Monash Councillor Wants To Report 'Whore Of The Orient' To The Human Rights Commission

The rollercoaster that is the development of Brendan McNamara's Whore of the Orient continues. The game reportedly lost its publisher and suffered redundancies that led many to speculate that Team Bondi had closed. Later the studio was given $200,000 in funds from the NSW Interactive Media fund. Now, as reported by The Age, Jieh-Yung Lo, a city of Monash Councillor plans to report the game to the Human Rights Commission as a result of the games use of the words 'whore' and 'orient' in the title.

"It's the use of the word 'Orient', more even than the word 'whore', that is the issue," he said. "The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities. It's a 19th-century racial-colonial conception and it's especially painful for older people in the communities."

The NSW Interactive Media fund has responded, stating the title refers to an old nickname for the city of Shanghai.

But, regardless, Jieh-Yung Lo is looking for Team Bondi to change the title or cease development of the game. But he'd be happy, he says, with a simple change of name.

Head to The Age for the full story.

'Racially insensitive' computer game faces challenge over title [The Age]


Comments

    Really? That's the first time I've ever heard the term 'orient' being demeaning? Not saying the guy is a fruitloop but I guess I am saying that I think it's a little bit of an overreaction.

      I can understand why it might be slightly offensive to refer to someone as "Oriental", but the phrase "Orient"... um...?

        Unless he's going to report Maggi, Suimin, Fantastic Noodles etc for the same thing, then this guy needs to pull his head in.

          This exactly. Over-sensitive PC gland by the sounds of it.

        I hope he's aware that 'orient' actually refers to the middle east as well...

          I'm Lebanese so I'll be putting in a law suit of my own now.

      My first time hearing it too... but who am I to question someone's moral orient...ation? HIYO!

      I get really offended when I have oriental flavoured noodles

        No one ever thinks of the poor cows and the beef slurs. Should be bovine flavoured.

      I get if he was offended by someone questioning his sexual orientation, but this...

      Somebody has been reading too much Edward Said.

      Calling him a fruitloop would be offensive to fruitloops :-)

    My partner was born in Shanghai. When I asked her about the name, she said it was incredibly offensive. Basically a name imposed on the people of Shanghai from white colonialists when they were forcing opium into China.

    It's an old nickname in the same way that 'n****r' is an old nickname.

    Last edited 02/09/13 11:40 am

      I'm referring to the entire phrase by the way. I was only vaguely aware that the term orient was not preferred.

      A very fair point, it's not something any of us have considered really. The N word gets a lot more recognition due to its media publicity etc.

      But isn't the phrase referring to the city itself rather than its inhabitants?

        Yes, but from what I can gather the term itself comes from the view that the people their were somehow degraded. Little more than a receptacle for opium.

      This.

      It's not "whore" nor "orient" that are offensive.. it's the whole thing "Whore of the Orient".

    Of course it could be seen as offensive, I don't think orient is as offensive as oriental.

    Neither term however could be viewed as offensive or inflammatory in this context.

    "Orient" or "oriental" (as used to refer to a person, rather than something like "oriental flavours" on a stir-fry) is pretty offensive to quite a few people in parts of the Asian community- it was a big part of, as the councillor says there, the whole idea of mystical foreign people and their inscrutable foreign ways.

    I don't believe everyone would consider it offensive, and in this context they could possibly get away with it, but is there any good reason for them not to change it, especially given how unlikely it is at this point that the game will ever happen?

    sooooooo the orient express train is super offensive?

    If the word "Orient" is so offensive, why is one of the most expensive, and prestigious, train services still using the word "The Orient Express"?

      My thought exacly.
      Not to mention all the Books/Movies like "Murder on the Orient Express".

      Well it's an old company, which I'm sure would fight hard to keep their name. Same as the Redskins baseball team - Native Americans find it extremely offensive but they can't fight a massive entity like the MBL.

        Redskins is American football (NFL), not baseball (MLB). There's also the Cleveland Indians (baseball), though. And the Kansas City Chiefs (football again).

    I buy my Chinese food from "Oriental Delights".

    There's also an, erm, interesting "adult" establishment nearby called "Oriental Plums".

    TheMoreYouKnow.jpg

    Oh great, so now my Maggi 2 minute noodles are a deliciously unhealthy icon of old school racism!

      Coon cheese? Nigger Brown Stadium in Toowoomba? There's a few of them out there lol

        Well Coon cheese isn't offensive because it's named for a person (Edward William Coon), not some kind of racial epithet :P

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coon_cheese

          The term 'orient' isn't originally offensive either as it's a word that has been used to refer to the eastern world (in relation to Europe) well before it was used as a derogatory term by people.

