AWAY WITH YOU, DOG!
Wary of public backlash, businesses in Malaysia have often been careful not to offend Muslim sensitivities.
Earlier this month, the Giant Hypermarket courted controversy from netizens for selling a T-shirt of the 12 zodiac animals, but the dog and pig images were replaced with characters spelling out the animals’ names.
13 January 2018
It’s a dog’s life for Chinese zodiac animal in Muslim-majority Malaysia
NOT all animals are created equal, as far as some Malaysian businesses and retailers are concerned when it comes to the Chinese zodiac signs.
Several major businesses will be avoiding any canine depictions as Chinese Malaysians prepare to usher in the Year of the Dog on February 16.
Sunway Malls chief operating officer Kevin Tan told The Malaysian Insight the company’s malls would steer clear of public displays of the dog, which Muslims deem “unclean”.
“This is due to creative considerations. We have many choices. We don’t necessarily have to use the image of a dog.
“Culture is also a consideration. A mall is a public space, different races will be gathered here,” he said.
“We’ll avoid any decorations with contentious elements.”
Sunway Malls, a retail division of the Sunway Group, manages five shopping complexes in the Klang Valley and Penang. The five are Sunway Pyramid (Subang Jaya) and Sunway Giza (Kota Damansara) in Selangor, Sunway Putra and Sunway Velocity in Kuala Lumpur, and Sunway Carnival (Seberang Perai, Penang).
Similarly, the group avoided any depictions of the dog the last time the zodiac animal was celebrated in 2006.
Restaurant owner Muhammad Dayan Kamal Mustapah Kamal, 33, said as a Muslim he agreed that there should not be any dog-themed Chinese New Year decorations.
“Not all Muslims in Malaysia or Malays can accept dog decorations. Some Muslims are very sensitive. This is linked to the teachings of Islam.”
He said even a picture of dog can be offensive to Muslims.
January 6, 2018
Pig, dog missing from CNY zodiac T-shirt sold at popular hypermart
All but two animals, the dog and the pig, appear on this Chinese zodiac T-shirt on sale at a hypermarket outlet.
PETALING JAYA: There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, but two of them are conspicously missing from a T-shirt sold at a major hypermarket chain, drawing reactions from Malaysians online.
The T-shirt has the image of all the animals except the pig and dog, which are instead replaced with Chinese characters.
The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year in a 12-year cycle. This year, it is the turn of the dog.
A check at a Giant hypermarket branch in the Klang Valley shows the T-shirt comes in various sizes, and sold at a discounted price of RM10.88.
FMT failed to contact the hypermarket’s management, but a salesperson said the product has been on display since last month.
She said the shirt was designed in time for Chinese New Year next month.
Asked about the two missing zodiac signs, she said the manufacturer could be targetting customers of all races including Malays.
While it is not immediately clear why the two creatures are not pictured, authorities have in the past banned or restricted materials depicting the dog and pig, animals which Malaysia’s Shafi’i Muslims consider as unclean.
In 1995, Malaysia banned the comedy film “Babe” for portraying the main character of a pig, although a DVD release was approved years later.
In 2016, the character of a pig was removed from promotional posters for Hong Kong blockbuster film, “The Monkey King 2”.
Two years earlier, activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi drew the ire of Islamic authorities for organising an event giving Muslims the opportunity to touch the dog, as well as how to cleanse themselves after that.
A guideline by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which oversees the halal industry, also prohibits the use of the name “dog”, forcing popular products such as A&W’s famed Coney Dog to be renamed.