Ramadan is a month to be lazy – really?


There should be no exemption clause during the holy month of Ramadan that permits Muslims to exercise a relaxed lifestyle while fasting.

Fa Abdul, Free Malaysia Today

“Is our shooting confirmed for next week?”

“No-lah kak. Have to cancel-lah.”

“Why? We are already behind schedule.”

“Our schedule is in the afternoon. But crew semua nak balik by 4.”

“By 4??? Kenapa pulak?”

“Bulan puasa. Biasalah kak…”

That was an excerpt of a conversation I had with my director a few days ago.

Seriously, I do not know what the heck is wrong with some people. Every year it is the same thing. It is as if we have come to regard Ramadan as a month to laze.

Just last week, a non-Muslim friend of mine was complaining of the same thing. “You know Fa, my office is in a Malay majority area. Most makan shops around my office are Malay stalls and restaurants. Every year during Ramadan, they tutup kedai and I end up having mamak food over and over again until naik jelak already. So nak tak nak, I have to drive out to find some other place to makan. Why like that one ah?”

“If the majority of the customers are Malay, they can tutup kedai lah – that’s understandable, but there are many non-Muslim customers going to this particular shop. And then during Raya they tutup kedai for another one to two weeks. Haiya, six weeks tutup kedai no need money one ah? Look at mamaks – they are also Muslims, but how come they never do anything dumb like that? They won’t even close for two days in a year.”

In certain Islamic countries, working hours are restricted to three to four hours a day, as a sign of respect for the holy month. In Malaysia, even without such official restrictions, most of our Muslim workforce declare cuti setengah hari. Using puasa as an excuse, their productivity levels plunge – masuk kerja lambat, balik awal.

I spoke about this to an elderly taxi driver just the other day. The pakcik however was of the opinion that since Ramadan was a holy month and since Malaysia was an Islamic country, the government should cut short working hours. According to him this would give Muslims ample time to carry out the teachings of the Prophet, which apart from fasting included reciting the Quran and offering prayers.

Funny though, whenever I visit government departments during Ramadan, instead of using their break to seek blessings by following the Prophet’s teachings, I see Facebook walls splashed on their computer screens instead. Even during office hours, their fingers are working their Androids and Smartphones as they smile to themselves. Having witnessed this more times than I can remember, one can safely predict how they would utilise their time if working hours were shortened during Ramadan – ain’t rocket science, is it?

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