Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food : Binder of Communities

When I was in university, I learned one unfailing strategy to get people to attend society activities. All we had to do was ensure that plenty of food was available. Simple fare like sandwiches and biscuits but plenty of it.

In the first school I worked in, that same strategy worked like a charm. The boys were willing to paint endless walls, make innumerable posters and run unending miles as long as there was food and drink available. During sports season, I promised lunches and a guaranteed supply of cold drinks - this got me extreme loyalty and perseverance in sports events...LOL... I've since learned that for boys (& men too?), food is a most important starter. It's no wonder I was always broke in my first decade of teaching.

Recently a friend commented that Malaysia was lucky to enjoy such harmony despite the many different races & religions. Bar the occasional lawsuit and Molotov cocktail. I noticed that he had been attending a number of events which naturally meant lavish spreads of food. It was a light-bulb moment for me. Malaysians love coming together for food very very much and perhaps that is one critical factor that glues us together. It's very difficult to eat at the same table as someone you dislike and many a dispute has been cooled by a sharing of bread. Metaphorically speaking.

Perhaps we should have more breaking of bread together.

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