While having his nasi lemak in the office one morning, a colleague invited:
It's a shortened question for "come and join me with my meal".
It is a courtesy invitation, practiced by Asians. We politely offer to share our meals with others. This is so as not to be rude, enjoying the sumptuous meal alone while others would be left watching enviously and trying hard to ignore the tantalizing aroma floating around the area shared by those around.
This courtesy is practised almost anywhere, even with strangers. If you're on a bus for a long journey and about to enjoy your food, it is deemed to be normal (and somewhat expected) for you to extend this courtesy to the person seated next to you. Even if it's just a plain slice of bread. It's the thought that counts.
Almost all the time, this 'obligatory' courteous invitation will be welcomed with a smile (absent all the while before that), and replied with one of these stock answers:
"No thank you, enjoy your [whatever]",
"Bismillah" (I like/prefer this one),
"Eh, takpe, takpe",
and et cetera.
I said 'almost', because sometimes I'd like to tease my friends (and strangers) with this unexpected answer:
"OK, leave some for me that chicken wing and the ice cream", while rolling my sleeves up.
That begs a question:
Do we offer our food to be shared with others around because of mere courtesy, adab berbudi bahasa, making it as cliché; or doing it out of pure sincerity and kind thoughts?
During college years, a close friend of mine usually would enjoy his food by himself quietly, and never would offer the courtesy to people around. His take on it is that he wants to eat it all for himself (food on his plate is just enough for himself), and would never be a hypocrite. I agree with him on this.
There's a hadeeth about sharing your food:
"Food for two is enough for three, while food for three is enough for four"
(Abu Hurairah r.a.)
Rest assured, I'll always be sincere while being courteous whenever I ask you to join me with my meal. Though I'll keep mum if I'm only a spoonful away from finishing my [whatever].
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