A label

I have had quite a nice exchange of opinions with her yesterday on her blog about putting a lable to a community/society, which somehow brought me back to a phase I had with some friends circa 6 years ago back in my hometown. What started out as a conversation amongst ourselves over good food at Hajah Maimunah Restaurant, gorging on the tahu telur with steaming hot white rice, it turned out to be a paradigm shift of our world view about things.

There were four of us, F, J, S and myself at the lunch table. One of us, I can’t remember who, mentioned that his friend insisted that she was a Christian, but a non-practising one at it. F, who was and is still based in London confirmed that it was also a trend, it seemed for young Muslims there and also back in our hometown to proclaim/label/introduce themselves as non-practicing Muslims. Is that a new term ? Myself and S wondered.

S, who had always been known as someone with a wicked sense of hilarious sarcasm, after some moments of pondering, with a blur look on her face, suddenly quipped, ‘ If that’s the case, going by that logic…that makes me a non-practising Javanese ! ‘ To which, initially we didn’t get what she meant but when we did, we found it hilarious. It’s true… Both S and myself have the word Javanese printed on our pink IDs. But we have never lived in Java, don’t speak the language and quite a dummy at its culture. That’s quite ‘unpractising‘ ain’t it 😛

And then came the domino effect. F chipped in saying he is a non-practicing Singaporean, having left the country for more than ten years. J quickly said he is a non-practicing worker, having long lunches with us when he was supposed to be working in the office. I called myself a non-practicing native speaker as I was conversing in English. 😛 and it went on into more corny things like practicing sexist, non-practicing feminist, all of us non-practicing smokers as we were sitting in a smoking area when none of us smoked etc. We had a good laugh that day, and decided to try out this labeling concept beyond lunch.

I shared that incident with my then colleagues who quickly got a kick out of it. We were teachers then and one of us, that particular day decided that she didn’t have the mood to mark books nor do any serious teaching. Hence she declared to her perplexed student that ‘ Today, I am a non-practicing teacher ! ‘ She came back to the staff room with a cheeky gloat on her face, oblivious to the responsibility she had chucked out, to prove this point. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Was I that a bad influence??? 😛 On another occasion, another colleague retorted her frustrations in sharp sarcasm to our head of department during our teacher’s meeting, after which, she quietly said under her breath that ‘ Today I feel like being a practicing bitch ‘. Our HOD didn’t hear that of course, but us who did, tried like crazy to suppress our giggles.

It was also then my mum had a fair share of it. When she nagged at me to do something, I told her sorry, ‘today I am a non-practicing daughter‘, and used that as a point of justification why I didn’t do what she asked me to. She became angrier of course, but when I explained what I meant, she retorted ‘ Aper sajer…’ but I knew she understood how ridiculous it was. The labeling I mean.

Post that lunch, the four of us had lots of hilarious stories to share with regards to our labeling experiences. S, who was then dating her now husband, made him hit the roof one day when she declined a date with him with a reason that day was her ‘non-practicing girlfriend’ day. J couldn’t meet up with us on another lunch occasion, claiming a non-practicing friend day and a practicing worker day for him. Fair enough 😛

We grew out of the joke of course. But the joke is still is. More labels became household names especially in recent times. ‘Orthodox/non orthodox Jews/Christians’ …Obama’s campaign officials made claims he was a ‘non-practicing Muslim’ to neutralise the fact he is Barrack Hussein Obama, terrorist Muslims vs Liberal Muslims, Practicing Muslims vs Non Practicing Muslims, Fundamental Muslims vs Traditional Muslims, Melayu baru vs Melayu lama and we can go on and on 😛

Do you ever wonder that actually, life is so simple but it is us, humans ourselves that make it so complicated ?

Pardon me, but yes… I do know that I am a practicing disgruntled ‘blogger.


To F, S and J who are probably going to read this, sorry if I have not been quite a practicing friend lately by keeping in touch. But I am a very practicing facebooker so we can always catch up there. And I am a very practicing blogger too so you good peeps can catch up here with me as well. And also, I am a practicing memory keeper so our good times back then are most cherished !


4 thoughts on “A label

  1. Seriously would love to visit you and family and KL. Let’s see what we can do after saving some money for the trip, hehe …

    It’s good now that they’re erasing the fiscal fee for Indonesian to travel abroad, some of my friends in the office get sent to KL frequently, and I’ve been hearing so many good stuff about the food and the cleanliness … can’t wait 🙂

  2. Heru,
    Like the husband said at Pondok Indah…
    We will continue asking kapan.. kapan.. kapan..
    UNTIL, you and Ira appear on our doorstep ho ho ho. ( and hopefully, we don’t have to wait another 5 years for a reunion! 😛 )

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