It’s that time of the year again. An entire month of Bazaar Ramadan! It’s all about feasti- Whoops, I mean- fasting.

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Well see, that’s the thing. The holy month of Ramadan is usually well-known for not eating, great food and..nothing much else. This ninth month of the Islamic calendar holds a lot more importance to the 1.8 billion followers who observe it.

Ramadan is a month of prayer, reflection and abstinence from certain things. We don’t eat from sunrise to sunset and it’s encouraged to wake up before the first prayer of the day for a quick breakfast (we’re talking 5 am). The real hunger isn’t when walking through the Bazaar Ramadan and you’re salivating over all the kuih and the food looks like it was made just for you. It’s the hunger to be a better person and hopefully extend that effort beyond the 30 days of fast. Many look forward to Ramadan in hopes of improving themselves so it’s the best time to annoy your short-tempered friends.

While Ramadan is a great reset button for most of us struggling to get better, here’s an idea: being kind and compassionate 365 days a year is far more valuable than just a month. Most random acts of kindness are widely known but not many actually choose to do them. It’s a frustrating cycle of a broken system and disconnected communities that leaves some of the most vulnerable members of our communities (e.g. the elderly, the underprivileged and orphaned kids) to fend for themselves with literally nothing.

So here are some not-so-little kind things (besides just giving out money) you can do to relieve some of the burden of both friends and strangers alike:

1.Smile and say hello

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RIGHT. I know you’re thinking “Pfft C’MON!” but then also think when was the last time you actually smiled at someone who accidentally looked your way. Yes, exams are soon but smiling doesn’t use up as much energy for most of us and makes both of you feel better. Greet someone “good morning” while holding the door open for them (WOW 2 deeds at a go?! You just went Super Saiyan!). We’re all so caught up in our issues and our inner thoughts but that one greeting can distract you from it and instead, make you think of good things.

  1. Buy someone a drink

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Before you ask, no I don’t mean in the club (at least that’s not what this list is for). Here’s a really good way of doing this. You know those super hot days and you see someone fanning themselves to get some relief? Well, offer to buy them a drink in a (literal) cool place so they can enjoy a nice beverage comfortably and cool off indoors. Got more spare change? Throw in a meal too! A lot of individuals don’t have a place to escape the Malaysian heat so be cool and keep someone cool.

  1. Donate clothes

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This is probably the most common form of helping someone out so here are some different ways that may be a little more effort (and $)  than usual but definitely will be more rewarding too. We’re not just talking about giving away stuff that don’t fit anymore. Buy. Purchase brand new clothes and give them to an orphanage. Simple things like raincoats or scarves are often overlooked, you could even contact both orphanage and old folks home to ask if you could contribute diapers and if so, what sizes or types.

  1. Talk

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Some people just need someone to show care and not feel alone. That’s all. Visit your local old folks home, some aunties and uncles look forward to human interaction beyond the home’s workers. Here’s an even easier way to implement this act of kindness: sit a loved one down and ask them to talk to you. About anything they want to. What makes them happy? Do they have a big idea no one appreciates? What’s their favourite thing about themselves? Are they OKAY? Ask and just listen till they’re done and then ask some more. We talk to our friends a lot but how often do we ask them more “uncomfortable” topics that they may want to talk about? It’s therapeutic not just for them but for you.

Remember: real kindness occurs when nothing is expected in return. “He who is deprived of kindness is deprived of goodness.”- Prophet Muhammad pbuh.

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SWOTVAC is soon so be kind to one another and take care of yourselves when studying for exams. Good luck with exams and Ramadan Mubarak! (Psst, Eid Mubarak and Happy Holidays in advance too..)

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