Friday, January 29, 2010

MacDonalds and self-censorship


what a racial flap a private entity's decisions has created.

Out of a decision to NOT offend a particular denomination, the whole can of worms over political correctness has been reopened.

What seems to be at issue that a lot of the anger has seemed to miss:


This is the private entity's societal crime. It has attempted to modify one culture's at the sake of not offending another denomination. (In this case, pithy the Chinese-Muslims, for what do they do in the year of the pig? Well, it's just HARAM - they do not eat nor touch it. But its a metaphorical pig; one that perhaps existed way before Islam became a significant religion within greater China or inner Mongolia!)

By doing this, McD's has decided to place one denomination's sensitivities over another. Hence the recent mind-war over minarets in Switzerland, or Burjas and all that in France.

So why self-censor by removing the pig from what is clearly in the eyes of Singapore society a pig? Does Hong Kong McD's offer the pig as a Doraemon character in their set of twelve? (YES).
If so, then, have they chosen to place chinese culture over muslim religion instead? perhaps because there are less muslims in HK?

Does the self-censorship speak to a deeper angst that runs as a undercurrent within SG society, and the greater world? Has the war on terror reduced the world to such weak efforts of mental will?

If we seek to be pluralistic, then secular society cannot seek to address any one denomination over another. To paraphrase a friend : "since I cannot please everyone completely, I shall offend everyone equally". What does this mean? Perhaps, every denomination should not have any kind of special 'rights' or privileges, unless the society that denomination exists in discriminates against the said denomination, (ergo 1960s and the American civil rights movement and resultant laws that still are needed today because, well, intolerance takes a long while to 'breed' out of any society.)

Afterall, many societies still treat women as near chattel. Much work universal suffrage has still to do.

And yes, since by the time I write this, Mr Wang has decided to stop the discussion in his comments page, I agree that Mr Wang has also missed the point. But its not about the religion or not, its the point about the self-censorship.

Accept that humans are naturally different in society and culture;
Lighten up on the urge to convert all to one view by means fair and foul.
Peace will then naturally arise, because hate will have left.