Friday, January 20, 2012

Laughter is not necessarily a prerequisite

Satire is a bi*ch. Execute it well -- and you're a major broadcaster -- score an Emmy nomination. But if your're a fourteen-year-old, you could piss off an entire community and attract a lot of online rage. Kid's vid ostensibly spoofing Chinese New Year has infuriated netizens who, as usual, are baying for blood over the outrage.

The grating put-on ABC accent; the raw, in-your-face treatment; the disjointed jump cuts; and the inane dialogue between white-shirt and green-shirt (which effectively doubles the number of irritating on-screen characters to hate) are all designed to set the viewer's teeth on edge.

But the fact that the negative responses drawn now number in the thousands shows how easily and royally our self-righteous community defenders have been punked. I'm impressed with the vid's ability to annoy. I'll be more impressed if the juvenile perp can turn this tide of negative popularity into his advantage.

Li'l Amos is no gormless Ris Low (I refuse to dignify her nonsense with any links) who gets by on say-anything, dare-anything for the sake of amassing flung tomatoes. His vid was carefully scripted, performed and edited. Yes, it was a performance, not mocking Chinese New Year as people get on first impression, but a self-deprecatory caricature of ignorant, multi-generational overseas Chinese who have lost their roots and think America is where culture comes from.

Personally, I didn't find his subject matter funny. But comedy is such that laughter is not necessarily a prerequisite to getting the comic's point across. I appreciate the effort taken in the portrayal of this character who only a mother could love. I admire the kamikaze approach which caused so many people to reexamine their culture and beliefs and conclude that their 'rootedness' was so much superior to a fictional character's. Dudes, you let a fourteen-year-old play his game... and win.

If he is a good S'porean child, he would take this experience to heart; be contrite and learn from his elders; and never be heard from again. I sincerely hope he isn't. This kid knows comedy. He may not have found a schtik that works for him yet, but he deserves to be nurtured. The Force is strong with this one (ed. like it was with Anakin Skywalker).

In the meantime, I'm proving I know what my Chinese heritage is all about. This New Year, apart from stuffing my face with delicious MSG-laded grub and gaily handing out red-packets of greenbacks to grubby-fingered children, I have also 1) played second dragon segment bearer in the staff dragon dance item, and 2) tried my hand at the venerable art form of Chinese calligraphy (below).

I think it means, like, "smooth sailing ahead", or something. Anyway, that's my wish for you too! Happy CNY!

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