Lavonne Yew reviews YouTubers, of the four main races in Singapore, who are gaining popularity.
YouTube is a video-sharing and social media platform founded in 2005, and has been growing exponentially ever since. Photo by Lavonne Yew. On-screen photo taken from Variety.
Hype Issue #53
July 27, 2021
Singapore is well known as a melting pot of various ethnicities and cultures. With the YouTube industry omnipresent in our society today, we definitely have myriads of unique Singaporean YouTubers who are growing increasingly successful in their content creation, even surpassing our local scene and reaching out to international audiences.
It is now pretty much impossible to find someone who has never watched a YouTube video before. The significance of YouTube has been especially prominent ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in which people are forced to spend much more time online.
YouTube is a platform in which anyone is able to take full control of their own content, making it very appealing to those looking to be content creators. We have our fair share of YouTubers here in Singapore who are expressing themselves and unleashing their sense of individuality on the global platform, each of them embarking on their own journey to reach out to their audience.
To help you to discover some of our gems, here are some of the up-and-coming Singaporean YouTubers who are climbing their way up the YouTube ladder.
Photo taken from Sneaky Sushii’s YouTube page.
Sneaky Sushii is one of our Singaporean YouTubers who has had the steepest subscriber growth. He only had his first listed video in 2019 and has now already achieved over 158,000 subscribers.
He gained notoriety from his first video ‘How Not To Be A Singaporean Youtuber’, in which he dared to call out Singapore’s YouTube scene for sticking to overused video formats such as listicles and using sex appeal.
The Film, Sound & Video diploma graduate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film & Media Studies incorporates humour in most of his videos to entertain his audience. However, he does have occasional videos in which he addresses serious topics such as cyberbullying.
It is evident that he sees the need to use his platform to raise awareness, which is something that earns my respect, as many online personalities are afraid to speak up, fearing that their fans will turn their backs on them, or simply because they do not find the need to.
The Singaporean-Chinese YouTuber also makes an effort to be authentic with his audience. In ‘Emotional Video’, he presents the realness of having a ‘creative rut’ as a content producer and in ‘How I Dropped Out Of School For YOUTUBE’, he shows his brave thought process in giving up a degree in film.
His efforts in keeping up to date with the latest happenings in Singapore are clear as he would churn out videos about them very quickly after their occurrence. Whenever a viral incident surfaces in Singapore, many of his viewers would know to tag him, urging him to make a video about it. It is apparent that he has many fans who enjoy his content and look forward to them.
“Very memorable, everyone in [Singapore] now knows ‘meowvin’ (reference to Sneaky Sushii’s video).”
Sneaky Sushii’s videos mostly center around reviewing:
- Current and controversial trends, incidents and topics
- Crimewatch (Singaporean television series to raise awareness on crimes) and Incredible Tales (Singaporean horror television series) episodes
- Property agents’ advertisements
In his videos, he challenges controversial topics, which, again, many local YouTubers would not dare to. Hence, these videos are uncommon, especially in our conservative country, and thus so-called ‘juicy’ for his target audience, who would usually be the Generation Z (Gen Z) or millennials. This is why many are enticed to click and watch his videos.
However, some may find his content offensive and ironically, to the extent of cyberbullying.
“Very relatable but very controversial.”
“Entertaining for sure, but mostly [his videos are] about other people and sometimes it’s [kind of] like cyberbullying.”
I agree and that is unfortunately the culture of what gets people to click on videos: ‘spice/tea/shade’.
A few seconds into his videos and his editing efforts would already be difficult to ignore. It is obvious that he does not skive when it comes to video editing. He adds audio effects, external clips, video transitions and more to make his videos entertaining.
As another bold move, he is also willing to invest large sums of money in his videos, such as ‘Ordering GrabFood And Tipping $1,000’ and ‘I BOUGHT 1000 TOTO TICKETS AND WON!!’, to ‘wow’ his viewers into clicking into his videos.
Ultimately, his selling point is his humour and authenticity; his humour would make you catch yourself stifling a laugh sometimes. You can sense that he does not sugarcoat his words nor bow down to others just for the sake of it, which is something that is very much compromised in our superficial society today. It is always refreshing to have a sprinkle of realness nowadays.
Personally, I have been following his channel since its outset and watched it grow. I do genuinely enjoy his videos and I never fail to watch every single one of his new uploads.
“Honestly think he’s a funny, [unbiased] YouTuber. He’s able to share his opinions well too.”
“He’s pretty funny.”
Photo taken from The BenZi Project’s YouTube page.
