Friday, August 30, 2013

JOURNAL 3: Asian Americans on Youtube

When walking down a street on Toronto, you will notice how much frequently you encounter asians in this culturally-diverse city.As much as other white, brown or black people, there are many asian Canadians here and many are originated from China, South Asia (Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia etc), Korea and some from Japan. You might not see the differences between them and Asians who actually came from Asia recently ( who are described as Fobs: Freshly Off the Boat) but you start to train yourself to distinguish them while you stay longer in the city. I could write a whole article about the differences and similarities between Fobs and Asian Canadians but I leave it to the next time.

I have some Asian Canadian friendsat school who were born and raised in Canada and I remember I was amazed how they are so different from actual Asians despite the fact that we share the same ethnic genes from the Asian ancestors practically speaking. And I mean the same Asian ancestors not as those in millions years ago but as those just a couple of generations ago! Most of Asian descent Canadians or Americans came to the North America at their parents, grandparents or grand-grand parents generations. Whether they can speak own language depends on how strict their home education was.

Unless their parents married to non-Asian, which is fewer case than Asian-Asian marriage, they are not so different from Asians who live in Asia in genetical terms. However, somehow Asians born&raised in North America looks different from Fobs on their appearance. What they wear and makeups for girls can be the factor for that but what I want to argue about is that even if they exchanged their clothes and makeup for one day, they would still look different. Environment they grew up in not only establishes their inner personality but also has various impacts on facial expression, facial muscle, body muscle and stuff like that. Life after birth is everything about social learning. You learn what kind of facial expression and behaviour is appropriate to a specific situation by observing people around you. Therefore, it is pretty natural for Asians who grew up in North America to react and behave in North-American way. Using different facial expressions develops different areas of facial muscle, which might leads to slightly different Asian face when comparing to Asians in Asia. Also, North American social norm that both men and women look better when they go to gym and be fit motivates people go to gym like other North Americans. White-washed Asians in North America might look more muscular and fit than Asians in Asia. In some cases, Asians from Asia might look more nerdy because of being skinny and tiny.....

The topic of how Fobs and Asian Canadians/Americans differ from one another leads to my next point of this post. "Asian Americans on Youtube."

I spend a lot of my free time while I study or get bored on youtube, which sounds sort of nerdy already but it led my interest of being Asian in North America to even the deeper level. There are so many Asian youtubers who make professional-looking, legit videos and interestingly many live in LA. Since they live in the same city, some are connected to each other and it is almost like they are making an Asian American community on youtube. Whites had dominated the American society on televisions when televisions used to be the most powerful social media in Twenty centuries. In our new era where online social media such as Youtube can be more popular than televisions, Asian Americans are striving to establish their platform to reach to the public by creating own series of shows, music and video productions. They are taking over what televisions had been doing and replicating on youtube.

There are sooooo many Asian youtubers that I cannot list all of them here so I list some popular ones which at least I think so.

1) Wong Fu Productions

Three taiwanese descent American guys, Phil, Ted and Wes have been working on making videos even before youtube was created. After graduating the same university, they moved to LA and now making various kinds of youtube videos. They make a lot of funny comedies, great romantic short films, weekly blogs and so on. The most famous short film shared on Facebook etc would be "The Last"casted by one of Asian Glee members. I would be embarrassed if someone actually had a conversation like this in real world but the story line is so romantic and well-writen!On the different note, other korean youtuber made a parody of this and it is actually hilarious......

Their romantic short films are great and compelling but they also have a sense of humour, which is shown in a video like these.

Anyway they have tons of videos and they always have great, I mean sometimes serious, inspiring but also humorous choreographs and professional camera works.

2) Jason Chen He has been singing for a while on Youtube and he has own music production called Music Never Sleeps. He already released some albums on iTunes as well.He has the sweetest voice just as you can imagine from his baby face:p He covers many famous songs and also writes own songs.became a big thing among Asian young people a couple of years ago and now he has many more cute songs too.

3) Fung Brothers These Taiwanese brothers make many videos about Asians and rap music videos. Watching their music videos always makes me hungry and actually fly to LA just to try some Asian foods on 626, the area in LA where they live. They are funny, stupid and hilarious people. I also found they are more sensitive about their identity as Asian and proud of it at the same time. They cover many famous songs, mostly rap music and change lyrics into own style....about Asians, Asian food and culture! This video is about Boba a.k.a bubble tea. Who would think of a song about bubble tea? It is okay because the song is still catchy and they look having fun:)

This song just makes me hungry. I really want to visit the area they call 626 in LA now.

They also put up some videos about Asian stereotypes with interviewing people in LA.

4) NigahigaHe's Japanese! Technically speaking he is a Japanese American who grew up in Hawaii. After moving to LA, he is friends with many other Asian youtubers in LA. His videos are funny and stupid but cant stop watching it.....

5) From Head To Toe Jen, a Korean American sometimes appears on some of other youtubers that I listed up here but her main focus is makeup and beauty tutorials. Probablyis the most famous makeup youtuber and now she has own cosmetic line products, but I like watching Jen's videos too. She is beautiful with her makeup and I adore them. ( Everytime when she starts her makeup video with no makeup face, it always kills me though...Hahaha because she looks so different.)

6) ISAtvISAtv is the collective production ran by and for Asian Americans on youtube. Amazingly, all the people that I listed up above ARE in this ISAtv too! Each individual gather together, become one collective Asian Americans and make some shows as one team. Asian American community is in here! They have some talk shows, Game shows, dance shows....just like MTV style tv shows.

I know there are so many more out there but I cannot list all of them here plus, I have not even seen allof them obviously.Anyway what I wanted to stress out was that by the time you watch some of these, you would notice they somehow look different from Asians in Asia. Besides the fact that language they speak is obviously English with no accent, they look different and they are different. And I am amazed how they are not like Asians from Asia and, also my another point, how they emerge their collectiveness of identity on a new social media besides television where whites are dominating. I look forward to seeing how their youtube productions will lead them to the future of Asian community in the North America.
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