David Beckham faces backlash for speaking Mandarin in micro-movie about egg tarts in Macau

People online have criticised the star for speaking China’s official language in the short film, and not Cantonese which is widely spoken in Macau. In the video by the Sands Resorts Macao, he goes on a quest to find the best egg tart

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 1:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 6:18pm

With a population of 1.38 billion people, tapping the massive China market is the goal of many brands. But a new micro-movie from Sands Resorts Macao featuring its brand ambassador and ex-soccer star David Beckham has drawn criticism online because he speaks Mandarin, the official language of China, and not Cantonese.

In Macau and Hong Kong, which have a combined population of 8 million Cantonese, which is a Chinese variant, is widely spoken.

The advert set in Macau, features Beckham and film stars from China and Hong Kong including Qiao Shan, Lam Suet and Helena Law, on a quest to find the perfect egg tart – a delicacy of Portuguese origin for which Macau, a former Portuguese territory, is famous.

Cantonese is the mother tongue of Hong Kong, no matter how much Mandarin you hear

Internet users who left comments on Beckham’s official Facebook page were not impressed with his language choice.

“Our mother language is Cantonese and we write and read traditional Chinese. I know that you should not be involved in the complicated political issues and culture conflicts in Hong Kong and Macau, but this advertisement shows nothing about Macau at all,” wrote one user.

Mandarin is written using simplified Chinese characters, whereas Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong and Macau use traditional Chinese characters.

“I don’t mind speaking Mandarin. However, if a British [person] wants to act as friendly and close to local Macau people, please speak Cantonese. Otherwise I would prefer you just spoke English,” wrote another.

Another stated: “I know that you just follow what others say and spent a great effort learning Mandarin ... but this advertisement really makes me upset.”

Another wrote: “David, why did not you speak Cantonese? The local language in Macao is Cantonese.”

You could never replace Cantonese as the language of Hong Kong 

In similar vein were comments such as: “Hello David, why don’t you speak Cantonese? Because Macau and Hong Kong people all speak Cantonese,” and, “I would rather you speak English instead of Mandarin in the whole video.”

One commenter had a few things to say: “Dear superstar sir – the money-friendly David Beckham, regarding the Venetian commercial, here are few things I want you to know.

1. We (Macanese) speak Cantonese or Portuguese only!

2. Portuguese egg tart & traditional egg tart are two different things!

Please respect our culture while you’re making friends and money from mainland [Chinese]! SINCERELY YOURS.”