The BenZi Project is a collaboration between Benjamin Kheng and Hirzi Zulkiflie, who already had a strong online presence before they decided to kickstart this channel. Benjamin is a well-known constituent of the band The Sam Willows, and Hirzi also used to make up half of the YouTube channel MunahHirziOfficial, which was very popular in Singapore’s early 2010s.
I personally feel that some of their videos fall short compared to others. I find myself not being able to sit through and watch all of their videos from start to end.
However, they do have some really entertaining ones. My personal favourite is ‘The Halal Gap’, in which Hirzi played the role of a dictatorial Muslim mother who had much to say about her daughter’s interracial relationship with Adam, played by Benjamin. The storyline flowed smoothly and the skit depicted some ‘very Singaporean’ habits.
The main speciality of this pair is their openness to playing a multitude of different roles. In each skit, they are detailed and elaborate in their use of props, and often even cross-dress, which allow their skits to be very relatable to Singaporeans.
Their collaboration is a symbolism of the racial harmony in Singapore: Benjamin is a Chinese and Hirzi is a Malay. This duo serves as a reminder to Singaporeans to always maintain the amicable interracial relations, which many other countries may not have experienced.
I would strongly encourage you to give their videos a watch for a good laugh and reminiscence of (if you’re Singaporean) or insight into (if you’re not Singaporean) the Singaporean lifestyle.
“[Their YouTube channel] touches on the different cultures in Singapore, very catered [for the] local audience].”
Photo taken from Saffron Sharpe’s YouTube page.
Saffron Sharpe gained a lot of popularity after she started hosting Real Talk, a YouTube talk show series. She is well-liked for her sense of humour and candidness, which made many of her fans upset when she announced her departure from Real Talk to pursue her degree in London. Many of her fans protested that the talk show would never be the same without her.
To keep up with her, Saffron’s fans followed her relocation to her own YouTube channel, where she posts a wide variety of videos on her lifestyle: from vlogs, to reviews, to life tips.
With her notable popularity, the Eurasian YouTuber has managed to clinch remarkable financial success at the tender age of 26, with advertorials and her own business Shopsaffy. This allows her to indulge in a significantly extravagant lifestyle which she can then document to her audience, and in turn gain more views. The average Singaporean would love to catch a glimpse of a luxurious lifestyle, such as her stylish fashion, aesthetics, collection of designer bags, and travelling.
Saffron has also addressed serious topics in her videos, such as her encounter with sexual assault and battle with mental issues, which highlights how she is open to being vulnerable with her viewers. She does occasional fitness videos as well, to reach out to her audience who may be looking to learn how to stay fit.
She also has a segment called The Saffy and Dew Show, in which she continues her collaboration with one of her co-hosts from Real Talk. Their strong chemistry and complementary personalities keep their fans coming back for more.
Saffron’s unique, bubbly personality is definitely enough to attract her fans to continue supporting her endeavours: as an individual YouTuber and a business owner.
Even though I am not a big fan of vlogs, I would recommend you to watch Saffron’s videos if you love YouTubers with strong personalities bringing you along their personal life.
“Interesting to see what life is like in Europe.”
Photo taken from Preetipls’ YouTube page.
Although Preetipls gained a lot of attention from the controversy of her rap video, which addressed her displeasure towards brownfacing in Singapore, she continued to upload videos on her channel, some of which were quite successful.
Preetipls is known for her confidence and bold personality. In her channel, she dares to publicly challenge sensitive topics such as racism and gender equality.
“She brings a lot of awareness to the brown community, and talks about racism in an interesting way so that viewers can be engaged and learn new things about the society at the same time.”
Her video ‘NOBODY ASKED EP 32: TOP 10 IDIOTS OF SINGAPORE 2020!!!’ garnered more than 27,000 views. In that video, she satirically imitates Dee Kosh, who was a popular YouTuber faced with a downfall. She shows how she is fearless in her content and unafraid of conflict or judgement, even if it means stepping on someone else’s toes.
The Indian YouTuber’s energetic demeanor will leave you in a vibrant mood after watching her videos. The adorable on-screen friendship that she maintains with her ex-intern Wee San also kept her fans coming back for more, as he has become a significant element in her videos.
Prettipls has a few series on her channel such as CMB, which is a podcast series in which she talks about an array of matters under the sun, and PREETIPLS REACTS, in which she reacts to interesting topics.
It is commendable that she still has a lot of support and positive comments on her videos despite the controversy that landed her with a conditional warning. To me, she is walking proof of how it is possible to rise up from your adverse circumstances.
“Almost all of her videos have some kind of comment that talks about the defamation case.”
Singapore has often been criticised for our rigid way of thinking, and lack of creativity and personality. However, I beg to differ. Our YouTube scene definitely shines rays of light. I say, we should show more support for our local creators who are brewing a lot of hidden potential.