Living on the edge of a kosher life

OCTOBER 21 — At a time when the whole world is transfixed by the recent ruling of the Islamic institutional watchdog, the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim), on “Pretzel dog”, among other canine-related things, it is advisable for law-abiding Malaysians — like you and me — to stay clear of the controversy. 

This matter might be a monkey on your back but you’re better off sticking to the time-tested dogma of let sleeping dogs lie. This is because the sensitivity of our multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society — or at least of some of its members who are bound to be confused — is easily disturbed and subsequently can trigger ethno-religious problems that we can do without. 

A concern such as this, i.e. about causing trouble, should not be dismissed as sheer hogwash. That is why it’s better that you have the dogged determination to just mind your own business. 

In fact, to be on the safe side, you might as well go the whole hog by avoiding things that are also deemed “sensitive” and “seditious” especially by the powers-that-be. At the very least, this would ensure that you do not inadvertently do things that would be detrimental to Parliamentary democracy. 

Believe me you, it’s more profitable to energise your mind to focus on bread-and-butter issues. 

On a dog day afternoon when you have to go to the supermarket to grab some foodstuff, it’s incumbent upon you to do just that, i.e. to buy food items that do not confuse to your gullible mind. 

But, then, surely even if confusion does arise, it shouldn’t reach the point of you having to feel hamstrung when it comes to making a choice between beef bacon and the Nasi Lemak Anak Dara — or the Nasi Lemak of the Virgin — you’re so familiar with. For, the difference is as clear as choosing hamburger over a hamster. 

The prices of foodstuff may be perceived as having gone up these days, particularly with the predicted lifting of subsidy for cooking oil, but you don’t really have to break your piggy bank to survive and at the same time maintain your lifestyle. 

And for all you know, there might be light at the end of the tunnel today when the 2017 Budget will be presented by Prime Minister Najib Razak in Parliament. It is hoped that the financial burden of the ordinary people will be lessened; of course, you’re not expected to live high on the hog as a result of that. 

To be sure, no one should be made a guinea pig by budgetary experimentation in the government’s desire to help sustain people’s livelihood while at the same time cutting financial allocations to crucial sectors in society. Otherwise, the person concerned would be subjected to a process that is as painful as taking away turkey ham from his diet. 

But while we hope for and anticipate good tidings, we should also not overlook any possibility of a financial allocation under this Budget that mirrors pork barrel politics as this could give rise to unease among politicians from certain political parties of a particular ideological pigment. 

On our part, we as citizens of this country must go the extra mile to be self-reliant as much as possible in our effort to overcome our financial hardship. This brings to mind the various tips given by certain politicians on how to survive in an economic downturn, such as making your own nasi goreng for lunch instead of buying it. 

Besides, this would also help us overcome the brouhaha that hovers over all things canine. 

Seasoned politicians such as Ahmad Maslan are fully aware that in life there are no miracles as economic problems cannot be resolved overnight. Only fools believe that pigs can fly. 

But we should be mindful that this is not the same as saying that the country is going to the dogs. God forbid! 

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.