The report by Malaysiakini on the removal of a part human, part pig character from a billboard advertisement for the forthcoming Hong Kong action fantasy film Journey to the West has generated interesting reactions from netizens in the comments section on Facebook.
Netizens seem to be in agreement that the move to remove the character from the billboard is a silly act, with many expressing shock and confusion over the action.
Among them, netizens joke that the Chinese Year of the Pig may be next to go, while another lamented that other governments are pursuing space programmes while Malaysia is busy chasing porcine issues.
The original poster of the film, by a China and Hong Kong production house, depicted the historic monk Tang Sanzang and his legendary disciples the Monkey King Sun Wukong, Sha Wujing and Zhu Bajie.
Zhu Bajie, who is part human and part pig, is pictured on the right of the Monkey King in the poster but is missing on a billboard erected on Jalan Loke Yew.
One of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West tells the story of a monk who travelled to the Western Regions with his three disciples to obtain sacred Buddhist texts.
The film Journey to the West – The Monkey King 2 is based on this novel and and focuses on the White-Bone Demon who kidnaps the monk because it desires to eat the monk’s flesh.
The film is set to premiere this Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 8 and 9.
Below is a compilation of some of the more interesting comments from netizens on this issue:
Amulets Ice Ice: “Later, the Year of Pig on Chinese New Year might also be made illegal, including open houses, advertisements and anything related to the word and picture of pigs.”
Wan Abd Hamid: “I don’t mind this story, Journey to the West. Pigs are just pigs, it’s okay. What’s haram is only eating pigs. Looking at them is fine.”
Mohd Nur Hafiz: “Pigs you’re afraid of, liar. Corruption you’re not afraid of. Pigs are just living things, it’s not like you’re eating them. This is stupid.”
Yadin Ny Nyadin: “Other countries are busy building rockets to go to outer space, we are busy discussing a picture of a pig.”
Hermon van Ly: “Corruption, putting people in cement, snatch theft, that’s all okay. Pigs are the only thing not okay. Only in Malaysia.”
Nur Aisyah Vivian Mah: “What’s the problem? Pigs also get banned like this? First it was the keris, then the cross-shaped roofs and now pigs are being removed. Why aren’t those who hug each other in Malay dramas not banned? Enough is enough.”
Amirol Azery: “It’s only a picture of a pig, they’re not asking us to eat it. You get phobia from this, what is this? Enough of embarrassing us.”
Ldy Tia Jazzmine Zainal: “Pigs are also a creation of God, so is it wrong if it’s just portrayed as a character in a story? Malaysia is not an Islamic country, it’s just that Islam is our official religion. Don’t use religion as an unreasonable excuse.”
Rudy Adad: “I laughed till my stomach hurt. It’s time for our thinking to rise to the professional level. I think nowadays things are getting weirder. Seems like there are things that just don’t make sense. Are you saying pigs cannot even be displayed?”
Theva Raj: “It’s no wonder the pig disappeared. The pig is busy thinking about what else to sell to China.”
Lim Sim Khean: “This is stupid. This is all just a story. Furthermore, films of this story have been aired countless times in this country, even on RTM.”
Shaiful Putra Bin Zakaria: “One of the great literatures from China. Malaysians should watch this movie. There are many values that can be learned from every character in the story.”