In a recent newspaper article here titled "Pork Floss Queen", a local bakery chain owner Katherine Quek claimed "pork floss" buns were created by her. Here is an extract of the article:
"The popular pork floss buns that made the, Breadtalk, bakery chain’s reputation was not his idea. It was his wife of 23 years, Katherine Quek, who came up with the best-selling bun. Inspired by the pork floss porridge she ate as a child, she decided to pair the meat floss with sweet egg cream and soft white bread. When it was introduced in 2000, the bun sparked an immediate craze among diners and a copycat war among competitors."
As all my Taiwanese friends knows, "pork floss" buns have been around since forever in Taiwan – so how can someone make this kind of outrageous claim! Further it was revealed in the article that the owners had lived in Taiwan for a certain number of years commencing in 1986, so it is obvious where she got the idea from. It riles me that someone should try to take credit for something that is so obviously not theirs for the taking. Notice the photo of the buns taken from the company’s website – it has the audacity to claim "Flosss" originated by Breadtalk!
To my Taiwanese friends, you got supporters here in Singapore who quickly corrected the false claims – here are some comments sent to the paper:
"The bun definitely originated in Taiwan and I find it shameful that she had taken credit for creating it. I worked as a flight crew member for Singapore Airlines for 20 years and I always ate the pork floss bun whenever I was in Taipei."
"Back in 70s and 80s, when I travelled often to Taipei, pork floss bums were already on sale there. I would buy them by the dozen and bring them back to Singapore. So it was erroneous to say the bun was created by Mrs. Katherine Quek".
Here’s the response from Joyce Koh of Breadtalk to the comments:
"We would like to clarify that while Mrs Quek was instrumental in the creation of Breadtalk’s Floss in Singapore, she does not claim to have been the first to come out with the concept". Is that so Joyce? Mind reading what was written in the newspaper again, it sure did not suggest that Mrs Quek was instrumental in only introducing the product to Singapore but more Mrs Quek invented the product – "Inspired by the pork floss porridge she ate as a child, she decided to pair the meat floss with sweet egg cream and soft white bread." Also if the bakery is restating it’s claim, then how about correcting the photo on its website which clearly states "Flosss originated by Breadtalk 2000".
In the world we work in, claiming ideas to be ours when it isn’t is a common thing – happens in the work place all the time. However if one wants to claim unrightful ownership at least don’t do it on something that is so obviously not yours! In this case it was an outright copy – so perhaps if one wants to claim ownership in this instance, perhaps just add some special ingredient to the bun or change the shape or something. But just to take the exact original idea and claim it is yours is most shameful.