Many Malaysians are religious. I am an atheist. I have never understood the concept of gods, angels, devils and such, but I love reading about them. I also enjoy people telling me about the fabric of their beliefs. The stories of the Greek gods, bird omens in Sarawakian cultures.. it's all fascinating stuff.
I visit temples and churches and other places of worship on a regular basis because I find the art and architecture interesting. But I try to avoid going for things like weddings and baptisms because I don't want to pretend to take part.
To me, pretending to worship is mockery; being that sort of rude makes me uncomfortable. However, in Asian culture it is proper to be part of the group and fit in. So when my friends insist I attend some function, and give me an agonised look of entreaty when I hang back from the rituals, I go with the flow and burn incense, chant, or do whatever is required.
I do this because I think it's more important to give my friends face (to not embarrass them) than to stick to my own values. Guess I've become quite Asian after all!
This is a series of notes about living in Malaysia. Love it, hate it, whatever, this Saturday Living In Malaysia series is just one opinion. You can leave brickbats and comments in the comment section.