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You made a Sharmila meme but she’s the one laughing

Pakistani internet’s mean spirit exposed over chicken-fish switch

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 10 months ago
Posted: Apr 3, 2020 | Last Updated: 10 months ago
You made a Sharmila meme but she’s the one laughing

Photo: Instagram/@sharmilafaruqi

The Tablighi Jamaat should take a page out of the Pakistani social media playbook, whose pontification has been at peak levels with people preaching kindness to one another as we weather this lockdown to beat coronavirus.

But have politician Sharmila Farqui make one verbal slip to substitute one protein for another in a cooking video and the N95 masks came ripping off to roast her online.

The PPP figure has been cooking as a creative outlet to connect with others while practicing social distancing. She posted her first tutorial video a few days ago for a quick Red Snapper in butter sauce recipe. As she prepped the meal, Sharmila kept inadvertently saying chicken fillet instead of fish.

When the video was posted, no one initially noticed and Farqui continued to share her go-to recipes for banana oatmeal muffins and white chicken. But at one point, someone seized on the slip of tongue and the trolls started churning out memes to make fun of her.

The trolling got so bad that Farqui had to ask a few blogs to take the video down because of “unkind and derogatory remarks by men,” she explained in an Instagram post. “We still are so unforgiving to the slightest slip coming from a female more so if she’s a politician. We leave no opportunity to bring a woman down,” she said.


View this post on Instagram


Here enjoyyy! Only I have this magic wand to turn a chicken into a fish! Sharmila’s special 🤪

A post shared by Sharmila Faruqui (@sharmilafaruqi) on Apr 2, 2020 at 10:07am PDT

Nevertheless, she took the trolling in her stride given that over her career in the public eye, she is stranger to the mendacity of strangers. She told SAMAA Digital that she had a good laugh after watching the video again herself. “In these depressing and scary times when all we hear or read about is the coronavirus, this has just given us some distraction,” she said. “I think this is the first time in 17 or 18 days that I, myself, had a good laugh.”

The trolling takes one back to a similar chicken-fish episode in the early 2000s on MTV’s reality television series starring singer Jessica Simpson. While snacking on tuna fish from a can Simpson asked: “Is this chicken what I have or is this fish?” There was some confusion over the brand name: “I know it’s tuna but it says ‘Chicken by the Sea’. Is that stupid?” she asked.

That question snowballed in American TV watching circles so much so that these lines were immortalized in an acidic Saturday Night Live skit. More than a decade later, Simpson took to Instagram with a meme (a chicken in the sea) and cheekily hashtagged it #chickenofthesea.

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