Envoy on a fasting mission

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 02 Jun 2019

This looks good: Hay buying his buka puasa meal at the Ramadan bazaar in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur.

PETALING JAYA: In his first Ramadan as the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Charles Hay decided to fast along with some of his Muslim colleagues and friends.

Hay, who was posted here in March, said he wanted to immerse himself in the local cultures and also understand how fasting was for Malaysian Muslims.

The British diplomat, who learned Bahasa Malaysia to prepare for his stint here, documented his experience of abstaining from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset in a two-minute video.

“As we go through Ramadan, fasting is such an important thing here in Malaysia that I have decided that I am going to try it for myself,” said Hay in the video clip released by the British High Commission on its Facebook page.

The 54-year-old envoy started his day of fasting by having a sahur (pre-dawn) meal at 5.15am, having a bean and chickpea salad, a cup of tea and dates.

At around 12.30pm, Hay recorded a check-in between his meetings where he noted that he was starting to feel tired and thirsty.

“So it’s about half past 12, I am in the car and on the way back from an EU Head of Mission meeting which had lasted the best part of two and a half hours.

“Normally to get through that I need a lot of coffee and biscuits but today I was unable to, so I am starting to feel quite tired but more thirsty actually,” he said in the video.

Later at 6pm, Hay went to a Ramadan bazaar in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, to pick up some local delights such as murtabak and roti john using his own reusable container to avoid single-­use plastic.

Hay then hosted a buka puasa (breaking of fast) at his residence where he joined his Muslim colleagues in breaking fast.

The get-together was attended by about 60 staff members and their families.

“Fasting one day during Ramadan in Malaysia has been an eye-opening experience.

“It makes me understand more about abstinence, about positive thoughts and doing good deeds,” he said in Bahasa Malaysia.

Asked if he would fast again, the good-natured Hay responded: “Definitely.”

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