When Dua Lipa was attacked online by Malaysians in March over a misunderstood Instagram caption, she took the high road and deleted it without comment.
The London-born pop sensation had posted a picture of her father to wish him a happy birthday. In her caption, she referred to him as ‘babi’, which means ‘dad’ in Albanian.
As (bad) luck might have it, ‘babi’ also means ‘pig’ in the Malay language, sparking outrage among Malaysian social media users.
Many mocked and chided her over the use of the word ‘babi’, with one commenter going as far as to say that she should have looked the word up on the translator if she didn’t know what it meant, according to Malaysian news website The Coverage.
The 23-year-old eventually caved in to the criticism and quietly changed the word to ‘Dad’, choosing not to comment on the incident – until now.
“It was actually quite mean on their behalf, because obviously I’m not talking in Malay,” she said in a recent interview with fashion magazine L’officiel.
“I speak another language as well, and the language that I speak with my parents is my heritage. I would like that to be respected.”
Many fans expressed their support for her on social media and called the naysayers out on their faux pas.
I’m here for @dualipa calling out Malaysians for being insensitive, ignorant and bottom line RUDE. The real babi here is y’all.
— 𝖍𝖆𝖗𝖎𝖙𝖍 (@alangduda) April 10, 2018
A petition for Dua Lipa to start with a ‘Apa khabar, Babi!!’ greet at her KL Live show https://t.co/wF7ZNM25E4
— ultra ancient beam (@yesterdhir) April 10, 2018
Some said that the recent Rendang saga on Masterchef UK was “fair” because of the way Malaysians had treated this incident.
first malaysians call out dua lipa for using her own language word babi, and then british masterchef faults a malaysian contestant for doing nasi lemak her own cultural way… maybe the world is fair after all
— Ryan Ch’ng (@47RyanChng) April 4, 2018
Despite her supporters urging her to cancel on social media, there has so far been no sign that Dua Lipa’s Kuala Lumpur concert on May 3 will be cancelled.