From ‘Naming of bread unfortunate’, 31 Jan 2011, ST Forum online
(Sathesh Sivabalan): POPULAR bakery Bread Talk has named a bread “Naan the Nay”, which mimics an insensitive allusion to the way Indians speak.
What is there to stop people of other races from starting to call other food items with similar insensitivity?
I had thought only children called each other such politically incorrect terms while at play. For a popular food outlet to resuscitate such names is unfortunate.
It’s been almost a year since people have accused Breadtalk of baking racist pastry and it seems that the only people who are intent on ‘resuscitating’ this issue, just when you thought people have moved on, are the ones who take severe offence against such harmless wordplay in the first place. If everyone were to get all uptight over how their food mocks their ethnicity, we’d have to settle for Steamed Buns, or Flaky Croissant, or Pork Floss on top of Muffin, where items have to be described entirely in terms of their ingredients and how they’re cooked, without any hint of dialect, slang, colour or vulgarity. We should also do away with rude names such as Black Forest Cake, Dark Chocolate Pudding, Ching Cheong Fan, Buddha Jumps over the Wall or the japanese Kaminabe . The complainant also seems to think that all playful children are racist by nature, hence forgivable when they wilfully throw vicious derogatory terms at each other, but not a food outlet for being a little imaginative without the slightest intention of insult or humiliation. I mean it’s not like the bread itself is coated black, has eyes, nose, teeth and has a little cream turban sticking out of it, right? When it comes to accent mocking, even Indian performers speaking in their own accents are deemed insensitive by fellow Indians, not to mention radio DJ pranks. Perhaps Breadtalk, if they insist on preserving the Indian element of their creation without offending people with as much sense of humor as a dried sponge, should rename it Naan of Bombay, or Naan of the Day, though neither of these has the same easy rhythmic flow as the original.