KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — YouTubers The Ming Thing might be known for comedy videos, sketch videos and short story videos but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of a serious conversation.
As YouTube’s only Malaysian representative for the video-sharing website’s Creators for Change — the global initiative promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy — The Ming Thing has just returned from London after attending the YouTube Social Impact Camp just under two weeks ago.
There, they met with like-minded YouTubers and participants of the programme who want to use their channels to spread positivity and address social issues plaguing their community from xenophobia and Islamophobia to LGBT issues and body shaming.
The Ming Thing’s topic of choice?
“I always wanted to address (the) racism in our country, especially racial propaganda in the media,” said The Ming Thing founder Ho Ming Han, who started the YouTube channel in 2012 after complaining about his university’s car park.
Ming Han said for the longest time, his team avoided “sensitive” issues because it simply was not safe to discuss these online.
Following Pakatan Harapan’s surprise victory, however, he felt things are different.
“We used to live under that kind of fear but the timing and fate of what had happened was amazing — we can finally do this with a bit more confidence and safety,” Ming Han said.
Even at the camp in the UK, Malaysian politics was a hot topic for other YouTubers there.
“Everyone knew what happened with Malaysia — it was crazy. We had the chance to talk about what was happening in our country and what we wanted to address so when I brought up Malaysia, the participants were like ‘Great job, we’ve been following Malaysia’s story’,” said Ming Han’s younger brother Ming Yue.
Growing up in the 1990s, Ming Han said he was always aware that what Malaysian broadcasters promoted was not a true reflection of society.
“We grew up with Malay and Indian friends, there was absolutely no disharmony between our friendships,” said Ming Han.
“People need to know that racism in our country comes a lot from the media that was spreading propaganda and now we know there was a whole unit in the old government that took care of that.”
Ming Han told Malay Mail the Creators for Change video that The Ming Thing is working on aims to make Malaysians think about how racism is socialised.
“Hopefully it leads to some sort of realisation or initiative to say that ‘Hey, maybe racism isn’t something that I thought it was, maybe it was indoctrinated’,” he said.
Ming Yue added that it was important for Malaysians to be conscious of their mindset when it comes to racism.
The Ming Thing executive producer and co-founder Bryan Lim said the video will be released in September.
As seasoned YouTubers, The Ming Thing is proof that you don’t have to subscribe to the golden triangle formula of babies, boobs and animals to be successful.
Ming Yue’s advice to aspiring YouTubers is to ask themselves what was their message.
“People screaming profanities go viral all the time, it’s easy to spread negative messages. Let’s not promote hate in an age where hate sells,” Ming Yue said.
Knowing from day one that their channel produces family-friendly and counter-culture content which often uses humour to address social issues, has served them well.
“It’s a very liberating thing not needing to worry about catching up to something because a lot of people who do social media are always burned out from chasing the next trend and they can’t stop,” said Ming Han.