COMMENT Congratulations to Harith Iskander for winning the title of world’s funniest man. He has brought fame to the country.
That fame is well-deserved, seeing that we have few homegrown comedians. One of the main reasons for the scarcity of comedians is our culture of repression, double standards and hypocrisy so that those who try to make us laugh at our foibles and sins are at risk; while those engaging in double-speak or other forms of political chicanery can get away unpunished and sometimes emerge with even greater ‘honour’.
Especially at great risk are those who engage in black humour, in particular political black humour that touches on what the nation’s Big Brother labels as ‘illegal’ or impermissible satire touching on ‘taboo’ topics.
The best exponent of politically incorrect black humour for a long time has been Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, or Zunar as he is popularly known, not only because of his irreverent and piercing wit but also because of his courage and perseverance in standing up to what Umno and its handmaidens of police and other official authorities have fabricated to kill his pen and political cartoon art.
Earlier this year, the Society of Illustrators in New York, celebrating a decade of Cartooning For Peace, made the following statement:
1. We, cartoonists, are proud to support our colleague Zunar, a courageous and recognised cartoonist of Malaysia who has received the 2016 Cartooning for Peace Award of the City of Geneva on May 3 in Switzerland, to mark World Press Freedom Day.