They were frying pork sausages at the Octoberfest beer festival.
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of what some commentators would call “Muslim Malaysia.”
As the sausages sizzled away, my initial thought was that, to most Malay muslims innocently strolling through those verdant grounds, this sight would be offensive. Then I turned to the crowd and saw amber beer merrily sloshing down wide open throats.
Hey, I thought, alcohol is also forbidden in Islam!
But for some reason, in Malaysia and some other countries, the presence of pork is far more offensive than the consumption of alcohol.
I know Muslims who drink alcohol but none who eat pork.
It is indeed a paradox, a riddle even. Why is pork so much more galling than alcohol to Muslims in this part of the world?
I’ve been told that in some Arab countries, eating pork is no big deal.
I wondered if it would be hypocritical of me to gulp down the Belgium or German brew but not touch, let alone nibble, the pork hot dogs?
Perhaps I should have avoided any philosophical conundrums by just fleeing from the Octoberfest that sunny afternoon …
And as I did so, Dylan’s words would hit me:
Freedom, just around the corner from you!