S M Ong: Please stop sharing the alamak-Kamala joke
Alamak, nasi lemak.
Do you know that "nasi lemak" spelt backwards is "Kamel Isan", which happens to be the name of my Facebook friend in Indonesia?
Sure, she is no vice-president of the United States, but still, what a coincidence!
When US Vice-President Kamala Harris visited Singapore last week, I saw a number of posts online pointing out with some glee that "Kamala" spelt backwards is "alamak".
The meme spread faster than the Delta variant and there is no vaccine for it - Michelle Pfeiffer-BioNTech, Madonna or otherwise.
Apparently, many were so tickled by the alamak-Kamala joke (if you can call it that) that they could not help infecting others with it.
One of them was a friend of Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng.
Mr Seah then shared the joke on Facebook last Monday: "As we know, VP of USA, Ms Kamala Harris chose Singapore for her first stop of her Asia tour. And with it, a friend pointed out to me that Kamala's name spelt backwards is Alamak… what a coincidence! #singapore #usa #alamak #coincidence #humour"
But you can't find the post any more.
Mr Seah told Mothership.sg: "Yes, I did post this on my FB page last evening just before I went for my MPS (Meet-the-People Session).
"Midway through my MPS, a friend pinged me and as I reflected on it, I agreed it was not appropriate and decided to take down the posting."
Unfortunately, the Internet does not forget.
Although Mr Seah deleted the post, someone had already taken a screenshot that went viral, with people calling the joke racist and misogynist.
I am more offended by the repetitiveness of seeing versions of the same joke over and over again.
Before Mr Seah, others have also shared the joke, including SGAG and Goody Feed, and it remains on their Facebook pages. They have yet to be shamed into removing it.
In fact, the joke has been going around long before Ms Harris landed on our sometimes rainy shores.
I first encountered it last November after Mr Joe Biden won the US presidential election with Ms Harris as his running mate.
Even Mothership.sg shared the joke, together with this knee-slapper: "China is already welcoming Biden. China is prepared. They have even named a famous landmark in central Beijing for Biden since the Ming dynasty in the 14th century."
The punchline: "FOR BIDEN CITY!"
And it is still there on Facebook.
(By the way, the Forbidden City was actually built in the 15th century, but what is a century between friends?)
So if the alamak-Kamala joke has been around for at least nine months, why are people seemingly taking offence only now?
As author Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh wrote online: "I've seen this Alamak-Kamala 'joke' on private forums and comedy boards, but for a politician to do so publicly... hmmm."
In other words, Mr Seah is an elected official, not SGAG. Or me.
The one good thing to come out of this is that it has made everyone realise how inappropriate the joke is and hopefully, this is the vaccine that will prevent folks from spreading this over-repeated so-called "joke" ever again.
Don't be anti-vax.
My friend Kamel and I thank you.