Vivian Balakrishnan Apologises For MH370 Joke By Comedian Jocelyn Chia
Singapore-born comedian Jocelyn Chia’s recent bit at a stand-up show in the United States has caused an uproar among Malaysians.
During her segment, Chia seemingly poked fun at the disappearance of MH370 back in 2014. The joke did not go over well with Malaysians across the globe, who slammed the comedian for her insensitivity.
This has prompted Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan to put out a statement on Twitter apologising on behalf of the country.
Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon also released a statement on Facebook condemning the comedian’s actions.
Singapore-born comedian Jocelyn Chia joked about MH370 during comedy set in New York
Jocelyn Chia, a Singapore-born comedian, recently had a stand-up show at the legendary Comedy Cellar Club in New York.
The funniest part was after my set the host asked the Malaysians how they got to nyc and they replied “Singapore Airlines” 😂🇸🇬
During her stand-up, Chia made commentary on Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965 and the differences between the two nations since.
She said while Singapore has become a first-world country, Malaysia is still “developing”.
The comedian proceeded to call this the best “break-up revenge” and how Malaysia is trying to come around after not “visiting” the last 40 years.
Then, she joked that the reason Malaysia has not “visited” is because their “airplanes cannot fly”.
“What? Malaysian Airlines going missing not funny, huh? Some jokes don’t land,” she said, seemingly poking fun at the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in 2014.
Her live audience had mixed reactions.
While some clapped and laughed, someone was audibly aghast, saying, “Oh my God.”
Comedian called out by Malaysians, Vivian Balakrishnan apologises
Many Malaysians were enraged by Chia’s frivolous insensitivity towards a tragedy that claimed over 200 lives.
One of them was Malaysia’s former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq. He tweeted on Wednesday (7 June), calling Chia’s segment “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,” he wrote.
He does not want this incident involving a “bad seed” to tarnish Malaysians’ outlook towards Singapore. “Take it as a lesson to never take lightly of other people’s misfortunes.”.
Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan replied to Mr Syed. He said that he, too, was appalled by her horrendous statement.
I am appalled by her 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.
— Vivian Balakrishnan (@VivianBala) June 7, 2023
“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.”
Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia does not condone such comments
Echoing Dr Balakrishnan’s sentiments, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon also released a statement on Facebook, expressing that he was appalled by the “gratuitously offensive comments” made by Chia.
He highlighted that the commission does not condone words or actions that cause harm or hurt to others.
Mr Menon clarified that Chia is no longer Singaporean, and does not in any way reflect Singaporeans’ 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,” said Mr Menon.
“Comments such as those made by Chia are unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy.”
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Featured image adapted from Jocelyn Chia on TikTok.
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