Whore of the Orient sparks racism row

Whore of the Orient sparks racism row
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

September 2nd 2013 at 12:00PM

Title 'attempts to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions'

Ex-Team Bondi developers at KMM have found themselves at the centre of a racism row in Australia over the title of its upcoming game, Whore of the Orient.

As reported by TheAge, City of Monash councillor Jieh-Yung Lo has branded the title “an attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions”.

The Whore of the Orient is a new game from Brendan McNamara set in 1936,who  once branded the game “one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century”. The name itself is a nickname for China’s Shanghai.

Moh argued that the O-word, rather than the phrase ‘whore’, was at the centre of his dispute, and said for many it had similar connotations to the N-word for African-Americans. He has also called for the game’s development to cease, or at the very least, have a name-change.

''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. That was a very bad time in China, and people don't want or need to have that dragged up.''

Lo also criticised government funding on such a project, after the developer was given $200,000 from Screen New South Wales for the game.

''Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship. We need to build greater trust and cultural understanding rather than promote division and negativity.''

In response to the matter, Screen NSW said it based its funding of the title on the creative integrity of the project, rather than the subject matter and game title.

It was revealed in June that the title was set to receive $200,000 in funding from a funding initiative set up by the Australian government. Before this, developer KMM was struggling to fund the detective thriller, and was believed to have laid off staff and even stopped working on the game.