Malaysians Turn to Popcat as Political Turmoil Swells

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The internet’s latest viral sensation is seeing countries contend with each other to take the top spot in a game by furiously tapping on a cat!

While Malaysians wait at the edge of their seats as the Greek tragedy that is the current political atmosphere unfolds, and the country is left without a Cabinet — legitimate or otherwise — many have taken to a bizarre and pointless online game called Popcat to curb feelings of utter hopelessness.

If you’ve spent time online in the last week, it would have been impossible to miss random Popcat posts and news articles relating to the site that might have raised questions of exactly what it is. If this was you, thank your stars because here’s a breakdown of what on earth is Popcat, and how you can get in on the action.

Image Credit: Mashable SEA

Making the news in many Asian countries especially, Popcat is surprisingly simple in design and the site can be accessed either on a computer or smartphone. As you open the site, you will see a meme image of a cat who will open its mouth and make a “pop” sound whenever you click or tap on it. There’s a counter above the cat that keeps track of how many clicks or taps you’ve made right from your first visit to the site.

And that’s it — that’s literally all there is to it. If you’re perplexed as to the objective of such a pointless activity that resembles the approaching two years of lockdowns we’ve endured, scroll down to the global leaderboards and you’ll understand what has people hooked.


What’s clever about Popcat’s game leaderboard is its global list of countries that indicate the number of clicks each is accumulating. It’s basically a competition between countries all over the world to see who has the fastest and most zealous poppers. The leaderboard shows the number of pops displayed in real time, with the tally for each country shooting up depending on the amount of taps and clicks made by netizens.

It also comes as no surprise since the Summer Olympics (Tokyo 2020) just ended, and with collective competitive energy still in the air, millions have turned their focus to making their country proud by getting in as many clicks as they can everyday; a boon to take minds off many a government’s failure to protect their own people.

Image Credit: @jigleepaff / Twitter

You’ll be surprised to know that Popcat is actually a creation of several computer scientists from the University of Sheffield, and not a bunch of teenagers stuck at home trying to distract themselves with something worthwhile from online learning.

Image Credit: @yuphatha / Twitter

Launched towards the end of 2020, the game has reached quite a level of popularity around the world in the last few weeks thanks to incentives and rallying pushed by certain groups and brands in a number of countries.

However, in the last week, Popcat has witnessed three countries in particular who’s citizens have taken a ferver to accumulating the most pops, one of them being Malaysia! This week’s leaderboard shows that the tiny nation of Taiwan is in first place at the moment, with Thailand coming in second, and Malaysia in third place with over 16 billion clicks at the time of writing.

Popcat leaderboard from yesterday. Malaysia’s pops have since gone up past 16 billion.
|Image Credit: Mashable SEA

Incensed over being in (a distant) third place, Malaysians have upped the effort in accumulating pops, so much so that even politicians have actively joined in on the “fun.”

Image Credit: @SyedSaddiq / Twitter
Image Credit: @NancyShukri / Twitter

Quickly turning into a viral sensation, platforms like Twitter and TikTok are capitalising on it with lots of memes and videos being created on the game’s unique unifying quality.

Netizens have also shared click hacks on how to increase the number of pops without cheating, although the game’s design is too concerned with spoofs like autoclickers.

Will Malaysia overtake Thailand and stand a chance of knocking Taiwan from the top spot? Guess it’s up to you! But for now, Popcat is possibly one of the few uniting factors Malaysians can depend on.

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