McDonalds Singapore is now selling Doraemon lucky charm at $2 with every set meal. There are 12 of them in the series and the Doraemon are wearing costume representing the 12 Chinese zodiac animals (生肖). But the pig is missing from the series. Instead, a Doraemon holding a heart representing the Cupid is used to replace the pig. McDonalds spokesperson said that the chain excluded the pig toy because they are a Halal restaurant. Out of sensitivity for its Muslim customers, the pig is being replaced by the Cupid, as Chinese New Year falls on Valentines day this year.
Firstly, I don’t know why they want to do this Doraemon wearing Chinese zodiac costume soft toy. They look ugly. I prefer either Doraemon by itself or the Chinese zodiac by itself. Not combined. But maybe that is just me.
What I cannot understand is the logic behind McDonald’s exclusion of the pig from the Chinese zodiac series. The Chinese zodiac animals is a part of the Chinese culture. There are 12 animals. You cannot remove 1 of the animals and still call it the Chinese zodiac. Does McDonalds know how many customers are born in the year of the pig? How would they feel if their zodiac is being excluded?
And honestly, I don’t know who will be offended if McDonalds sell a pig soft toy. I’ve been asking most of my Muslim friends, all of them don’t mind the sight of a pig soft toy hanging at the counter. Why? Because it is just a soft toy. The Muslim religion says that the pig is unclean. Muslim are not allowed to consume pork or have any contact with pigs. The pigs we are talking about here are real pigs. Not soft toy pig. And confirm not Doraemon soft toy wearing a pig costume.
The soft toy is not made with any material from the pig. And nobody is going to eat that soft toy.
Even the Muslim teachers and scholars said there is nothing wrong with a Halal restaurant giving out a pig soft toy. Did McDonalds Singapore consulted Muis before removing the pig from the series? And is the local Muslim community really so sensitive over a pig soft toy? Everyone knows that the pig is 1 of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals which is part of Chinese culture. I’m sure the Muslim community is sensible and understanding enough to allow the Chinese to have pig in their Chinese zodiac.
Besides, this is not the first time McDonalds Singapore is selling a pig soft toy. They sold Miss Piggy when they had the Muppets series soft toy. And Piglet during the Winnie the Pooh series. Did anyone complain back then?
If McDonalds Singapore feel that selling the pig soft toy will offend their Muslim customers, then they shouldn’t sell the Chinese zodiac series at all. If McDonalds Singapore want to make a Chinese zodiac series, they should respect the Chinese culture and offer the series as a whole. Not an incomplete series. How are we going to explain the Chinese zodiac to the younger generation when they saw the pig being replaced by Cupid? McDonalds has no rights to rewrite Chinese culture and amend the Chinese zodiac. Whoever came up with the idea of removing the pig from the Chinese zodiac series made a terrible decision. I wonder what is he/she thinking.
I feel sorry for those who are born in the year of the Pig. They can’t collect the Chinese zodiac animal that they belongs to. I’m so glad that I’m born in the year of the Monkey which isn’t a taboo to any religion. (Not that I know of)
Update: They are going to hold a protest at Hong Lim Park this Saturday (16 Jan 2010) at 2pm.
Update 2: McDonalds Singapore has apologised for the exclusion of the pig in the Chinese Zodiac. They will be launching the Doraemon pig in Mid April. All proceeding goes to charity.