"Ramadan cruise and Arabic fare on the lake" - it took awhile for me to digest this headline that greeted my eyes as I flipped through the papers while having breakfast this morning.
I know the madness of buka puasa (breaking of fast) gluttony will soon descend upon us once again, when Ramadan begins on Monday next week, but a cruise? This is truly taking the Ramadan buffet phenomenon to new heights.
Apparently, a company specialising in lake cruises, in tandem with a five-star hotel, have put together a few buka puasa packages, chockful of scrumptious local and Arabic dishes to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
And the piece de resistance is an idyllic cruise around the scenic Putrajaya Lake while gorging oneself after half a day of abstinence. Please excuse my impudence, but I do wonder where Solat Maghrib fit in, into all these.
Ramadan buffet is undeniably a big business in this country. And they don't come cheap either. Some five-star hotels and high-end eateries charge over a hundred ringgit per head; yet that hasn't stopped Malaysians, affluent or otherwise, from turning up in droves to pay for the privilege of stuffing themselves silly in one sitting.
To be fair, I was among those squandering my hard-earned money during the Ramadans of my jahiliah hard-drinking days. My zeal for expensive, table-laden buka puasa buffet was equally matched by my determination to avoid fasting at any cost.
How painful it is, sometimes, to recall the supremely ignorant fool you once were, cheating, lying and conniving your way through the fasting month for a plate of noodles and a glass of Bacardi coke. May Allah (swt) have mercy on remorseful yours truly.
Ramadan is all about patience and restraint, self-discipline and sacrifice, generosity and charity, and identifying with the lot of the poor and the unfortunate.
Let's make this Ramadan a month truly worthy of its status as the most venerated and blessed month of the Islamic year. Selamat Berpuasa.