Seven young boys and three girls landed at Hong Kong International Airport on 4 November 2012 and I was one of them. What would they do ?? We would followed the Asia Regional iGEM competition (Synthetic Biology competition) the first team from Indonesia which ever followed that competition so far and at that time also we were the only one team from Indonesia. The competition was held in Hong Kong, HKUST Clear Water Bay Campus on 6-7 November 2012. In Fact, for almost all of us, that time was the first time traveling abroad, outside Indonesia, but we didnt need to worry about because among us there’s the head of travelling Hendri Sutanto and a member of team who have finished reading Hong Kong guide book Uno Rasango. We absolutely relied on them guys.

The adventure began on the first time we arrived at the Hong Kong Airport. Before we left Indonesia, We had booked and contacted the hostel in Hong Kong, Kowloon and also ask them to picked us up. All of us did imagined that our English wiould help us much there, because Hong Kong was formerly occupied for long period by United Kingdom so English language might be would familiar there. Then, we know that opinion was incorrect from day one we arrived there. How come ?? As soon as we arrived at the Airport we phoned again the hostel-man to pick us up, but the man who pick the phone was different from a man when we booked the room before. He was not able to speak English at all, and unfortunately no one of us can speak Cantonese or Mandarin. About an hour later finally and luckily He found us on the airport waiting room. ahaaa, finally. Kowloon We’re cominggg.Image

For 5 days in Hong Kong we stayed in F.M.S Guest House that located on National Court 240, Nathan Road, Kowloon Hongkong. That’s the cheapest and the nearest hostel we found around Kowloon, LOL. First time we arrived at the hostel and looked around then breathed in, “hmm, This is Hong Kong and its special smell”. On the night, we went outside to find some food for dinner and enjoyed first night in Hong Kong. “What are we going to eat guys ?” these words were on our head at that time. Food and drinks are everywhere but “Is that Halal or not ?”. Halal food was really crucial because nine of us are moslem. We realized that in Hong Kong was not similar to Indonesia where easily could find halal food and the halal food were labelled. And so.. “What are we going to eat guys ?” this question appeared again. “What about fast-food over there ?” “Aa, not bad idea”. So at that night we decided to have a dinner on McD because all of us thought that that was “the safest place avoiding Haram Food”. The menus we chose were just like fried chicken, beef burger, and others which has been identified made of halal animals.ImageThat experience was the first time for us dealing with halal-haram food that would happened in non-muslims majority countries, like China. For us (muslims), it is obligatory to eat ONLY halal food either which comes from halal things or comes from halal action to gain it, for example Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and Bismillah, must be mentioned. So, we were not only have to survive there, but also we must keep firm our believe (iman) to Allah as Muslims. For five days in Hong Kong, unluckily we never found a Halal Restaurant around the place we stayed in, Kowloon may be because we didnt have time to go around to find it and all were afraid to get lost there. LOL

On day three in Hong Kong, we checked the competition location on HKUST campus at Clear Water Bay. We have to take there times MTR (Mass Transit Railways) and once bus trip to get there. It seemed would took a long time to get there, but because of the marvelous transportation our trip only about half an hour. On the day two of the competition, all team were invited to have a dinner on that campus. All the team lined up to take the dinner themselves and so did we. “For saveral days, we have never eaten freely such delicious food and cooked rice on the table there”. “Okay, It is our turn to take the food for ourselves”. “But, wait wait wait, are you sure this is Halal food ?” “wait a second, I will ask the committee”. “So, what (did) he said abou this food ?” “Not good guys, all the meat here are bacon/pork”. “Ohoooo”. “Well, dont worry We have Hendri right, he love that so much”. “Go give these to Hendri over there”. “We wait for the vegetarian food, We wait for the vegetarian food, it will be served for us soon”. “Be patient guys”. “Anyways will take this cooked rice only for tonight, I miss this so much” and I did miss Indonesia at that time.

Anyway, That was the first time for me dealing with Halal Food. I am Proud to be Muslim.