Chinese New Year t-shirt missing zodiac pig and dog characters draws flak from Malaysians

Malaysians are seeing red over zodiac animals missing from a festive T-shirt.
The Straits Times

There may be 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, but it looks like Giant Hypermarket outlets in Malaysia missed the memo.

A photo of a festive Chinese New Year t-shirt being sold by the hypermarket chain received flak online from Malaysians because its image of cartoon animals perched around a platter of yu sheng was missing two animals – the pig and the dog, reported Free Malaysia Today.

Chinese New Year this year, which ushers in the Year of the Dog, falls on Feb 16.

Instead of a cute cartoon image, the pig and the dog were represented by the Chinese characters “hai” and “xu”.

People were far from happy about it. In fact, many of them turned snarky.

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According to The Straits Times, the T-shirt comes in different sizes and is being sold at a discounted price of RM10.88 ($2.73), down from its original RM15.99.

But selling it at a discount might not be enough, with many calling for a boycott of the t-shirt altogether.

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Others were simply left speechless.

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This is not the first time that the Malaysian authorities have banned or restricted materials containing dogs or pigs – animals considered unclean by the country’s majority Muslims.

Last February, thousands of paint brushes suspected of containing pig bristles were seized after Malaysian consumers demanded a crackdown.

In 2016, the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim) even went as far as banning food outlet operators seeking halal certification from using words linked to non-halal references on their menus – and yes, that includes “hot dogs”.