US comedian Jocelyn Chia won’t apologize after backlash over ‘hurtful’ Malaysia joke

The comedian from the United States has caused outrage in Singapore and Malaysia by telling a joke about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in 2014, hasn’t he?

Jocelyn Chia, a comedian who was born in Boston and possesses both American-Singaporean citizenship, performed her routine at the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan during the month of April.

This week, social media users were infuriated after the club posted a clip of Chia’s joke, shedding light on the historical tensions between Singapore and Malaysia.

Although Malaysia has stayed a “developing” nation, Singapore has transformed into a “first world country,” emphasizing that the recently popularized joke delves into the historical division between the two countries.

Jocelyn Chia performing.
Comedian Jocelyn Chia sparked an international backlash after a clip of her Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 joke when viral.
Getty Images for The Asian American Foundation

She mentioned in the video, “Isn’t it funny that I’m not missing Malaysia Airlines?”. Furthermore, she added in the video, “I can’t fly on airplanes because of my visit to Singapore that I hadn’t imagined, and then she compared the breakup to a romantic split.”

She then joked, “Some jokes don’t succeed.”.

Jocelyn Chia onstage at the Comedy Cellar during the offending bit.
Comedy Cellar

One of the biggest mysteries in aviation history has been the disappearance of a plane, which vanished without a trace. The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China in March 2014 when it disappeared with 239 passengers aboard.

Two months later, a clip was posted when Chia and the Comedy Cellar drew significant laughs, but it also ignited backlash.

Chia had entertained at that location, and individuals who were offended from distant regions discovered the West Side Comedy Club, an alternative establishment, claimed that they were subjected to the possibility of receiving negative evaluations. Google published 4,000 reviews with a rating of one star after the website of the comedy club in Greenwich Village was compromised.

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The New York Times informed Noam Dworman, the owner of Comedy Cellar, that it is not possible to capture that exact moment on a small screen while you are enjoying your morning coffee. “You can express ideas that are somewhat shocking while performing on stage.”

The disappearance of MH370 has remained one of the biggest aviation mysteries ever.
One of the biggest mysteries in aviation history has been the disappearance of a plane, which vanished without a trace. The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China in March 2014 when it disappeared with 239 passengers aboard.
AP

The TikTok joke was taken down and classified as “hateful conduct,” which goes against the community guidelines.

Meanwhile, the United Malays National Organization, one of the largest political parties in Malaysia, marched to the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Friday to protest.

Additionally, Singapore has disassociated itself from Chia, who possessed dual nationality until reaching adulthood.

“Expressing his views, Vanu Gopala Menon, the High Commissioner of Singapore in Malaysia, stated, ‘The Singaporean authorities do not support language or behaviors that result in harm or distress to others and Chia.’ Menon further expressed, ‘I offer my heartfelt apologies to all Malaysians for her offensive comments, as they do not align with our perspectives.'”

However, Chia, who mentioned that she has executed the routine numerous times, isn’t relenting.

The Malaysia Airlines joke has stoked backlash from both Singapore and Malaysia.
The Malaysia Airlines joke has stoked backlash from both Singapore and Malaysia.
Getty Images

She mentioned that the abridged footage omitted certain contextual details from her performance. Additionally, she stated that the two nations share a cordial competition and emphasized that there is no ill intention behind the joke.

Chia informed CNN that it was a risky move to have this particular clip being watched outside of the context of a comedy club. After careful consideration, I do acknowledge that I still support it completely when observed within the setting of a comedy club, albeit with a few conditions. I indeed uphold my joke.

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And as the debate continues to intensify, Chia stated that she remains unaffected.

She expressed how embarrassed she can be, but she loves seeing the best comedians at the Cellar Comedy. The audiences at the comedy club got behind me and I won, so I don’t want the haters to think that.

And in reality, the daring aspect has actually elevated her reputation in the American comedy sphere.

“I’m in no way canceled in America, in any sense of the word,” Chia said. “Now people want to come see me.”.

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