Thursday, August 7, 2014


Someone who had too much time, went through the trouble to conduct a research on which big companies are related to, or contributing to Israel's economy whether directly or indirectly; and of the many companies in the list, McDonald's caught the attention of many Malaysians.

Although not knowing what's really going on, too many people are eager to get involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict in whatever way they can, but the reality is that not very many of them would actually risk their lives by going to the war zone to participate in person. Instead, they choose to become heroes from the comforts of their homes by going through facebook, chain mails and emails, whatsapp messages, tweeter, and many other digital mediums to spread their support either for Israel or Palestine. Some of them have a curious obsession about it—they don't stop there—not only are they not so discreet about their opinions, they also try very hard to influence others to agree with them. And when others do not agree with them, they have the tendency to become violent, and act in such a way to force others to agree with them somehow!

Such is the case with the boycott of McDonald's in Malaysia. To be quite honest, I'm not even a big fan of McDonald's. Yes, I sometimes indulge in a Big Mac or two; perhaps some fries and chocolate milkshake too. But because I'm a little worried about all the calories, I tend to limit my visits to McDonald's. Incidentally, I happen to know that some of my "health-conscious" friends are also adopting the same policy. On the other hand, I also know of some people who're regular visitors to McDonald's. 

I'd like to think that I'm living in a country where I am free to eat what I like, and when I like to, as long as I can afford it with my hard-earned money, and that my indulgence in the food does not harm other Malaysians around me. I can understand that some people abstain from eating certain food, or certain types of food for numerous reasons, may it be religious or health reasons, and I shall not make it my business to control what others eat or do not eat. It is after all entirely their right to choose. But in return, I would also expect the freedom to have my choice, that is to say that I am free to eat in a fastfood outlet when and if that naughty cravings come every now and then, without that unfriendly stares from those around me.

I shall not attempt to debate on the merits of why some people are boycotting a particular fastfood outlet. We can all argue till the cow comes home, and we still won't come to any satisfactory conclusion anyway. In Malay, there is a saying: Rambut sama hitam, hati lain-lain.

I have issues, however, with people whom, having decided to boycott, try to impose their will upon others by force. I think something is seriously wrong with our society when innocent people trying to earn a decent living in a fastfood outlet are being harassed by others who're unhappy about an armed conflict in a faraway land. I'm guessing that these people who're working at McDonald's would gladly stay at home if those who're harassing them would pay their salaries. But we know that won't happen, don't we?

By all means, boycott McDonald's outlets if you felt justified, I'm not going to argue about your choice. I just hope that when the time comes, once in a blue moon, when and if I have the cravings for a McChicken Burger and the likes, I won't be harassed by people whom are trying to impose their will upon me.

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