I was contemplating the idea of writing an article on the reason why Saudis seemed very obsessed with the U.S. elections and Barack Obama winning, when my focus was distracted by a very funny YouTube video that showed five Saudi young men dancing in their white cotton traditional Saudi underwear.
The video is titled “Saudi Gangnam Style,” and I was surprised that this video had been viewed more than 4 million times in just six days. This was truly a remarkable piece of work to get so much attention from a group of young amateurs.
Korean pop singer PSY produced the original music video. It broke the 130 million mark of views in just 58 days. Now it’s expected to break the Guinness World Record for the most liked video on YouTube
The Saudi version, a hilarious parody was performed by five talented Saudi youths who had the crazy but bold idea of creating a music video in the heavily crowded King Abdullah Road; wearing only the traditional Saudi red headdress, white baggy, long underpants and vests, which men usually wear under their thoubs.
The Saudi music video received more than 15,000 comments. The opinion of viewers varied between how ridiculous and time wasting they thought this video to be, while others thought how wonderful and creative the performance was.
Interestingly, The video not only grabbed the attention of local media, but also some renowned international news media such as the Washington Times and Huffington Post; who failed to cover the creative and artistic side of the video and typically concentrated on the absence of female figures in the music background.
Wearing the white cotton baggy underwear in public recently became one of the ways young Saudi youths try to show their dissatisfaction about conventional life in the country. When young Saudis attempted a campaign to create a special day to wear this saggy underwear in public, which Irritated many disapproving adults, it became prohibited by law.
A funny side to the story is that after the spread of the Saudi Gangnam Style video some western citizens living in Saudi Arabia started wearing the traditional Saudi underwear thinking it was a new local fashion. Luckily, none of them got arrested!
Maybe this extraordinary musical parody also explains the collective obsession the Saudis had over Obama’s reelection. Whatever happens either in the Far East or the West, it will always have an impact on the course of every body’s life. This is Globalization in action, and now more than ever before.
“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”
— Kofi Annan
(The writer is a columnist for the Saudi-based Arab News, where this article was first published Nov. 12, 2012)