The Mousetrap, Gangnam Style

This has been a week of wonders. On Tuesday night I got to see The Mousetrap, here in Hong Kong. Last night was my favorite night of the month—my SCBWI critique dinner, and on Friday night I’m going to a free session with Colm Toibin, who wrote the brilliant Brooklyn. And yet one more writing delight: yesterday, a student brought me a cupcake with my initials frosted on top.

The Mousetrap was fun. It’s not Wicked, or Macbeth, or Much Ado About Nothing. I think its greatest claim to fame is that it’s been performed for 60 years straight. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t overwhelmed. It’s a cozy little thing.

Perhaps my expectations were a tad quashed when I learned that the cast was ‘mostly South African’. I wanted ‘entirely West Endian’. The actors were fine, though. I would like to talk about the plot, but, as after all performances of the play, one of the actors asked the audience to please never reveal the identity of the murderer. Since I quite enjoy being one of the select millions who share the secret behind the mystery, I won’t breathe a word.

The evening’s drama began ten minutes before curtain. My 16-year-old son and I arrived at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and in the foyer, a crowd of photographers and journalists had gathered around someone in front of The Mousetrap posters. It was impossible to see who it was until we were halfway up the escalator, on the way to the Lyric Theater.

And that’s when I burst.

Me (loudly): It’s the Gangnam guy! It’s the Gangnam guy!
Son (quietly): It’s not the Gangnam guy.
Me (getting louder): It is! It’s Psy, the Gangnam guy from Korea!
Son (getting quieter): It’s not the Gangnam guy.

At the top of the escalator, I turned around and went straight back downstairs, iPhone at the ready, completely ignoring my son’s warning that we would miss the start. The bell was ringing.

When I reached the crowd of journos and photographers, I held my iPhone up in the air and started clicking Psy and the two models/dancers/whatever that he was wearing. It’s hard to say at what point I realized it wasn’t Psy the Gangnam guy from Korea, but I was already committed to the shot.

He was definitely a little older than Psy. And he wasn’t doing anything Gangnam Style. Who was he? I had no idea. It was like running screaming up to someone in the street, hugging him or her, and realizing that he or she is a complete stranger. Horror hit me: what if one of these journos accidentally took a picture of me taking a picture of not-Psy the Gangnam guy? I’m just grateful I didn’t call out, “Psy! Psy!”

Trying to look as if I meant to take a picture of whoever this was, I swaggered back to the escalator. My son was waiting at a distance that stilled any suspicion that we were together. I walked past him and said quietly, “It’s not Psy the Gangnam guy.”

His response? “Gangnam style, Mum.”

Do you ever think I’ll hear the end of that?

Let me show you the facts.

Here is the picture I took. Well, one of them.

You did a double take, right?

At work the next day, I asked a couple of people if they could identity my idol. No. It wasn’t until my critique group on Wednesday night that someone clever recognized the mystery man: Cecil Chao, local tycoon. In Hong Kong, Mr. Chao is almost famous as Psy the Gangnam guy from Korea.

He recently made news by publicly offering over $60 million USD to anyone who  married his daughter. She’s gay and married, but he wants to find her a good husband. He’s quite the character.

May you never embarrass yourself in front of—well, behind—a news crew as I did.  To be sure we’re clear on this, study these photos.

This is Psy the Gangnam Guy:

This is Cecil Chao, tycoon and son-in-law hunter:

Psy. Cecil.

Psy. Cecil.

Gangnam Style, Mum.


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