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The Malaysian population has one eating habit that makes them stand out when compared to other countries. The habit marks the celebration of Mother Nature's blessing on the country. This is the habit of eating fruits after lunch. In fact, some Malaysians have just fruit for lunch.

Malaysia has a rich variety of indigenous fruits. In many parts of the world apples and oranges make the most popular of fruits. In Malaysia, fruits such as rambutan, durian, duku, mata kucing, chempedak, mangosteen and langsat push internationally popular and familiar fruits like the orange, apple and grape to second choice. That many of these fruits carry names in the local language speaks for the indigenous nature of the fruits. Tropical fruits such as banana, papaya, mango, jackfruit and pineapple too are pretty popular.

Nutrients in fruit are vital for health and the maintenance of the body. The potassium in fruit is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also reduces the risk of developing kidney stones and reduces bone loss as the body ages. Folate (folic acid) is important in the formation of red blood cells. Women of childbearing age and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate.

A diet rich in fruit reduces risks of stroke, cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. A diet rich in fruit also protects against some forms of cancer. There are compounds called phytonutrients that occur only in plants. These compounds are associated with a wide range of potential health benefits. Phytonutrients work synergistically with the vitamins, minerals and fibre in fruits to reduce disease risk.

Even without the health considerations, the rich variety of Malaysian fruits get their loyal consumers just for the way they taste. A unique feature of the way fruit is served and eaten in Malaysia is that they are sliced and served in ideally shaped plastic wraps. Papayas are cut along the length of the fruit to affordable slice sizes that easily fit into the mouth. The long plastic wrap means that the fruit is eaten even without touching it. Gloved fruit sellers cutting up fruits into affordable sizes is a common sight at fruit stalls. The absence of ants, cockroaches at these regular stalls speak for the cleanliness adhered to.

Among the local fruits, the durian is called King. The durian is both loved and hated. This must come from the exceptionally strong aroma that the fruit has. In fact, a single fruit in a 500-room hotel with centralised air-conditioning is enough to make the whole hotel smell of durian. For this reason, it is banned in hotels and public transport. There is also a comical reason to call the durian the King of Fruits. Even the most elegantly dressed lover of the durians will not think twice about squatting on the roadside and submitting to the delicious, "smelly" flesh of the durian. Before the powerful Durian King, all subjects bow down in mouth-drooling submission.

In every formal function, it is customary to have a meal. In every such meal, be it buffet or served, there will be a healthy range of fruits served. Malaysian meals are invariably finished with some fruit.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, what is the Malaysian habit that is hardly seen elsewhere.

 

2.

(a) From paragraph 2, name any two local fruits.

(b) In your own words, explain how the durian might have got its name.

 

3.

(a) From paragraph 3, what is the benefit of potassium for the body ?

(b) Mention two benefits of the way fruit is sold in fruit stalls.

 

4.

In your own words, mention at least two benefits of cut fruits.

 

5.

In your own words, state your favourite fruit. Mention two things about it.

 

6.

Based on the passage, write a summary of :

Malaysian fruits

How they render the country truly a gift from nature.

 

 

 

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Answers
 

1.

It is the habit of Malaysians to consume fruits after lunch.
 

2.

(a) Rambutan and durian. ( Any suitable answer )

(b) The malay word for thorn is duri. The durian is covered with thorns. It is probable that durian is called so because of the fruit being completely covered with big thorns. ( Any suitable answer )

 

3.

(a) Potassium reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also reduces the risk of developing kidney stones and reduces bone loss as the body ages

(b)

(i) Fruits are cut to affordable slices.

(ii) They are wrapped is such a way that it is very convenient to eat them.

 

4.

We get to eat a variety of fruits without having to buy whole fruits.

 

5.

My favourite fruit is the mango. There are hundreds of varieties of mango. I love the taste and have my own way of eating them. I cut the two sides into slabs. Then I use a spoon to scoop up the tasty flesh and eat them. For the remaining part, I bit away the skin and eat the rest straight off the seed.

  6.

The large variety of delectable local fruits available in Malaysia truly reflects an invaluable gift from Mother Nature. In many countries people get to eat mostly imported fruits. Often the price is prohibitive. In Malaysia, there is unique solution to this. fruits are cut into fair portions and sold by the pieces. Two benefits from this are that the fruits become affordable and the need to buy whole fruits is overcome. The prices of such cut fruits are so cheap that people are able to have a variety of fruit after lunch. Many of the local fruits are seasonal. this brings in a celebratory experience when these fruits are in season. Rambutans, durians, langsat, duku, chempedak and mangosteens typically make life a sweet celebration. This is further embellished by papayas, jackfruit, mangoes and bananas.

 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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