4:12pm 24/05/2023
Why hate the rainbow?
By:Sin Chew Daily

Each one of us has our own religious belief and personality. The only element that binds us together is inclusiveness.

Last week, the home ministry’s enforcement squad started to raid Swatch stores nationwide and seize 164 “Pride Collection” watches worth RM64,225.

Initially people though it was the rainbow that was causing the trouble, but they later learned that the watches were seized because the letters “LGBTQ” were clearly visible from one of the models in the collection.

However, the operation was halted as of Tuesday morning.

In this country, we all know that any event linked to LGBTQ is outright forbidden, and newspapers, for instance, are not allowed to publish anything that promotes the LGBTQ message.

And we also know that a watch is used to tell the time. What really matters is whether the time is accurately displayed and whether the design is up to date. As for the model with the “LGBTQ” lettering on the dial, it is just one of Swatch’s numerous designs for global marketing.

The five models in the “Pride Collection” constitute a very tiny portion of Swatch’s total collection of thousands of timepiece designs.

For sure an established watchmaker with long-standing reputation like Swatch would never take the risk for designing a watch that is poised to offend the believers of any religion or violate any country’s laws.

LGBTQ is not banned in all countries, and the objective of launching this “Pride Collection” in Malaysia is believed to be targeting mainly tourists from around the world.

The Edge reported that the home ministry took action after the “Pride Collection” was brought to the attention of the authorities via a social media post associating the collection with British band Coldplay’s support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

According to Swatch Malaysia, the company has always been upholding its corporate philosophy of promoting the positive message of having joy in one’s life, which we sincerely believe.

Swatch has become a big hit among youngsters for its hip designs and affordability, and as such, the company has been constantly updating its designs.

Anything from celestial bodies, flowering plants, birds and beasts, life experiences, festivities, etc. could serve as inspiration for the watchmaker’s designers to come up with a creative theme for their latest products, including the rainbow, of course.

“Rainbow” is a natural optical phenomenon that occurs when a source of light strikes the water droplets after rain, and we do hope the latest controversy could be settled amicably as soon as possible, just as the sun that emerges after the rain has stopped.

As a matter of fact, the rainbow which is arching across the sky can never be wiped out by any of us.

The Switzerland-based company is the largest manufacturer of fashionable watches, ranked 206th globally in brand value. Among the other established brands under the Swatch Group include Longines, Omega, Rado, Tissot and Calvin Klein.

Anyway, to buy or not to buy a watch with the letters “LGBTQ” on its face is the consumer’s personal choice.

Several years ago, Auntie Anne’s found itself embroiled in a controversy over the word “dog” used for the name of one of its products, Pretzel Dog; while Timah whiskey came under assault for the resemblance of the brand’s name to the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah.

And now, certain models of Swatch watches have to be withdrawn from the market because of the “LGBTQ” lettering. All these prove one sad reality that our society is indeed becoming increasingly more conservative and intolerant.

It is impossible for us to shut our doors and not to do business with foreigners because we need the tourist money to boost the country’s economic development.

But at the same time, as we are a multiracial and multicultural society, we will need to learn to be more accommodating and receptive to our differences.

We are bound to meet people embracing very different life philosophies from ours in day-to-day living, and the only way for us to get along with people peacefully is to learn to respect and accommodate.

For instance, on the Buddhist adherence to vegetarianism, perhaps we can take cue from the wise words of the late Master Hsing Yun.

Master HsingYun said: “Whether you are a vegetarian or not a vegetarian, we must learn to respect one another’s preferences. As such, if a vegetarian insists not to use utensils that have been used for non-vegetarian food, or refuses to share a table with non-vegetarians, such insistence could annoy some people.

“Everything has to come from the heart. When we take vegetarian food, we shouldn’t be worrying whether the food has been contaminated with animal ingredients, as long as we don’t eat slaughtered animals.

“We must not be too calculative, as this will make people dislike us, and will defeat the purpose of vegetarianism.”

Sure enough non-vegetarians should also respect the choice of vegetarians because this is their lifestyle, their religious belief which we must respect and accommodate.

Perhaps you might argue that vegetarianism could cause malnutrition, or may even think that vegetarians are weird people, but all these hurtful remarks are unnecessary and should be best avoided.

Each one of us has our own religious belief and personality. The only element that binds us together is inclusiveness.




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