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COMMENT | Is there a need to force children to fast in schools?

COMMENT | It’s the fasting month. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty good at fasting. I started fasting for full days at around eight or nine years old. So that makes it 34 years of full continuous fasting every year. Not bad! Funny how I see it as a badge of achievement to wear on my sleeve.

I really don’t skip unless necessary and I can’t remember the last time I did that. Oh wait! I do remember. I was in Form Three and was playing in an invitational basketball tournament. I represented the school but it was optional. I had to play three games in a day and by the second game, I got thirsty.

But you learn as you go along. I’m much better at regulating my hunger, thirst and energy now. I can do my daily 5km runs during fasting month and still not break my fast. I don’t have to rest or take a nap during the day like many people I know who tend to ‘take it easier’ this month. But hey, to each his own.

I enjoy fasting. I still feel hungry and thirsty. I really don’t believe the people who say that they don’t think about food or drink at all. I start thinking about what I want to eat for buka puasa (break fast time) as soon as I wake up in the morning. And I get overjoyed when the day comes closer to Maghrib.

That’s the fun part for me. I enjoy thinking about the different foods that we get to choose from at the pasar (bazaar) Ramadan. I love how family and friends always try to make it a point to spend time breaking fast together and enjoying each others’ company. Then there is Hari Raya of course, which marks the end of fasting, woohoo!

Of course, there are other reasons to fast, such as for the soul and belief but that’s on a more personal level. I don’t think that is necessary to discuss if I don’t want to. So fasting does serve lots of purposes in my life and I don’t dread it. In fact, it’s quite enjoyable.

“Hey Pops!” my eldest daughter said to me last Wednesday at dinner, one day before fasting. “One of my teachers said that it’s a school rule anyone in Standard Four and above must fast.”

“What? How can that be? They can’t make it a rule. Go ask the teacher who announced this rule,” I told her.

I despise people who think that... 

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