YOUNG, successful and creative – The Ming Thing is a group of famous Malaysian Youtubers consisting of Ming Han, Bryan, Raffi and Ming Yue. Here, they talk about freedom of speech to celebrate Malaysia’s upcoming 58th Independence Day.
Q: How did The Ming Thing start?
A: By accident… I was in my final year at university and felt I needed to do something other than just study. I was just writing down some points for a vlog, using my laptop camera to record it, uploading the vlog and the rest was history! The team only got together after that first video was put up. Raffi and Bryan were studying in different institutions, but after watching my vlog, they offered to help me make some properly shot videos. And that’s how our first proper videos – “Shit Boyfriends Say” and “Alone, Forever?” – came to be!
Q: What does freedom of expression mean to you?
A: It means we should be able to voice out our concerns and opinions at any given time, but we seem to forget that we still have to speak responsibly. Speech should contain sensitivity and altruism, instead of taking it as ‘sure, I can say anything and everything I want since its supposed to be freedom’. I believe the best speakers express wisdom and compassion in their words.
Q: How do you guys come up with the ideas for the videos?
A: Haha, we get asked this a lot! All the team members have different sources of inspiration – from YouTubers to cinematographers, actors to writers. It’s really varied! But we all stay inspired by continuously looking out for creators and brilliant people in the field of production, and learning from what they do.
Also, you gotta stay connected to people and things to be able to write things about them instead of just writing what you see. Experiencing something definitely gives you tonnes of inspiration.
Q: Tell us a bit about the various videos you have and the type of message you want to bring across.
A: I think we’re really just trying to stretch ourselves and do as many new and different things as we can. If you’ve watched our stuff, you’ll see that we don’t stick to one certain genre or format of videos. Content-wise, we always try to put some kinda meaning or message in our videos. Be it something serious or light-hearted. Positivity and honesty are definitely the main elements of our messages!
Q: Which was most difficult video to develop?
A: The web series “This Is Why” was hands-down the HARDEST thing for me to develop. I took months to finish conceptualising and more months to shoot and finish it up. But nowadays, I’ve been writing so many new scripts with a more serious tone to it – it doesn’t seem as hard as I remembered.
Q: Did you face any legal problems?
A: Not at all. We don’t do things that jeopardise ourselves in any way like that. Our content is pretty much protected and legalised by creative rights set by YouTube. And we don’t misuse anybody’s creations. If we do have other creators involved, we consult them and get their permission from the start!
I think it would also be safe to say that we don’t touch things that are sensitive politically, religiously, racially, so on and so forth. At the current moment, we’re focusing on making family-friendly content.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring video producers who want to exercise this freedom?
A: I would say stay true to what is closest to your heart or mind. Tell the best and most genuine stories if its something very close to you. But always, always remember that as a story teller, our role is to captivate. Be responsible, sensitive and know the audience you want your videos to be shown to. We can have the best message in the world, but if it comes across as hostile and insensitive, nobody’s going to want to hear it.
Q: What has been the proudest moment as a video producer?
A: Moments I definitely cherish are when people write in or tell me about their experiences and thoughts watching the things that we do. From small things like “thanks for making me laugh” to heartfelt emails and letters about our videos helping them get through rough times in their lives – those are what I treasure the most.
By Kristine Yee, 19, Selangor
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