            FYI words change meanings. They can become more or less offensive. The word "cunt" was used as a non-offensive name for female genitalia. There is a street in London called Gropecunt Lane. The word "fishmonger" was an insult that insinuated the person was the owner of a brothel. The word "Negro" used to be the preferred term for referring to the cultural background of someone of African descent. The word "gay" was originally a totally non-sexual adjective used to describe being happy or carefree.

            We can literally do this all day. Just because a thing wasn't offensive doesn't mean it isn't now. Just because a thing was offensive, doesn't mean it must be now.

              They change meaning to some people. While some are offended, as is evident even from this thread, many people never even realized the word 'orient' was used in a derogatory fashion.

              Nowadays words like "cunt" and "negro" are practically solely used as derogatory terms. Whereas the term "orient" is largely not a derogatory term to the majority of the world's population. Only to some.

              I for one have used the term in 3 different languages since I was a kid and never once did I use it in a negative context like this. So go figure.

                So who gets to decide the meaning of a word? You?

                If there is a large group of people who feel they are being personally vilified by a particular moniker, it is not your place to tell them that they are wrong. You can keep saying it all you like, just don't be surprised when people think you are a privileged ass for it.

                  i believe mike tamo's reply was actually in the spirit of the statement you made about how words can change meanings. these changes are not one way type deals. and yes, we do get to decide the meanings of words, words are but sounds before we give them meanings.

                  *grammar

                  Last edited 03/09/13 10:50 am

                  It isn't letting me reply to you for some reason.

                  He said it changes for some people and then implied that ignorance makes it ok. If you don't know something has become something of a derogatory term and someone tells you it is, you don't just say "Well, i didn't know and I don't think it is, so it isn't."

                  Anyone who didn't know now does. Referring to someone as "Oriental" is shitty. Don't do it. "Whore of the Orient" is a moniker that is deeply rooted in racism, imperialism, and an ugly history best not celebrated.

          I know lol. But, original origins don't matter apparently these days, it's just how the world wants to pick and choose how they see things. All the yanks I know (racial term there possibly?) arc up about Coon cheese. Then I ask them about when they call raccoons 'coons' as they regularly do... 'coon skin cap etc. They didn't like it when I asked if the 'coon skin cap' was made from cheese or something slightly more insidious.

            The word "fuck" is derived from the German "flichen", meaning to hit or strike (something). Does that mean you'd say it to children, your boss, your grandparents? Are you going to get upset at people not caring about where words come from and start throwing "fuck" around all over the joint?

              Again, that's different because the term "fuck" is known by practically everyone that uses it as a derogatory term. Whereas the term "orient" only by a group of people where it was used in a different context to what it originally meant or what it still means to most people.

              Ask most people, including those who speak other languages that use the same Latin derived word, and I guarantee you that most wouldn't even have heard of it being used in this negative context. Unless you were from that area of China or knew a bit about history.

              Last edited 02/09/13 4:39 pm

              That's a completely different situation. One's a racially derogative term used to put down a certain sect of people, the other, a vulgar word used by everyone in the world equally on all standings.

              In regards to 'fuck', there's no clear origin as to where the word came from, just suspected origins. There's many urban legend, the fornication one, the unlawful carnal knowledge one, all of which are crap.

              The earliest instance of the word in its current form is from 1535: "Bischops ... may fuck thair fill and be vnmaryit", from Sir David Lyndesay's "Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaits".

              The German ficken is close, but not guaranteed to be the actual origin, it meant something closer to itch/scratch before it evolved to mean making quick movements to and fro; the vulgar sense of the term is not attested until the 16th century.

              Other Germanic relatives and possible progenitors abound, though: Norwegian (fukka) and Swedish (focka) both had dialectal forms that meant copulate or strike; the Middle English fyke (itself probably from Middle Dutch fokken) meant both to fidget and to flirt

                My point wasn't a conversation about etymology. My point is that meanings change through popular usage. Just because a word wasn't offensive doesn't mean it can't be now and vice versa. It isn't your place to decide, especially when the word is used as a means of vilifying a culture.

                People from East Asia find being referred to as "Oriental" upsetting. If you aren't an insensitive tool who is more worried about the purity of a festering shitpile of a language like English than the feelings of others, you'll listen to them and adjust your language accordingly.

                I can't believe how many times I've had this conversation over the word "Jap". It's offensive. It doesn't matter where it came from, stop using it to refer to people!

                  as an oriental, i don't find being called an oriental offensive. as for your attack on the english language, the reason it is so beautiful is it's ability to adapt. not many languages are as flexible as this and as a result never evolve and i think that's important to mention in a thread of this nature.

