TODAY’s article on ‘unhealthy’ eating habits of Malays and Indians draws flak for obvious reasons

An article published by TODAY has netizens aptly outraged over the fact that its reporters pinpointed the traditional cuisine of Malays and Indians as the reason the two communities are ailed with diabetes, as compared to the food of the Chinese.

You can read the whole article here, but in case of TL;DR, the two writers (of Chinese descent) argued strongly that Malays and Indians in Singapore have to change their eating habits if they want to win a “war against diabetes”. Traditional methods of cooking their dishes are unhealthy, the journalists asserted, and it would be hard to change the mindsets of either communities.

Surely, TODAY had the intention of highlighting the health crisis that’s affecting Malays and Indians more than the majority Chinese community. But it’s arguably hard not to be affronted with divisionary sentences such as this:

“For them, unlike Chinese dishes, one cannot produce a healthier, yet still tasty ayam penyet or roti prata by simply using less oil, salt or sauce.”

From their perspective, it seems like the traditional methods of Malay and Indian dishes are the only reason why the communities are hit by diabetes. But they ignore other elements such as income levels, costs of living, portion control, education and the existence of unhealthy foods from other cultures.

The article received righteous criticism by netizens, who highlighted the blatant flaws in logic and the prejudiced stance in TODAY’s piece.

Reader Interactions


  1. We often hear people say, “Health is wealth.” So, we ought to be careful of what comes into the stomach.

    Various cooking styles and methods come about as people learn from their parents and grandparents through the generations. That is, all sorts of tasty food are developed through the generations.

    However, for the sake of our health, we should try new ways to cook and change the ingredients if necessary. For example, use low fat milk instead of coconut for laksa and curry chicken. Of course, the dishes will taste different, but it is worthwhile for the sake of health.

    We need to give priority to our bodily health instead of focusing on satisfying our ever-demanding taste buds. For example, it is healthy to eat bitter gourd but some people do not eat this simply because of the bitter taste.

    Frequently, you find that some types of tasty food is bad for health but many people still like to consume them. We know that it is not good to eat too much potato fries and yet many parents and children love this unhealthy food.

    Surely, it is important to be health conscious and be careful of what we eat and drink.

    As a rule, we should eat and drink in moderation. We need to remember that we ‘eat to live instead of live to eat.’

    Changing our cooking and dietary habits takes time but it is always worthwhile for the sake of our health and the health of our family members.

    Let us thank the authors of this article. In spite of likely criticisms, they took the brave step of highlighting these important facts because of their love for all people.

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