This is perhaps the first time I’ve written an entry with the title in mind first.
Some would agree, some wouldn’t, with the title, but I’d like to clarify on why I’ve made it the title.
I’ve made this my first point simply because we have grown accustomed to the ‘efficiency’ of our public transportation that whenever our buses or trains don’t arrive on time, we berate on every single platform available; Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and what have yous. When the buses or trains don’t move fast enough, we repeat the same thing because we believe it should be travelling at much faster speed for the amount of fare hike that we are paying for.
It’s ironic because for the same cost and efficiency that we are paying for, I know many others who’d say that our Public Transportation is still miles better than theirs.
I waited an hour for a train in Malaysia when I rushed into the station because it said, 5 minutes more.
I don’t think many of us actually take long walks anymore now. I know I do, but when I walk, I’m ALWAYS told to SLOW DOWN. Apparently my walking speed is quite fast, faster than most whom I walk with at least.
I’d love to talk on more issues like AIRCON, FAN and FAST FOOD but I want to talk on something else.
I want to talk about HALAL FOOD.
HALAL CERTIFICATION to be exact.
I’m a Muslim and whilst I will admit that I’m not exactly the best or pious or what have yous that you can throw me under the category to go to Heaven, I did attend religious classes from 5 all the way till 20 years old before I stopped and amongst some of those whom I’ve studied under include Singapore’s current MUFTI and a few other Ustaz whom people would be able to relate to if I should mention their names.
The issue on hand that I’d like to talk about is one personally close to me because it’s an issue that I’ve battled with since 8 years old, when I first ate ice-cream at a non-muslim’s house.
Now, let’s first find out what HALAL means.
It simply means “(Arabic: حلال ḥalāl, “permissible”) is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law.” (Wikipedia)
And since it’s in accordance to food, the food needs to prepared in accordance to Islamic rites which includes:
- Type of Food
- Method of Food Preparation
- Utensils used in Food Preparation
Now, in Singapore, restaurants/stalls work hard to get the MUIS issued, HALAL Certificate to assure Muslims that the type of food, method of food preparation and utensils used in food preparation are HALAL (I’m going to shorten and just say FOOD).
Here’s the thing, not all restaurants that serve HALAL food need to have this HALAL certification. The HALAL certification is the best assurance for Muslims who are overly conscious about the food to be consumed.
A stall owned by a Muslim need not necessarily require a HALAL Certificate.
And why you may ask?
Because the Muslim would have already ensured that his food preparation is HALAL.
And here’s where the problem lies.
In Singapore, there are a lot of Malay Muslims and Indian Muslims restaurants but rarely do we see a Chinese Muslim restaurant. In Singapore, just as there are Malay/Indian Muslim restaurants, there are also many non-Muslim Indian restaurants.
Whilst most Muslims scrutinize a stall that doesn’t have the face of a Malay and/or Indian because we presume them to be Muslims, Muslims tend to eat at stalls that aren’t HALAL because it is an Indian stall which sells the exact same thing that the Indian Muslim stall sells not bearing in mind that, that Indian stall may or may not be selling HALAL food.
But that’s not the issue, the issue here is that Muslims would scrutinize the Vegetarian stalls!
A VEGETARIAN STALL!
A VEGETARIAN STALL!
These stalls sell ONLY VEGETABLES and as far as I know, vegetables is purely HALAL.
They scrutinize it because it is Chinese owned and thus comes the many other assumptions that follows one of which I regularly hear is
THEY FRY FOOD USING LARD/PORK OIL
I’m not sure how true this is but as far as I know, vegetarian stalls cook using vegetable oil.
But that shouldn’t matter should it because if one is extra and overly cautious over a vegetable stall that sells absolutely 100% beyond any reasonable doubt, HALAL FOOD, why doesn’t one scrutinize the Indian stall which doesn’t have a HALAL certificate or for that matter perhaps check the date of the HALAL certificate on display, if there should be one to verify when that food stall was last certified HALAL.
It’s hilarious to me because if you’re a Muslim and if you did attend religious classes, you would have been equipped with the knowledge and the ability to think and assess for yourself. AND should you still have doubts about a certain stall, then just avoid it.
I’ve heard of reasons why a Muslim shouldn’t eat at a Chinese Vegetarian stall and these include:
- Uncle go toilet pang sai never wash hand (Uncle before cook never wash hand is it?)
- Uncle eat pork (EH bodoh eh? Uncle vegetarian where got eat pork)
- Uncle cook use lard/pork oil (Which part of VEGETARIAN is not clear?) and latest one I received today
- Uncle use wine in dishes (INTERESTING… but I’m sure it would show clearly on the menu, ‘XO Vegetarian Rice’)
Hence, Muslims in Singapore are now overly dependent on the authorities to issue an establishment with a HALAL Certificate before they will be assured that food prepared there is Halal.
I honestly wonder how they make their decisions then when they travel especially in a country like Philippines whereby almost every single stall cooks using pork.
Could it be:
- Close one eye (MUDARAT aka DESPERATE)
- Buy bread only (But bread also maybe don’t have Halal cert how?)
- Fast (HAHAHAH!!)
At the end of the day, all I really want to say is, if you have doubts about that stall not selling Halal food because it doesn’t have a HALAL cert, please don’t tell another Muslim who is perhaps perfectly confident that, that stall indeed sells HALAL food because you might just find yourself eating in a non-Halal certified establishment without realising it.
AND THE COOK MIGHT HAVE FORGOTTEN TO WASH HIS HANDS!