I asked Mom when I called her up this morning.
"Yeah la.. no pork, what else to eat?" she replied.
"Well.. you can eat more fish?" I suggested.
"Expensive.. and difficult to buy fresh ones."
"What about the fishmonger?" I referred to the mobile fishmonger who used to sell from door to door.
"By the time I come out of the house, he's already gone."
Mom doesn't eat beef [being a Buddhist] and only consumes a little chicken, so as a Muslim daughter, I try to advice her to leave out pork from her diet and eat more fish instead. However, it's easier said than done. For a Chinese, pork is an important part of their normal diet. In fact for the average Malaysian Chinese especially the elderly ones, choosing not to eat pork means there's something wrong with you - you're either a Muslim or a weakling. Believe it or not, my non-Muslim relatives still think that pork is better and safer to eat than chicken.
"Aren't you afraid of the swine flu?" I asked Mom.
"Do I have any choice? I don't like the fish they sell at the food court. Anyway, pork is safe to eat when cooked properly."
Telling Mom about the other diseases conected to pork and about the scientific discovery about the dangers of eating pork is like telling a chain-smoker that he'd die of lung cancer."We've been eating pork for generations and nobody have died due to pork consuming!" she'd retort.
delicious halal Chinese food without pork
My grandma used to say that eating pork is good for health, better than beef and chicken. In fact, grandma scolded my aunt for consuming beef during her pregnancy, saying that the child would get diseases. Babies are weaned with spoonsful of pork porridge and sick patients are often given pork to eat, while omitting other types of meat.
Having the Buddha statue at the altar means beef is never allowed to be cooked or eaten at my family home [which explains why I still don't know how to cook beef dishes, hehehe], but pork used to be an almost daily diet. Even today, with a kilogram of pork being more expensive than chicken or fish, Mom and grandma still buy them. Most Chinese dishes contain pork and old habits die hard.
"Where can not eat pork?!" [means - have to eat pork no matter what]
Doing dakwah Islam to my own nonMuslim family members is a challenge. It's not easy to do so, not when they know me so well and most of my weaknesses. It's so much easier to tell another nonMuslim about Islam than one's own family.
"I've fed you with rice and pork till you're strong and healthy, and now you're telling me that pork is bad? I know you no longer eat pork but don't try to force me to follow your ways. If I don't eat pork, what else can I eat? " [I can imagine Mom and grandma scolding me like this if I talk too much :P]
It's safer and easier to tell my nonMuslim relatives that it's more economical to eat chicken and fish, than to suggest that they stop eating pork altogether. Actually consuming pork is not just about eating; for some, it has psychological effects [I'm Chinese I eat pork, they Malays/Muslims they don't eat pork - as long as I continue eating pork, I'm Chinese and nonMuslim]. And I know some families would serve pork dishes to test their children whom they suspect have reverted to Islam.
Do I miss eating those nonhalal dishes? Sometimes when I pass by the stalls and notice the menu or food, I remember how I used to enjoy them. But alhamdulillah, the fear of Allah's wrath for disobeying His commands is greater than my wish to eat, hehehe.. and the knowledge that consuming pork is also bad for health strengthens my resolve to avoid it at all costs. Besides, I can always adjust the traditional recipes and replace them with chicken or beef to make the food halal for consumption. Now if only I were a better cook, heheheee.
halal 'bakchang'.. I didn't learn enough 'kungfu' from Grandma nor have enough patience to make them myself, so am still searching for halal ones in Penang :Pimages: http://islaminchina.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/chinesefood1.jpg