof were needed on the efficacy of the internet, then what could be a more useful enforcement tool than a viral video. The offence was committed on Tuesday; court appearance on Friday; made the news all weekend.
As a result, while his buddies will be enjoying their lemang and ketupat this raya, Abang Botak will have to share a communal squat to serve a 12-month sentence.
Now this case has pricked the mothering instinct of some in the legal fraternity who likened the harsh sentence as akin to dishing out kacang putih.
Lucky Abang Botak indeed has some `loud support’ from a particularly brash lawyer who felt the sentence rather excessive, hence her likening it to the `dime-a-dozen' nutty snack.
In a way, the lawyer has a point – as it was not too long ago that a nationally-acclaimed comedian got away with a non-custodial sentence in a different case of physical assault.
When tolerance and understanding is being extended to Muslims in `unusual’ corners of the globe and a softer, more acceptable face of the religion is being portrayed – and reciprocated; we perhaps are regressing?
Anyway, what is the connection with Ramadan in this case? Apparently, his supporters believe Abang Botak failed to rein in his anger in his state of fasting (we assume he was fasting) and had his short fuse easily lit by the honking of the driver of the car that had its windscreen smashed.
Between performing on the pitch of the cavernous Wanda Metropolitano Stadium (where the Liverpool-Spurs final was played) to the baying of opposition supporters and driving in the mean streets of Kuala Lumpur, I know where I’d rather be.
Still, there are some within our midst who don’t quite fully embrace the quest for cross-religious amity and fraternity.
Some quarters apparently are also easily offended by attempts at promoting inter-faith understanding.
The instances of muslims being treated to breaking of fast at non-traditional venues – in a gurdawara for instance, or non-muslim state leaders attending events in mosques also raised the ire of not just commoners but riled royalty too.
I was just about to praise Donald Trump for finally attending an iftar as President - at least this stable genius has his vocabulary of; if not empathy with; a foreign concept expanded – after shunning the event last year when our own backyard is rather quite exposed.
While I am not blasé enough to want to commit lesse majeste – which arguably does exist in our legal landscape in a different guise – I still can’t help feel a little confused that such fraternising has drawn `palatial' ire!
I do want to travel freely down south past Ayer Hitam and up north beyond Tanjung Malim, so I bite my tongue.
So, in the spirit of Syawal, let us rejoice in the peace, bounty and plenty we in this country are still blessed with and let there be harmony for all to enjoy. When tolerance and understanding is being extended to Muslims in `unusual’ corners of the globe and a softer, more acceptable face of the religion is being portrayed – and reciprocated; we perhaps are regressing?
I for one, am looking to an early Christmas present (even though we don’t do Santa in Syawal– am I skating on thin ice here?).
If all the right noises being made by our PM in Tokyo and our dear Inspector General of Police in Kuala Lumpur of late, I want to see `financier extraordinaire; wheeler dealer galore’ Jho Low returning home in time for Merdeka.
In this season of forgiveness if not forbearance, perhaps not quite like a plump turkey, stuffed and trussed, ready to be roasted in the oven.
Santa! Don’t let the naysayers discourage you. Get on your reindeer oiled and ready to roll.
Selamat Hari Raya, or Mo Salah would have said it; Eid Mubarak.