KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — A Malay Mail photograph of Datuk Farid Kamil smirking outside a Petaling Jaya court has triggered an online debate over a silhouette resembling a face formed on his throat.
The outline caused by shadows around the Adam’s apple of the actor, who was remanded today over an alleged assault on a policeman and one other, led some to see the skull-like visage of Voldemort, the dark wizard antagonist from movie adaptations of the popular Harry Potter novels.
Others saw the face of Arsene Wenger, the long-serving manager of English Premier League club Arsenal.
“Why is there a skull at his neck? Is Farid Kamil a ‘Death Eater’ as well?” Twitter user @WhateverFiq asked in Malay, in reply to a tweet of the article. His message has been retweet dozens of times since.
In JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, “Death Eaters” are a group of evil wizards and witches led by Voldemort.
“He is Quirinus Quirrell,” said user @RuzainRidzuan, referring to a school professor in the same series who was possessed by Voldemort, causing the latter’s face to appear on the back of his head.
“Am I the only one seeing a face on his throat?” was another popular reply by user @barteria.
Kalau zoom betul2 leher Farid Kamil, korg akan nampak Arsene Wenger. https://t.co/oqQ296y3Jm— Khairil Anuar (@KhairilAnuar) January 12, 2018
In another popular tweet that was retweeted over 1,000 times, user @KhairilAnuar mentioned in Malay that the silhouette, when enlarged, resembled Wenger.
Several other users also mentioned seeing faces of US President Donald Trump, or the late Apple boss Steve Jobs.
When told of the reaction, Malay Mail photographer Hari Anggara, who captured the image, said he was amused by the attention towards it.
“Seriously I did not even realise the face, actually. So when I found out, I was surprised,” Hari said.
“The photo was very different from the rest, especially with his facial expression,” Hari added when relating how he decided to send the photo in.
The psychological phenomenon of seeing an image, such as faces, where none exists is called pareidolia.
Other users expressed their distress at seeing their idol arrested, but some insisted that they would still love him nonetheless.
“Pity him. Look at his face. He looks so... messed up,” said user @ezzwanaezwnd.
“The clean image in my eyes have gone. He reminded me of someone that I hate,” said user @aienmohd.
But some jokingly suggested that Farid, who is known for his movie roles and thugs and gangsters, was merely researching a role as part of the “method acting” technique, or even promoting a future film or project.
“Maybe this is just a gimmick for his new film,” said user @fakrul07.
“I don’t believe Malaysian artistes. Maybe he is promoting his new film,” user @ImLuq added.
Farid was remanded for four days as he is being investigated under Section 15(1)(a) for administration of drugs and Section 90 of the Police Act 1996 for acting indecently in a police station.
The actor is also being investigated under Section 323 and 353 of the Penal Code, for voluntarily causing hurt and for using criminal force to deter a public servant from carrying out his duties.