                  Like I said in another part of the thread; if it doesn't offend you, that's fine. In fact, that's actually going to make your life a whole lot easier. that doesn't mean that others are wrong for saying they find it offensive and it doesn't mean they shouldn't be listened to.

                  My 'attack' on the English language was not so much hatred for my native language, but an attack on those who decry the loss of purity from not being allowed to use this word or that.

                  I've been an English teacher to native speakers of other languages for the better part of a decade. There's a lot I love about the language, but English is pretty much objectively terrible. Its grammar is overly complex and often entirely nonsensical. Rules have more exceptions than adherents. Etymology is a ridiculous mess of German, Greek, Latin, Gaelic, Old Norse, French, Italian, and several other smaller influences (which is partially why the grammar is so horrible).

                  English is the unwanted step-child of languages and after being beaten and locked under the stairs for so long, it's not exactly making a lot of sense in polite company. That does come with the advantage of being incredibly flexible and having easily the widest range of words of any language in use today. That strength is also the weakness of the argument above. There's no pure tradition. It all changes all the time, so you can't cry that someone asking you not to use a certain word a certain way is hurtful to the language.

    Honestly, I never understood the title of this game.

    It is pretty bad if you look at it properly.

      I think it's kinda supposed to be, I mean isn't the game a period piece set in the era the phrase comes from?

    The O-word

    You have got to be kidding me.

    Political correctness will be the death of us one day.

      Excuse me, but I fin the D-word very offenseive okay. I've known a few people who've suffered from it and it's not nice.

        Day? I suffer from it regularly. Around 12 - 14 hours regularly...

    It's times like these that I like to refer to the immortal words of Stephen Fry, international treasure and all around good guy:
    “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what.”

    Last edited 02/09/13 12:01 pm

      As much as I love Stephen Fry, he tends to get offended by people saying things about homosexuality being evil. That quote is a bit rich.

        Yes, but I don't believe he just whines about how he was offended by it. He does something about it instead (likely raising awareness over twitter or filming a documentary).

          How is telling people "I don't like being referred to as (offensive name). Stop it" not doing something about it?

          If something upsets you, can you go on Twitter? Yeah, sure. Will it reach millions of people who think that you are some sort of authority? I don't know, but I doubt it.
          I also doubt you can film a documentary on a whim.

          I love the shit out of Fry, but in this instance he's forgetting the privilege of fame, fortune, and the general adoration of half the English speaking world.

    Should I now be offended if someone says I'm "occidental"? I can understand the entire phrase being offensive, but just "orient"?

    What. I'm asian and I'm fine with people calling me Chinese, China Man(I prefer not because I am not from China), Oriental, Orient.

    Hell if I were Black I don't even mind people calling me nigger. Nigga foo!

    It's like calling caucasians, caucasians is insulting because that is what they are

    Last edited 02/09/13 12:05 pm

      Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. "Asian american", please.

      It's really hard to come up with derogatory white folk names. Whiteboy, snowflake, cracker... at the end of the day, someone is calling you white. And you take a look at yourself, reflect on that, and say, "Thanks! It is pretty awesome."

      At least, it's hard to do that in Australia, where there are so many... But if you then go overseas where there aren't any white people and the foreigners have some weird word for you that you don't understand but you get that it's probably not entirely flattering at best, and by GOD there's a lot of those people, and I hear their jails are pretty awful... In that case it doesn't probably feel as great.

        Yeah, that's the thing, racial slurs are usually an extension of discrimination or oppression it's hard for the privileged to feel either of those two. When I was living in the States I got called cracker and it rolled right off my back because as a middle aged white male, discrimination is so foreign to me. That's kinda why I get mad when white men try to downplay racism or sexism.

        Also, side note. It's really hard to come up with a derogatory term for Australians. I once traveled for a career and I came to the realization that Aussies seem to be loved by just about everyone. We're like the Michael J Fox of countries, no one has a bad word to say about us and people everywhere love Aussies and Aussie culture. I can think of so many insulting ways to refer to someone's nationality, pom, jap, lebo etc, but there exists no such term for Aussies.

        And I have a feeling if we did have a slur, we'd probably embrace it because one of our national traits is laughing at our selves, taking the piss and all round self deprivation.

      Just because it doesn't offend you, doesn't mean other people aren't allowed to be offended by it.

      Causasian has never been widely used as an insult.

