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Malaysian rapper Namewee comes under fire for faking death on 1 April

Malaysian rapper Namewee comes under fire for faking death on 1 April

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Malaysian rapper Wee Meng Chee, also known as "Namewee", has come under fire recently for faking his death on April Fool’s Day.

This came after Wee set up a funeral for himself on 1 April, inviting his fans and loved ones to join his farewell ceremony. His Facebook post garnered over 23k likes and 4.2k comments, with some saying they knew it was a prank by Wee, while some said the prank was inappropriate and they did not appreciate it.

On 2 April, Wee confirmed he was fine and he did the prank to show the importance of “pre-planning for one’s passing”. According to his latest post on Facebook, Wee said many things happened to him last year, including facing immense pressure, receiving red flags regarding his health, and multiple trips to the hospital emergency rooms.

“This also made me realise the importance of ‘pre-life planning’. Therefore, I wrote a song and planned to hold a farewell ceremony before death, and planned to make it into a documentary, with the purpose of sharing the matter of "pre-death planning" with the public,” he said.

He said he chose to hold the “funeral” on April Fool’s Day, a few days before the Ching Ming Festival, to let everyone view this event in a more relaxed mood and avoid the so-called "Chinese taboos".

"Face life and death bravely, plan your life well, and don't let the living worry and be sad about what happens after you. This is our true purpose. Let me reiterate here, although this event is held on April Fool's Day, we are not joking. This is a serious and solemn event,” he added.

Wee reiterated that he had never proactively sent any press releases to any media, nor had he responded to anything. He also clarified all the negative reports about himself over the past decade were fake news, such as endorsing gambling websites, insulting the Chinese, pretending to attend protests, and playing money games, amongst others.

A+M has reached out to Wee for a statement. 

Social sentiments regarding the incident

The incident has in fact drawn mixed reactions from netizens. Media intelligence firm CARMA saw more than 10,000 social media mentions over the past two days. Among these mentions, 30% were negative, while 14.6% were positive.

The fake death news captured the attention of netizens, with many expressing their views that the prank went too far, even considering it was April Fool's Day, according to Charles Cheung, CARMA’s HK GM.

“Notably, Namewee's official Facebook page is flooded with sarcastic comments. Some netizens expressed anger, believing that Namewee orchestrated this prank solely for the purpose of gaining publicity, disregarding the feelings of those around him.”

Meanwhile, social monitoring firm Meltwater saw a total number of 413 mentions online over the past two days, with 25.4 negative, 67.1% neutral and 7.5% positive sentiments. Most of the mentions were generated from Singapore, followed by Malaysia and Taiwan.

Keywords associated with the incident include “death”, “April Fool's Day”, “white photo”, “money, obituaries and memorial advertisements”, “Wee in the coffin”, “joke”, and “female reporter”.

Don't miss: Namewee clarifies taking video sponsorship dollars from gaming website for legal fees

Wee is known to be controversial and has been involved in lawsuits that have amassed debt. Media reports stated that Wee made the revelation in the caption of his music video on YouTube. In the caption he stated, “We were involved in lawsuits and had to earn RM10 million in compensation. Therefore we decided to accept MV (music video) and video sponsorship from some gaming websites.”

Previously, according to media, he was called in for investigations for having racist elements in a film he made, called ‘Babi’. The film was released in 2020, depicting school violence that took place in a secondary school in the southern part of Malaysia in 2000, according to explanatory videos made by the artiste.

In 2021, he caused controversy with his song 'Fragile', in which he unveiled NFTs to stand against world order. His idea of opening an NFT account was "to counter the intermediaries" and secure ownerships of items such as art.

Related articles:
Malaysian singer Namewee blocked by Weibo after releasing satirical song
Malaysian singer Namewee unveils NFTs to stand against world order

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