A Malaysian celebrity abjectly apologizes for a video about dumplings featuring a Chinese dissident
by Tenzin Younten
Uncle Roger is the YouTube persona of a popular Malaysian-born comedian named Nigel Ng, who is based in the U.K. He first rose to fame after his hilarious reactions in an egg and fried rice cooking video, which received over 20 million views on YouTube. Following this viral video, his channel hit 3 million subscribers last December.
Now, however, Uncle Roger faces a barrage of criticism from his fan followers and media, due to a self-censorship act. It is indeed appalling to witness a talented and charismatic comedian and a famous YouTuber submissively kowtow to the Chinese Communist Party by self-censoring a video featuring Mike Chen and apologizing.
On January 11, Uncle Roger uploaded on YouTube a “reaction video” on how to make dumplings, titled “Uncle Roger Reviews the Ugliest Dumpling Ever.” Another popular YouTuber, Mike Chen, who hosts a food channel on YouTube with more than 3 million subscribers, appeared in this video as a guest. It was just another of the usual Uncle Roger videos, focused mainly on preparing dumplings, with no discussion of anything political.
YouTuber Mike Chen on numerous occasions has been critical of the Chinese government’s treatment of its minorities, on various platforms. He specifically raised concerns on the Tiananmen Square protests, and the gross violations of human rights in East Turkestan (Ch. Xinjiang), Hong Kong, Tibet, and Southern Mongolia.
Just days following the posting of the video, Nigel Ng decided to delete his “Ugliest Dumpling Ever” video with Mike Chen. He also published an apology letter to the Chinese viewers on his Weibo account, which included an acknowledgement of creating negative social impact through his latest video with Mike Chen. He further assured them that he was not aware of the political stand of Mike Chen, and his “incorrect political remarks in the past.”
Of course, the ulterior motive of such repulsive action is not to antagonize the Chinese followers and their masters in Beijing. By doing so, Nigel Ng aka Uncle Roger conveniently ignores the blatant human rights violation prevailing across China. Rather, it surreptitiously adopts the Chinese political propaganda and its narratives that everything is fine in China, and the critiques are merely Western concoctions. The incident reveals that he does not want to lose the support of his fans from China and his access to the Chinese market. And of course, he does not want to earn the wrath of the Beijing and harm his future activities.
There are many celebrities from around the world, who were not afraid to take a stance against the Chinese communist party and consistently voiced their concerns about the violations of basic human rights in Tibet, East Turkestan (Ch. Xinjiang), Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, etc. Of course, these celebrities faced the backlashes from China. In fact, there are a number of popular celebrities, who have been or are currently banned in China due to political reasons. The lists of banned celebrities in China include famous names like Brad Pitt, Selena Gomes, Richard Gere, Bjork, Martin Scorsese, Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, and goes on and on.