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Singapore apologises for ‘offensive’ remarks by stand-up comedian
Published on: Thursday, June 08, 2023
By: FMT Reporters
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Singapore apologises for ‘offensive’ remarks by stand-up comedian
Stand-up comedian Jocelyn Chia does not speak for Singaporeans, say foreign minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and high commissioner Vanu Gopala Menon.
PETALING JAYA: Singapore has apologised to Malaysia for the “offensive” remarks made by a stand-up comedian who used a US platform to run down the country, including with what netizens termed a “bad” joke on the missing MH370 aircraft.

Singapore’s foreign affairs minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said he was “appalled” by Jocelyn Chia’s “horrendous statements”.

“She certainly does not speak for Singaporeans. We treasure our ties with family and friends in Malaysia, and are sorry for the offence and hurt caused to all Malaysians,” he said on Twitter.

Singapore’s high commissioner to Malaysia, Vanu Gopala Menon, also said he was “appalled by the gratuitously offensive comments” made by 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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Foreign minister Zambry Abd Kadir condemned Chia’s actions for a “total lack of sensitivity and empathy” towards Malaysians, and the victims and families affected by the MH370 tragedy.

“This video clearly depicts behaviour that is contrary to the values of Asian countries. I believe this is not an act accepted by any country let alone a reflection of the official position of any government,” he said in a statement last night.

In a clip that has gone viral since yesterday, Chia is heard using profanities to insult Malaysia.

She also 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”.

Upon realising that a group of Malaysians was in the audience, she went on to berate them using profanities and with a serious look on her face, before bursting into laughter.

“Now you come saying hey Singapore, you are looking good lah. When we asked why you haven’t visited me in 40 years, you said your airplanes cannot fly. Malaysian airlines going missing is not funny huh? Some jokes don’t land,” she quipped.

Netizens, were quick to denounce her on social media.

Raja Mukhriz Raja Ahmad, who posted the clip on Facebook, called her “rude and disrespectful”, adding:

“She is ranting and running down our country. From her facial expression and gestures, she means to insult our country. Many in the audience were laughing at the joke.”

On Twitter, radio personality Kudsia_Kahar said:

“I am a huge supporter of stand-up comedians, especially from this region. IDC (I don’t care) that this S’porean (used profanities on) Malaysians because we make fun of them on stage, too.

“But I draw the line at turning MH370 into a joke. Not acceptable. A good stand-up never turns tragedy and deaths into a joke.”

Also on Facebook, Deju Amon said Malaysians have friends and family in Singapore but never talked bad about each other as they respect each other.

“We don’t need this kind of bad disrespectful bad jokes unless you desperately want to be famous. Do not cross Johor Bahru for fuel or whatever you need to get from our ‘still developing country’, jocelyn chia.”

On Twitter, @nslainakml said Chia had disguised insults as jokes. “Not funny at all.”

Also on Twitter, @nash_shariff said: “She’s a clown, real comedians don’t make jokes about people’s loss. Have you lost one? Do you want me to make jokes about it? I’m a Singaporean. Her attitude (reminds me) of those racist aunties who yell at me on trains. She has so many topics to choose yet she chose this.”

Taking to Twitter later, Chia said “people take jokes way too seriously”.

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