Can You Handle It?
Mon, 2011-07-11 11:02 — admin
Archived from September 20-26, 2007 MALAYSIAN TODAY
Can You Handle It?
WHEN approached by Malaysian Today to experience fasting for a day, housemates Aaron Teoh,
18, Bryan Alburquerque, 20, Reuben Chow, 18, Sushila d/o Haso, 19 and Ng Ping, 18, were enthusiastic. However, their enthusiasm had evaporated by the dawn of the next day…
5AM – THE FINAL SUPPER All of the youths are fast asleep, when our Malaysian Today reporter pops in to remind them it’s sahur, or time for their pre-dawn breakfast. Aaron is already awake, thanks to an earlier tip-off, but the others barely make it to the table (one didn’t!). AARON: My girlfriend is a Muslim, so I asked her to give me a ring a little before five. I am really looking forward to fasting, because I really want to understand what it is she goes through every Ramadan! Out of everyone here, I think it’s fair to say I’m probably the only one who had any foresight about fasting… I’m the one who bought the chicken, bread, and hundred plus for sahur today. I told everyone last night they should get some food ready, but I guess they’d already planned to nick some of my food.But I will not lose my temper over this issue, because my girlfriend says it can result in batal puasa (negating the fast).Everyone at the table looks like a zombie, especially Reuben, who keeps falling asleep at the table and abusing anyone who tries to entice him to eat. I normally would tick him off for being so foul-mouthed, but I keep thinking to myself, “Sabar, sabar (patience, patience),” and I’m really keen to go back to sleep anyway. BRYAN: Huh? It’s time already? But I only fell asleep five minutes ago…
Never mind, a cigarette should help do the trick. (Malaysian Today reminds Bryan at this point that smoking invalidates a fast). I know, I know, don’t worry, I won’t smoke after sahur…(Editor’s note: Smoking is bad for health) Where did Aaron put the chicken he brought last night? REUBEN: #@*^&$!! Get the camera out of my face! I am really tired, OK… And next time, don’t wake me up
with your, ‘Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty’ nonsense. Is Aaron’s chicken the only thing we have
for breakfast (he means sahur) today? Yuck! I’m not eating it – it looks infected. I don’t know what I’ll eat, but I’ll think of something… (Reuben falls asleep at the breakfast table, whilst Sushila gently advises him to eat something). #@*^&$!! #@*^&$!! #@*^&$!! SUSHILA: I’m not normally an angry
person, so when Aaron’s girlfriend told me the other day that I’m not supposed to lose my temper whilst fasting, I thought, “That should be pretty easy.” But I’ve already been severely tested this morning! First, Ping whacks me in the neck when I try being a courteous roommate and wake
her up for sahur. Then, when I encourage Reuben to eat something, he yells all sorts of obscenities at me. If this is any indication of what today’s going to be like, I’d say I’m in for quite a challenge!
10AM – MID-MORNING CHECK Aaron, Bryan and Sushila are up and about,
doing some studying before their next class. Bryan records in a journal given to him by Malaysian Today that he’s found the perfect way of staving off hunger, whilst Aaron and Sushila say that the “little things” are starting to get to them, though. Reuben and Ping are still in bed at this point. AARON: We’ve all got a quiz later today, so I woke up early in order to study! I’m not very hungry or thirsty at this point, but I usually snack on a bar of chocolate when I’m studying. It helps keep me focused.
I can’t study like this – my mind keeps getting distracted by the need for some chocolate. BRYAN: Fasting is definitely going to be a piece of cake! I woke up this morning craving some nasi lemak, but have killed the craving with the aid of a cigarette. Sushila keeps saying she remembers hearing from somewhere that you’re not supposed to smoke whilst fasting, but duh! Everyone knows that fasting is just about abstaining from food and drink. I have smoked two cigarettes since waking up an hour ago.
(Editor: Smoking is bad for health.) REUBEN: Zzzzz….. SUSHILA: After this morning’s fiasco, I’m
not even going to bother trying to wake up Reuben or Ping. It’s a thankless task. Bryan keeps smoking cigarettes to keep the hunger at bay, but I’m sure I heard somewhere you’re not supposed to smoke whilst fasting… Though I can’t remember where… I can’t think straight when I’ve just woken
up! Usually, I need some coffee to clear my head, but that won’t be happening! PING: Zzzzzzz…..
1PM – LUNCHTIME? The housemates have a class quiz in two hours. Reuben and Ping have just woken up, and are tempted to break their fast immediately. Meanwhile, the other three are at a loss trying to figure out what to do during a time they normally spend in a nearby food court… AARON: This is normally the time of the day when we go to the food court for some lunch. I’m feeling very hungry now just thinking of it. Any chance I can do what the Muslim kids do and fast just half a day? (Sushila interjects that Muslim adults fast for one whole day). No? Well, I don’t know what to do during this time! Hey, maybe we can call our friends Khairy and Nik, they’re fasting, we could all probably hang out… BRYAN: I’ve smoked seven cigarettes today. I’m stunned; I don’t normally smoke that many. (Editor: Smoking is bad for health) I hope we can find something to do,or I’ll definitely end up smoking more. (Editor: Smoking is bad for health) REUBEN: I woke up with the worst sore throat ever! I just felt so dehydrated! I really wanted to break my fast at that point, but I took a shower.
