africa, carnaval festival, china, efteling, eftelinguk, japan, muslim, racism
We were sent an article that was written on a blog called ‘a musliminah in NL’ which was about someone’s first visit to Efteling. It isn’t a long article, and the only attractions mentioned are Sprookjesbos and Carnaval Festival. The latter, all for the wrong reasons. The writer seemed to enjoy the ride, until they got to the Japanese section:
‘We reach Japan and suddenly the dolls all have slitty eyes and are fat (sumo wrestlers) and there’s this ominous ‘Asian’ music filled with gong sounds. And of course there’s more slitty-eyed geishas shuffling around.’
Then they go through Africa, and aren’t keen on how the dolls are black and are hunting animals.
‘It borders on being racist and isn’t it time to update the exhibits?’
You can imagine that this doesn’t sit well with us, but of course, we are biased! However, on the blog, it does state that the writer is ‘Muslim, Singaporean, politically Malay, historically a mix of Javanese.’ So maybe that is why they have a problem with only specific parts of the ride? I mean, maybe I would go in there and complain that not all British people are white, and not everyone is a soldier? How about the French? In their part of the ride, there is a prostitute on the corner, but the writer seems totally fine with this. Poor Germany is painted as a bunch of alcoholics, and apparently all Mexicans wear sombreros and ride donkey! That’s fine though. As long as the Asians and Africans are changed to be politically correct, then it’s all good!
They do also mention that they aren’t too happy about the figure in the middle of Monsieur Cannibale, but that is expected after their feelings towards Carnaval Festival.
Clearly this irritated us a bit. Carnaval Festival opened in 1984, and hasn’t been changed massively ever since. Political correctness was not in huge force then, and even still, do these dolls really offend anyone? How about Disney’s ‘it’s a small world’? Does that offend too?
If you’re going to Efteling, you are probably going there to have fun, so don’t take things too seriously; the things you see there are not intended to cause offence.
People shouldn’t pay too much attention to the writings of such individuals. In fact, I think it would be best not give it any attention on this blog / facebook page either. It’s not worth the debate. In my personal opinion this is plain childish. Am I to be offended by the mills and cheese? I could be if I’m “Looking to be offended”. Sumo wrestling is an icon for countries like Japan, just as mills and cheese are for the Netherlands. But people here don’t find themselves very much associated with these kind of icons.
I just think the person(s) feeling offended, should stay as far away from the Efteling as they possibly can, and let us enjoy every aspect the park has to offer.
We agree with what you are saying, just wondering if anyone had similar thoughts!
It’s not racist at all! >:0
Aren’t the dutch people in the ride all wearing silly outfists and carrying cheese? The ride is about clowns performing the stereotype of their countries, and even though they are all different, they live and dance together etc…
No racism intended
It is crazy what some people view as offensive!
I was just at the Efteling for the first time since childhood, and while I never thought anything of it as a child, I was definitely a little uncomfortable both at “Monsieur Cannibale” and at “Carnaval Festival” An update to these rides, if not immediately needed, would at least be welcome. I do question why some people (especially Americans) take issue with gongs and stereotypical “asian” music but when the giant buck teeth are combined with the exaggerated eyes it indeed screams: “1984, we don’t understand racial sensitivity” The same goes for the “jungle natives” a bit further on, complete with people in pith helmets as part of the safari dress. The same pith helmets that for so long typified the soldiers of the colonial armies.
All in all:
A little uncomfortable? Yes
Would an update be welcome? Certainly.
Should the ride be banned or closed if it does not receive an update? No.
Yes I think you’re right. I think we have to accept it in the context in which it was intended, since it obviously wasn’t put there to offend. I think it depends on how you look at it! As Efteling said, there, they portray women as evil stepmothers but it doesn’t mean that they actually think all stepmother’s are evil.