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Singaporean lawyer-turned-comedian faces backlash for insensitive jokes about MH370 tragedy

While Malaysians and Singaporeans occasionally engage in lighthearted banter, teasing each other on Malaysian food better or Singapore having a stronger currency, the overall relationship between the two nations remains strong. In fact, many individuals have friends and family on both sides of the Causeway.

However, Jocelyn Chia, a lawyer turned comedian originally from Singapore, found herself facing criticism from Malaysians and even her fellow compatriots for making the wrong roast: poked fun at MH 370 tragedy, saying “some joke don’t land.”

On Tuesday (6 June), Chia shared a clip of her performance at New York’s renowned Comedy Cellar on her social media platforms.

At the beginning of the video, Chia briefly mentioned Singapore’s history and how, after gaining independence from the British, the country faced challenges and formed a larger union with Malaysia in order to survive.

When Chia discovered that one of the audience members was from Malaysia, she suddenly resorted to using vulgar language, saying, “f*k you, a**hole.”

She then proceeded to make jokes about Malaysia being the one to leave Singapore, but now finding themselves in a struggling position.

“When my Prime Minister went on TV to announce 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…”, she added, “Isn’t it the best break up revenge?

In the following parts of her act, Chia continued to mock Malaysia, portraying them as a clingy ex trying to revive the relationship with Singapore.

Chia mockingly asked, “Why haven’t you (Malaysia) paid me a visit in forty years?” and then impersonated Malaysia, responding, “I tried but you know our airplanes can’t fly,” making a tasteless reference to the MH370 incident that occurred nine years ago.

Chia’s remarks received disapproving glances from the audience, to which she cheekily replied, “What? Malaysian airlines going missing is not funny, huh?”

“Some jokes don’t land. This joke kills in Singapore.”

“They don’t have internet, huh”

When an audience member told Chia would undoubtedly receive a negative review, Chia appeared unfazed by the prospect of receiving criticism from Malaysia. In fact, she made a sarcastic remark, saying, “It’s okay, they don’t have internet, huh.”

In her description, Chia further mentioned that the particular bit was intended as a tribute to Singapore’s founding father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, who played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s development. She regarded it as the form of “revenge” for the two nations “breakup”.

Chia faces backlash for insensitive comments

MH370, the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared on March 8, 2014, was an international passenger flight bound for China from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Tragically, the flight carried 239 passengers, and to this day, all of them remain missing.

Chia’s recent remarks have drawn significant criticism from Malaysians, as well as fellow Singaporeans, who consider her comments to be highly insensitive.

A concerned netizen, commenting on Chia’s Instagram, rightly pointed out that many victims and their families are still experiencing the ongoing pain of the MH370 tragedy, and making jokes about it is highly inappropriate.

“this is not funny…at least have some sympathy…these kinda jokes are hard to digest for victims family..its case sensitive. ”

A netizen strongly criticized Chia, stating that her comments reflected a lack of humanity and empathy.

“I have a friend on that plane who has a 5 months old baby.That baby never got to see his father again.”

Chia defended that “tragedy plus time = comedy”

Another comment reminded Chia that tragedy should not be treated as a subject for jokes.

However, Chia, quoting the saying “tragedy plus time = comedy,” defended her remark and showed no remorse, argued that enough time has passed since the incident, probably implying that it is now acceptable to make light of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, a netizen claimed to be a Singaporean, commented that a police report was made about Chia’s hate speech.

Another Singaporean took to Facebook and expressed his disapproval of Chia’s remarks. They stated that the jokes made about Malaysia, particularly about MH370, were not funny at all.

“Familes and friends still moan the lost of their loved ones. And we think we are a first world country when we pay hundred thousands of dollars for a piece of paper just to buy a car.”


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