331. If You Think It’s Funny…

“If you think it’s funny, then let it be funny.”
(Chong, 2009)

It is the simultaneously funniest and truest thing I know to date.


Yesterday, sinkholes appeared in Jalan Imbi. The road collapsed, and from what I can gather from the photos, there are two large sinkholes in the road, large enough to fit a studio apartment, or the average politician’s ego.

(just kidding about the politician. You’ll need a much larger hole for that)

My first reaction was amazement. I’ve seen pictures of sinkholes appearing elsewhere in the world, but this has got to be the first I’ve heard of one in Kuala Lumpur. I would have went down to have a look at it myself, but the helpful folks on Facebook posted enough photos to satisfy my curiosity.

Following amazement, my second reaction was concern. How did it happen? Were there any drivers there when it happened? Did anyone get hurt?

(that’s really my order of reactions to big news of any sort: amazement first, then concern)

With a little bit more reading, I found that the particular section that sank had been closed off due to the ongoing MRT track constructions. Fortunate thing too, especially since the news about how a vehicle was crushed underneath a piece of metalwork being used in the construction project. So, in short, the ground simply caved in, and unlike that time in the biblical book of Exodus involving the ancient Israelites, no one got swallowed by the earth.

And if you’ve been on the internet long enough, you know what naturally follows.

Memes and jokes of every kind began popping up no more than 6 hours after the news outbreak. Photoshopped pictures of giant robots, giant apes, and even one of Luis Suarez appeared as “explanations” of what really happened. Some were pretty funny. Most of them only mildly amusing.

I went to sleep.

When I woke up today, I went on the internet; and in hindsight, I should have been internet-savvy enough to predict what naturally followed the jokes: the internet backlash.

“Sinkholes are NOT funny. Stop it.”
“Do you guys know about sinkholes? Do you guys know how to fix one? Then SHUT UP.”

Whoa. Cool down.

There are two things that separates tragedy from comedy: time and acceptance. And eh, we’ve accepted that there are two big holes in the road. And what better time than the present?

Granted, there are things that are not funny, and things that should not be made fun of. For decency’s sake, I won’t go and post a list here, but I’ll be a little generous and tell you that sinkholes are not on the list. Sinkholes are, in fact, pretty funny.

(much funnier than your average stand-up anyway)

Some people just can’t take a joke; and I’m not sure if it’s a smug sense of superiority behind that outrage, or just genuine confusion. But people should lighten up. The world holds nothing back when it laughs at us – why shouldn’t we do the same?

And if one of said offended people are reading this: I know; I know it’s hard to find amusement in a missing chunk of the road, but I promise you, if you keep trying and don’t give up, you’ll one day find that you’re able to think of it as funny.

And when that day comes, let it be funny.

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