STAND-UP comedian Jocelyn Chia who landed herself in hot water when she had mocked the MH370 tragedy in a skit is no longer a Singaporean, confirmed the nation’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon.
In a statement issued on Thursday (June 8) by the Singaporean High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vanu said he is appalled by the gratuitously offensive comments made by stand-up performer Chia in her 89-seconds long duration video.
“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,” Vanu said.
Vanu said both nations enjoy a multi-faceted relationship with unique historical and interpersonal ties.
“Comments such as those made by Chia are unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy,” he said.
At the same time, Singapore’s foreign affairs minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan also said he was appalled by Chia’s horrendous statements.
“She certainly does not speak for Singaporeans as we treasure our ties with family and friends in Malaysia, and are sorry for the offence and hurt caused to all Malaysians,” he tweeted in response to Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s earlier tweet.
I must say that turning a tragedy into a source of entertainment is just in bad taste.
But I have good faith in my fellow Singaporean friends, and I’m sure all of us deeply cherish our close relations as countries.
Whatever it is, let’s not allow one bad seed to tarnish our… https://t.co/Nj41f0LxpB
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) June 7, 2023
Syed Saddiq had taken to Twitter yesterday (June 7) to criticise Chia, saying that her need to turn a tragedy into a source of entertainment is just “in bad taste”.
“But I have a good faith in my fellow Singaporeans friends, and I am sure all of us deeply cherish out close relations as countries,” he added.
“Whatever it is, let’s not allow one bad seed to tarnish our whole outlook to our neighbour and take it as a lesson to never take lightly of other people’s misfortunes.”
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir similarly condemned Chia for the “joke”, saying that she showed a total lack of sensitivity and empathy towards Malaysians and the victims’ families.
“This video also clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries that are known for their manners and morals.
“I believe this is not a stance or action accepted by any country, let alone reflect the official stance of any government,” he added, adding that any such action or attempt should be stopped.
Meanwhile, renowned Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander called for comedians to practice empathy and be careful of sensitive sentiments when performing stand-up comedy.
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“As a comedian, I respect the freedom of expression 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 deeply personal or tragic topics.”
According to Harith, comedy could be a powerful tool for social commentary but it must be used responsibly.
“Comedians, as artistes, need to be aware of the potential impact our words can have. Comedy, like all art forms, is a subjective form of expression. That means what’s funny to one person may not necessarily be funny to someone else,” he said in a two-minute video posted on his Instagram yesterday (June 7).
Previously, a clip featuring Chia where the comedian had boasted about how Singapore was now a first world nation despite its then prime minister crying on TV after it was forced to leave Malaysia, which remains a “developing country” caught the attention of netizens.
The comedian made statements that included inappropriate jokes as well as references to the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2014.
At the time of writing, Chia’s website and Facebook page cannot be accessed while her Twitter and Instagram accounts have been suspended. – June 8, 2023
Main pic credit: Screengrab from NST TV