Commentary: Diner En Blanc PR Saga in Singapore

Hello from Sri Lanka! Right now I am travelling to Galle from Colombo in a 1.5hr car ride and thought I'll just blog on this subject of Diner En Blanc's PR disaster.

Background: I had caught wind of it yesterday via Moonberry's blog post first that one of Singapore's top foodies, DanielFoodDiary has been told to remove his blog post on food ideas for the dinner because it included Tau Huey (silken beancurd dessert) which is seen as a local "fast food" and inappropriate for the high-class pop-up dinner event at an undisclosed location. Then bloggers were uninvited to the event because they are deemed socially not influential (though the official reason was there's not enough space for them).

Image Credit: @Stooffi

Of course the topic became trending. Word start to spread. More influential bloggers talked about it. Events such as #MakanDay, Super White and Diner En Noir were created as a response. Comments are posted. The event's FB Page is deleted. I followed all of it on social media. I read people's comments on how foreigners can take their snooty ways and stick it where the sun don't shine.

All I thought was, what a shame after all the effort by the organizers to bring this idea to Asia, only to get the boot.

There are many "should haves" the organizers and PR company could do, which I am sure you and I and even a 5-year old knows. So I shall not talk about that.

What I would comment on is how interesting it is that Singaporeans bond over the topic of food, all the time. It is a matter close to our hearts, not our bellies. It is local, fusion, western, competitive and always a fun subject to talk about (just like how the Brits like to talk about the weather).

The food also acts as the representation of underlying social sentiments. It's not just about the food. The infamous XO char kway teow shows the income gap between the rich and poor. The cooking curry incidence shows rising tension between locals and foreigners, just as with Diner En Blanc.

People need to realize this is what makes us "uniquely Singapore". Mess with our food and you're messing with the people.

  1. Diss our food and prepare to face the wrath of a nation.

  2. Well said about the underlying social sentiments! :)