Singapore retailer sorry for ‘inappropriate’ Deepavali video mocking Indians

Scenes from Dear19.co’s Deepavali livestream. Photo: @imwendytong/Instagram
Scenes from Dear19.co’s Deepavali livestream. Photo: @imwendytong/Instagram

A social media manager and local clothing retailer last night apologized for a promotional video in which three Chinese women dance mockingly to a Hindu religious song. 

Wendy Tong and online fashion retailer Dear19.co yesterday issued statements of contrition after the video of the women poorly miming traditional Indian dance circulated online. Tong did not specify what exactly she was apologizing for while the retailer acknowledged its “inappropriate actions and misuse of music choices.” 

“I would like to sincerely apologize for what I have posted on my Instagram yesterday,” Tong said. “I am insensitive and did not understand the culture well before using it as an example.”

She went on to explain how she usually posts content that catches her eye and that it was not her intention to mock or insult any religion. 

“Thank you for pointing it out to me on my mistake and allow me to reflect on my action. Because of you, I have learnt to be more careful and sensitive in the future,” she added. 

The dance was filmed as part of the retailer’s regular livestream on Thursday, as thousands of mostly Hindus around the world celebrated the Deepavali festival of lights. The women were seen laughing while doing the head bobble. A clip of the dance was reshared by Tong as a case study for a livestream that “really stands out from the crowd,” by featuring: “friendly hosts, good products, entertainment.” 

“The livestream was hosted as part of our regular daily livestream sessions, however, since it was on a festive day, we decided to celebrate it by incorporating some music and dance move but we realised where we had gone wrong,” the women’s clothing retailer said. 

It added: “Like many of you had pointed out, we could have executed it differently while still being respectful. We realize our mistake and we would like to apologize to everyone. Thank you for educating us and holding us accountable for our actions.” 

Another local business was also criticized for mocking Indians last week. Fitness chain F45 had shared a video of two gym goers exercising while shaking their heads sideways in a brief “Happy Diwali” video. The chain later put up an apology that briefly lasted in its Instagram “stories” saying that it was never its intention to “make fun or hurt anyone’s feelings.” 

“We are very sorry for the mistakes and we hope to seek your forgiveness,” it added.

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