Taoist devotees concerned about Halloween costumes on Qoo10, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Taoist devotees concerned about Halloween costumes on Qoo10

This article is more than 12 months old

E-commerce website Qoo10 is looking into Halloween costumes depicting Taoist deities sold on its site, following concerns raised by devotees.

Qoo10 said last Friday that the company's relevant teams "have already been notified to urgently review the items in question".

Taoist devotees voiced concerns about the costumes' listings, saying that they are disrespectful and inappropriate.

The costumes are based on two Chinese deities, called heibai wuchang in Chinese, who are worshipped by Taoists as guards of the underworld.

There are a few listings of the costumes for adults and children on Qoo10's Singapore online site. They feature long-sleeved robes in black or white and another version with an additional long red strip that resembles a tongue.

Master Lee Zhiwang, president of Taoist Mission (Singapore) told The Straits Times that the Halloween costumes being sold online was a serious matter to devotees, and several had complained to the organisation in the past few days.

"We should not take this as a joke but treat (the deities) with great respect. Their portrayal in shows or in any form of media should be done in a strict and careful manner," he said.

When contacted last Friday, Qoo10 said that, to the best of its knowledge, the company had not received any complaints about the costumes.

A spokesman said listings on its site that were clearly illegal or not approved by government agencies would be taken down by its team and software system. But for cases which involve cultural and religious sensitivities, the spokesman said that the matter "becomes far from straightforward".

"It is not for us as the platform to govern with a heavy hand what can and cannot be sold. If flagged internally, this is still very much a societal issue that needs to be discussed on a case-by-case basis by internal teams to determine if we need to disallow such products from being sold," he added.