Driving the news: Jocelyn Chia, a stand-up comedian has become an overnight sensation on social media for her critical jokes against Malaysia in her show entitled Singapore vs Malaysia on the Comedy Cellar, a US-based show that was aired on the internet.
What was the content?
The stand-up comedian, Jocelyn Chia first joked about Malaysia being a developing country that was far behind Singapore, 40 years after the island nation was “dumped” by Malaysia in 1965.
“My country, Singapore, after we gained independence from the British, we were a struggling little nation.”
“In order to survive, we formed a union with a larger, more powerful country, Malaysia.”
“When my prime minister went on TV to announce that you guys had dumped us, he cried because he thought we were not going to survive without you.”
“But then, 40 years later, we became a first-world country.”
“And you guys? Malaysia, what are you now? Still a developing country.”
Chia then crudely references the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 tragedy in a joke about Malaysia seeking to re-establish ties with Singapore.
“Why haven’t you (Malaysia) paid me a visit in 40 years?,” she says in a monologue.
In another voice, she replies: “I tried, but you know, our airplanes can’t fly,” she says as a graphic of a Malaysia Airlines plane flashes on the screen.
Jocelyn then added, “What, Malaysia Airlines going missing is not funny, huh?”
“Some jokes don’t land,” she says in an apparent reference to Flight MH370 which went missing in 2014.
What they say?
Intan Maizura, family of MH370 victim: My son Muhammad is still crying over the loss of his Papa who was a flight attendant on MH370, and here you are making fun of the tragedy.
Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir: This video also clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries that are known for their manners and morals.
Harith Iskander: I respect the freedom of expression that we comedians require to do our job. But it is equally important to exercise some level of sensitivity and empathy when doing certain material, especially topics that are deeply personal or tragic.
Kudsia Kahar: Not acceptable. A good standup never turns tragedy and deaths into a joke.
Syed Saddiq: Whatever it is, let’s not allow one bad seed to tarnish our whole outlook to our neighbour. Take it as a lesson to never take lightly of other people’s misfortunes.
Singapore’s Foreign Minister in response to Syed Saddiq’s tweet:
Singapore’s High Commissioner Vanu Gopala Menon issued a statement on the High Commission’s Official Facebook Page:
I am appalled by the gratuitously offensive comments made by stand-up performer Jocelyn Chia. The Singapore Government does not condone words or actions that cause harm or hurt to others and Chia, who is no longer Singaporean, does not in any way reflect our views. I sincerely apologise to all Malaysians for her hurtful remarks.
As our closest neighbour, Singapore and Malaysia enjoy a strong and multi-faceted relationship, with deep and cross-cutting ties. We also have unique historical and close people-to-people ties. Comments such as those made by Chia are unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy.
Jocelyn Chia goes dark with all her social media, with all of them seem deactivated. However, her official website is still active.