Thanks to this lockdown, we have grown a newfound respect and appreciation for our own country's attractions. Pristine beaches, chilly highlands, historical cities, food trails and Instagrammable corners everywhere - we are truly a melting pot of culture, nature and history.
This very melting pot is one of the reasons that make us Malaysians “ best ” according to four rising international YouTube creators from Japan, the US, and South Korea in Youtube Malaysia’s Generasi YouTube ‘Bestnya Malaysia!’ session. In conjunction with of Malaysia Day, YouTube Malaysia showcased the stories and perspectives of Motoaki Hara from the channel Aki from Japan, Jade, Yerim, and Dasol from the channel Blimey, Adam Potter from the channel MotoMatsalleh, and Changmin Lee from the channel Teh Tarik Oppa. These creators shared how they came to find their content niche in all things Malaysian and what moves them about our people and culture.
A teacher in Japan, Aki found himself wondering if there was more out there for him beyond the four walls of his classroom. His travels took him to Southeast Asia, which he instantly took a liking for - the friendly people and the more laidback lifestyle he saw here was a refreshing change to the life he was accustomed to. Between the different countries he visited, it was in Malaysia which the former educator found his ideal home - offering the appeal of having a large English speaking population, and a lifestyle which matched what he was looking for.
“I started my YouTube channel to have more opportunities to practice speaking, to learn and to teach English for a Japanese audience - but I noticed that when I posted a video on Malaysia, I started seeing many Malaysians visiting my channel - much more than my Japanese viewers, for sure. This encouraged me to do more content that would interest this segment of my audience,” explained Aki.
Aki, who gained much of his local popularity from his cultural commentary videos, said “I do get nervous doing content which touches on culture and religion, because what if I’m giving out the wrong information, or what if I accidentally say or do something offensive? I am fortunate that my viewers have been nothing but encouraging. Their feedback and comments have been my biggest motivation to continue doing videos, and without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
"It's hard to pick my favourite place in Malaysia because there are so many places! But if I had to chose, I would say Perhentian Island because it is so fascinating and also Langkawi. There are so many activities in Langkawi." he shared.
Jade, Yerim, and Dasol - three friends who knew each other from university - formed the channel Blimey out of their mutual interest in media, broadcast, and journalism. Even as early as 2010, at least in South Korea, they saw more and more people turning online for entertainment and platforms like YouTube were becoming the “new TV”. This made YouTube a natural choice for them to explore content creation.
It was their sampling and review of a Maggi cup noodle was what invited a surge of views from Malaysians who were very interested to hear what they had to say about it, according to Jade on behalf of Blimey. And seeing that their Malaysian viewers were very supportive and engaged, Blimey saw the opportunity to do more content around Malaysia.
“We feel honored to receive comments like - ‘your content should be aired in TV stations.’ That gives us an indication of which content resonates with our audience - and by paying attention to those types of feedback, we plan to make more quality content like that,” said Jade.
Blimey's channel continues to introduce Koreans to Malaysia's local cuisine. "Koreans don't know about Penang and we want to highlight it to our viewers for its amazing food. There are so many different kinds of food in Malaysia. Nasi Lemak and sambal are especially well-loved by Koreans."
Adam is a motorcycle enthusiast based in mainland Penang who has built himself a steady following of serious enthusiasts just like him. Adam’s travels and lifestyle content are set against the backdrop of Malaysia, covering in-depth bike and gear reviews, and test rides among others.
“Malaysia is the perfect place for motorcycle enthusiasts - 365 days out of the year, for a good part of the day, you are bound to experience good weather. No heavy snow, or any other elements of the weather to get in the way. Also, there is a large chunk of the population who loves motorcycling over here, giving me an opportunity to share my passion with them.”
"Every state has something different to offer - for diving, it's Perhentian, delicious tea in Cameron Highlands and so on. I got to 'balik kampung' with some friends to Kedah and Malacca where I spent Raya there. You have heard so much about the balik kampung' but experience it is different and it was one of my best experience in Malaysia,"
Speaking of his content creation journey, Adam said, “Growth on YouTube can be tough to hack sometimes - on occasions, your content hits gold, but other times, not so much. But that’s the beauty of YouTube - the algorithm has the power to connect you with an audience which finds your content useful, entertaining, and valuable. If you are able to deliver valuable information or really great entertainment, YouTube rewards that. It has this exponential potential to show your content to a wide audience whom you are not yet already connected to.”
Changmin , another South Korean creator from the channel Teh Tarik Oppa, only got started on his YouTube journey as recently as May 2019 - but even then, he has made great strides in growing his following which now hovers at 25,900 subscribers. While you may think majority of this followers are from Korea, it was actually the contrary. Close to 95% of his viewers are from Malaysia as they enjoy watching him speak in Malay and enjoy his Korean language lessons done in Bahasa.
Changmin first came to Malaysia as an exchange student and that short stint made such an impression on him that he continued doing more Malaysian-centred content to preserve memories of his life in Malaysia. But that’s not all, Changmin majors in Bahasa and has taken on a Malaysian name: Asyraf.
Mersing, Johor holds precious memories for him when he spent Hari Raya with his Malaysian family and friends. He fondly reminisce of fishing with friends and delicious Malaysian snacks such as keropok and lemang during the holiday. For him, it was a good cultural experience. One distictively Malaysian experience he has enjoyed is the mamak culture here as he enjoys 'lepakking' at mamak and meeting new friends over food.
“I may not already have a fancy car or lots of money from starting my YouTube channel, but there has been one important change to my life - I gained so many Malaysian friends through YouTube. My dream is to live in Malaysia with my future wife and kids, and to make it into Malaysian TV. My name is Teh Tarik Oppa because I think teh tarik is one of the most perfect drinks out there - maybe teh tarik could be a way how I could do collaborations with Malaysian brands,” volunteered Changmin eagerly.
Generasi YouTube is a YouTube Malaysia initiative to showcase talented, up-and-coming creators handpicked based on the mark they are making on the platform. Previous creator showcases have highlighted local geek culture, the Malaysian fashionista community, millennial vloggers and stereotype-breaking female YouTubers.