Cheating hubby prank slammed

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CONTENTIOUS: A screengrab from one of The Noose's April Fool's prank videos.

It was like a scene out of a Malay drama series.

Clad in a bright pink baju kurung, matching headscarf and shades, a makcik (Malay for auntie) is seen on camera lashing out at her cheating husband in public.

In the first video, she confronts him in a bus for cheating on her with a younger woman, who is also seen in the clip.

In the second video, the enraged wife berates him further in front of shocked passers-by at a bus stop before hitting him with her handbag.

The videos went viral on Tuesday.

Too dramatic to be true?

Oh, wait, it was April 1 that day.

As it turns out, these videos are part of MediaCorp's promotion for the seventh season of local skit series The Noose, which premiered on Tuesday.

The two clips - entitled "Mak Cik caught husband red handed" and "Makcik catches husband red handed part 2!", which were released on Saturday and Sunday respectively - have garnered over 240,000 views on YouTube as of yesterday.

Going by the 600 plus postings on MediaCorp Channel 5's Facebook page, the publicity stunt drew a mixed reaction.

While some were amused, others felt strongly that the videos played up stereotypes.

A Facebook comment from Azim Mohamed read: "Portraying the Malay staged 'couple' is distasteful and a disgrace for the Malay race as well as a misrepresentation. Mediacorp... A public apology is due!"

Another user, Johan Shah, posted: "What's the purpose of this? It shows a bad image of Malay families and especially Malay aunties in hijab!"

Mr Abdul Hadi Bin Bohari added: "The moment you take a matter such as adultery lightly, it will suddenly become rampant in society.

"When that happens, guess who will the joke be on? We just need to learn where to draw the line between what's funny and what's not."

But some viewers thought the videos were clever.

Said 24-year-old The Noose fan Shamsydar Ani, who is self-employed: "It's so convincing and real, of course I fell for it.

"It did play up the 'makcik' stereotype, but it's a brilliant marketing strategy. There's nothing to be offended about."

'CHOREOGRAPHED'

Mr Bernard Lim, MediaCorp's managing director for television, said the "choreographed light-hearted prank" was an opportunity to introduce The Noose's new cast member Siti Khalijah Zainal, who played the feisty makcik in the videos.

The 28-year-old local stage actress plays Madam Yeti, a recurring character in the new season.

Mr Lim added in his statement: "We'd like to highlight that the prank was tongue-in-cheek and was never conceived with a view to undermine any racial and/or religious sensitivities.

"The April Fool's Day prank is in fact typical and very characteristic of the playfulness of The Noose.

"This is a trademark that fans of the series are already familiar with, and we have received strong compliments from viewers over the years."

ashikinr@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 3 in The New Paper.

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