McDonald's latest toy promotion to commemorate Chinese New Year has caused a stir among the Muslim community. The promotion set comprises soft toys depicting the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, including a pig.
"McDonald's is a certified Halal restaurant. It has no right to give away soft toys which could portray a pig in positive light," said Mullah Halal. "I have formally requested the Singapore government to remove pig meat from all food courts and live pigs from the zoo. The Infocomm Development Authority is evaluating censoring the word 'pig' from the internet while schools are waiting for guidance from the Ministry of Education regarding removing the word from all approved texts," continued Mullah Halal.
"Once the p** has been dealt with then we will turn our sights on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Such items are haram and have no place in our society."
The Singapore Fictional Times, January 14, 2010
Thankfully, the above is a figment of my imagination.
But what exactly was McDonald's thinking when it omitted the pig from the twelve characters Doraemon set? A boycott by the local Muslim community to protest the inclusion of a pig in the set!
(For the uninitiated, Doraemon is a Japanese manga series. Doraemon is a robotic cat from the twenty second century who travels back in time to help a schoolboy named Nobita Nobi.)
The incident is a 'political correctness gone wild' situation. McDonald's has exceeded the limits of sanity and entered the realms of the absurd.
All animals, including pigs, are part of God's ecosystem.
Pigs, alcohol and other 'haram' items are plentiful in Singapore. Shall we expect that hotels and bars stop serving alcohol out of deference to the sensitivities of the Muslim community?
Why leave out the Hindu community? Like McDonald's in India, maybe McDonald's Singapore should stop serving beef products. The cow is as holy as the pig is haram.
In any society there is an element of give and take. There may be some red lines for the sake of respect and tolerance. In all other areas, common sense and reason are the guiding principles. We slay our own demons and create our own good deeds through exercising our Free Will.
If Singaporean Muslims are perturbed by pig soft toys then the Singapore system has failed to establish a genuinely tolerant, multi-cultural society. The government and the Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) may find it easy to enforce laws, but common sense is slightly harder to implement by decree.