Our Muslim brothers and sisters start their first day of the fasting month (Ramadan) today.
But that does not mean that they stop going about their daily lives. In fact, life still goes on while they fast. Muslim students still go to school and workers continue working to earn a living.
I walked into a Starbucks cafe outlet this afternoon and the barista continued to serve me and other patrons with a smile. And mind you, you could sense the genuineness of the smile!
I can never imagine myself working in the front-line of the service industry while fasting. I would have been tempted by food and drinks. Of course, Ramadan is also a month of fasting not only from food but other things as well, such as smoking or speaking ill of others.
Another friend told me that boss of the company she used to work for was rather discriminatory to Muslim staff who had to fast during the month of Ramadan. The boss was from a foreign country who had no prior knowledge and experience of working with Muslim staff.
Thankfully, most of our Muslim workers in Singapore enjoy the freedom to practice their faith at work without any fear. So as fellow workers, we should give them our support and understanding during the month of Ramadan.
In fact, SingPost continues to honour its Muslim staff every year, by having a ceremony to break fast (known as Iftar) together with its Chief Executive Officer, who happens to be an Austrian, its senior management its union and a representative from the Government.
SingPost’s comprise of a large number of Muslim postal staff and what better way to show support and understanding by breaking fast together with your employees!
So, if you have a Muslim fellow worker who is fasting, why not show your support and understanding through these few ways:
1.) Don’t arrange for meetings in the late afternoon. Energy levels are obviously lower at that time.
2.) Don’t arrange for lunch meetings.
3.) People are also not much up for banter. So don’t mistake them if they don’t engage you in exhaustive conversations.
4.) Don’t ask your Muslim colleagues if they can swallow their saliva. (Of course they can!)
5.) Don’t ask if they are hungry every time you come back from lunch.
6.)Don’t judge if a Muslim colleague is not fasting. He or she may not be physically fit to fast for whatever reason.