Okay, let’s get this out of the way first-
AMMAGAHD UGAIZ, HOTLINK IS BRINGING WONG FU TO MALAYSIA!!!
Ahhhh… okay. Calmed down. Right.
So, Wong Fu Productions are a trio of Chinese-American filmmakers named Wesley Chan, Ted Fu, and Phillip Wang. They’re pretty big in Asia so when they went on a promo tour in 2012, whether it be in Malaysia,
Or any of the other countries on their touring list… (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines if you’re not gonna click on the vid)
You’d get the idea that, yeah. They’re pretty big.
Actually, 2012 wasn’t their only time in Malaysia. They also dropped by again in early 2013 to build a house for Habitat for Humanity in Kuching. Like, literally, they. built. a. house. And also collected funds along the way.
So if you’re a Wong Fu fan, details of their appearance at Hotlink’s #ohhsome fest are at the bottom of this post. If you aren’t, read on and let us convince you why you should check them out at least.
Actually, even if you’re a fan, you should read the rest o….err… hello?
1. They are the American dream
You know how, growing up, we used to watch TV shows like Saved by the Bell (Teen Werewolf for you YOLO Generation readers) and thought “Oh wow, America is amazing. I want to go be American!” so you latch on to whatever references of Americana you can get, convince your parents to transfer you there for school, do your best to “not be Asian,” develop an accent, and get an American girlfriend only to come back disappointed at the reality of life in the USA, single, and writing online content for a fast growing website that just hit a million pageviews?
Yeah, us neither.
But the Wong Fu guys, however, seem to have become the avatar of the American dream for many of us. They’re young, successful, and comfortable with their Asian-ness.
But they were born there!
Sure, one can argue that if they were born there, they wouldn’t have problems integrating into American society, but Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups having the most problems with integration into mainstream American society. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation which would take forever to explain, so you can either click on the links to read the research or trust us when we say it’s also to do with long-held perceptions of what Asians are.
Going back to any one of us not born there, guess what the experience would be like? So, to see these three guys being successful in something that isn’t computer programming or restaurants makes us feel
jealous as if there’s a glimmer of hope to realize that American Dream after all.
2. They aren’t talented!
Hang on with the pitchforks and torches guysssss! What we mean by “talent” in this sense is the prerequisite for Asian actors, especially males, to have a “special Asian talent” in order to make it in the industry, be it Kung Fu, dance, or looking like a potato dumpling (Bobby Lee reference, anyone?). Think about this for a moment: Can you think of a leading Asian male in a Hollywood movie that wasn’t a) a martial artist, or b) doing comedic roles? By many accounts, the last dramatic leading man of Asian descent was Sessue Hayakawa.
Never heard of him?
Yeah, because he was acting back when films still looked like this:
Mmmhmmm. But all hope isn’t lost though, female actors of the Asian persuasion have less problems getting lead roles compared to men. As femme fatales or the hapless love interest. Me love you long taim!
In spite of this so-called desexualization of Asian men, we get Wong Fu, three guys who (as far as we know) don’t possess the kung fu manliness of Jackie Chan making well-accepted content based off good storytelling and craftsmanship.
3. They’re Chinese!
Okay, it’s not because they’re Chinese specifically because saying that is so, like, racialist. But actually it is la. While there are other Asian YouTube stars out there such as D-Trix (
Phillipino Philippino Pinoy), Ryan Higa (Japanese), or Michelle Phan (Vietnamese), research has shown that we tend to identify (and be attracted to) those that are most similar or familiar to us. So what we’re saying is that the more possible it is to envision them having teh tarik at a mamak, the easier it is for us Malaysians to connect with them.
And that’s probably why they’re pretty big in Singapore as well.
4. They’re…. quite good looking la
Mmm. Yeah la.
5. Their content is relatable
Wong Fu themselves have said that their videos don’t really fit in to “conventional” idea of YouTube videos since they produce short films and dramas instead of the quick sketch/viral content that YouTube has become known for. In face, Phil Wang has said that
“… all other trends and fads and strategies of YouTube point to us not existing on that site” – Phil Wang, in the video below
Without a doubt, most of Wong Fu’s videos would pale in comparison to, say… Corridor Digital or Freddie Wong (Freddiew) with extraspecialkingchau special effects and costumes. If you don’t believe us, here’s one of Freddie Wong’s
And here’s a Wong Fu one
With these two videos as examples, let’s go through the differences.
So all things considered, Freddiew’s video is a clear winner, right? Yeah. It has roughly 2 million more views also.
So why did we watch the Wong Fu one all the way to the end? Is it possible that something in that video resonated with us?
Well, it sure did for a lot of people on YouTube:
And maybe that’s just it. It just may be that they produce videos that people, regardless of race or nationality, can identify with on a personal level.
6. They aren’t preachy
While Wong Fu are comfortable with their Asian-ness, they aren’t going out of their way to raise the voice of Asian Americans, improve the standing of Asian Americans or anything of that sort in their work. They just wanna make good videos. They have been known to cast both Asians and non-Asians in their work, with more focus on the traits of the characters rather than their race.
While we may not bring up [Asian Pacific American] issues in our work, we are not afraid to show that we are Asian. This is an issue in itself that we believe we’re tackling head on. We want to show that APAs are just normal people, and shouldn’t be stereotyped in the media and should have proper representation.
We don’t all do martial arts or have accents. We have stories that most everyone can relate to as human beings.
We really want to show that our work and voice should and can be seen colorblind. The same way African Americans can now be accepted in the mainstream without a second guess, that’s what we hope will someday be the case for APAs. – Wong Fu Productions, via Wikipedia
At the same time though, they do stand up for the cause of Asians in the media since they rejected the prospects of a feature film when producers told them that they had to cast “more marketable” leads – in which case more marketable means non-Asian. Good news though, they’re big enough to do one on their own terms now. 🙂
They also acknowledge that maintaining the balance isn’t easy. They go into more detail in the video below, but pretty much if they cast all Asians, they get called out for casting all Asians; and if they cast non-Asians, they get called out for casting no Asians. Cannot win wan!
APPEARANCE DETAILS ARE HERE
Okay, we aren’t going to beat around the bush…
This is part of Hotlink’s #OHHSOME Fest, a cross-platform celebration of social media in Malaysia featuring international and local YouTubers. Wong Fu ain’t the only YouTube megastars headlining the event – YouTube singer/songwriter/producer David Choi will be there too, along with local YouTubers Elizabeth Tan and Joseph Germani. There’s also a bazaar, mobile app showcase, and Twitter games. And did we mention it’s free???
Dates and times
December 13th 2014, 10am – 11pm
December 14th 2014, 10am – 6pm
Sounds pretty #ohhsome to us.