By Hang Kasturi
One of the aims or goals of most entertainers (Malaysians) is to be accepted by all, or at least the majority. For most, it’s giving the grassroot Malays what they want – dramas about Datos and Tan Sris skirt-chasing every minute of the day, Tan Sris talking about billion-dollar projects in small boardrooms to other pathetic-looking executives and oh well, you know what I mean.
However, there’s a bunch of entertainers who seem to prefer to ply their trade and be more relevant and acceptable to the ‘IN’ crowd – the urban hipster cool crowd, sometimes also referred to as the Bangsar Bubble or the KL crowd. The members of this crowd include bananas, coconuts, oreos and every other person who prefers speaking in either English or Mandarin in their daily lives.
These are the type who go to see English plays (because it is deemed cool to go and support local English theatre); they are those who also catch the beautiful sounds of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (because it makes them look learned); and for the less arty-farty, the ones who party at Changkat Bukit Bintang talking about the joy of having RM500.00 wagyu steaks.
Intellects Of Society
The members of this elite crowd are also supposed to be the most economically stable and the most loaded – they are the ones who drive imported cars, wear branded products, drink expensive wine and along the way, somehow, proclaim themselves as the intellects of society.
They also consider themselves more Malaysian than others (barring the part where they hardly speak in the national language at all), marketing themselves as heroes of a just multi-racial Malaysian society. They claim to be freedom fighters for they fight against inequality and injustice. By the way, they also think that they are ALWAYS in the right.
Furthermore, if there are any opinions from the ‘Malay’ quarters, especially from rural society and leaders, and especially those who are the products of the national educational system – these opinions are worthless or flawed at best. Why listen to these ruffians, they ask. They are the creme de la creme and graduates of great Australian universities. So they know what they are talking about (just like that fellow who claims to be a financial whiz because he is an accounting graduate from Australia).
So, these are the people some entertainers would bend backwards for. If they can win over this crowd, they have got it made. And how do they do it? They pander to the oft and easy way of making fun of UMNO and the ruling government (as long as they are not DAP or PKR). They also earn extra points if they make fun of Najib and Rosmah. They believe this crowd loves to hear them whack UMNO and their ilk.
This is strange because for a very long while, these stand up comics never stop making fun of Mahathir Mohamad, the then incumbent Prime Minister of Malaysia. It was the rage back then if you can make jokes about Mahathir and his UMNO cronies.
Today it is different. They don’t make fun of the old man anymore. His sins are now considered ‘passe’ or irrelevant. All is forgiven. It is Najib, Rosmah and IMDB who are the current flavours of the month. Nothing else and no one else matters.
So who are these comedians? I won’t mention their names but I let you figure out who they are by only using their initials, or maybe scrutinising the collage below for a bit.
Firstly there’s PY, famous former DJ, actor and restauranteur-cum-blogger whom every anti-UMNO fella loves to praise. They really get off when he uses his oft-used signing-off phrase Niama.
Secondly, there are the two lawyers who were especially famous for their spot-on portrayal of the old man and his cronies…but not of recent. Not surprisingly, I have never seem them doing a sketch of the Lim family or any other DAP stalwart.
Then there’s writer, journalist-cum-thespian-cum-true Malaysia with the initials KTC. During his days as a journalist working for pro-opposition news portals, he was at the forefront, criticising the failures, the corruption and the racist stand of the then BN government. His books are praised to high heaven and with friendly critics calling him a true Malaysian.
In the Malay entertainment field, there’s this out-of-work actress W, who never seems to have anything good to say about Najib or UMNO. On the other hand, she has a lot of praise for DAP and the Lim Guang Eng family members. Why she stands out is because she wears a tudung and because of that, people think she is brave and smart even though what comes out of her mouth doesn’t carry much intelligence.
Another famous Malay entertainer is the singer-cum-actress-cum-comedienne who goes by the initials AN. She is a very well-known vocal critic of the BN-led government and an avid supporter of DAP-led politics. Unfortunately, during the DAP-controlled government that she welcomed with open arms when they won in 2018, jobs became scarce for her. So much so that she was rumoured to have lost her home. And her maths skills are also nothing to shout about as can be seen from her recent posting.
Coming back to stand-up comedy acts, there’s this medical practitioner-turned-comic with the intiials JL. This really unfunny comic gets work because he keeps making fun of UMNO and the Malays. He gets away with it by hiding his racist streak under the guise of stand-up routines. He is currently amongst the most viralled comedian fanning online debates with pro-BN supporters which makes him more popular with the IN crowd.
Personally, he is not even in the same league as Douglas Lim, my favourite Malaysian stand up comedian.
If you are a Malay filmmaker, you are basically not an intellectual. Only non-Malay filmmakers are considered intellects. They make critically acclaimed films that are regularly invited to prestigious international festivals. But if make movies like Ini KaliLah or M for Malaysia, and you’re a Malay, then you become part of the Malaysian filmmaking elite. You will definitely be feted and praised by Bangsar crowd.
Amongst the more notorious and famous anti-BN filmmakers is the singer-cum-rapper-cum-filmmaker-cum-vlogger N. The more critical he is of anything BN or non-DAP government authority, the more famous and the more views he gets. Of course, he also considers himself a true Malaysian (who prefers to speak in Mandarin) and a towering intellectual.
Of course, we should not forget the cartoonist whose name starts with a Z. Being a cartoonist myself once, I actually support his freedom to use his talent, as a cartoonist, to critique the government or any politician. But however I only see him attacking BN figures. He has never made fun of Kit Siang and Guan Eng for example. Why? Don’t they offer him comic moments or inspiration? I personally find DAP and AMANAH great inspiration for political cartoons.
God’s Gift To Stand-Up Comedians
So after a 22-month lull (during the PH regime), they are back again, full of vigour now that BN/PN/MN are the new government. They can now return on stage, on camera and online, to demonise and make fun of UMNO leaders once again. IMDB is definitely back as comic material along with Najib and Rosmah. What about Muhkriz and his family (especially his party animal daughter)? Never will they mock nor make fun of him. They will also never make fun of Guan Eng, Betty, Teresa and the other DAP frontliners. They too will ignore Mohamad Sabu even though Sabu is God’s gift to stand-up comedians. They will only make fun of UMNO, PAS, PN and BN.
The Real Deal
And because the Bangsar crowd loves them, they become the real deal, the intellects of our entertainment and content industry, with the proviso that they continue mocking and attacking BN slash UMNO slash PAS slash Najib slash Zahid et al. They will forever be considered funny, relevant and on point if they continue to do so. The minute they stop, they will suddenly disappear from the eyes and fall out of favour from this crowd.
And oh yes, now they have a new face to make fun of. Our current sitting Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, will be fresh meat as the leader of the back-door government (or so they claim) of today. Trust me, they will make jokes about his job, his libido and his health. That’s what they do. That’s what the Bangsar crowd expect them to do.
And so says Hang Kasturi.
The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of New Malaysia Herald.