S’pore-Born Comedian Jocelyn Chia Angers M’sians With MH370 Joke


Most of the time, people might say laughter is the best medicine.

But not all the time.

Recently, Jocelyn Chia, a Singapore-born stand-up comedian based in New York City, learned that the hard way after making jokes about Malaysia.

And while casual jokes about who has better laksa might seem harmless, Chia’s jokes weren’t that simple.

In her 89-second-long routine, which was performed at Comedy Cellar in New York, she said phrases like “F*** you, Malaysia”.

She even joked about Malaysia Airlines’ MH370 flight, which was supposed to land in Beijing, China, but went missing on 8 March 2014.

Chia, a naturalised American citizen, had initially posted the clip of her performance on Instagram on 6 June but took down both the post and her Instagram account after attracting much criticism.

Routine Involved Her Talking About Singapore as a First-World Country and Mocking Malaysia

Before the MH370 jokes, Chia first started her performance by giving context about Singapore’s relationship with Malaysia.

“My country is Singapore. After we gained independence from the British, we were a struggling little nation.

“In order to survive, we formed a union with a larger, more powerful country, Malaysia,” she explained.

She also recalled how the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew cried on national television during the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as he had initially thought that Singapore would not survive as a small country.

Regarding the ‘gap’ between Singapore and Malaysia, Chia described it as the “best breakup revenge” and said, “40 years later, we became a first-world country.

“And you guys? Malaysia, what are you now? Still a developing country.”

Chia, whose now-defunct website states that she is a “lawyer turned comedian originally from Singapore”, also called an audience member out and asked if they were from Singapore or Malaysia before saying, “F*** you, assholes.”

Said “Some Jokes Don’t Land” After Making MH370 Joke that People Didn’t Find Funny

After joking about how ‘different’ Singapore and Malaysia are, Chia went on to talk about how Malaysia has been eager to reconnect with Singapore.


She then questioned why Malaysia has yet to visit Singapore in 40 years before saying, “I tried, but you know, our airplanes can’t fly.”

Chia also inserted a graphic of a plane from Malaysia Airlines in the video.

And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she was talking about Flight MH370, which disappeared almost a decade ago while carrying 239 passengers.

After making that ‘joke’, she followed up by saying, “What, Malaysia Airlines going missing is not funny, huh?

“Some jokes don’t land.”


Afterwards, she even said, “This joke kills in Singapore.”

Well… She might want to take another look at what, or rather, who’s the joke now.

Malaysians Angered by Jokes, Especially Those About MH370

Needless to say, many Malaysians were left enraged after what they felt were insensitive jokes about their country.

Ms Intan Maizura Othaman, whose husband was a crew member on MH370, wrote in the comments section of the video, “When you attend a show that features an incompetent lawyer turned unfunny comedian, this is what you get. Epitome of heinous human!”

Harith Iskandar, a comedian in Malaysia, also took to Instagram to call Chia out for her insensitivity towards the MH370 tragedy.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Harith Iskander (@harithiskander)

In his video, which was posted on Instagram just yesterday (7 June), he pointed out that the disappearance of MH370 is an event that has impacted Malaysia greatly over the years.


“As a comedian, I respect the freedom of expression we need to do our job, but it is equally important to exercise some level of sensitivity and empathy when doing certain material that is deeply personal or tragic,” he commented.

He also touched on how while comedy “can be a powerful tool for social commentary, comedians need to ensure that they engage in their art form in a responsible manner.

“Comedians should strive to create a positive and inclusive comedic environment. I make fun of Singapore all the time; it’s part of the friendly banter that allows us to coexist.

“While we may still be a developing nation, when it comes to kindness and thoughtfulness, we are definitely first world,” he added.

Malaysian media personality Kudsia Kahar echoed similar sentiments and criticised Chia for her jokes about MH370.


She started by saying that she is extremely supportive of stand-up comedians, especially those who come from places like Singapore or Malaysia.

She added that she was alright with her saying “F*** you, Malaysia”, as Malaysian comedians often make fun of Singaporeans on stage as well.

“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,” she wrote.

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High Commissioner to Malaysia Apologised

After Chia’s statements made their way around the web, Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vanu Gopala Menon, responded to the incident today (8 June).

He talked about how her “gratuitously offensive comments” were “appalling” and apologised to Malaysians for her comments.

“The Singapore government does not condone words or actions that cause harm or hurt to others,” he mentioned.

He also clarified that Chia was “no longer Singaporean” and did not reflect the opinions of other Singaporeans, adding that her ‘jokes’ were “unhelpful and undermine the close trust and friendship that both our countries and peoples enjoy”.

Apart from Mr Menon, other figures like Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan have also responded by expressing their shock and horror at Chia’s ‘jokes’.


He was responding to a tweet by Muar’s Member of Parliament (MP), Syed Saddiq.