Woman complains after finding pork belly in halal section, S’poreans dish out common sense
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Living in a diverse society has its ups and downs.
On Feb. 22, Facebook user Salina Musa uploaded a photograph of a frozen pork belly package, which she claims in a caption to her post was found lying in the halal frozen section of a supermarket in Tampines.
You can see the post and the photo below:
“FROZEN PORK BELLY WAS FOUND AT HALAL FROZEN SECTION … NTUC SUPERMARKET AT BLK 475, #01-145 TAMPINES STREET 44, SINGAPORE 520475 NEED TO BE AWARE !!!”
Not halal to hold?
Salina continued her tale of woe in the comment section:
“Confronted the staff, but the reason given was still confusing. ‘Haram’ fridge was placed beside halal poultry. Lazy to open the ‘Haram’ fridge, just put it in the halal section. Stupid right!”
Someone pointed out that the pork appeared to be sealed in its pack, but Salina asserted that the outer packaging could have been exposed to haram (that which is not permissible by Islamic law) liquids:
Who’s to blame?
Perhaps inevitably, her comments sparked a verbal tussle with some other commenters.
Some commenters interpreted her post to be aimed at the supermarket staff for not being attentive enough to notice the pork product in the halal section:
Translation for the first comment:
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary, last minute customer decided not to buy the product, instead of returning it back to the right place, they simply chuck it anywhere they like.
Nobody, not us…try looking at the shelves of stuff near the cashier counter, it’s like someone threw the things there in a messy fashion.”
They pointed out that it was far more likely someone had absent-mindedly put the pork belly in the wrong section, after deciding not to buy it.
“It’s a joke if you believe that this is the staff’s fault. Very obvious that this is the fault of irresponsible customers.”
And even this diverse exchange:
Awareness vs backlash
One guy was concerned that her post might result in a backlash on the supermarket staff, who could be innocent.
Perhaps taken aback by the strong reactions her post was getting, Salina posted another comment clarifying that she did not intend to assign blame to the supermarket, but to “spread awareness”:
Accident or malice?
It’s true that discovering a pork product in the supposedly halal section of a supermarket would not be a pleasant experience for any Muslim.
It could be a genuine accident, where a shopper put back the meat in the wrong section.
It could be an act of deliberate malice, where some assh*le decided to put the pork in the halal section and hang around to film the reaction of a Muslim customer, later uploading the video on a racist forum and be hailed as a racist hero.
But either way, most of the commenters opined that it wasn’t necessary for Salina to post a pic on social media, complete with the address of the supermarket in all caps.
Perhaps the entire affair could be summed up by the comment below:
(This article has been updated at 2100hrs on Feb. 27 to include NTUC FairPrice’s response after we reached out to them for a comment.)
Said an NTUC FairPrice spokesperson:
“At FairPrice, we are mindful of religious sensitivity and requirements and would like to assure our customers that all Halal items are properly sealed and packed to prevent direct contact with non-Halal products. They are also displayed in different sections separately and divided by acrylic dividers from non-halal items. These practices are in place in consultation with an approved Halal consultant.
At Halal sections, we also put up customer notices in our stores to inform our customers to be considerate and keep halal and non-halal items separate. Our staff also conduct regular checks to ensure that non-halal items are not placed in the wrong section by shoppers.
Our investigation into this matter reveal that the chilled pork belly product pictured in the social media post at the store in question is stored in a chilled shelf some distance away from where frozen halal chicken is displayed.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind customers not to place non-Halal products in Halal sections and also encourage our customers to inform our store personnel immediately should they find non-Halal items placed at dedicated Halal sections.
Top image adapted from Facebook.