Gangnam District in Seoul: The epitome of the materialistic, consumerist life-style - Photograph: Wikipedia
Psy is actually making fun of people who are so materialistic and obsessed with a worldy life-style while being cut off from the rest of society. Doesn’t that remind us of our ruling elite, asks Anil Netto.
On Monday, 11 February Psy is due to perform his signature Gangnam song-and-dance routine at a BN-organised event in the Han Chiang School in Penang before a crowd of 60000 people. BN leaders are obviously hoping this large crowd – and the spillover effect – will translate into votes for the BN in Penang and beyond. But little do they realise the joke is on the BN!
For many of us, Gangnam is just a fun and catchy song-and-dance, which makes little sense. But scratch below the surface and you will find a biting social critique. Few realise that Gangnam is actually a parody of the affluent, materialistic life-style which the BN elites are known for.
Gangnam is actually the name of an affluent relatively new district of Seoul, south of the Han River. It is the location of the headquarters for some of the leading global brands and some 7 per cent of South Korea’s wealth can be found in this 40 square kilometre area. This ‘Johnny-come-lately’ part of Seoul is thus where many of the country’s richest ‘one per cent’ of the population congregate- including those who have wholeheartedly embraced the materialistic, consumerist life-style. Many others aspire to this same high-flying life-stye – even if it means racking up their credit card debt (South Korea’s credit card debt has soared).
The closest Malaysian equivalent I can think of is Bangsar. Like Gangnam, Bangsar sprouted with earnest from the 1980s and is today the place where people hang out to see and be seen. It is the epitome of the kind of materialistic life-style which many Malaysian yuppies and others aspire to.
Bangsar by night: Op-Op-Oppa Bangsar-style – Photograph: asiawebdirect.com
If we were to translate “Gangnam-style” into “Bangsar-style” (nothing personal against you Bangsar residents out there!), we might get a better understanding of what Psy is singing and prancing around about. The local translation for “Oppa Gangnam-style” would be something like “He (is living) the Bangsar life-style” i.e. materialistic, consumerist, trendy (you know, the life-style of the BN and other elites) but in hindsight somewhat empty and often just a mirage. (For examples of this mirage in the Gangnam music video clip, please do read this blog on Korea that details the real meaning and illusion behind Psy’s rendition of Gangnam.)
Read more at: http://aliran.com/11517.html