KUALA LUMPUR: The “Panama” dance craze currently sweeping Malaysia twirled into the Perlis JPJ department recently, and boogied with its surprisingly fleet-footed personnel.
As a way of “reducing stress in the office”, almost a dozen Perlis JPJ staff members created a music video in which they perform the dance to the previously-obscure 2013 reggae song “Panama” by Romanian singer Matteo.
The three-minute-40-second video features one senior officer and 11 personnel in full uniform, performing the in-line dance moves – clapping, twerking, drawing Zs in the air and doing the hula – in and around the department’s compound, with impressive synchronicity and gusto.
The rather well-produced video – with its spiffy editing – took social media by storm after it was uploaded on March 7, and has since gone viral.
As of today, the infectiously-sunny video has garnered more than 270,000 views, 3,400 shares and 7,400 likes on the “Metafora Anafora” Facebook page.
On a group Facebook page of Chinese-speaking Malaysians, the video was shared 13,000 times, and earned 11,000 likes.
The cavorting officers have been largely praised by netizens impressed by their nimbleness and sporting nature.
More notably, the group’s main dancer – a tall, handsome officer who is clearly the most jazzed-up of the officers – has caught the attention of many an admirer.
Facebook commenter Eline Wong, for instance, praised him for his dancing – and inquired as to his marital status.
However, other comments were not as appreciative.
Zie Mardziah Binti Zun said that the officers seemed very cheerful in the dance – which contrasts with how they are in real life.
"Their faces are stern when doing roadblocks and they show rudeness unnecessarily, as if we are criminals," she wrote.
Mohd Subakry Mohd Shukery was more scathing in his comment, saying that the Perlis JPJ director should be ashamed.
"If you want to have fun, do it without the uniform and outside working hours.
"Otherwise, work ethics will be viewed negatively by the rakyat," he said.
But Vince KL urged his fellow Malaysians to “chill.”
"What’s wrong (with them) dancing or making a video?
"We should support their effort to do so and not criticise them. Salute for you all!!!," he wrote.
On its Facebook page, JPJ Perlis wrote: "Anyhow, be… supportive, okay?!"
The Panama dance meme is thought to have originated with users of the Chinese video-sharing app DouYou, who posted short clips of themselves dancing to the five-year-old song in September last year.
The craze then exploded in Thailand, where the dance moves were perfected – based on traditional Thai dance – and embraced by netizens and local celebrities.
From there, it hopped across the border to Perlis.