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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Being Sensitive to Religion

Be mindful of local sensitivities | Readers' Post

I think it’s worthy to note that there are many Muslims who are readers of The Sunday Times. I was quite disturbed by the fact that the paper’s edition on Oct 5 which falls on Hari Raya Haji featured a distasteful article in the Sunday Life! section (“Cheat Sheet: Ham”). The Sunday Life! food critics could have been more sensitive to the events that unfolded for some Muslims on this religiously auspicious occasion such as the sacrifice of cows or sheep. They could have chosen a food-related theme and perhaps discussed lamb cuts. At the very least, avoid discussing non-halal food (food that Islam sanctions against consumption such as ham). Local journalists should practise more sensitivity and respect local cultures, at least for the most important races in Singapore.

Our reasons:

While we are mindful of religious sensitivities, Singapore is a secular nation and The Straits Times is a secular newspaper. If we were to adopt the stricture advocated by Mr Idris, we would be unable, for instance, to publish stories about consuming beef on days when Hindus observe Thaipusam and celebrate Deepavali as well as meat-related stories on Vesak Day when Buddhists observe a vegetarian diet, and on certain days of Lent which is observed by Catholics.

During Ramadan, the Straits Times shouldn't talk about food because Muslims are fasting.
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