BuzzFeed listicle disses ice cream sandwich, S'poreans outraged

Do not insult our ice cream sandwich.

Tsiuwen Yeo | August 25, 2016, 09:23 PM

If you spend any time on social media, you must have read at least one BuzzFeed listicle -- their viral articles seem to be a staple on our timelines.

Sometimes, BuzzFeed content resonates with the readers' lifestyles and provides perceptive insight into social issues of the day.

Other times, perhaps when they run out of ideas for listicles, they create content that is culturally insensitive and frankly, terrible.

Or just a bunch of things cobbled together to pass off as a list article.

Case in point: this article that basically criticised anything that didn't qualify as a sandwich in the editor's opinion.


The problem

In this listicle, BuzzFeed UK senior editor Luke Bailey goes on a spree lambasting what people around the world put in their sandwiches. Included in this judgemental list is something that is familiar to Singaporeans:

Screenshot from Buzzfeed



In defence of the ice cream snack that is loved nation-wide, outraged Singaporeans have hit back at BuzzFeed and Bailey.

Screenshot from Buzzfeed Screenshot from Buzzfeed


Screenshot from Buzzfeed Screenshot from Buzzfeed



In particular, this reader made a very astute analysis of why the listicle was disrespectful and blatantly ethnocentric.


Not only did Bailey's attempt at a snarky commentary offend Singaporeans, it touched a nerve with Asians in general.


Screenshot from Buzzfeed Screenshot from Buzzfeed

Screenshot from Buzzfeed Screenshot from Buzzfeed

Screenshot from Buzzfeed Screenshot from Buzzfeed

Symbolism of the ice cream sandwich 

There are two main reasons why we find fault with Bailey's listicle.

1. Dismissing the cultural experience of a whole people

Dissing the ice cream sandwich with a single scathing comment might be snarky and even entertaining for Bailey, but what he basically did was to denounce us as "f*ckers" for having a food culture different from his, while implying that his sandwiches and by extension, his British food culture, is more superior than ours.

That's not very different from being racist.

2. Not being culturally sensitive to Buzzfeed's global audience

With BuzzFeed offices popping up in Japan and India, one would expect BuzzFeed to have better cultural sensitivities along with the accumulation of a global following.

But perhaps, as the company grew in size and popularity, they began to lose touch with their international audience instead.

With such listicles published on their site, they contradict their stated purpose of "creat(ing) and distribut(ing) content for a global audience" -- managing only to turn off and alienate their global audience.

And this listicle is one such prime example.


Not the first time

This is not the first time BuzzFeed readers have complained about culturally insensitive content created by the site.

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This video, where BuzzFeed staff members were tasked to try durian, came under heavy fire as many Asians accused it of imposing an unsolicited sense of shame on people who associate the fruit with their culture and identity.

That is not cool.

BuzzFeed is not entertaining its global audience with its culturally insensitive and ethnocentric content, that's for sure.

And in a latest update of the offending post, BuzzFeed seems to have realised that they had fouled up and replaced the ice cream sandwich with something else:




Top image: Screenshot from Buzzfeed

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