December 29, 2012
My (surprise) picks for Persons of the Year*
WAS mulling over my choice of this year’s Person or Persons of the Year when Heyley Chow gave me an idea. Our encounter was brief but it was certainly an eye-opener. We were at a very interesting wedding reception. The theme was Hindi, so the look, décor and sounds were, what else, very Hindi. Hindi songs filled the air.
Heyley was seated near me. I asked her, if she liked the songs. She shook her head. “You like Gangnam-Style?” I asked. She nodded without hesitation. Heyley was hardly 7 mind you, but she gave me an idea. She likes Oppa Psy or Park Jae-Sang, so do I. I don’t know about her mother Jacynta, but she can’t possibly be a contrarian in this one.
Pys’ Gangnam-Style is biggest ever music video in the history of mankind. On YouTube it has passed the one billion-view mark, overtaking Baby by the teen sensation, Justin Bieber. One in every seven humans has seen Psy in action. He needs just one song to do that.
So Psy is one of my favourites to be the Person of the Year. No, I am not looking for a quarrel with Time magazine which has chosen President Barack Obama as its Person of the Year. This is a free world. I like Obama. And I have high expectations for him. Perhaps it is true Obama is the 21st century version of “a new American” — one that is a citizen by choice and not birth.
He has all the tributes of a great man and a great president. He is articulate, brilliant and a visionary. He won the re-election in one of the most bruising campaigns in US history. I am trying to figure out his achievements so far other than getting the SEALs to kill Osama Bin Laden or sending the most number of drones to kill the most number of US enemies in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. I will be happier if he makes good his promises to the Muslim world and if he uses his office to solve the Palestinian problem.
Seriously, I have Datuk Paul W. Jones high on my list of Person of the Year. I think he is the most engaging, affable and committed US Ambassador we have ever encountered. He is very concerned about how his country is perceived by the local populace. And he has travelled extensively, meeting people, eating the food and enjoying the country. Perhaps he knows this country better than most other ambassadors. How many of them send out tweets in Bahasa Malaysia anyway?
I was contemplating to name the Prime Minister as my Person of the Year. Without having to sound mengampu, it is an obvious that he is working extremely hard for his people. Like most Malaysians, I subscribe to his “One Malaysia” concept. A bit too late for such a concept in a multiracial country like ours, but better late than never. But I believe he has many more years at the helm, so for now I will not choose him.
I have Datuk Nicol David, who recently won her seventh world title in squash. I hope she will win our first Olympic gold in Brazil. Datuk Lee Chong Wei is also my favourite. Seriously, I have Datuk Ibrahim Ali on the list, too, for his tireless pursuit to make the age-old mantra “tidak Melayu hilang di dunia” his crusade, for better or for worse. I will include Datuk Zuraidah Atan whose tireless effort to create awareness and understanding of the cancer scourge is legendary, among her many interests.
Seriously, I want to include those at the Election Commission as Persons of the Year. They simply have to live through hell these last many years, taking beatings yet their efforts are never appreciated. And the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission guys who are trying hard to do their work in an environment filled with prejudices and suspicion of their integrity and commitment. And Mercy Malaysia is also top on my list, the volunteer relief organisation that has brought goodwill to the people of the world.
Finally I am looking at those using the social media for the goodness of mankind and to spread the words of peace and harmony and to share knowledge and information indiscriminately and with conviction. They are changing the landscape of the social media realm for the better. They make the cyberworld a better place, not a lawless and indisciplined one where hate and anger prevails. They are the unsung heroes of the modern world. They are my Persons of the Year.
*Have fun with this Johan Jaaffar’s article. I chose to put this article for no other reason than the fact he mentioned Oppa Psy or Park Jae-Sang, whose song is posted here for having received more than a billion hits on youtube. An article that can entertain the thought of considering Datuk Ibrahim Ali, the arch racist, the toothless Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the biased Election Commission as Persons of the Year cannot be taken seriously. To me, it is one big joke. Maybe it is Johan’s cynicism and strange journalistic style. –Din Merican