Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food War With Singapore? Long Overdue I Say...

I was rather pleased to see this bit of news today, at last, someone in our government has decided to go to war with Singapore on something really important... their incessant claiming of bits of our most Malaysian and beloved cultural heritage, FOOD! And just because the same someone then seemingly chickened out, doesn't mean the rest of us should lay down arms!

Malaysians don't really mind seeing our cuisine being showcased all over the world, and very often confused with not just Singaporean, but Indonesian, Hong Kong, Indian, hell, even Australian fusion cuisine these days! In fact, Malaysians rather pragmatically enjoy the idea of getting half-decent copies of the original at least in these countries. And the Singaporean copies are at least spelled correctly in the menu!

What we do mind is when people rather blatantly go around claiming our food is theirs! I mean, I get it, Singapore doesn't really have much of its own culture, but there seems to be a section of its society that just feels a massive enough inferiority complex that it has to proclaim much of other cultural heritages their own. Pretty hard to 'sapu' the culture of other neighbours... besides, they are bigger and are more 'aggressive'. So, why not steal a bit more from Malaysia!

Unfortunately, Singapore is not very good at this 'sapu' business. Unlike the Australians or indeed the Americans, who do also 'sapu' a lot, Singaporeans are a bit inept at the innovation needed to make borrowed heritage their own! I don't see any Arabs upset over the very Australian Sticky Date Pudding. And I also find it silly when some Singaporeans claim food is not 'heritage', ask the English if Spotted Dick or even Stilton Cheese is not what they consider their heritage?

Then again, it was a Singaporean company that mistakenly presented a Balinese dance as a Malay Malaysian dance in the Discovery channel, resulting in the Indonesians getting all upset about us after all! What do you expect from a nation that apparently doesn't even appreciate how heritage permeates all that touches a community over its evolved anthropological history. And for Malaysians, food permeates EVERYTHING! Hmmm... maybe they are too young as a nation?

But enough with the Singapore bashing. Perhaps some evidence should be presented no? So, what better place than Wikipedia to showcase how blatantly our Malaysian food heritage is easily claimed to be 'Singapore Cuisine'. And this isn't bad... considering there is 'Ampang Yong Tau Foo', and many others, readily touted as Singaporean cuisine also in food channels by the ignorantly Singapore-educated global media!

Finally, whilst we pursue fair claims of our food heritage, let us nevertheless revel in the continued growth and superiority of Malaysian food... that is ever innovative and wondorous to the palate... even whilst others still try, and fail, to 'sapu' our golden oldies... enjoy surfing through friedchillies!

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