On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Psy gets my vote, any time

Certainly it shouldn’t be President Barack Obama, however popular he may be globally. Even if he has already got a Nobel Prize for merely delivering good speeches or has just been named Time’s Person of the Year.

For sure, it should not be Kim Jong-un. He’s too mysterious, needs a good haircut and we really ought to know his wife better first.

Also ignore the super-rich footballers who have been taking us for a ride – those who kiss the club badge on their jerseys after scoring a goal and the next thing you know, they are kissing the money notes after they join a new club.

For me, the Man of The Year has to be South Korean hip hop star – Psy. Go ahead and laugh but that chubby man with the silly sunglasses has single-handedly brought the world together. His Gangnam Style video became the first to clock one billion hits on YouTube, and counting.

More importantly, he has brought hope to all middle-aged men with pot bellies and who aren’t very good looking, especially Asian men. He’s only 35 years old but seriously, he looks older than his age. To be more precise, unkind as it may sound, Psy looks like many Malaysian men who have passed the half century mark, including this writer.

He gets my vote over all those skinny South Korean teenyboppers with their saccharine good looks, some of whom looking like they have just stepped out of a plastic surgery clinic.

If many of us thought that the all-girl bands look and sound too girly, some of the boy bands are even worse.

But Park Jae-sang or Psy proved that the lack of good looks, lack of height and lack of a good voice need not stop anyone from becoming a superstar.

We all cheered for Susan Boyle. While she may not have the looks, at least she could sing. This Psy guy may not have that killer voice but definitely he has the energy to make those slick horse-dancing movements.

His fellow South Korean singers have been trying to break into the lucrative American market but they hardly made a dent until he appeared last year.

Now Psy has become a global obsession, not just a global sensation.

No singer has ever had video spoofs churned out at such a rate around the world, nor inspired flash mobs, like Psy.

We all love him because of his non-pretentious underdog image – he had to repeat military service, he was caught smoking weed in college and he screwed up most of the time.

He was the loser many of us could identify with and this was the dude who was looking for that one big chance and wow, he made it! What a feel-good story.

It has now been exposed that as a struggling singer he made a song that criticised Americans. The lyrics were simply distasteful, even for the liberal and fun-loving Americans, as he poked fun at the United States. The past caught up with him but he has quickly apologised. The lesson for everyone is never to mess around with the Americans and if you want to make your fortune, the US is still the place.

Without doubt, he’s my Man of The Year. We had better give him the distinction now because many of us may not even remember him next year.

I can still use the many Samsung products in my house but I am not sure I can finish the huge containers of kimchi that I have stocked up following this Gangnam craze. There is only so much Korean barbecue that I can eat at those Korean restaurants.

I am not sure whether he will get past the security officers at the United Nations this time and whether Hollywood TV hosts would do the four-step horse dance any more, as they tried to outdo each other to look silly horsing around.

As I write this column, I am at a coffee outlet in Capetown, South Africa. I am trying hard to imagine the iconic hit song, Africa, by Toto playing in my head but what the hell, some African kids are playing loudly Gangnam Style and asking me if I am Korean.

Hey! Do I look chubby and ridiculous with my sunglasses? Do I look like someone with a Kim surname just because I am using a Samsung? I am Malaysian lah!

Let’s just name Psy the Man of The Year, ok? Happy holidays!