Listen to this post:
A Malaysian returning to his home country from Copenhagen, Denmark recently had the opportunity to sit beside Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in the airplane. So lucky! That 90-minute flight gave him the chance to get to know Lim Guan Eng on a personal level and he decided to share that uplifting experience on social media.
The netizen who goes by the name of Ahmd on Facebook said he was shocked and delighted to see the minister sitting beside him. Despite being the finance minister of the country, he said Guan Eng was friendly and shook hands with him.
“Other passengers started coming in and they shook hands with the former chief minister (of Penang) as well. Some even asked to take selfies with him (Guan Eng), which he agreed to.”
Surprisingly, Guan Eng was the first one to break the silence and started to chat with Ahmd. Throughout the conversation, Guan Eng was witty and even gently nudged Ahmd with his left elbow. The atmosphere was pleasant and there were no ‘krik-krik’ moment between them.
Due to his upbringing, Ahmd spoke English to Guan Eng, who surprisingly replied in Bahasa Malaysia. Finally, Ahmd gave in and spoke in his mother tongue with the minister.
The flight attendant then handed a bottle of water to Guan Eng, and the minister asked him, “Are you fasting? I apologise for drinking water (in front of you).”
Ahmd then told Guan Eng that he was fasting for a longer period as he was up in the north.
“(People in) Copenhagen fast for longer hours right? It’s good, you’re fasting so you’ll get more pahala, right? That’s very good of your religion. But how do people up there (referring to Greenland or Norway) perform their fasting ritual because the sun never sets?” Guan Eng curiously asked him.
For the next few minutes, Ahmd patiently explained how Muslims in the northern countries fast, which the minister listened attentively to. They went on chatting about issues from personal things to the latest scandal, from health issues to where to find the best ‘black thorn’ durian in Penang, from Tun Mahathir’s apologetic behaviour to the national debt.
In short, it was a fruitful sharing session between them. Ahmd ended his Facebook post by urging fellow Muslims to share the good values of Islam with non-Muslims and embrace the multi-racial and multi-religious aspects of Malaysia. After all, that’s what makes Malaysia such a beautiful and vibrant country, right guys?
In just 13 hours, this post was shared over 4,500 times on Facebook and netizens were amazed by how open-minded the minister was towards other religions, and his willingness to learn more about Islam.
Besides that, a few netizens who recognised the interior of the plane were amazed that Guan Eng still flies economy (class) despite being the finance minister of the country. That’s how humble he is!
We need more ministers like Guan Eng who’s so down to earth and not afraid of learning about other religions for the sake of knowledge. The original article in Malay is available here.
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