Cultural appropriation is never a good idea – especially if your knowledge of said culture is minimal to begin with. Case in point: someone actually tried to pawn off a traditional chamber pot (aka spittoon) – yes, the traditional toilet of old Chinese households – as a “1960s Chinese traditional fruit basket.”
Of course, it’s far from appropriate to have a spittoon on the dinner table – even more so when it’s sold as a “fruit basket” and even photographed with loaves of bread stuffed in it. Everyone who knows what it really is, is reeling right now. The post also recommended that users use it as a housewarming or wedding gift, with an accompanying photo of a champagne bottle in the spittoon – they’re making something used to store bodily waste as something “classy”.
To be fair, if you have no context of the product, this enamel product does have its unique aesthetic – a pair of mandarin ducks and the Chinese words symbolising “double happiness” is decorative in any household! But to describe it as a “fruit basket” that can “store any fruit” representing “traditional Chinese culture” sounds too weird.
The irony? Spittoons aren’t just used in Chinese households – in fact, you’ll find spittoons in Europe and the USA, and they’ve been around since the 19th century. If you disregard the Chinese motifs, all spittoons are shaped the same – tall bowl with a wide lip.
The best (or worst) part is that they have the audacity to charge S$72 for it, even when it’s a cheap everyday product (like your Good Morning towels). It currently sells on Taobao for just S$6.
According to Global Times, the hashtag “the other ways a spittoon is used” garnered over 50 million views and comments on Sina Weibo. While it does look pretty, we’d all be wary if any acquaintance sends this as a wedding or birthday gift to us!