YouTubers channel ‘This is America’ with ‘This is Malaysia’ videos on race relations

Joe Lee
‘This Is Malaysia’ is another JinnyboyTV production which has struck a chord with Malaysians. — Picture via Twitter/@Jinnyboy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Using Childish Gambino’s This is America as inspiration, Malaysian YouTubers have taken to creating their own cover parodies of the hit single but with a similar focus on key issues after GE14.

In a true no-holds-barred fashion, these cover parodies touch on a diverse mix of issues, ranging from race relations to corruption and also reforms that need to be addressed by ordinary Malaysians after the recent general election.

The first video, by popular Malaysian YouTube sensation duo JinnyboyTV, featuring Jin Lim and Reuben Kang is titled This is Malaysia by “Chinese Gambino”.

With references to taking chocolate out of the fridge to  'rendang crispy' and more, the hilarious video features a host of cameos from popular Malaysian YouTubers including the duo of Luqman Podolski, Dennis Yin and Arwind Kumar among many others.

But the YouTubers also use the video as an opportunity to speak on issues on race and even brain drain.

“This is Malaysia, don’t call us Chinese now, don’t call us Indian now, don’t call us Malay now, we are Malaysian, look at what’s happening, look at what’s going on, look at what’s changing,” read the lyrics of the song, urging Malaysians to look beyond one’s race and creed.

The particular verse of the song is then juxtaposed with a recent video clip featuring Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, where he told the media that he doesn’t consider himself as Chinese, but Malaysian.

The beginning of the video is interspersed with one-liners like “Balik Cina” and “Go Singapore”, alluding to the practice of Malaysians going overseas to earn and living and make a life.

“This is Malaysia, don’t think of leaving now, we all believing now, papers we reading now,” says Jinnyboy, referring to Barisan Nasional’s defeat in GE14 and the call by the Pakatan Harapan government for Malaysian professionals living overseas to return home.

The song also takes a jibe at Malaysians, saying that before other reforms can take place, certain bad habits must also change- like paying up your PTPTN loan, not double-parking, cleaning up one’s tray after eating and even “learning to speak Malay.”

It has garnered over 70,000 views since it was uploaded online last night at 8.30pm, becoming an instant hit online.

But JinnyboyTV, with over 860,000 subscribers is not the only one to parody the hit by Childish Gambino, otherwise known as multi-award-winner Donald Glover.

His original single took the Internet by storm in early May with a music video directed by comedy drama Atlanta director Hiro Murai.

In the video, Gambino's dancing routine with an entourage of young dancers is contrasted against sporadic moments of violence where he shoots an unarmed man in the back of the head with a handgun, and an AK-47 automatic rifle to gun down an entire church choir.

Critics have praised the music video, calling it a reference to the willingness of American citizens to uphold gun rights over the lives of other people.

Another Malaysian YouTuber Vikarworld, who has 68,000 subscribers, had a slightly different take with his cover of This is America.

Using the moniker “Pak Itam”, his similarly titled This Is Malaysia talks about the state of the country before Pakatan Harapan's win in GE 14 on May 9, with satirical references everything from Birkins to 1MDB.

His take is less subtle, with direct criticisms against the previous BN government.

“This is Malaysia, sebelum Pakatan jadi kerajaan, tak ada harapan

(Translation: This is Malaysia, before Pakatan became the government, there was no hope).

“This is Malaysia sebelum Pakatan, rakyat dibodohkan, tambang dinaikkan.”

(Translation: Before Pakatan, the people were made fools of, and the price of everything went up)

Vikarworld poked fun at the current scandal involving the seizure of handbags belonging to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

“Pompuan beli Prada, Gucci, Berkin right now, duit datang dari mana kita tak tahu, bayar Raja Bomoh dengan duit engkau.

(Translation” Girls buy Prada, Gucci, Berkin right now, where the money comes from we don’t know, pay Raja Bomoh with your own money.”)

The song ends with the line “This was Malaysia”, suggesting that things should get better under the new PH administration.

With a significantly fewer number of subscribers at 68,000 — the video however has garnered over 76,000 views since it was uploaded five days ago.