Cold storage having beef promotion on Deepavali

From ‘Cold Storage apologises for insensitive beef promotion during Deepavali’, 2 Nov 2016, article by Lee Min Kok, ST

Supermarket chain Cold Storage has apologised for a price promotion on beef at one of its outlets during Deepavali, acknowledging that it was “insensitive” to Hindus. A photo of the promotion, which advertised a 38 per cent discount for certain beef products, was uploaded by Twitter user @AdamFlinter on Monday (Oct 31).

“Cold Storage’s #deepavali promotion was on beef!!! Cultural understanding eh?” he wrote, adding that the photo was from a friend.

Hindus generally abstain from eating beef as they regard the cow as sacred. In a statement to The Straits Times on Wednesday, Cold Storage explained that the promotion was put up at one store by a junior team member who had “overlooked the cultural sensitivity“.

It added: “We have since explained and coached him on the cultural sensitivity and he assured us that he had no intention to disrespect the Hindus. We also took this opportunity immediately to coach all our team members to be mindful of cultural sensitivities in Singapore.

“We sincerely apologise to all Hindus who are celebrating Deepavali on this matter.”

Someone's beef with Cold Storage

Someone has a beef with Cold Storage

It’s also culturally ‘insensitive’ to wear black on Deepavali. Just ask ex CNA presenter Otelli Edwards, who got a complaint for turning the Festival of Lights into the abyss of Hades. Someone else blasted the premature setting up of Christmas Lights in conjunction with Deepavali celebrations. Elsewhere, Burger King had to apologise for suggesting that Hindu deity Lakshmi feasts on beef burgers. Yes, our beloved gods don’t eat sacred animals. In some cases you can’t depict them in any form out of scripture. Period.

British Airways went the whole hog and banned beef from their inflight meals entirely, in order not to offend Hindu travellers. Why not extend this ‘cultural understanding’ to some non-Hindu folk who frown on beef, like some Chinese Buddhists for example – which means you should think twice about lelong-ing beef, or meat of any sort, during Vesak Day too. Milk this ‘sensitivity’ further and you’re going into Malaysian ‘ban the word dog from hot dog’ fiasco.

I personally know someone from India and enjoys beef, and has no qualms eating it in front of everyone, saying that it was a ‘state’ preference. Wouldn’t CS be depriving this group of Indians of the promotion too? Being culturally ‘sensitive’ is just one side of the racial harmony coin. Let’s put more meat on the ‘tolerance’ side, like – I think eating beef is a sin worse that those committed by Kong Hee, but my faith is compassionate and forgiving of those who get divine joy feasting on cheap murdered cows.

Still, when it comes to incurring religious wrath due to taboo food , nothing beats the hoax Fairprice ‘halal pork‘ incident, which actually involved the police. If anyone did call the police in for Deepavali promo beef, they better not be coming fully clad in black.


A Deepavali Nightmare

From ‘Frightfully’ insensitive’, 11 Dec 2010, Life! Mailbag

(Francis Ang Soon Guan): I read with dismay the story about the former headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department being used for the fright night tour complete with ghoulish creatures, dummies and skulls.

To call the experience the 13 Cells – Xmas nightmare is rather inappropriate and I am offended that the organisers of this event did not consider the sentiments of Christians. This event would have been appropriate if it was organised to coincide with Halloween or the Seventh Month Hungry Ghost festival. Just imagine the reaction if the event had coincided with the Hindu Festival of Lights and called a Deepavali Nightmare. While Christians are tolerant and open-minded, we should not accept this inappropriate linking of Christmas to a ghoulish event.

Jingle cells

So, by bringing Deepavali into the argument,  is the writer suggesting that other faiths are not as ‘tolerant and open minded’ as Christianity? If ‘ghoulish’ associations with Christmas were so offensive, why not target Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ for its portrayal of undead elements, or Tim Burton’s stop motion classic ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’, or even Dr Seuss’ Grinch? If it’s against the fundamental tenets of Christianity to indulge in fantasy and the supernatural , then perhaps one should even eliminate Santa Claus and flying reindeers altogether and turn Christmas into 12 days of austere  gratitude showering over turkey and pudding.  If you think about the hedonistic frivolities being conducted every year end and how loosely people have come to use the term ‘Xmas spirit’, getting spooked , compared to drunkedness and sex isn’t that bad really. And even if one were to time this with Halloween instead, Singaporeans will still complain about how we’re favouring Western ghosts over the Asian ancestral kind.  Similar references to Deepavali, or ‘Happy Indian Festival’, in this article dated 23 Nov 2006, Today.

From ‘Stars and gripes’, 11 Dec 2010, article by Tay Suan Ching in ST Life!

(Raye Kwok): It looks like the designer tried too hard to dress up Orchard Road…This is Singapore’s main shopping street but the (Xmas) light-up looks like a mess

(Corrine Tan): I find the colours a bit cold…Christmas is a time of warmth – shared between family and friends and especially between those of the Christian faith. Christmas commemorates a religious event, so it would be nice if the lights and decorations reflect some of that aspect.

Given that it’s impossible to please everyone when it comes to Christmas lighting, perhaps Ms Tan would like to suggest what exactly she would like to see in a more ‘religious’ Orchard Road lighting without treading on the sensitivities of other faiths. Christians who want to see infant Jesuses on Christmas trees rather than purple icicles or glittery balls should go to their church instead, where believers ought to spend most of their warm, fuzzy Christmas time in the first place, instead of complaining about the godlessness of Orchard Road Xmas lightup. Still, it’s comforting to note  from a anti-consumerism stance that people still bother to remind us all that the commercial juggernaut that is Christmas is not about booze, year end parties and gifts. Rather, it’s all about Jesus, as explained with exemplary zeal in this letter ‘The birth of Jesus Christ is the real reason for celebrating’ dated 19 Dec 1988, ST Forum. Telling your boss that Jesus himself is ‘God’s love gift’ to everyone this season would make  a perfect excuse not to buy stuff for office gift exchange.