    Yay, they finally got the press they so obviously wanted. As I pointed out in an earlier article on this game, the name is obviously being deliberately inflammatory. Historical references are a defence of the name, not the reason for why they would have chosen it.

    The most interesting part of the article to me is that apparently this game is still coming out.

      Yeah, I did not actually know that. ACCIDENTAL EDUCATION.
      The best kind.

      The game reportedly lost its publisher and suffered redundancies that led many to speculate that Team Bondi had closed.

      Before I address what you said Matthew K, I just want to clear this up, Team Bondi the studio HAS officially shut down. The company went into administration then the remaining employees voted to wind the company up, and it went into liquidation. Team Bondi as a company is gone.

      Now to Matthew K...Whore of the Orient was being developed by a small team that were still remaining at Team Bondi at the time of the closure. They were picked up, along with the rights to the game, by George Miller's KMM Interactive Entertainment, and this is where the game was being made. This seemed to come to a halt earlier in the year though when it became public that KMM could not secure a publisher and the remaining employees were let go.

      Presumably, KMM still has all of the assets and the work-in-progress game in the state it was in at the time of the redundancies, so work on the game could potentially pick up again in the future, but it's doubtful if many (if any at all) of the original team would be involved as they have all mostly moved on to other things now.

      Last edited 02/09/13 3:03 pm

    Man alive. Imagine if city councillors actually worried about the things they're supposed to like road maintenance and rubbish collection rather than trying to generate headlines for themselves by reporting things they don't like to the UN.

    They changes "jap pumpkins" to "kent pumpkins" cause of the apparent racism. NOW YOU KNOW

      which is stupid because 'jap' just stands for 'just another pumpkin'

        So it's 'just another pumpkin' pumpkin?

          pretty much!

          I was going to go buy one after i get some cash out from the ATM machine.

        And Kent stands for Know Everything's Now Terrible.

          that's funny, coz a lot of people here in western sydney say use "kent" as a publicly acceptable substitute for "cunt" hahaha.

          edit: that councillor is a dumb kent.

          Last edited 02/09/13 6:16 pm

    Certain terms change their meaning over time. This applies to the racial slur for African Americans. It is now seen as a term of fellowship or endearing among that community and even popular culture.

    Penn and teller did a really good piece on language. Its good to look up if you get a chance.

    A Australian example would be the phrase "fair dinkum" my understanding is that dinkum was what Chinese gold diggers would yell out when they struck gold. The aussies would come and beat them up and say that was fair dinkum. It now represents a exclamation of disbelief.

      Struth is shortened from 'God's truth' which was the equivalent of exclaiming JESUS CHRIST. My great grandma but whack us on the bum if she heard us saying struth. Thank God she never lived to see Steve Irwin's rise to popularity.

        These are two legit cool stories, bros.

        Not even taking the piss. History owns.

    seriously?!?! As a 28 year old Vietnamese man living in Glen Waverley (part of the Monash municipality) I'm am going to try and get as many votes as I can to oppose you.

    it is 2013. I can see how "oriental" can MAYBE be borderline offensive, but "orient"? And its a title of a game where most if not all of the "older asian people" who may be offended by the word "orient" wouldn't be playing anyway.

    Jieh-Yung Lo is wasting our familys rates and taxes on this?!?! Fix the goddamn parking problem in kingsway. It is ALWAYS someone of Asian descent who has double parked and blocked someone else in. Or maybe try to curb the gambling problem. Or try and save monash gardens instead of kicking out elderley residents under the city of monashs care

    Maybe the game's about a whore who has to face the correct direction.

    So I can only assume he's going to try and take down Maggi for selling Oriental flavoured noodles?

    Just like they Changed "Victory Over Japan" day to "Victory in the Pacific" day here, as It was offensive. You know what I find offensive? I find it offensive that we have to change all these things because someone else doesn't like it. Just like its offensive that we don't want them to forget what happened back then so as to stop it happening in the future they should teach WWII history and their role in it in their schools - well shit! Actually they don't, what a hum-didley surprise - they glaze over that period like it never happened, Both japan and Germany have a bad habit of doing that, but everyone is ok with that, right? Its only us "whities" that need to be politically correct.

      You know what i find offensive? People getting mad as fuck about having to change something that doesn't matter to them at all because millions of people are personally affronted by it.

      Nice completely ignorant generalisation about history, war, and the education systems of two countries you clearly know nothing about. When you actually know what the fuck you are talking about, you can stop shutting the fuck up.

    meh go ahead and make a report to the UN.. what they gunna do. nothing they cant even agree on the syrian crisis or palestein.

    Oh noes we just a strongly worded letter from the UN

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now