It is strange indeed that shopping complexes and businesses seems to be slow in and mild in their Chinese New Year decorations ahead of the month of February.
This year, the CNY will be the Year of the Dog but some shopping complexes are skipping the ‘dog’ for the generic, while others are focusing on some upcoming festivals post-CNY.
One popular mall in Bukit Bintang has skipped the ‘dog’ for something that is ‘socially acceptable.” The Singapore based newspaper, The Straits Times said yesterday the popular Bukit Bintang Mall skipped the ‘dog’ theme in an attempt to skirt around or playing down the portrayal of canines.
Reason given by the Singapore paper for the dog-skipping: Businesses are wary of offending the country’s Muslim majority in the Year of the Dog.
Dogs are considered “unclean” under Islamic tradition and Muslims are required to carry out a ritual of washing themselves if they are in contact with the animal, said the paper.
Obviously they do not want another row with some netizens that will create viral stories over the portrayal of dogs.
ST said multicultural Malaysia has seen an increasing intolerance towards activities considered insulting to Islam, reflected in protests in recent years of beer festivals and concerts.
There was also the rows over Muslims touching dogs, either during Ramadan or during the ‘Raya’ festivities with the public posts on Facebook drawing flak from more ‘conservative’ Muslims.
Note that the zodiac dog and pig has simply gone missing in the Malaysian CNY, said ST.
Twelve animals, including a dog and a pig, another animal Muslims consider as unclean, make up the traditional Chinese zodiac.
Malaysian Muslim leaders have been vocal about events that involve dogs before, said ST.
After the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow, when athletes paraded with a Scottish terrier donning their country’s name, local politicians aired their disapproval, calling the stunt “disrespectful”.
In 2016, religious authorities asked popular pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to”Pretzel Sausage”.
At MyTOWN, another Kuala Lumpur shopping centre where half the visitors are Muslim, the mall downplayed the depiction of dogs in its decorations.