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Jocelyn Chia’s two seconds of infamy and the pointless comparisons between Malaysia and Singapore — Kalimullah Hassan

Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 10:46 AM

JUNE 8 — Sometime in the 1990s, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew mooted the idea of a possible re-merger with Malaysia subject to certain conditions.

Malaysians were more realistic and politely pooh-poohed the idea, including the then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, senior minister Ling Liong Sik and senior journalists such as VK Chin and an original convenor of Singapore’s ruling party, A. Samad Ismail.

I was visiting Singapore then when the driver of the taxi I was in brought up the topic when he found out I was a Malaysian.

He opined that with Singapore’s brains and Malaysia’s brawns, a merger of the two countries would result in a greater country than Indonesia or the rest of the world. The language was coarser of course. He was talking down to me because he was a Singaporean and I am a Malaysian.

I have gotten used to this because I have been visiting Singapore since the 1970s and while I have some very, very good friends in Singapore till today, the “red necks” I have come across are aplenty as well.

We, Malaysians, too do take the mickey out of Singapore. There are many things to laugh about in the island republic. Like Jocelyn Chia — a crass, insensitive, un-funny human being, who thinks a plane crash like MH370 where hundreds died is funny enough to turn into a joke.

I told the taxi driver then: “Ya lah... Singaporean so clever. That’s why you are sitting in front driving me and I am sitting behind paying you.”

That shut him up.

Yes, it’s true that there are a lot of things lacking in Malaysia. But Singapore is not a paradise either. What’s the point of comparing?

The Sabah National Park, as my friend Datuk Lamri Alisaputra, who in the 1980s headed the parks, told a Singapore diplomat “is bigger than your country and I manage it well.”

That’s not an excuse for the state Malaysia is in.

But Jocelyn Chia should remember that a Silk Air plane crashed killing everyone on board; Lee Kuan Yew’s family is split with one son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren living overseas, fearing to come back to the country their father and grandfather built; they have scandals like Oxley Road and government bungalows rented to their well-paid ministers, they have “unexplained” monies flooding the country (including our own funds from 1MDB which their “efficient” system overlooked)... . But these are not things we should find funny.

Singapore has done very well as a nation. Good for them and may they continue to succeed. But the sun was also said to never set on the British empire. Look at Britain today. A sad remnant of a once great country.

An Indian (whose forefathers were colonialised and brutalised by the British) is prime minister of their country.

A descendant of the slaves from Africa, serving red-neck invaders, became president of the United States for two terms.

Things change; times change.

Jocelyn Chia had her two seconds of fame. It is unlikely now that she will live down her infamy.

Angry as we may be, it is worth noting that she has been denounced by Singapore's top officials.

I wouldn’t waste my time after this on this crude, hideous soul called Jocelyn Chia.

*Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan is a Malaysian, a former journalist and a Malay Mail reader.

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