Shafie being labelled a trouble maker

I was reading this article by a Shafie in TransitioningOrg. He related an incident when the company was organising a Christmas lunch party and how he was labelled a trouble maker.

I quote, ‘Soon, she came over to my desk and she informed me that she had booked a restaurant that served non-halal food. And she asked, would it be okay, for me, if she requested the restaurant to serve vegetarian, or order halal food from somewhere else and bring it to the restaurant?

I voiced out that, first of all, I’ve never heard of any restaurant that allows outside food. Secondly, a budget has been set aside for the party, and while the rest of the staff gets to enjoy a sumptuous meal……the rest of the minorities was expected to eat vegetables? – Sorry, to my vegetarian friends. Thirdly, why was the staff never consulted and a consensus taken to which restaurants we would like to have our party?

And before I could offer other alternatives, she exclaimed, ‘Why are you so strict?!’’

Actually the problem can be solved quite easily. No need to ask staff of all other religions which restaurant they would want the Christmas party to be held. Any restaurant will do. The main issue is food. Please let me explain.

For the vegetarian, ask the chef to prepare vegetarian turkey, vegetarian ham etc etc. There are all kinds of mocked vegetarian meat dishes available or can be created. Okay Christmas party must have turkey and ham. Log cake should not pose any problem.

As for the Muslims, instead of ham, provide them with lamb, and turkey can still be turkey if halal turkey is available. If that is not possible, get an oversize halal chicken instead from Kentucky. When I was in Saudi Arabia, they served no alcoholic beer and wine if I remembered correctly.

I think the Muslims will understand and such a compromise arrangement may be acceptable. I am saying maybe, just my opinion. I am not a Muslim and I may be wrong and insensitive to say this. Please disagree with me if you have to.

Point to note is that we are a multi racial and multi religious society and we must pay special attention to the sensitivities of every group. What is normal and taken for granted by one group can be something very sensitive and serious to another. This problem will be exaggerated when the population gets bigger and more people from other nationalities migrated here and become our colleagues and neighbours. Things can only get more complex and more sensitive as we go forward.


Anonymous said...

Just want to add that yes, there are some racially & culturally insensitive Singaporeans.

But likewise, there are also some racially & culturally insensitive immigrants, PRs and foreign talents coming into Singapore too. And we may be importing in racial & cultural baggage from these foreign countries too.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Religion poisons the good bonds in personal relationships between people. ALWAYS. No exceptions

In fact, religion poisons EVERYTHING. ALWAYS. NO EXCEPTIONS

Anonymous said...

So long there is religion,
there is conflict.

Anyone can use the Above
as a quote; anytime.


agongkia said...

Common sense can tell you whether one is a trouble worker.
It is kind enough if the organiser is to consult me whether I mind having special order .
I cannot expect everyone to have the same meal as me every time and goes to special restaurant just because of me.Only selfish people ask for that.
His company could be having only 20 staff where there may only be 3 special staff and it doesn't make sense to order one special table because of the 3.Ask him how big is his company before one jump into conclusion.

The organiser kindness had been taken as her weakness.She can just order special food for the minority without asking whether they mind or not.
Whether one heard of any restaurant allows outside food or not is not important.For voicing that,its a clear sign that he is a trouble maker.Since the organiser ask,its up to her to arrange .
Fortunately,I haven't come across such colleague in my organisation .
I will try to go transitioning and get my message across.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

One religion in particular seems to be at the heart of most conflicts and its adherents particularly VIOLENT.

However under Singapore law, even naming this religion could result in a vist by the local constabulary.

See how religion poisons:

1. Have to craft special laws to prevent people from killing each other over religion

2. Have to craft special laws preventing speech about religion which will eventually result in open hostility and people wanting to kill each other. (ie freedom of speech affected)

3. Have to waste resources of police and courts enforcing the protection of certain people's "sensitivity " about beliefs which are not based on reason or fact but bullshit and faith.

4. Any discussion about religion polarizes people even more.

Religon poisons EVERYTHING. Start with something good -- like a company dinner, where work colleagues can break bread. Add religion, and top it off with insensitivity and neuroses of both sides... what do you get?

.. Any previous feelings of goodwill -- gone. Mutual respect -- gone. Trust -- gone.

Religon is TOXIC!!

Anonymous said...

Muslim can only eat at those got Halai cert place,pls stick to it for respect our muslim friends

Anonymous said...

They can have two functions. one for company staff that cannot stand halal food and one in a halal restaurant for employees who cannot eat at other places. mutual respect. like halal, go halal, don't like halal go no hala.

Like dat no problem.

Anonymous said...

A fairer way to celebrate company functions without offending anyone or making life difficult for anyone is to hold the 4 major festivals of Xmas, CNY, Deepavali and Hari Raya separately but with the same budget for each employee and each has the choice to pick only one function to attend.

agongkia said...

Should consider to have such dinner organise like the way they organise for 7 month ghost festival at their premises .Can ask for outside caterer to cater for different foods for different tables.

But my Towkay is the best.
Company lunch or dinner is always at hawker center.
Can eat Tulang ,kambing soup,satay,stingray, vege or any foods and order ang chee kow or beer and sit anywhere.
But we enjoy,because can smoke at the corner any time without restriction.

Anonymous said...

Me would like to suggest that bisinesses do not celebrate any religious festival unless they are religion based.
Bisinisses should have annual dinner and family day only.

Any bisinesses celebrating religious festivals is doing the society a disservice. It is poisoning the brains of people and making them mindless.

When me sees workers MADE to wear RELIGIOUS festival apparels, me thinks many had their freedom and Human Rights violated, UNLESS they voluntarily agree to the arrangement.


Anonymous said...

Enlightened people live by commonsense and wisdom. They need no superstition.
By the way, religious should confine their piety in their hearts and their own places of worship.

Anonymous said...

Why is the company promoting Christianity? Are they also having CNY parties, HR parties & etc? Is it discrimination? Understable to have gregorian NY parties.

Anonymous said...


Exactly, others may not believe in or agree with the believers (religious)superstition. So, why the need to entertain him?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Another way to solve this problem is for companies to be banned from organising religion/cultural related functions. Only annual D&D is allowed. Hope this will not offend those that see such functions as unacceptable.

tom lim said...

Buffet spread ?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Buffett spread is unfair. You can have so many expensive meat dishes and me vegetarian only have tauhu, long beans, cheese and bread.

I want my share of the budget.