Last night, 1 November, around 11:50 pm, the Content Team at SAYS came across a Facebook post showing a group photo of three girls dressed as dead crew of MAS Flight MH370. The MAS Flight, that went missing on 8 March this year, left no trace.
May Lim, the individual who posted the above photo on her Facebook profile, rightly captioned the post as such: "Okay Malaysians. These girls NEED to know how insensitive they are. This is disrespectful and even though I didn't personally know anyone on that flight, it hurts to think that there are people out there making fun of this."
The post, at the time for publishing this story, has been shared over 50 times with more than 100 Likes and several angry comments. In the same post, there's another photo of the girls.
After coming across the above photos, we decided to check how many others, if any, are more out there. We Googled #flightmh370 and, guess what, stumbled upon a whole bunch of insensitive people who thought it's fun to make fun of MH370 tragedy.
The Star, too, reported on the issue, stating that the inconsiderate individuals who posted these photos were not Malaysians
The MH370 tragedy, which took the lives of 239 passengers in March, was turned into a Halloween joke by certain insensitive quarters, resulting in the ire of netizens. A look through the comments section for the screen capture of the image on Facebook showed that the image was later taken down by the Instagram user, and that there were many other of such inconsiderate individuals who made it into BuzzFeed for their brilliant costume ideas.thestar.com.my
While we understand that people were going to start making jokes about MH370 eventually, (as it happens with almost every tragedy), it is rather important to know the distinction between what constitutes as funny rather than being offensive
“The more delicate the subject, the more skilled the humorist should be,” said Boulder professor Peter McGraw. “That’s why new comedians use scatological humor—there’s nothing delicate about it.”newrepublic.com
“Comedy is a space that has its own set of rules,” said McGraw. “Then it gets posted on the Internet and broadcast to people sitting at their desks— people who weren’t intended to hear it and aren’t in the mindset to appreciate it.”newrepublic.com
So, how soon can you joke about a disaster? Well, according to comedian Stephen K Amos, it's not really about the timing.
"It's the context, content and intent of a joke that are important. It can't just be cruel, it can't just be laughing at the victims. Anyone can do that. All you have to do is speak to people caught up in disasters."bbc.co.uk
"I was in Australia recently and my routine about the Queensland floods went down well - it was about them triumphing over adversity, not about their suffering. They needed laughter as a release. They didn't want people tip-toeing around them."bbc.co.uk
We at SAYS believe that a tragedy, regardless of its impact, is not something to be actually joked about. We need to really understand and respect the thin line that rests between making people laugh through their tragedy vs laughing at their tragedy.