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Margaret Cho criticises Singapore anti-gay sex law and megachurch pastor in her shows

Margaret Cho criticises Singapore anti-gay sex law and megachurch pastor in her shows

Renowned comedienne Margaret Cho has lashed out at Singapore’s anti-gay sex law and one of its strongest advocates, a megachurch pastor, in her shows last weekend.

The Grammy and Emmy-nominated Korean-American comedienne was in the Southeast Asian state as part of her tour, The PsyCHO Tour. In both her afternoon and evening shows on Saturday at the Kallang Theatre in Singapore, Cho spared no effort in putting down Section 377a of the nation’s Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex relations between two consenting male adults.

‘I’m going to protest 377a. So much attention is paid on incredible fairness and equality here but then being gay is illegal,’ said Cho.

‘Only dicks though. But not for women,’ Cho added as she referred to inconsistencies where same-sex relations between two consenting female adults are not punishable under the same law.

Cho also made other related references right from the start of her evening show, jokingly commenting that even though she was dressed in a white top, she does not belong to the ‘Wear White’ movement – a Singapore movement started in 2014 by radical Muslims urging Muslims to be dressed in white on the day of the nation’s de-facto annual LGBT rally ‘Pink Dot’. The movement hoped for Muslims to return to their ‘natural disposition (fitrah) and the Sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)’, and was afterwards joined by megachurch pastor Lawrence Khong – who rallied for his parishioners under his network of churches to protest against Pink Dot. It was estimated that over 6,400 Christians eventually attended Khong’s event at one of his churches.

With regards to Khong and his antics, Cho – who revealed her identity as a bisexual and as a previous Sunday school teacher – was very clear on where she stood.

‘Lawrence Khong is a cunt,’ said Cho without hesitation.

Cho added: ‘When the church tries to say anything about homosexuality, it makes me mad.’

Her stance was made even clearer when she posted on Instagram an image of the pastor with the caption ‘It’s not King Khong honey – it’s Queen Khong #Singaporeproblems’.

Photo by Margaret Cho/Instagram

Besides raising awareness of the issues Singapore’s LGBT community faces, Cho also spoke about other topics many Singaporeans identified strongly with – such as the country’s ban on chewing gum, the saga involving another Singapore’s megachurch where the head pastor and his management were charged with supporting his wife’s singing career using church tithings, and also the recent appearance by queen of pop Madonna when she was in Singapore two weekends ago for her first concert there. Besides these topics, Cho also made use of the opportunity to touch on topics she personally felt strongly about – such as sex work, gun laws in her home country the United States, racism, reproductive rights and sexual rape.

Attendees enjoyed Cho’s shows, particularly the way how she brought her intended messages across to the audience.

‘I love the combination of social cause with humour to aid awareness on difficult and controversial topics in a palatable manner,’ said Singaporean Fabian Tan.

Tan added: ‘I don’t feel she crossed any lines, especially when critique is done through satire or humour.’

The sentiment was similarly echoed by another Singaporean attendee, Bryan Choong.

‘I think her head-on style resonates very well with the audience, including myself,’ shared Choong.

‘Sometimes our well intended message against anti gay bigotry and for a more accepting society falls on deaf ears when we are being too polite.’