A song recently published online by the Taiwanese band Nine One One (玖壹壹) has been called out by a popular video blogger as being offensive, stereotypical and, to paraphrase, stupid as hell.
The song, Foreigner (歪國人), describing how foreigners in the region attract local girls with their try-hard Chinese, culture and their experience.
Avalon Celeste, a Harvard graduate who currently studies entomology at the National Taiwan University, makes YouTube videos covering cultural topics in fluent Chinese under the handle INSECT[昆蟲島]ISLAND.
In her most recent video, she responds to 911’s music video and criticizes its various racial and cultural stereotypes.
The music video starts off with what seems to be this band’s interpretation of an average Westerner in Taiwan. The person is dressed up as Harry Potter; wearing a Gryffinder House scarf, circular glasses and carrying a broom.
Celeste comments that the singer’s accent mocks foreigners’ “broken Chinese”, and chides the band for perpetuating the ol’ stereotype about Westerners who arrive in Taiwan mainly to teach English and have sex with local women.
The next foreigner depicted is a Korean who is described as a plastic surgeon. Basically the singers decided this would be best portrayed by throwing random Korean words into the lyrics.
References to Kpop, kimchee and the popular Korean drama My Love From The Stars are all mentioned and, according to Celeste, “absolutely meaningless” in the context of the song.
The worst was saved for last, as one of the group’s members was paraded out shamelessly dressed in black face.
Celeste has attempted to remind the music group of the painful and complex history behind their choice of “costume”, but it seems they weren’t too fazed.
After the vlogger’s video circulated online, 911 published a post on Facebook explaining that their song “uses different perspectives to look at the world and no aggressive or offensive words were used”.
Many other viewers commented that the song is super catchy and the lyrics are hilarious.
The band and Celeste’s channels have received over 170,000 and 30,000 subscribers respectively.
Watch the music video below:
And Celeste’s response here:
By Sharon Choi