Saturday, October 23, 2004

it’s just a coupla days to ramadhan– better known in this country as the fasting month. yea… yea… i know, what’s the big deal with starving yourself anyway? in a country where people fatalities are caused by over abundance in comsumption and in a world where people are scratching dead soil for the driest crust, who in their right mind would intentionally subject themself to a ritual of refusing food???

compassion is a popular reason why some people fast, although i don’t really subscribe to this excuse. the argument is that we would be able to ‘feel’ for the suffering of others who are less fortunate.

firstly, i don’t think fasting is a form of suffering. people who feel that fasting is equal to suffering should seriously consider eating less the rest of the year. of course, anyone would be drawn to feel a bit weaker and dehydrated for the first coupla days, but after a day or two, it should be a breeze. i’ve personally never had gastric or anything, ever, because of fasting.

secondly, even if this is a form of suffering, i don’t see how it would make us ‘feel’ for the less fortunate. people who are less fortunate go through a hell lot more than a coupla hours without food. i think we are so over exaggerating this part of fasting. i know some people who do nothing but sleep the whole day when they fast— in an air-cond room! that is nothing near what less fortunate people go through. the notion of fasting is disgustingly abused in this sense. fasting should never be an excuse to be lazy and unproductive. less fortunate people are hungry too, but they go out to work, so should you. furthermore, i know a large majority of people who buy loads and loads of goodies, often more than they’d ever eat for buka puasa. i honestly don’t think this luxury is something the less fortunate enjoy.

another excuse some people give to fast is to give the stomach and digestive systems a rest. again, i feel that i must differ from this argument until someone shows me more scientific evidence. i personally don’t belive the shrinking feeling of digestive juices processing its own toxins very healthy to my tummy. if it were so, aneroxics would be the healthiest people in the world.

for me, fasting is more about challenging myself through the test of temptation. i believe the human psyche is strongest when it is able to resist the most natural of temptations. of course, considering that it is called ‘fasting month’, the most obvious temptation would be food. personally, i think there is more to that. it is about resisting temptations to curse and swear to others, temptation to gossip. temptation to compel to bad intentions, temptation to follow through with bad habits etc.

it is like being in a state of pennance. fasting is not a physical thing. it is a spiritually psychological and emotional experience. it is the strengthening of the mind. it is everything about patience, determination, ambition, moderation. it it about overcoming your own weakness. so it really is a special month. a month when you get a chance to put yourself through the test against yourself to see who is stronger… your outside or your inside… your stomach or your head.

i know, people are asking, so why do i have to starve myself to do this? well, don’t think of it as starving yourself. fasting is not starving. a state of starvation bears no resemblance to fasting. so why do i have to like, skip lunch to do it? that is it. the resistance of temptation. if i can resist the most natural thing like eating, why can’t i resist things that are less essential like bad habits and intentions? the concept basically goes by that logic.

why does it have to be one month long? well, fast for one day, and see if you can still see straight by the end of the day. good? well, fast thirty days and see if you can see straight by the end of the month. good? it is all about keeping that determination of track.

i know a lot of people who fast just for the heck of it because everyone else is doing it. i bet they consider fasting as some mandatory diet programme or something (healthy religion ain’t it?). well, people like this will likely be the ones who will go right back to their colourful habits come syawal (that’s the month after ramadhan). i don’t go for this sort of time wasting notion. i do it coz i wanna. i wanna because i know something good will come of it.

god help those who help themselves. it’s mind over matter, y’ll!

so this year, i am determined to overcome my own temper. it is one of the vices i really could do without. that’s it, folks, extinguishing my temper is this ramadhan’s resolution. that is the challenge i put forth for myself. i know that if i can neutralize all that explosive anger into something positive during ramadhan, i’ll have no problem putting it away during the rest of the year.

comments/ arguments very welcomed.

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