By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
Kayu Nasi Kandar is a popular eatery that I frequently patronise at SS2 PJ.
I love the fresh ingredients in its food, and the captivating aroma of the spices Kayu generously garnishes. As a matter of fact, the tastiness of nasi kandar depends very much on these two factors.
I also love its massive customer base, a gathering place for Malaysians of different ethnic backgrounds: The Chinese love to come here for dinner while enjoying the football games on TV; the Malays will fill the restaurant during weekends for family outings and Indians flock in after dark for supper and light chats.
Many young people, irrespective of race and religion, would sit at the same table savouring the same food, supporting the same football team and sharing a common topic.
Kayu epitomises the true essence of Malaysian spirit that is hardly felt elsewhere.
Owner Burhan Mohamed is a friendly chap who is very serious about his business. He would ply from table to table to serve his clients despite the multitude of employees he has hired.
Burhan is well aware that his customers do not come from a single ethnic group and therefore his offerings are not ethnic-centric but Malaysian. You can see the Jalur Gemilang fluttering there during Merdeka celebration.
He never specifies in public which party he supports, but everyone knows he supports a united Malaysia.
He declared that if Lee Chong Wei won the first Olympic gold for the nation, a free dinner will be served.
Even after Chong Wei failed to clinch the gold medal, Burhan was not going to shelve his plan of treating Malaysians to free nasi kandar.
He has seen Chong Wei's perseverance and unyielding fighting spirit, and seen the great passion and unity of his customers that evening, the spirit that is truly Malaysian.
It therefore does not matter any more whether we get a gold, as we have displayed something much more valuable than that.
Burhan not only goes on with his free dinner plan, and has done so in a bigger way by increasing the originally planned 3,000 free portions to 5,000. Based on Kayu's pricing, he has to fork out RM50,000 for his generosity, not to mention the revenue lost for those few hours.
He is a patriot of genuine spirit, not one on the mouth.
Not everyone descending on Kayu SS2 came for the free food, but to show oneness with Lee Chong Wei, and Malaysia. This is the first bunch of eat-free customers I really adore.
Of course people will tend to compare Burhan and DAP's Manoharan, who tweeted that Chong Wei was inferior to China's Lin Dan in skill while proclaiming that an Olympic gold was only possible if Pakatan took over the federal administration.
Manoharan later found himself sidelined by the public, his political allies included.
Lee Chong Wei is more than just a badminton player. Whenever he plays in the badminton court, he represents the country's willpower and capability, something not a gold or silver medal can quantify.
Chong Wei might have missed a gold medal, but he has won the respect of all Malaysians as well as his opponent. This is what people infested with political calculations in their heads fail to visualise.
Non-political Burhan has not only seen this, but has brought this invaluable Malaysian spirit to a higher level.