Christmas lights up before Deepavali

From ‘It’s not yet Christmas’, 3 Nov 2010, Voices, Today online. Thanks to quirkyhill for the link.

(Jana Hahn): I WRITE in to question why Christmas decorations have already gone up in VivoCity when Deepavali is just days away, while it won’t be Christmas for another two months or so.

I’m not sure this is representative of our multi-racial society. Show some awareness, please.

I think it’s safe to say that ever since someone invented the concept of a fat man in a red suit stealing into homes to plant random gifts for nice children under artificial trees, Christmas has never been just for Christians anymore. Any Hindu feeling slighted by their Festival of Lights being outshone by Orchard Road’s annual light-up porn is choosing the wrong bone to pick and going against the spirit that is Deepavali/Diwali, as the Christmas season per se was never about favouring one ethic group over another.  Instead it’s long been a worldwide marketing blitz disguised under the ‘spirit of giving’ to get people, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or otherwise in the mood for overspending and overconsuming without the slightest sense of guilt. But more importantly, Christmas cashier ‘ker-ching’ is year-end music to the government’s ears. Not that Deepavali or any of the ethnic holidays are less important, but let’s face it: Fake Christmas trees will always outsell oil lamps. Christmas cards will always outsell Chinese New Year cards.  Turkey and fruitcakes will always outsell ketupats. And they’re more TV Christmas specials you can think of than all other holiday movies combined. If Hitler were to produce a Christmas album today, it would sell faster than all the ang pows in China. Similar sentiments in this 19 December 1988 letter ‘Give equal treatment to all the festivals’, ST Forum.

Still, our fellow Hindu Singaporeans do deserve some recognition for their resilience not just in the face of the commercial Cloverfield that is Christmas, but the fact the in the 1970’s the government had the power to shift the date of the Deepavali public holiday willy-nilly, according to this letter dated 26 Oct 1972, ‘Change of date leaves 100 without a picnic’.

Be wary, too, that in your lack of ”awareness’, you start wishing Happy Deepavali to Indians in general and get labelled an ‘ignorant fool’ (‘When race isn’t religion’, 10 Oct 2006, Voices, Today). Incidentally, I googled ‘Deevali’ and found a grand total of zero results. Who’s the ‘ignorant fool’ now? Someone assist me in running a search on ‘Eid Mubarak’, for it sounds suspiciously like a dish I usually order with my Teh Tarik.




Banks don’t sell new notes on Deepavali

From ‘No new notes and money packets for Deepavali’, 3 Nov 2010, ST Forum online

(Gouri Thiagarajan): LAST year, I went to the UOB West Coast branch and asked for new notes and money packets for Deepavali. The bank manager told me that they did not have any and if I wanted them, I should have got them during Chinese New Year.

I sent an e-mail to the bank’s customer service department and got a response saying that the matter would be looked into.

One year has passed. I went back to the bank last Saturday and asked for packets and new notes, and got the same answer.

In Malaysia, banks are decorated for all festivals and new notes and money packets are available for all festivals.

Have we as a society become so isolated from our neighbours and friends that a fellow Indian Singaporean has to resort to getting weird stares queuing up for new notes and ang pows on CNY without even considering asking/buying such things from the community around her before Deepavali? The minimum quantity for exchanging new notes is at least a $100 bundle in most banks, which means most Chinese families should have a healthy stash of virgin cash and angpows lying around somewhere, accumulated over years of celebrating CNY, or from weddings. Of course to make things  fair for all, this wasteful practice should be stopped altogether, regardless of what they do in Malaysia. The banks don’t earn from it, more trees are cut down just to provide that ‘crisp’ feel (a useless sensation unless you actually wear money),  and everybody wastes time queuing up when they should be at home baking pineapple tarts or something. Seriously, I’d be happier to see  a crinkly, dirty 10 dollar note in my angpow (even if it’s been traded through the hands of murderers, burglars and prostitutes, and touched all manners of bodily fluids under the most unsanitary conditions) than a 2 dollar note without history or character, lovingly laundered to such pinkish, mint condition that the freshly pressed ink stains my fingers. An exact same complaint was lodged 5 years ago (Why no new notes for this period? 11 Oct 2005, Today), which means the banks don’t give a shit and we’ll probably see Ms Gouri lining up at the banks on CNY soon. If perchance the complainant happens to stumble upon this blog, I’d be more than happy to offer her, for a nominal fee, some ‘money packets’ myself. While stocks last.



Otelli wearing black on Deepavali

From Seeing red over black 25 Oct 2009 Article in Sunday Times

He (Ananda Pereira) saw news anchor Otelli Edwards wearing a ‘shiny black dress’ (On Deepavali night)…asking ” Who was she mourning for on Deepavali night, the day of the festival of lights which brings sacred, spiritual joy to Hindus”

(VP of corporate services at Channel News Asia): “The presenter had selected a silver-grey dress…As it turned out, the colour appeared darker than expected on television”

Turns out that Otelli should stay clear of black for good. But as one can see from the pic below, this is one woman not meant for neutral colours.

Casual Otelli