As a Sarawakian, I admit that I do take somethings for granted about my state and its people that at some point of life, it takes an outsider, or rather a non-Sarawakian to tell me how special my state is.
This was the case when I met with the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching’s (BCCK) Executive Director, Dr Mohamadon (Dr Don) last week.
To be honest, a text message from Mike regarding myself being called for a meeting with his Dr Don was indeed very puzzling because people like me (ordinary people-bah), don’t get courtesy calls such as this one.
There was a brief sense of anxiety over it all when I was waiting in the BCCK admin office to meet Dr Don, and as I was showed to Dr Don’s office, I was all over the place (at least my mind was) due to nervousness.
Anyway, what turned out to be a brief meeting and sharing session proved to be something worthy to blog about because Dr Don was eager to tell me how Sarawak touched his heart this Ramadhan.
The things Dr Don shared were ordinary yet aptly precise, and it did make me even prouder to be called a Sarawakian.
Among the many things he shared, one was something I’ve never actually noticed until he mentioned it, and this was regarding the month of Ramadhan, and how we Sarawakians treat our Muslim friends during the fasting month.
According to Dr Don, he was very touched when he went to the BCCK Ramadhan buffet (which you can read about here) last weekend because he observed something very special.
Like I said, I always thought it was something ordinary, but he felt otherwise.
The thing which I’m referring to here is the fact that us non-Muslims in Sarawak will consciously wait for the announcement that fasting for the day has ended, before we actually start eating, despite the fact we have already had our food taken from the buffet.
I’m not sure if you do it too, but I also find myself doing the same thing when I attend events held with a majority of Muslim friends. The latest was at a well known hotel in Kuching, where my friend and I (my firend was a Chinese) sat with a Muslim friend at the buffet table, but decided to wait for the beat of the Bedok (a traditional drum in Sarawak which is beat to signal the end of fasting for the day) before we ate. This was despite both of us already having our food and drinks all in front of us, and the fact that our Muslim friend actually asked us to eat first.
Anyway, I told Dr Don that I actually thought similar action happened in the Peninsular Malaysia, but he was quick to say it didn’t happen as well as in Sarawak.
His answer made my nose bulge a bit.
I mean, Sarawak is known to be well praised by many for being the best concept of 1Malaysia, but then, to hear it personally from someone who is not actively involved in politics, and is not even a Sarawakian, makes it HUGE!
As we talked more, Dr Don revealed of his fear that Sarawakians will change in attitude as time goes by, but his praises over the people of Sarawak for being hospitable and respectful of other races and religions was very evident in most of his words.
With my next appointment due in 20 minutes, I had to excuse myself from the meeting, but Dr Don’s words about Sarawak surely made me smile of pride.
It goes “Kuching or Sarawak in general has changed so much physically in the past 20 years, but the essence of its people has not“.
Anything you’d like to say about his statement?