We were curious to see how the public perceives each of Malaysia’s top political dogs so we took the first 100 images of each leader from Google Images (of course excluding pictures that weren’t of them, but not excluding duplicates cos well, ain’t no one gat time fadat), and categorized them into Happy, Angry, Neutral and a variety of CUSTOM faces that each of them has. Pictures speak a thousand words. So when you have a hundred pictures, that’s like… uh… 100,000 words or something.
We used an iPad app called YouDoodle to plonk coloured dots on each image we saw to categorize them. As you can see, we were meticulous in the process, sometimes even changing our opinions on the expression on each face (for full transparency, click on the names of each party leader to view their full 100 image screenshot – each file is about 4MB).
So with great credibility, and no further ado, here are the results, in order of LEAST ANGRY to MOST ANGRY.
6. Karpal Singh – DAP (1940-2014)
UPDATE – April 2014: In light of this great man’s passing, we have chosen to leave this article unchanged (except for this line), as it highlights that despite being one of Malaysia’s most combative lawyers, he is viewed as its least angry politician.
For a guy known as the “Tiger of Jelutong”, I challenge you to find a single shot of him angry. Despite him being crippled in an accident, despite him being charged with sedition numerous times, and most recently being forced to step down from party-leader position…
The most indication you’ll get from a picture is slightly raise eyebrows like the custom face shown above. In most pictures, he just looks like a gentle old man, despite enduring one of the most tumultuous lives in Malaysian history. On separate occasions, this badass threatened to sue the Terrenganu state government for implementing hudud laws (under PAS), and even sued Sultan Iskander on behalf of one of the men he allegedly assaulted (the sultan is rumoured to have named one of his dogs after Karpal).
Looking at his wikipedia, anytime he is threatened to compromise his principles in some way, he accepts the threat wholeheartedly, spending almost a year in jail, being suspended and arrested numerous times, , and is the only known lawyer to be charged with sedition in defense of a client within the Commonwealth countries.
Despite all this controversy, his demeanour is surprisingly gentle throughout (perhaps because you’re not allowed to take photos in court). Some say that the beard hides the anger. So we got our graphic whiz to do a composite on what he’d look like without the beard.
5. G Palanivel – MIC
Definitely not the most expressive man in politics. Palanivel is rarely a headliner, and quietly does a decent job as our Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. You would think with the recent HAZE, many would’ve targeted him, but such is the benefit of such a low profile (It still shocks me that not a single arrest was made from open burning tho, Datuk).
Anyways, politics aside, this will probably be the shortest description of the lot. There’s not really alot to say about G. Palanivel, except PLEASE STOP OUR DEAR COUNTRY FROM GETTING RAPED OF RESOURCES! Kthxbye.
Did he change his expression?
It must be a stressful job running PAS. Abdul Hadi Awang took over from previous chairman, Fadzil Noor after the latter died of a heart attack, only to suffer a stroke himself in 2010. Anyway, PAS’s number one guy has the shortest wikipedia of all the peeps here.
In real life, he’s known as a very articulate, but gentle speaker. His emotions rarely show, and even his angry shots look or annoyed than outright biblical. In fact, more than his face, he articulates more frequently with his hands, with frequent and wide-reaching gestures. Unfortunately in pictures, they show up as THE CLAW. Sometimes even manifesting as…
Once in a while, his hands reach for the microphone and then it becomes a variation we charmingly like to call, the Karaoke. In this day and age of podiums and mic stands, few people still want to grab the mic (just check the other image galleries), but Awang isn’t afraid of going hands on, and walking the talk.
Ok, let’s get this straight since we’re a new publication. I actually kinda like Najib. I’ve always wondered why someone who has as much money and power that he has, would still want to work so hard as PM unless he actually wanted to make a difference. Having said that, I feel he could grow some cojones to make bigger strides into getting rid of all the other oxygen suckers that surround him.
Perhaps it’s because of this feeling of being stuck between a rock and a hard place that his CUSTOM FACE looks like his mouth isn’t sure whether to frown or to smile. It’s a frequent expression too, 41% of all pictures (definitely all the official ones). If you count it as a neutral expression, paired with his obviously neutral pics, Najib comes out second most Neutral of the lot, next to Palanivel, who just isn’t a very expressive person to begin with.
Najib, however, can be…
So it appears our dear PM is actually a rather expressive man, but because he can’t decide which side of the fence he’s leaning on, he can’t figure out how he feels about the whole thing. Hyeh.
Update – 9 March 2015: Yeah we’re keeping this here cos they haven’t found anyone else to replace Anwar yet..
Yep, he ain’t number one. If you’re familiar with your political scene, you’ll know there’s only one other major
party yet to be covered. But here, we definitely have Malaysia’s most EXPRESSIVE politician.
To be honest, alot of the photos we deemed “Neutral” weren’t even all that Neutral. We theorize the reason for this is that the leader of La Resistance has the eyebrows of a cartoonists wet dreams.
The perception from the public is similar as well. Everyone would’ve expected him to win in this category. Totally justified tho. The poor guy was gonna be the next PM, goes to the States for a bit of a holiday, comes back, is accused of sticking his thing into his MALE assistant, and gets beaten up and thrown in jail. You try not being at least a bit angry. See? Subconsciously, we even put angry in CAPS eventhough he wasn’t our winner.
It’s a credit that a man who has been through so much can still muster up a golden smile once in a while – or is it just PR?
Yes, our winner could also easily be a
finalist for a Bill Gates lookalike contest. As the newly crowned leader of MCA, Liow has his work cut out for him. The ruling government thinks they’re pushovers, while the public thinks they’re irrelevant. Maybe that’s why in between 100 different expressions (and yes he is really expressive), you can find moments where he just lets it hang tired – and looks like he belongs in a USUAL SUSPECTS line-up. Part of this is due to MCA’s horrendous performance in GE13, and part, we’re sure is also due to him losing his position as Minister of Health as a result 🙁
Perhaps that’s why he’s also MALAYSIA’s ANGRIEST POLITICAL PARTY LEADER! (he beat Anwar by a hair).
To be fair, he also has the second highest number of happy shots of any party leader after Anwar (29 to 33 in case anyone’s interested). Like this one…
and this one…
Well guys, there you have it, guys! Just as a disclaimer, yes we are perfectly aware that Google Images isn’t reflective of a person’s personality, but actually more to do with the public’s perception of them (after all, these pictures aren’t selfies). With that said, do check the thumbnail links to see how exactly we categorised each picture, and let us know if you disagree with our findings in the comments below…