Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Patenting the Asam Pedas

Star Q
iii.  Sukantara

Some people have a stronger sense of belonging that they forget that the same thing can also belong to other people too.  The subject here is the (outrageous) idea of Malacca's Chief Minister to patent the Asam Pedas as one of Malacca's heritage dishes.

Two things immediately come to mind about this (impending) decision.  The first one is, is this dish so specific and indigenous to Malacca that it warrants being patented?  I feel that Malacca Asam Pedas is not the only version of Asam Pedas in Malaysia.  In fact many states have their own versions of this dish (I alone currently have three types of Asam Pedas dish in my blog!)  If the said Chief Minister is really persistent about patenting the dish, then he should patent it as 'Asam Pedas Melaka' which is then, more specific to the state.  Other states can follow suit by patenting 'Asam Pedas Johor' and 'Asam Pedas Perak', to name a few.

The next questions is how serious is this person in patenting all of the dishes there as Malacca's heritage dishes.  We will soon hear about patented 'Chicken Pong Teh' representing the Baba Nyonya community and "Chicken Curry Kapitan' representing the Portuguese community of Malacca, just to state as examples.

If that is the case, Kelantan should patent their 'Laksam' which then could cause a stir with the people of Pahang with their version of the dish.  And if Pahang were to patent the 'Patin masak Tempoyak' dish, they would have to face off with the Perakians with their version of the dish.  

I am just saying that we as Malaysians should not be so calculative as which dish belongs to whom.  After all we are all Malaysians eating Malaysian food.  If any patenting needs to be done, that the restrictions of replicating the dishes should be implemented outside of this country.  

We definitely do not want to hear about a Norwegian claim over Asam Laksa, when we know full well that Asam Laksa originates from Penang.  Or is it Kedah?  Then again, could it be Perlis?  See my point!

Indicentally, Curry Laksa is now so well-known in Australia that one day, it will not be so surprising to hear of a patented 'Australian Curry Laksa'!

Note : Examples given are merely to state writer's expressions.

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