Friday 22 March 2013
For several years Crazy Noodle Bar was one of our favourite restaurants in Newmarket. It served cheap tasty Hong Kong cafe food --- a mix of Chinese dishes and Chinese-style Western dishes. Last year it went on hiatus for six months and moved to another building a few blocks away. When it reopened, the menu quickly evolved away from its previous incarnation although there was still a resemblance and it was still pretty good.
A more disturbing change was the new decor, whose distinguishing feature was retro posters of Chairman Mao. He's an iconic figure in China, but he's also one of the top three most murderous dictators of the 20th century, so not someone I want to see celebrated. I put up with it.
It got worse. The staff showed up with Chinese military-ish uniforms, green with red epaulettes. Then last week, the name changed to Red Guard Noodle Bar. This is really the last straw. The Red Guards were Mao's vanguard of the Cultural Revolution, which was an awful and disastrous episode of Chinese history. I don't know what the proprietor of the cafe is thinking, but I'm not going back.
As an aside, I don't know why this isn't a scandal. Imagine the outcry if someone opened a "Stormtrooper Cafe" decorated with swastikas and pictures of Hitler and Röhm. I suppose it's because Mao mostly restricted his brutality to his own citizens.