Fame and celebrity

RiceGum’s Hong Kong video showed how far clickbait YouTube trend will go, but what about the effect on kids?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 8:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 8:31pm

I refer to the insulting video on Hong Kong made by the Asian-American YouTube vlogger, RiceGum. As a Hongkonger, I found it really unacceptable and disrespectful.

Bryan Le, who goes by the name RiceGum, has more than 10 million subscribers who probably enjoy his strong opinions on many topics. His videos are all about making offensive jokes, criticising other YouTubers and exaggerated behaviour designed to be clickbait.

But what he did in Hong Kong was really insulting. First, he put up a flag of Japan to indicate his arrival in Hong Kong. That was disrespectful to both places. Then RiceGum and his friend implied that Hongkongers do not understand English. His friend asked people at the airport: “You understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” This is nonsense – I would not ask foreigners in Chinese, “Do you understand what I am saying?”

Next, they ask if bovine offal street food is “dog” or “miaow” and call it “disgusting”. This is disrespectful. His excuse: “I thought since I was Asian I was allowed to make these Asian stereotype jokes”.

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I am pleased that the video has been taken down by YouTube. But what should be of concern is this general mood on social media in recent years, with popular vloggers making offensive jokes for money and attention (“Lil Tay, Logan Paul and their YouTube peers need to grow up and stop the madness,” May 10). Their popularity among children means young people would look up to them as role models and be encouraged to copy their bad behaviour and be disrespectful as well. This is the problem that is being ignored.

Joyce Tsang, Tseung Kwan O