Disabled Group Not Amused by Comedians’ Gags

The Cambodian Disabled Peo­ple’s Organization has asked two Cam­bodian television stations to stop airing two famous Cambodian co­medians’ imitations of disabled people.

The jokes, aired on TV5’s “Gol­den Star Music” on Saturday and on TV3’s “World Music” on Sun­day, offend the feelings of the disabled, the CDPO said in separate let­ters on Monday.

“Jokes that imitate the gestures and speech…of the disabled…leave them feeling isolated and hopeless,” the letters read. “Disability does not mean incapability, and should not be the butt of jokes.”

The letters named two famous Cam­bodian comedians: Ou Buna­rath, also known as “Mr Krem,” and Chuong Chy, aka “Mr Koy.”

Chuong Chy apologized Thurs­day to disabled people and said his in­tention was never to insult them.

“I apologize to all disabled people,” he said. “I made some mistakes in my jokes, but it was not on purpose.”

“I love the disabled,” he also said, adding that he often performs for handicap organizations for free.

Ou Bunarath, however, suggested that the CDPO was taking the is­sue too seriously.

“Such jokes have been used since 1979, all comedians do it,” he said. “Why are the CDPO only bringing the issue up now?”

Kham Puon Keomony, the general director of TV3, which airs “Mr Krem,” said he had received the letter and that he has passed it on to comedians working for the sta­tion.

“If they ask us, we will change the jokes,” he said.

Ngin Saoroth, executive director of the CDPO, said the letters were merely a suggestion, not an ultimatum.

Prom Saroeun, a disabled man from Kompong Speu province, asked the comedians to stop making fun of the disabled. “We feel hopeless when we are made fun of,” he said.

But Chuoy Kim Horn, captain of Cambodia’s national “standing men’s” volleyball team—a top contender in disabled sports—said the jokes were innocuous.

“I think if it’s art, it’s OK,” he said. “It has no impact on the disabled.”

 

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