Whore of the Orient branded 'racial vilification' by member of Chinese-Australian community

Chinese-Australian community member finds game's name offensive; intends to make formal complaint to Human Rights Commission.

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Upcoming third-person action game Whore of the Orient has been labelled an "attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history, and traditions" by a member of the Chinese-Australian community, according to a report by The Age.

The claim, from City of Monash Deputy Mayor Jieh-Yung Lo, alleges that the game, which has been at least partially funded by government body Screen New South Wales, is offensive and does a disservice to cultural relations. So much so, he believes, that he intends to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, saying that the game's title constitutes racial vilification. Citing privacy laws, a spokesperson for the commission told GameSpot that it was unable to confirm whether a complaint had been lodged.

"It's the use of the word 'Orient', more even than the word 'whore', that is the issue," Lo explained. "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."

"'The most shocking revelation is that [game developer] Team Bondi received A$200,000 from Screen New South Wales to develop the project," he said later in the article. "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."

Responding to queries from The Age, Screen NSW told the publication that its role is to fund projects, not to dictate the tone or themes tackled as part of artistic endeavours.

"Screen NSW does not proscribe subject matter to content creators, including titles, but makes its funding decisions based on the creative integrity of a project and the expertise of the funding applicants," a spokesperson said. "'Whore of the Orient' is an historical nickname for the city of Shanghai."

While Jieh-Yung Lo has called for a halt to the game's development, he also told The Age that the ideal solution "would be a change of title."

KMM Interactive Productions, the game development arm of Australian film company KMM (responsible for Mad Max and Happy Feet) purchased the game's intellectual property and asset rights in 2011 from Team Bondi, the developer responsible for L.A. Noire.

Last month, a brief video of the game showing third-person cover mechanics, melee combat, and gunplay was leaked online. The game is reportedly targeting a 2015 release.

Discussion

1251 comments
Algearond
Algearond

Waaaah Waaaaah Wahhhh people will whine about anything these days.

When the mocking of Christians or Whites stops then I will care

TeamBuddies
TeamBuddies

Somehow "Escort of Asia" doesn't draw the same interest level. Forsooth, such insipidity would generate much hilarity among the gaming community.    

wavelength121
wavelength121

I am neither Chinese or Australian and I find it pretty offensive. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

Talking about using the word "orient": "That was a very bad time in China, and people don't want or need to have that dragged up" Okay? So we shouldn't ever bring up bad times in history, or what? They make the best and most dramatic settings. I'm sure some Germans don't like all the WW2-themed games, but it did happen and if nothing else - poetic license, you know.

BradBurns
BradBurns

But they don't even understand the context of the title. It was never explained.


I don't think it was meant to be offensive or raunchy. I think it was supposed to be something deeper, but then again I haven't really been following the game.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

The rancour this man claims to harbour is entirely subjective (not too mention culturally and linguistically ignorant in itself). The term in question, in company with "occidental", might justifiably be claimed to be Eurocentric, but hardly a racial vilification. The original article that appears in The Age is accompanied by a comment that points out the logical inconsistency most succintly...

"Australia is actually derived from the Latin word Australis, which means south or southern.
So i guess, by Mr Lo's definition, we should probably change the name back to New Holland or something?"

Hurvl
Hurvl

Wow, it took them that long to get pissed off about the name? I thought no one would bitch about it, which would be disappointing :P.

vasilymk
vasilymk

For the very same reason (sh!ts like this one who is offended by a f*cking meaningless words) my country is still recognized by UN like Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, just on higher moronic level.

l777l
l777l

Your stupidity should be matched with your own stupidity. Telling people to "do [their] homework" lacks about as much brilliance as is possible. Confronting you with a repetition of your stupid words does not increase their stupidity. They were maximally stupid to begin with. There's no aspiration to cleverness in reply, no need for it in this. Such utter stupidity as yours defeats itself.

sknight175216
sknight175216

I never get offended when people use the "n-word" because first of all, you're giving people power through a word, which is ridiculous. Secondly, get over it. It's a game. Words are just that. The title isn't attacking anybody. People are always looking for something to complain about.

Archiak
Archiak

Video games are considered an art form of sorts. You don't go to a painting exhibit and say "This painting is offensive, please get rid of it."  You don't have to play the game if you are offended by it, but just because it bothers you doesn't mean someone else will be. Keep your opinions as just that, opinions...

MikeDrawsALot
MikeDrawsALot

I'm more concerned about the casual misogyny in the title.

