Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Random Picture #177


I saw things in Japan which were clearly or arguably racist depictions. I see them far more rarely in the U.S. In fact, more often than not, I see a lot of contrived politically correct advertising with contains a formulaic mix of one black person, one Asian and or/one other person with what appears to be Hispanic or Indian features and one or two white people. It's supposed to mean we're diverse, but often simply says that we're self-conscious and politically correct. 

At any rate, the above is a picture of an item which clearly has a racist depiction of a Chinese person. Though I found this in an American market and it has English instructions, it's a product of Portugal that was being sold in an Asian market (with a focus on Korean products, but with a mix of options). 

The strangest thing to me isn't that there is a politically incorrect drawing on it, but that this is marketed as Chinese flan. I investigated the history of flan and, as far as I could tell, it has nothing to do with China. Sure, I've had delicious Chinese egg tarts, but flan originated in Rome. The Roman version was savory and the Spanish and English modified it so it was sweet. The Chinese, as far as I know, just got their egg tarts from Portugal and/or England. Nonetheless, some Portuguese manufacturer must have believed it all sounded yummier if it appeared to be Chinese. 

4 comments:

Hirayuki said...

Plus "El Mandarin" is Spanish, not Portuguese! Throw in the English and French shown on the label and you may very well have a more thorough representation of diversity than those carefully constructed ads.

(Incidentally, Portuguese egg tarts are out of this world.)

Orchid64 said...

Thanks for the correction, Hiroyuki! I can't speak Portuguese, but assumed it was Portuguese because this is a product of Portugal. Talk about a linguistic and cultural crazy quilt of a product!

SusieTron FiveThousand said...

El Mandarin is indeed Spanish. And speaking of political incorrect, I have a cousin who was nicknamed 'Chino' when he was younger because of his curly hair, not his eye-shape. Which looking back my cousin could have easily been mistaken as being of Asian descent.

As kids we used to sing a taunt, "Chino, chino, japones, come caca y no me des." Which basically translates to, "Chinese, Chinese, Japonese. Eat poop and don't give me any." There are slight variations to the latter part of the taunt but it makes me wonder where we all learned it from. Incidentally my elders (mom's generation) still refer to anyone that is of Asian descent Orientals. There is no difference between Korea, China, Mongolia or any place, it's all Oriental and the folks from there are Orientals. We gave up on trying to correct them and just giggle at how cute they are set in their ways.

Ashley Lee said...

Hey! I did some research and I may have an explanation. This brand of flan uses agar-agar as a gelling agent which is used in most Asian countries; as a result, the flan was marketed as "Chinese Flan Mandarin" when it was introduced in the early '50s.