Communist kitsch, comic or clueless?

By The Economist online

HIPSTER-STYLE Vietnamese food has become popular in Australia of late. But a Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane was forced to change its name from “Uncle Ho”, after Australian Vietnamese picketed it as an insensitive slap to the many who had lost family or fled their country thanks to the communist dictator and the North’s conquest of Southern Vietnam. Before the name change, Uncle Ho was a kind of Marxist Colonel Sanders in replica propaganda art on the walls. After the furore, the restaurant became Uncle Bia Hoi, and is now Aunty Oh.

Communist kitsch is nothing new in Australia either. In Sydney a now-gone bar called Starlyn had a Soviet theme and attracted criticism from those who found the joshing references to a murderous tyrant in poor taste. Drinkers have been able to sip an Imperialist Running Dog cocktail while gazing at Chinese propaganda on the walls for nearly 15 years at Melbourne’s Double Happiness. There have been no protests at Double Happiness—but Chinese migrants do not have the same history as their Vietnamese counterparts do. Bui Cuong of the Brisbane chapter of the Vietnamese Community in Australia told…

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