An image showing joss papers being used as Chinese New Year decorations at a mall in the Philippines has been widely circulated on the Internet, with netizens calling the mall out for the inappropriate use of materials.
Spotted at the Ayala Malls The 30th, which is located in the city of Pasig, the joss papers had images of gold ingots printed on them and were hung alongside red pineapple-shaped lanterns to decorate a bazaar that was happening at the mall’s common area during the Chinese New Year weekend.
On Friday (16 February), the mall announced on its Facebook page that the management had asked for the joss papers to be removed. They explained that the decorations were put up by an external bazaar organiser, whom the mall had leased the common area to.
“When we realised that the decoration used was not in fact in celebration of the Chinese New Year, we immediately asked them to remove it. We regret this oversight and we immediately asked them to remove it,” said the post. “We will be more vigilant in the future – even with those leasing our common spaces.”
The bazaar organiser, known as The Common Good Market, issued an apology the day after.
“Rest assured that we have no intention of offending anybody. We were misinformed when we were sourcing decors for Chinese New Year,” said the organiser in a Facebook post. The organiser behind the “Mongkok Market” bazaar also hopes that netizens would “spare” Ayala Malls The 30th of any blame.
Joss or incense papers are mainly used by Taoism believers within the Chinese community as burnt offerings. Ever since the photo of the mall was shared on Facebook by an Apian Tan, it has been reposted several times and garnered more than a thousand shares and a slew of comments and reactions.
“I guess they were trying hard to be Chinese and did not know better,” said an Yvette Pardo-Orbeta.
Meanwhile, many suggested that the organisers should have used ang pow packets instead.
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