Every evening this past week, i've walked by the hotel restaurant during the time approaching the break of fast and always seen it packed with Muslims waiting to gorge themselves on the buffet. At RM45 a head, its certainly not a "cheap" indulgence. Of course, "cheap" is relative to how much you earn. But there is some absolute value to this exercise that should be considered.
Can you eat RM50 worth of food?
Think about it: no matter how you cut it, RM45 (or in some places, this can go up to RM70++) is a large amount of money to pay for mostly Malay food. Looking at the fare on offer at most of these "Ramadhan" buffets, i don't believe that the cost is justified. Sure, there is a large selection of food, but just how much can a person eat? Can someone really eat RM70 worth of chicken curry, rendang, rice, veggies and fish? Its something that most people cannot fully consume during the normal months of the year; these hotel restaurants have far fewer customers during the non-Ramadhan season. Why is it that during the fasting month, everyone builds such an incredible appetite?
And even a robust appetite built over the course of a day of not eating is not an excuse. One of the purposes of Ramadhan is to control the appetite, to appreciate the hunger that the less fortunate feel everyday of their lives. Gorging on an extravagant buffet at the end of the day defeats this purpose. Why not just eat RM10 worth of food, and donate the other RM35. That money would be able to feed 4 other people for a day, or a single person for 4 days.
Watching the people stream into the restaurant just now, it made me wonder how appropriate it is to call it a "Ramadhan buffet". The spirit of Ramadhan was certainly missing from all those inside.