How to Lose Weight in Malaysia Part 34- The Berbuka Puasa Edition!

Iris: So I thought that since we were fasting again this year, might be fun to write down our thoughts in the blog…and then blog all the great Yemeni food we’re having tonight when we berbuka pusa!

Fasting day

Iris: 5:15 am: It’s too early. I want to sleep, but also, I want to eat. So it’s the usual greek yogurt with pineapples and bananas. I have a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water as well as I often take it in the morning to help regulate blood sugar and keep carb cravings at bay…figure I will definitely need that today. I finish my food before the 5:50 time, but I keep drinking my coffee and water until just before 7:00 when the official sunrise is. Actually, being up early is good, my TA is out today so going in to work early to get ready is a good idea!

Kevin 5:00 am: Yeah that’s right, I woke up before Iris. I always wake up before Iris. I guess now is not the time to brag but oh what the heck, I am doing it anyways! Like Iris, I cheated a bit. I finished my breakfast (Yogurt, dates, a bit of peanut butter) at the appropriate time but kept drinking until the sun actually came up. This….doesn’t really help but it helps with boredom of being up so early before I have to go to work. I dont have to be at work until 9:30 today because it’s a quiz day and I don’t have to do a speaking class exam at 8:30, but still have to leave early to beat traffic.


Iris: 10:30 am: Snack time with the kids, a little thirsty but otherwise it all feels pretty normal. I’ve got a phlemy cough in the morning the past week, and not being able to drink water is a bit inconvenient. But, as in the spirit of Ramadan it lets me think of so many others without clean drinking water at all.

Kevin 9:30 am: Yeah I was thirsty the minute I stepped outside the apartment to go to work. This is in part a case of mind over matter, but also it is freaking hot here. Every. Single. Day. It. Is. Hot. Off to give a quiz to the kiddies. No real hunger issues…that will come soon


Kevin 12:00pm: Quiz is done. Off to a staff meeting. Now I am hungry. I had nothing to do but pretty much think about food and water for the past two hours as I watched everyone take their quiz. I did some reading but it only helped a little bit.

Kevin 12:05pm: Oh lord I am hungry

Iris: 1:00 pm: Lunch time came and went smoothly with my students, and the busy part of my day is almost over. It’s good because my brain feels slightly scattered, but it’s bad because when the kids are here I stay so busy so I don’t have time to think about being thirsty or hungry.

Kevin 1:00pm: Not really hungry anymore. I am having some problems paying attention to what I am doing. Normally I am done grading my exams in like 1.5 hours because I am a grading superstar, but today it is taking a bit longer. Still very thirsty. My co-workers are asking questions about my fasting, in a very nice way. Saya tidak lapar, tapi saya sangat dahaga. Saya mahu bir, tapi ini adalah negara islam jadi tidak bir ke berbuka puasa malam ini. Oh man what happened? I was so hungry I broke into a bit of Bahasa! What a crazy accident!….or was it? Twist!

Iris 2:15: Of course the lift (elevator) is broken today for dismissal. I just remind myself that most public schools here don’t have elevators or air conditioning, so I have it pretty good.  Up and down three floors really isn’t much, but it makes me appreciate my TA, Zaidah, who does this for a whole month and always acts like nothing is out of the ordinary at all.

Kevin 3:00pm: Exams are all graded. I just got done talking about food, specifically durian, for 10 minutes with my co-worker Hafsa. I wanted to complain to her about bringing up the topic but then I remember: She is doing this for a whole month, and I am the one who brought it up! I am bringing durian in for my students after Eid so they can try it. I know they will hate it because they are Arabs who hate all Malaysian food even though they have never tried it. That remembers me, I can’t believe I actually brought some Bahasa Malaysia work! I thought I would work on it this afternoon but my brain is not able to focus on that right now. Frankly I am shocked that I was able to write that sentence earlier. Or was it an accident? Double twist!

Iris 2:58: I’m feeling a bit scatter brained. I’m trying to write my weekly reports to parents, but I’m not doing a great job. Why don’t I write a blog instead…and now I need to write reports before walking 2km home in 90 degree heat. I don’t think anyone at work knows I am fasting because no one offered me food today…which is rare. Usually they make me eat all the food no one else wants.

Kevin 3:50pm: Well, that was fun. Iris told me she started this blog post so I have spent the last 15 minutes adding my thoughts to it. We are going to a Yemeni restaurant tonight. I have been dreaming of bread and hummus…I hope it doesn’t disappoint because I am really hungry! Driving home should be fun.  Maybe the fasting explains why people here drive so poorly…oh wait, they drive poorly all year round. Maybe they are secretly fasting all year round. Did I just discover Malaysia’s big secret? Triple Twist!

Iris 4:33pm: Just walked past a cup of water…really wanted to drink it…not looking forward to my walk home.

Kevin 5:00pm: Just got home. My first instinct was to drink the water on the counter and eat all of the damn cheese in the fridge! But I resisted. Still going strong

Iris 5:45: The rain cooled things down so the walk home wasn’t too bad…I hope we head over to the mall early so I have something to distract me for these last two hours!

So we made it to the restaurant. For this years Berbuka Puasa, we decided on the Yemeni Restaurant near our apartment. We have been driving by it for a few  years and figured since it was still here, it must be good. We were not disappointed.

Hungry but making it
First up is the dates…well not first up…
Because you have to get your food and then sit there and wait for the call to prayer
Happy but we want to eat!
Lots of good stuff. I took pictures of the names of the food so I could remember! Mandi rice, falafel, saltah chicken, mutabbal, mulauwah, shafuot, and hummus.

Of course, there was dessert too.

A variety of baked treats.
Ice cream. Nothing special and yet amazing at the same time
Iris had this, Burbur Cha Cha. It tasted like warm melted cendol, which is a coconut milk based dessert here in Malaysia. It was good, but I was more interested in my ice cream.



And of course, mint tea to end the night!

Overall, it was a great experience fasting. Since I am an atheist heathen, I wouldn’t want to do it for a month. After all, what’s the point if there is no religion involved. But it is nice to experience what my Muslims brothers and sisters are going through. Iris and I both feel that living in a Muslim country behooves us to try this at least once during Ramadan.


Jumpa Lagi!


Kevin and Iris

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