A themed dining experience in Bali has been cancelled after many were offended and outraged by the theme and menu.
A dining experience that was organised by both Bogaria (an Indonesian company that produces frozen food) and Joshua District (an on-trend restaurant complex located in south Bali) – was supposed to take place on the 24th of May but has been cancelled entirely.
The event received severe criticism online for two main reasons. First, it was named “Raskin” which is also the name of a food assistance program run by the Indonesian government that gives low-income families access to rice for a below-market price.
And secondly, because the dining experience’s five-course menu – which the organisers called a re-interpretation of “what is called ‘food for the poor’” – consisted of simple everyday dishes (that low-income families are practically forced to live on because they are cheap to make) plated up fancily.
When Bogaria and Joshua District first announced Raskin, many took to Instagram and Twitter to voice their outrage at how the event seemed to be fetishizing and romanticising poverty. One Twitter user wrote, “It’s so stupid the idea of “Raskin Dining Experience”…” while another tweeted, “‘Let’s experience poor people’s diet in a fancy way,’ what’s up with the behaviour of the Indonesian middle class?”
After such severe backlash, Bogaria and Joshua District officially cancelled the Raskin event and recently took to Instagram to apologise.
“We didn’t know people would get offended by [Raskin], since it wasn’t meant to cause any harm, it was meant more as a culturally educational food experience. We officially cancelled the event since we think it would cause more harm than good at this point.
We would like to apologise to anyone who misunderstood the meaning behind our concept and got offended by it.”Bogaria & Joshua District
However, Instagram users are now criticising the apology too. One user commented, “Wow. What a non-apology by a bunch of people who think their idea of capitalizing on poverty is groundbreaking. Gtfo,” while another wrote, “Come on, this is far, far from [what] an apology should be…”
Yikes. It’s giving off serious “let them eat cake” vibes… but, you know, with rice.