SUSHILA: I think my tummy is so used to getting food at this time that it’s kicking up a big fuss now just because it isn’t. Khairy says it’s usually like that the first day or two of fasting, but assured me that if I hang in there, it would get better. He also says that he finds a game of UNO cards usually helps him through those hunger pangs. PING: I’m soooo hungry! My first instinct is to just break my fast. It’s
not fair – I didn’t wake up for breakfast (she means sahur) this morning! And the last time I ate was 7PM last night! But then again, I don’t really have time to eat. I’ve got a pop quiz in two hours that I haven’t studied for it. I’ll hang in there – for now.
4.30PM – LESS THAN THREE HOURS TO GO Our five subjects have just sat for their class quiz, and some are starting to get philosophical on the subject f fasting. But first, Aaron calls his girlfriend – the group’s authority on fasting – to find out whether or not Bryan’s tactic of smoking cigarettes is permitted… AARON: Bryan has been chain-smoking virtually the entire day – a very un-Bryan thing to do. But I’m sure I heard somewhere that smoking is not allowed. Sushila reckons the Malaysian Today reporter said something about it at sahur. I’m going to call my girlfriend to check…(Editor: Anyway, smoking is bad for health) Aha! See, Bryan, smoking isn’t allowed! Put out that cigarette now! (Editor: Hope you get the drift by now…) BRYAN: How am I going to get through the rest of the day now? REUBEN: I’m beginning to find the day meditative. For instance, usually after a quiz, all I ever want to do is talk about it with my housemates,
and compare answers. But right now, I can’t really be bothered. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling slightly lethargic. Or maybe it’s as Benjamin Franklin says: “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.”
I think I’ll go for a long, relaxing walk now. SUSHILA: I’m sure I messed up that quiz just now. I didn’t even have time to finish it! And you know how I usually comfort myself after doing something so lousily? …Yep, I eat. I eat tomato soup, roast beef, nasi campur, spaghetti, ice cream and Turkish delight – mmm. But I can’t eat anything, and it’s starting to drive me mad! PING: I feel really bratty for having complained earlier about fasting. I was saying to my classmate that I was sure I did rubbish in
the test, and that it’s because I’m feeling tired from fasting, when she reminded me that my personal hero, Mahatma Gandhi, used to fast for peace. I don’t eat a proper meal for a few hours, and I whine. But Gandhi wouldn’t eat for days, and he’d do it because he really believed in peace. I suppose fasting can really cement one’s faith in something higher than oneself.
6.30PM – THE TIME IS NEAR Reuben has just returned from his walk, whilst the other roommates have chosen to occupy their times in a variety of ways. Everything comes to an abrupt halt when Malaysian Today calls them to remind them
that they’re allowed to break their fast in a little under an hour. AARON: I hijacked my neighbour’s Box
from his apartment, and have been whiling my time away with that. I’m off now to get some pizza – will meet everyone at our favourite restaurant in an hour’s time. BRYAN: The X-Box is really good therapy.
Where else can I lash out my feelings of frustration at not being able to eat, drink, smoke, or even get frustrated? REUBEN: I feel exhilarated – but hungry! I made a circuit walking around different locations in SS15, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the feeling of having succeeded at a challenge. But then my legs started to feel weak, so I decided to take a cab from Carrefour back to the apartment.
SUSHILA: I used to think I was the most patient girl in the world – and now, I’m having serious doubts about that! The number of times I’ve had to refrain from snapping at people today! I wonder if I’m the last person to realise I sulk quite a bit. PING: I just managed to get a word in with a gorgeous Arab neighbour! I went downstairs to the convenience store to get some washing detergent, and when I wanted to come back up, the lift had suddenly stopped working. So I began the long hike up the five floors of stairs, but after two flights, decided I had to take a break. Enter my Arab neighbour, who’s walking down the stairs, who asks me if I’m OK. I say that I’m too tired to walk up the stairs because
I’m fasting, and the guy morphs into a total sweetheart! He offers to walk me back to my apartment, and on the way, we finally make the introduction I’ve been dying to make for months now! I could die today a happy woman! But only completely happy after I’ve had something to eat.
7.30PM – WAITING
The party meets up with their friends Khairy and Nik at one of their favourite restaurants and hang-out spots. Aaron left over an hour ago to get some pizza, but is stuck in a jam. The others have broken their fast with drinks, but are still waiting for dinner, whilst Khairy and Nik tell them to “chill”.
AARON: Those guys keep calling me asking where their food is. I can’t help it if I’m in a jam! Besides, why do I always have to get the food? BRYAN: I talked to Khairy and Nik about the smoking, and they said that it’s OK, since I didn’t really know that it would nullify my fast. I suppose next time I’ll have to do my research more thoroughly! REUBEN: Where’s the #@*^$ is the #@*^$ food? SUSHILA: Yum! Finally some food! Ping keeps accusing me of being a traitor by bailing out and buying a Ramly burger before the pizza arrived, but the way I see it, I did it for the peace of the clan. If I‘d waited for the pizza, who knows what I would’ve done to Aaron, for making us wait so long. PING: Sushila is a traitor. Tummy is rumbling. Arab guy is cute.
8PM – FINALLY Aaron arrives at long last with the pizza.
AARON: Wow! Those guys are really swarming over the food like vultures! Fasting today has had its tough moments. Midday was the toughest. But it’s not impossible to pull through! Now to practise getting through a whole month... BRYAN: I was a good experience. Being patient can be difficult though. But it’s good practice. Might try fasting again someday. REUBEN: OK, I lost my temper quite a bit, so yeah, I’m sorry. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that fasting is the best spiritual exercise ever. SUSHILA: Fasting has made me more aware of my weaknesses. I have a short temper, and snap at people, but never really knew I was being spiteful until I really stopped
and thought about it. PING: Sushila is still a traitor. Tummy is full. Arab guy is cute.