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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cultural sensitivities... And reciprocity

Growing up in Malaysia, we have been taught to respect the cultural and religious sensitivities of others, especially the Muslims, who form the single largest faith group in this country. We are advised not to consume pork-related food and alcoholic drinks in their presence. During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, we ought to avoid eating whenever they are around until they break their fast in sunset.

However, non-Muslims do expect reciprocity from them as a symbolic gesture of respect. Practising Hindus and Buddhists do not consume beef or any of its manifestations. I've seen Muslims eating beef in public in the presence of the said groups. It's a common scene in Malaysia to be frank. Malaysian Muslims at large are still pretty oblivious to the sensitivities of other religious groups, which to me is a sad phenomenon.

Now let's talk about myself. I'm a vegetarian, and that means I'm in a far smaller minority group amongst this overwhelmingly omnivorous society. Well, I'm pretty tolerant. I don't mind if you're gonna devour an elephant or a crocodile in front of me, as long as you respect my dietary choice. What really piss me off are those who keep poking fun of this issue and asking me to give up the route I've chosen because frankly, they're just being rude and insensitive.

So which one are you?


day-dreamer said...

What's wrong with being a vegetarian?

kyh said...

Nothing wrong with that. It's just that some jerks just love to fool around with me being a vegetarian. That's all.