Ah yes, the age-old rivalry between Malaysians and our siblings on the other side of the Causeway. While the underlying competitive spirit between Singaporeans and Malaysians remains friendly (most of the time), there are some issues neither party will ever agree to compromise on.
Nothing gets patriotic citizens more fired up than when someone else lays claim to the pride and joy that is a nation’s cuisine. Recently, McDonald’s Malaysia released an ad promoting their new Nasi Lemak MCD and Singaporeans weren’t too happy about how their nasi lemak was portrayed.
The video opens with two friends entering a Singaporean hawker coffee shop to presumably enjoy a local meal. The man who portrays the Singaporean friend can be seen “chopping” seats with tissue packets and rushing to cut the queue of people waiting in line for food.
The stall that he queues in line for boasts a bold title, “BEST Nasi Lemak Singapore“. However, when he returns to the table with two plates of nasi lemak, his female friend politely rejects the meal.
Instead, she pulls out a packet of nasi lemak that’s labelled, ‘Buatan Malaysia”(Made in Malaysia)’. The voiceover then stakes a bold claim, “nothing comes between Malaysians and their nasi lemak”.
While the clip is seemingly poking harmless fun at the stereotype that Singaporeans are kiasu, some had a word or two to say about the whole debacle. According to Asia One, some people thought that the man’s actions in the video implied poor Singaporean behaviour was a norm.
However, Malaysians stood their ground over owning the local dish. A few of them even took the opportunity to applaud the little cultural differences between Malaysians and Singaporeans the ad portrayed.
Oof. Owning rights over a local dish is one thing, but let’s keep it light-hearted. Renowned culinary master, Chef Wan, dropped a few words of wisdom once when commenting on the way Singapore nominated its own hawker culture for UNESCO listing.
“Food is meant to be enjoyed by everyone and not for us to pick fights over who owns what.”
And we agree! That’s certainly some food for thought.
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