Baffling Malaysian attitudes
Reading this post reminded me of 2 incidents which happened more than 2 years ago.
My niece and a group of her school friends were doing their rounds around my neighbourhood collecting donations for their school's Red Crescent Society.
I invited them in for a drink as it was a very hot day. Among her friends were one Indian girl and a Malay girl. As I served them orange juice and some biscuits, I noticed that the Malay girl did not touch her drink nor help herself to the biscuits.
While the girls chatted happily amongst themselves, the Malay girl shifted uncomfortably in her seat all the while. I asked her if she's tired from walking around in the hot sun and she shook her head. I invited her to have her drink but she just smiled and told me she had her water bottle with her. By the time the girls left the house, her glass remain untouched.
It was then that I wondered whether I should have stocked some canned drinks in my house for special guests.
The other incident happened when the proprietor of a furniture shop, a Malay lady, accompanied her workers to deliver some teak furniture which I ordered.
As she stood outside my house, we engaged in small talk and she complimented me on my nice garden while the men unloaded the furniture. She wondered aloud that the interior of my house must be equally beautiful and cheerfully asked if she could take some pictures.
She proceeded to follow her workers into the house when all of a sudden, she stopped in her tracks near the front door. I invited her in but she gave me an embarrassed smile as she replied, "Tak apalah. Saya tunggu di sini saja." (Translation: "It's okay, I'll just wait outside.")
I noticed that she was feeling uncomfortable which made me felt a tad confused and uncomfortable too. As I supervised the workers, I wondered if the rather large wooden carving of a smiling Buddha sitting near the front door had anything to do with her discomfort.
Do you think I am being too sensitive about their behaviour in both instances?
After I read the letter published in Mr Lim's post, I wonder if all of us non-Muslims must walk on our toes in dealing with the heightened sensitivities of our fellow Malaysians.