After receiving a slew of criticism from those in the Hindu community, concerning their new lunch boxes with the image of Lord Ganesh, Hakka Restaurant has now issued an apology.
In a post on its Facebook page, it said that the use of the image of Lord Ganesh, as well as the image of Buddha, was recommended by their Head Chef who came from India.
Hakka said that “the motivation behind the use of Lord Ganesh’s image was in keeping with his original intention to bring joy, wisdom and peace to our customers”.
However, the restaurant notes that its actions, “albeit innocent and done without any malice or ill-thought, were insensitive, unthoughtful and plainly wrong”.
Hakka Restaurant says it is redesigning new boxes without any reference to religious symbols, and these will go into circulation by the end of next week.
For the time being, it says white unbranded boxes will be used.
The following is there full statement:
We, at HAKKA, firmly believe in and strive in all our endeavours to promulgate and promote respect, tolerance and equality for all people, irrespective of religion, race and ethnicity, as is reflective in our diverse work force. We are particularly mindful of the cultural differences of our all clientele and value our customers, who we consider as our family and treasured guests.
From the inception of our blessed establishment, we have tried to follow the philosophy Atithi Devo Bhava, which embodies the traditional Indian Hindu-Buddhist culture of treating our guests and patrons with reverence, consideration and kindness.
We must emphasize that our intention was never to offend anyone whatsoever.
By way of explanation, which is by no means an excuse for our actions, we wish the public to know that the inclusion of Lord Ganesh and Buddha as part of our design was merely to recognize and symbolize the Indo-Chinese influence of our unique cuisine. The use of this imagery as part of our branding was also a recommendation from our Head Chef who traveled all the way from India to share his exceptional culinary expertise with the people of Trinidad & Tobago. He, together with HAKKA’s founders, intended and wished only to create an establishment that was all-embracing and evoked a sense of calm, serenity, joy and feeling of well-being which its beloved customers could partake in and enjoy.
We understood then, Lord Ganesh to be the God of beginnings and so we used the symbol as a form of blessing when opening each new branch of our establishment.
The incorporation of the imagery on our food packaging was nothing more than an innocent, kind gesture in honour of our Head Chef’s memory after he sadly passed away suddenly. Further, the motivation behind the use of Lord Ganesh’s image was in keeping with his original intention to bring joy, wisdom and
peace to our customers.
We now recognize and wholeheartedly appreciate that our actions, albeit innocent and done without any malice or ill-thought, were insensitive, unthoughtful and plainly wrong.
We understand now that our unintended wrongdoing has caused irreparable harm to members of the Hindu community. However, to show our genuine remorse and regret in the hope that we can repair relations between us and those members of the Hindu community, we have taken the following immediate steps to treat with and address this most pressing and sensitive issue:
1. New boxes are being redesigned without any reference whatsoever to religious symbols. These boxes
will go into circulation by the end of next week latest.
2. White unbranded boxes will be stocked at each of our restaurants until the newly designed boxes are
available to us.
We again sincerely apologize to the people of Trinidad & Tobago for our erroneous inconsideration and more so to our Hindu family and friends who have been aggrieved by our offensive, albeit unintended, actions.
We stand firm in assuring you that this wrong is being remedied forthwith.
We pray and hope that you will forgive our error for we are truly and deeply sorry.