It’s the second day of the Lunar New Year here in Penang Island... traditionally a time for visiting friends and relatives.
But since 8 this morning, thousands of islanders have been gathering at Han Chiang College.
It’s pretty obvious who they are here for.
And PSY performed the song ‘Gangnam Style’ twice along with the crowd.
It was reported that PSY’s short performance costs the organisers 1 million US dollars.
However, Prime Minister Najib Razak was quick to point out that a private company was footing the bill and that no taxpayers’ money was wasted on the event.
After the performance, I spoke to May Lim and Gu Lingsui who are both in their early 20s.
“We waited under the hot sun for so long just for one song. It’s really wasn’t worth it. Not worth the money.”
“I am quite familiar with the song. We’ve listened to it many times before. He sang only one song and the same song twice. There should be more songs. You can see many people leaving because they couldn’t wait any longer”.
Paul Chew is from the Barisan Nasional organising committee for the event.
“This is not a political move. Penang, having the majority population is Chinese, so we took this opportunity to have “Open House” where we have open invitation to all people, all races to come and celebrate it together. PSY is world famous. We know PSY met up with Obama, the US president. PSY also met with the secretary-general of the UN. We would like to look at him as the ambassador of goodwill.”
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition lost five states in the 2008 election... and one of them was Penang.
Is Barisan Nasional using PSY to influence young voters for the upcoming election?
“I would like to say that PSY alone does not, but if it does help in any way, I would like to thank him for that. And I am quite sure today, for what he has done, he has certainly put goodwill to the Barisan Nasional. Penang voters are smart voters. We like the voters to feel that they have been looked after, they have been cared for and they are part of this development.”
But Professor James Chin from Monash University Malaysia says PSY was merely a publicity stunt for the Barisan Nasional campaign in Penang.
He believes that the Korean star will have little effect on the voters’ sentiment that is strongly against the government.
Vinodini Subramaniam is in her 20s and she’s a registered voter.
“I came to watch his live performance and I’m very happy. I think there should be more performances,” she says. “But PSY won’t change my mind. I’ve made my political decision.”