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

Someone had too much time on their hands. It's a historic nickname. And the game is set in the past. And seeing the comments I see that Orient isnt seen as offensive as the N word.

wongph
wongph

no wonder saints row 4 got banned at first...

gwd3987
gwd3987

So in Asian rap songs do they call their friends "Orientas"?


ju5tm4rc
ju5tm4rc

'Orientalism' is a recognised area of academic study, brought to popular attention by scholar Edward Said. It seems somewhat reductionist to argue that the word itself is offensive as this ultimately detracts from the larger social political issues at play. However, It is certainly possible to argue that the game (and title) in itself may be prone to 'orientalist' (in an academic sense) perspectives.  

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

Man, what is this country coming to! I'm half "oriental" and the only thing I find offensive is people like this "Mayor" generalising in such a spectacular fashion! What a pompous ass! 

sensesfail99
sensesfail99

of course SOMEONE had to cry about it....

tightwad34
tightwad34

Never knew that was ever an offensive term. I usually use the term Asian, but I've said oriental plenty of times with Asians in my presence and they never said a damn thing.

wongph
wongph

i thought they already remove all the history during cultural revolution

Jerrymedic
Jerrymedic

I have to say this sounds very offensive, mainly because when you translate that into Chinese, it felt and meant differently than in English. 

jonajacket
jonajacket

Orient or oriental was never a slur in the UK when I lived there for the first 23 years of my life. After 10 years of living in China, I can confirm that it is not an issue here either. It simply means, 'belonging to the east' for crying out loud.

I am going to start getting offended everytime someone says 'anglo-saxon' because it reminds me of the Italian oppression my ancestors had to put up with. 

YIGIF
YIGIF

Man I'm sooooooooooooooooooo tired of well off people, so concerned with the little bubble they live in, get a life already. 

But wait a minute, Jieh-Yung Lo has a life so why does he find it so pressing to ruin everyone's time to promote the agenda of a few, which by the way is simply a political gain on his part. I'm pretty sure there's far more greater ills facing chinese-australian relations and if something so small as the title of commercial product can greatly impact public relations then there is no relationship; it is, as I've said, purely political gain.


BTW are they willing to cover the cost to developers and artists contributing to this products development, I think we all know the answer to that.

gplayer5
gplayer5

Wow, this guy is really stupid. He's just in it for the money. I bet he really doesn't even care about the actual name of the game. I hope he goes bankrupt in legal fees. For the past 18 years I have been one of the very few white people to live in an all Latino neighborhood and race has NEVER been an issue. I'm sick and tired of people playing the race card. 

Takeno456
Takeno456

People get offended over the slightest things today. It is only really racist if someone tries to make it that way. Its a historical name for Shanghai that was really only used to describe a specific period of time in the cities history. So many of these "offences" come from a lack of understanding history as many modern "offences" often have historical roots. People need to calm down and worry about more important things.

rarson
rarson

Uptight people are always getting upset over words they insist on taking out of context.

Yes, context matters. Even when using "the n-word." After all, a word is nothing more than a sequence of sounds, so to become automatically enraged over the utterance of a certain sequence without any regards to context is asinine.

nait2k4
nait2k4

Now this is the kind of publicity you simply cannot buy. Someone put this random Chinese Australian dude on the marketing payroll.

jonnybutler11
jonnybutler11

@s_h_a_d_o I was going to say something around the lines of "people are ignorant and need to stop spewing their subjective egocentric bile" but I couldn't have put it better myself :P


Hurvl
Hurvl

@sknight175216 "People are always looking for something to complain about" That's really a universal truth, not only applicable to people of different communities, like the one this guy belongs to, but every community - especially the Gamespot community. Honestly, though, we do our best to vary ourselves, so that we're not only complaining, but hating and raging.

themc_7
themc_7

@Damnation_6 I had no idea that orient/oriental had negative connotations. I don't think North American's would be upset if a game called the pig of america came out

punches4lunches
punches4lunches

@ju5tm4rc Edward Said took the word Orientalism, which was more commonly used to describe Eastern culture in Western art, and altered it's meaning to fit his purpose. Your point is still valid, I just work in a college art department and wanted to clear that up. 

Zerabp
Zerabp

@tightwad34 It's def not an Offensuve term my wife is half Japanese and has no problem with the word oriental. To compare it to the N word is even worse considering there really are offensive terms just as bad as it, all used in place of oriental, while civilized society including those of Asiatic origin used the term oriental.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@jonajacket  I remember having joke books that were super offensive back in the day and they would include the WASP term. Man, those books were really, really offensive to just about every ethnicity. At least they were somewhat neutral.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@rarson Yeah, you can say what up my n-word and it's actually an expression of affection.

gplayer5
gplayer5

@rarson I seriously couldn't have said it any better myself. I wish all people could see it this way.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@nait2k4 Sorry, but I don't consider sweltering desert heat to be good weather.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Yatsukiii I was going to correct you, but no need.

nait2k4
nait2k4

@Yatsukiii @nait2k4 Regardless, G or not, I am offended and so you must delete it to protect my vulnerable sensibilities.