Thursday, January 14, 2010

McDonald’s Chinese New Year 2010 collectibles

McDonald’s Singapore restaurants have recently launched a Chinese New Year small soft toy collectibles in conjunction with the coming Chinese Lunar month. These soft toy collectibles are 12 little Doraemon charms, decked out in the animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac. By logic, there should be a charm representing each of the 12 animal signs, however, the restaurant management has replaced the charm of last Chinese zodiac sign, the pig with that of cupid. This has since raised quite a brouhaha among Singaporeans.

Singaporeans know the logic behind the restaurant’s move to replace the pig is due to religious sensitiveness: ‘Pig’ is taboo to Muslims. However, Chinese Singaporeans lamented that in not selling the whole complete set of zodiac signs, there is some form of injustice and insensitiveness perpetuated to the Chinese populace here. Lovers of the collectibles may also fret not owning a complete set of the 12 zodiac signs and non-Muslim collectors born in the year of the pig will not be able to owe a charm of their signs.

As we all know, Mcdonald’s in Singapore is a Halal restaurant, which is defined as a restaurant selling food fit for consumption in religious terms to the Muslims. However, not all Mcdonald’s in the world are halal restaurants, when I was in Taiwan ten years back, I ate pork burgers which are not on the menu of Mcdonald’s Singapore restaurants.

In this matter, I believe that Mcdonald’s Singapore should have introduced the pig charm and the cupid charm both at the same time and offer them as choices. For Muslims and those who do not want to collect the pig , they can collect the cupid and vice-versa, this decision is simple and take into account the sensitiveness of both races and religions.

Boon Lay Garden Primary School made headline news in Feb 2008 when it certified its canteen as ‘Halal’. Officers were deployed to ensure students bring only Halal food into the canteen for consumption. Many deride the school’s move as unwise and on its wasting of resources to check on the food brought by students when these could be better deployed in areas like school security.

SingPost’s Inkman stunt made the first marketing flop in Singapore this year, I am afraid Mcdonald’s Chinese New Year marketing stint made it the second flop.

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