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Fast times for Phuket Muslims

PHUKET: While many of you might be reading this over a coffee or sandwich in your favourite cafe or restaurant, spare a thought for the fasting Muslim Phuketians who are currently observing Ramadan.

By Jody Houton

Monday 6 August 2012, 08:53AM

Ramadan, which falls this year from July 20 – August 18, is an Islamic festival that promotes fasting, considered the ‘fourth pillar’ of Islam.

Phuketian Sirisa ‘Natt’ Wangsuppaporn is a Thai Muslim who will be observing Ramadan. She said that she is now quite accustomed to the month-long fast, as she should be really – she’s been doing it every year, apart from two years while living in London – since she was 17-years-old.

“I wake up at 7am and basically don’t eat anything during the day, but I eat after sun set.”

Ramadan decrees that nothing during the religious period should pass the lips; no food, no water, no smoke – and there is to be no sex.

After night falls, Natt gradually breaks the fast by eating date seeds, before eating a real meal.

Although Natt doesn’t consider herself strict – she doesn’t pray and doesn’t cover her hair with a head scarf – Ramadan is a festival that she ‘religiously’ observes, much as her mother’s mother did and generations before that. Because well, that is what they have always done.

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Interestingly though, neither her father or brother are Muslim. “My mother’s side is Muslim, but not my father’s. They are Buddhist and my brother followed his religion.”

She finds it rather easy to be a Phuket Muslim observing Ramadan.

“Following Ramadan in Phuket is relatively easy as many understand the sacrifice that we make – two reasons being to seek enlightenment in order to empathise with poor and hungry people.

“However, some are not so understanding and ask me why I am doing it, and that it’s unhealthy.”



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