It should be common sense not to trademark a popular dish, but I guess common sense is just not common enough nowadays.
Harimau menangis can almost be seen as a Malaysian staple dish, despite its Thai origins, since it’s commonly available at kenduris and other social gatherings. The dish is essentially lean cuts of marinated beef served with a spicy and tangy dip.
Since it’s so well-loved, the dish is sold at many hawker stalls and vendors.
Now that the pandemic has warranted yet another MCO, many small business owners are feeling the pressure after having just recovered from the previous lockdown. Most are probably gearing up to start marketing their mini F&B businesses since selling food brings staple income even during hard times.
However, entrepreneurs who aren’t feeling a sense of impending doom are multi-millionaires within the Neelofa family tree.
Making matters more interesting, Datin Noor Kartini, Neelofa’s mother, has since gone viral for trademarking the name, Harimau menangis which will inhibit any other business owner from using that phrase despite it being the common name for the dish.
In the clip, she can be heard saying, “Letaklah Harimau mengilai ke, Harimau mengandung ke, Harimau kentut ke,” which roughly translates to different renditions of Harimau menangis.
Check it out below:
dh trademark lah. pic.twitter.com/jITuRU1DPH
— sayangfura (@BafouraBakery) January 12, 2021
Once this video began circulating Twitter, netizens were quick to share their two cents on the matter.
Some even resorted to likening the family to the opportunistic and greedy Kardashians. They might not be far off…
For a woman of such elite stance to mooch off a common dish that has been around for decades by trademarking it is a clear portrayal of abuse of power.
While others have speculated that perhaps the Datin only trademarked the stylised font instead of the name, the things she said in the video could imply otherwise.
According to guidelines, we are not allowed to trademark commonly used words and ‘Harimau Menangis’ is one of them. MYIPO has yet to release a statement regarding the matter but the fact that the Datin even attempted to stop small businesses from marketing their product the way it should be marketed is enough to warrant backlash.
Don’t just take it from me. Here are some responses from Twitter netizens:
Jahat and selfish.
1. You’re not the first one to use it. You didn’t create the name.
2. Orang lain yang dah guna tu terpaksa tukar nama? Walau business dah bertahun? Cost nak tukar nama business (company registration, signboard etc)
Boycott je lah dia ni punya. https://t.co/r5Cj70930G
— ❖ ❖ (@faliqfahmie) January 13, 2021
This is so vile, from the way she mocks them to the way she laughs bcs she doesn’t care. The audacity for the super rich to halang orang lagi susah from them to berniaga is sick. https://t.co/cj7rA8DWrE
— Kaisah (@SKaisahH) January 13, 2021
Aku rasa dia apply je TM tu. myIPO will surely reject it. You can’t register a trademark that has common words. https://t.co/ivmadMr52c
— Ashraf (@AshrafAriff) January 13, 2021
Okay. Saya menyeru B40 dan m40 supaya tidak membeli produk buli rakyat marhaen seperti ini. Beli la harimau mengilai ke harimau teresak esak ke harimau crying ke. Cakap sambil gelak gelak pulak tu. Orang mana lah ni, menyusahkan peniaga kecil.. https://t.co/Fge6FJTime
— Presiden J-KOM (@pedoqpop) January 13, 2021
Trying times call for compassion, generosity and togetherness. This act of greed is the exact opposite and recalls that time when Metallica wanted to copyright the E and F chords, except that turned out to be an internet hoax and this is real life. It’s time we rebuke the elites who not only make fun of our struggles but also play part in exacerbating it.
Support your local small businesses. Pay no mind (and no ringgit) to those who are already well-off without your hard-earned cash.