Recent events have made it clear that humour really is subjective.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Crackhouse Comedy open mic incident by now. If you haven’t, where ya been, bro? It’s all over the news.
A girl named Siti Nuramira Abdullah went viral for her controversial action of removing her baju kurung and scarf to reveal a low cut-top and a skirt while on stage at a comedy club in TTDI. She then went on to continue her performance as normal. But wow, what an entrance!
After her performance, she was apparently told by the comedy club to leave the premises and never come back. But the damage has been done. The video of her “comedy act” has been shared around online and people are finding her actions less than funny.
It Was Only A Joke, How’d It End Up Like This?
Look, I get it. It’s a joke, right? She was going on about how she grew up in a religious family and became “liberal” when she was in her 20s. Great, you do you girl. But for you to introduce yourself in that manner — saying your Salam and acting all “proper-like” — only to remove your clothes afterwards? In a comedy club no less and expect laughs out of it?
I don’t know, man. That’s kind of weird. And now, she’s facing the consequences of her actions.
Nuramira was detained by the police after her video went viral. And apparently, the comedy club had lodged a police report against her as well.
She was then given a year’s sentence but pleaded not guilty under Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code that states that insulting any religion is a criminal offence. She was allowed a bail of RM20,000 with one surety.
Aside from that, Nuramira’s boyfriend, Alexander Navin Vijayachandran, was also charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for “improper use of network facilities or network service”.
Basically, he said a bunch of stuff following her act that offended a lot more people and both of them were basically just trying to divert the situation instead of explaining the reason behind their strange behaviours. If he was found guilty, he would be liable for over a year in jail and RM10,000 bail per offence.
Her boyfriend works as a freelancer. Nuramira, on the other hand is working full-time in Marketing and is studying law part-time. It can be said that this is the consequences of their actions but then at the same time, what’s the long game for this?
Is It Worth Going To Jail For?
I’m going to be honest, all of this is kind of wild. Did I find the whole premise of the “joke” she made distasteful and inappropriate? Yes, no doubt. But did she deserve to go to jail over it? Frankly, I want to say no.
Hear me out — there are a lot of things wrong with what she did, I’m not going to deny that. Does she deserve punishment? Absolutely yes. The message she gave out to the public about herself and her personal views were less than graceful and shows the religion in bad light.
But being unable to reason with yourself and tell yourself “maybe I shouldn’t go through with this” in favour of chalking it all up as a joke, isn’t really jail worthy.
However, if you’re seeing it from the point of view of the comedy club itself, that’s a different story. The issue there is that her actions have brought down the entire company with her.
The club had to be shut down and suspended. That must not look good on their end, right? Why did they get suspended over something someone else did?
Not A First, It Seems
Well, there is the argument that it’s an open mic night, so no one had really predicted that she was going to take off her clothes and act inappropriately.
But still, shouldn’t there be a mediator somewhere there? Someone who can swoop in and stop it before it goes down in flames? That could have saved a lot of trouble instead of just… letting it happen and then reporting it after, no? Just a thought, though.
But I’m not necessarily saying it’s the club’s fault. Just that if you know or even sense that one of your little comedians’ acts is going to be controversial and would invoke a negative response, why would you decide to let them go through with it?
Also, apparently, this isn’t her first offence. Nuramira has previously been banned from Merdekarya — another club that caters to open mic nights — for causing a scene that eventually spiraled to death threats towards the staff from the establishment. Looks like this lady’s been doing her rounds.
On top of that, many other local comedians have also expressed their thoughts about Nuramira’s actions. One of them being local comedian Harith Iskander, who went on social media to express his thoughts on the matter saying that “this lady is no comedian. She needs help.”
I For One Agree With Him
I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. While it is distasteful, her behaviour was also concerning.
She has made multiple (now deleted) videos in the past talking about explicitly sexual content (sexual acts in the bedroom, “how to please your partners”, etc) and then turns around and says that she’s a “proud Muslim” in her Crackhouse Comedy aftermath video with her boyfriend (which has also been taken down).
Look, you can joke all you want but when it comes to sensitive issues, there are certainly better ways that you could have gone about it. And going online later on to “explain yourself” and say that you’ve “memorised the whole Quran” isn’t it, sis. So what that you’ve memorised it? Anyone can do that.
Memorising the whole Quran doesn’t guarantee that your akhlak (behaviour) is also good. There’s a difference between those two, you know. You can be liberal all you want. Like I said, you do you, girl. Just don’t make jokes about it when you shouldn’t. Keep that to yourself.
Acts like these opens up more opportunities for people to just do what they want to do and say what they want to say about anything and everything that comes to mind. And clearly, it’s a dangerous act. So repeat after me — just because you thought it, doesn’t mean you should say it. Some of y’all should really come with a warning.
According to Islam, a Muslim woman is supposed to cover up her body to avoid the male gaze. But her action of removing her Halal-fied attire in favour of a more revealing one implies that she does not really “berpegang teguh pada agama Islam” as she mentioned before.
If that was the hook of her joke, it isn’t funny. At. All. And all that just for a few moments of so-called “fame”?
People should understand that there’s a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to making jokes. “You can’t make jokes about a person’s illness, a person’s race and a person’s religion”. Isn’t that obvious already? Even in a comedy club, there should be rules and boundaries that need to be followed.
Was It Worth It?
This brings us back to the main question: “Is going to jail really worth it when your crime is being tone deaf and really bad at comedy?”
Not that I promote anyone ever going to jail. Especially for something that’s very easily avoided. But if the intention was to go viral and gain a name from it, then I guess it’s as good as any to be blacklisted.
Going to jail, though? I don’t know? Any lawyers out there to explain this to me?
Maybe they could make it up for some community service or something instead. I’m not saying it’s not a serious offence or anything. Words are powerful, after all. And coupled with what she did on that stage, I can’t deny that punishment is indeed in order.
But I’m just saying that there are other, more beneficial ways to approach this. Since they make minimum wage, won’t doing community service serve as a better punishment than having to pay money for it? Who’s getting the money anyway?
Look Before You Laugh
One thing that this incident taught us is that people really need to just think things through first instead of just “going for it”.
There’s a lot to laugh at in this world. But there are also boundaries that should never be crossed. When you’re putting yourself out there, you have to assess your environment first and make sure that what you say won’t be taken the wrong way.
If you want something to laugh about, we at The Full Frontal have a lot of materials you could choose from. May I suggest: