KUALA LUMPUR — After Malaysia’s Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli recently conceded that the nation may be “addicted” to the practice of eating out, more working-class Malaysians have spoken up to say that this is borne out of necessity.
On the r/Malaysia subreddit on the Reddit social aggregator, a majority of users who commented on Malay Mail’s article on Thursday (Sept 21) about Malaysians who eat out raised the issue of time constraints such as long commute time and the existing conventional working hours as influencing their decision to dine out.
“I finish work at 6. Reach home around 7ish. You expect me to cook when the makcik (Malay aunty) in front of my place sells nasi lemak with nasi lebih (additional rice) for only RM4.50 (S$1.30)?” a user u/ExposeInfinity wrote.
“When food is near your commute route, you might as well eat out rather than getting home tired, cook stuff and then having to clean up,” another user, u/Paybackaiw said.
Others seemed to suggest that meal preparation is a hassle and at times even considered a “luxury”.
“Eating at home is considered a luxury nowadays, as most of us are detained in traffic for up to two hours. Most family husband and wife are working-class people who have been hustling all day; don’t expect them to have energy to cook at home, where your brain has indicated to rest.
“If a family just needed a single source of income and is able to feed the family, then their partner would have time for housework and cooking. (This becomes a luxury). I believe most of us realise that TIME IS GOLD. (The only currency that cannot be earned).
“In other words, no sane person would accept a million dollars if the caveat is that you could only live for 24 hours,” user u/djzeor said.
“To be honest 10 out of 10 I would eat out if healthier (and more affordable) option is available out there. Preparation + cooking + cleaning after work is exhausting, especially after stupid OT (over-time).
“Salute to my mom cuz (because) she still manages to cook for a bunch of people after rushing home from work,” u/helloszeeeeee13 said.
Some users even pointed out that cooking at home for single-working adults is not viable, noting that the cost and time consumed for meal preparation outweigh sustainability.
“Cooking is viable only if you have more than two persons in the household.
“If you just cook for one, the ROI (return on investment) is on the negative side since we have to count preparation, cooking and cleaning time and treat it as money.
“Nobody is addicted to eating out. It’s a necessity not luxury. And most people, on a daily basis, eat out at a gerai (stall), not those high-end restaurant,” u/malayskanzler said.
“None of the comments mentioned about the cleaning process required after cooking, some more Malaysia nowadays condominium all have open kitchen concept. Unless you are having a four- to five- person family, it is not really efficient to cook for your own meal. Plus, company nowadays expect you to work even when you reach home, like replying emails,” u/cucuyu said.
However, there are some users who advocate for meal preparation — the practice of preparing the key elements of a dish before you plan to eat it.
“Not true. There are plenty of ways to cook for one person that saves cost. One of the ways to do so is by cooking multiple portions of the same food and freezing or chilling them,” u/ sabahnibba said.
Earlier this week, Mr Rafizi was quoted saying that while Malaysians may be addicted to eating out and spending a significant sum of their wage on it, they cannot be blamed for it.
Instead, he said “unintended consequences of policies of the past” and the structure of Malaysia’s economy and wages are to blame for Malaysians spending a higher proportion of their income on eating out and takeouts compared to fellow Asian country South Korea.
He also admitted that poor public transportation has contributed to the issue of Malaysian households subsisting on eating out and food delivery. MALAY MAIL