I came across this advertisement for Aji-No-Moto brand monosodium glutamate (MSG) from a Chinese-language newspaper from Thailand in the 1950s.
It is called “The King of Seasonings” and the advertisement states that “only this type of seasoning can bring people benefits and no harm after they consume it.”
Hmmmm. . . I beg to differ. For the past year I haven’t been able to eat “tantan miso ramen” from a certain establishment because there was so much MSG in my noodles the last time I ate there that I thought I was going to die. My vision became blurry, my throat started to hurt. . .
In any case, what I find interesting about this advertisement are the “racially ambiguous” people in them. I’ve written about this before (here).
I think that what must have happened is that a prototype of an advertisement must have been made, and then that same advertisement was slightly altered in different places.
In the case of this advertisement, these people look to me like Europeans who have been “Asianized.” But then again, they could be Asians who have been “Europeanized.” Which came first??
In the end, I just feel like this woman should be working in a Bavarian tavern serving beer, and yet there she is smiling to Chinese in Thailand who are reading this newspaper because the MSG makes everything taste so good. . .