Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Religion Poisoned My Favourite Ramen

"God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"

The title of the late Christopher Hitchen's book

Close to three years ago, I wrote about how they changed the condiments of my favourite instant ramen - Nissin's Tokyo shoyu - from its tasty MSGooey seasoning sauce to something that they must've taken out of a boardroom ashtray. I had declared that the new Nissin noodles are made of suck and had chosen to boycott them until they restore my beloved Tokyo shoyu instant ramen back to righteousness. True to my word, I had not bought a single packet of Nissin noodles since then.

A few days ago, someone left a comment in that old post. It read,

Greetings from S'pore! This post is 3 years late, but hey I just stumbled into your blog. You may be surprised at what I'm about to tell you but here goes :

We have some things in common and it was our previous love for Nissin's Tokyo Shoyu instant noodles. I too used to love the previous ones with the liquid shoyu seasoning. I stopped after trying my first packet of the powdered version. How can the folks at nissin not be able to tell the difference?? It affected me so much that I actually wrote in to the company. The next thing I knew, they contacted me and thanked me for my feedback. They came personally to my house and offered me 2 packs of their other instant noodles to try.

I asked the guy why they had changed the formula and content and the reply was that they did it to cater to the halal market. The original had porcine content. Anyway, I stopped taking it ever since. I| really wonder if they have captured the halal market but lost many of their previous customers like you and me. Kekeke...

Hope things are great for you!

For years I have spoken confidently and strongly against the hegemony of religion and how its insidious influence corrupts everything it breathes on - and once more, I find vindication. Because of certain folk's imported Middle Eastern faith, they have wiped something good and beautiful off the face of the Earth. Like the destruction of the 6th century Bamiyan Buddhas (irreplaceable relics as old as the very religion of Islam itself) in 2001 by the Taliban, my newborn son will never get to witness these majestic monuments for himself.

The unique, irreplaceable flavours of Nissin's Tokyo shoyu ramen is lost to the world forever. Tell me that that doesn't at least make you feel a bit depressed.

There are no degrees to irreplaceability
There is only loss.

To be honest, the switch doesn't make sense to me because Nissin ramen had never been discriminated for its allegedly piggy content. I have never seen it being isolated at the non-halal section of any supermarket (as supermarkets are wont to do to protect the sensitivities of Malaysian Muslims because as everyone knows, pork can magically osmose through sealed plastic packaging). So, even if it is true that my favourite Nissin ramen did contain yummy, yummy pork, changing the formula isn't going to affect the Muslim market - because no one knew about it.

And since I did not know that its shoyu seasoning sauce contain pork elements when I wrote about the change in flavour three years ago - and its removal made it taste noticeably much worse - it objectively proved the inherent deliciousness of pork. I wonder how the loss of Nissin's Tokyo shoyu old fanbase affected Nissin's revenue and whether this unannounced switch to a halal recipe drew more patronage from the Muslim market (because if they do announce it, there is going to a shitstorm coming from their old Muslim customers who had been eating their ramen before the change).

This is similar to the recent hullabaloo surrounding the last minute cancellation of Ke$ha's concert in Malaysia costing the organisers 1.1 million ringgit in irretrievable losses. Why? Because she offends the "sensitivities" of  Muslims here with her body and lyrics, and that is after she agreed to change her song lyrics and wardrobe in accordance to Malaysian standards. If Ke$ha offends you (like how she offends my taste in good music), don't fucking go and see her. It is that easy. No one is forcing you to pay to see her perform but when you ban her, you are obstructing the enjoyment of other people who don't subscribe to the same backwards, over-conservative taboos you jealously guard. 

What kind of ridiculous reasoning it is? You deny others of a pleasure you are going to avoid anyway? Only in Malaysia, ladies and gentlemen.

P.S. Of course, I am only going on the words of Someone-on-the-Internet here regarding this story so if anyone else can help to verify it (perhaps someone from Nissin) I would greatly appreciate it.

Poisoned by religion,
k0k s3n w4i