Tadika Teachers -Trip to Penang

Being the project manager for the “Manpower Training 2005”of Betong Municipality, I had the opportunity to lead a troupe of nearly one hundred Tadika (muslim religious school) teachers to have a two days one night visit and seminar in Penang, Malaysia. Though Penang is just an hour and half away, the trip was a first time experience for most of them. Besides having two sessions of seminar, we also visited a Malay Kampung (village), state mosque, state museum and Malay Heritage center.

Qucik & simple lunch before praying and briefing about the kampung

During the trip, the women and men had no interaction at all. They moved about separately and sat separately during the seminar session. The women hardly smiled, even if there was a funny joke. A teacher told me that they were supposed to display dignified behavior which includes not talking to men freely, not laughing loudly, no close contact with men and so on. (However, I was also told that they were more reserved with men around. Without the men around, they would be more playful! )

The serious men
The happy women without men around! 🙂

When I called for group photo, only the men came forward. At first I was puzzled but then I realized that women and men do not take a group photo together. And when it came to buffet, there is no such thing as “ladies first”, usually ladies were the followers. I also need to assure them that all hotel foods in Malaysia are halal (something permissible and lawful in the Islamic faith).

Basically, all aspects of muslim life are ritually prescribed. Their days are punctuated by five distinct prayers, their foods must be ritually prepared and their education must follow a strict religious guidelines in order for them to perform religious duties, and to behave correctly. If outsiders do not understand or appreciate these unique features of Islam, there will be more misunderstandings and violence…

Seminars conducted in Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language).

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