In a country as diverse as Malaysia, it is difficult to identify a celebrity that is multilaterally loved by all. However, Wang Leehom is that one such artist who transcends race, religion and language.
Wang Leehom is an American Born Chinese (ABC) singer/actor who first found fame in Taiwan before whipping the whole of Asia into a fanatic frenzy. His forte is music that evokes heartwrenching emotions and oozes overwrought sentimentality which appeals immensely to Asians. Although his credentials merit the adulation he receives, we must examine why Malaysians adore him.
Firstly, he is an Asian who was raised in the States and has Western influences in his craft. He therefore embodies the Malaysian dream of growing up abroad, being Westernized and having a foreign education. This also earns him points with non-Chinese Malaysians who can't relate to other Taiwanese artists like Jay Chou. Secondly, Malaysia has been one of his most frequent concert sites which only serves to endear him more to Malaysians. But the most redeeming factors are his highly lauded 2004 duet with local songbird Siti Nurhaliza and the fact that he filmed the Ang Lee helmed movie; "Lust, Caution" in Ipoh, Malaysia. These events gave Malaysians reasons to be proud of the country (and relate it to themselves).
Wang Leehom's influence is such that his face can not only be seen on pirated CDs/DVDs and kitschy memorabilia, but his voice is also channeled through ardent karaoke practitioners throughout the country (for critical evidence of this, click here).