I JUST came back from Australia and read with sadness what Alvin and Vivian did on the Internet.
Fifty years ago, I invited my classmates to my house for Chinese New Year. My mother told me that she would serve groundnuts, mandarin oranges and soft drinks, but no fried glutinous rice cake as we used lard in our cooking as there were Malays invited.
Twelve years ago, my business partner Razali knew that I loved rendang and asked his wife to cook chicken rendang. They brought it to my house but we were not around, so they left it with my maid.
When we came back and saw the rendang in an expensive container, I told my wife to transfer it to another container but not to wash Razali’s container.
My wife asked why? I told her we cooked pork so our washing materials might contain lard.
When I went to return his container, Razali appeared upset. But when I told him why, we had a laugh. After this, we continued to receive rendang but in disposable containers.
We non- Muslims are luckier than Muslims. We can get invited to their homes, enjoy their food but they cannot unless it is catered.
Malays by nature are good hosts. Years ago, my classmate Ghani invited a few of us to his house for Raya. His mother took out a huge plate of rendang and it was the first time we tasted it. We ate like hungry ghosts. Ghani’s parent politely urged us on and we finished the whole plate.
After Raya, when we went back to school, Ghani appeared angry and when we asked him “why” he replied “you all ate all our rendang and my mother had to borrow some from my neighbours to serve my relatives who came later.”
We have only two sons, both are Christians. We still burn joss sticks and paper for our ancestors.
On festivals days, we offer food during prayers and when my sons eat with us, we tell them which food were offered for the prayers.
I will not tolerate my children criticising my religion nor will I criticise theirs.
We should teach our children to respect other people’s religion and set the example like what my mother did 50 years ago.
I also hope our politicians practise restraint and think carefully before they speak on issues relating to religion.THOMAS FOO CHEE KIANG Subang Jaya The STAR Online Opinion 20 July 2013