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Since the entire Nas Daily debacle opened up that Pandora’s Box and elevated “Pinoybaiting” from low-key internet insult to a topic of national concern, it seems like Filipino audiences are finally raising a lot of questions about the industry that makes money off of them.

In this latest round, not one, but two foreign vloggers go head-to-head about what constitutes acceptable content, what counts as cheap Pinoybaiting, and whether their viewers are left better people than they were before they clicked and hit the Subscribe button.

It all started (again) when Doc Adam—Australian medical doctor Adam Smith in real life—posted his comments about fellow vlogger Hungry Syrian Wanderer, AKA Basel Manadil.

Smith, known mostly for his videos debunking commercial medical products and unscientific claims on social media, left his lane to share his views on something entirely different. Linking to one of Manadil’s old videos from over a year ago, titled “Food Supply for LOLO who Didn’t Eat for TWO DAYS During Lockdown”, Smith wrote: “I really don’t like this kind of video, to me it’s exploitation! Yes the old man got some food but what did he lose? and what did hungry syrian gain? Hungry Syrian gained 2 million views, youtube ad revenue (3000-6000 dollars), fame, subscribers, and hero status. The old man gained some food but lost dignity.”

Read: Nas Daily set up a Whang-Od Tattoo Academy, but Whang Od may not have signed off on it

Of course, like Nas Daily, Manadil wasn’t going to take that threat to his livelihood sitting down. The Hungry Syrian Wanderer had a lot to say to Doc Adam.

Addressing Smith as “Doc kwak kwak (Adam)”, Manadil started by pointing out that they were in fact, pot and kettle and therefore black: “I usually ignore but I won’t let a foreigner like you…manipulate people’s mind into thinking you are not where INFACT all your contents are targeting Filipino viewers.”

Manadil also denied that he had earned upwards of three thousand dollars from the video, though he didn’t share his actual revenue from it. He also objected to Smith’s choice of video to criticize, pointing out that there were many other charities that Hungry Syrian Wanderer had given to, proof that “I use my earnings to help people! I never crowdfund or did a charity drive to do my helping.”

Manadil’s main point, which he returned to over and over, was that Doc Adam and he were no different. “Tutal ikaw na mismo nagsabi di ka Pinoybaiting (Reverse phsycology HAHA). Bakit hindi international viewers mo? Take note tagalog pa contents mo, tapos di pinoybaiting? Sinong niloloko mo HAHAHA.” (“Since you yourself say that you don’t engage in Pinoybaiting, why aren’t your viewers international? Take note that your content is in Tagalog, how do you claim it’s not Pinoybaiting? Who do you think you’re fooling?”)

Read: Catching up on the Nas Daily internet chaos requires many minutes

Manadil also decried the fact that Smith has asked his viewers for help in paying for the latter’s legal fees, which have arisen as consequence of his videos. “Whats our difference? We are both on social media, we both earn but I divert mine to something meaningful. What about you?” the Hungry Syrian Wanderer wrote.

This exchange has set off a social media firestorm, as Pinoys entered this very meta world of content creator vs content creator, and donated their clicks to their chosen sides. “[Hungry Syrian Wanderer is] definitely helping himself more than he’s helping the guy. It’s become a business model all on its own,” commented one Redditor.

“Seems hypocritical from someone who tries to make videos about controversial topics outside his expertise to get views as well. And didn’t he say something like it’s his platform and he can do whatever he wants? It’s just ironic coming from him,” another replied.

Entering the metaverse, other social media accounts got into the act: “Broooo, Doc adam and hungry syrian, i love these 2 foreignoys. Especially doc adam’s free medical advises. but bro, I’ve been following basel since 2018 because i’m from alabang lang. the guy is helping the community on and off cam!! he created more jobs. siya rin may sagot sa apartment ng mga employees nya. bihira yan. This is the beef that we don’t want to see,” posted the basketball-centric Facebook page MPBL Memes.

“Cancelling Doc Adam. The Hungry Syrian Wanderer for the win! Continue what you are doing. Read below and let me know what you think. #cancelculture #cancelforthebetter” read another post from a Facebook page called—you guessed it—Cancel.
While Hungry Syrian Wanderer has promised that he would no longer comment on the matter, Doc Adam has re-entered the fray with a series of follow-ups. “Dear Philippines,” he wrote yesterday, “Many of you are using POVERTY for your own personal ENTERTAINMENT. I think it’s disgusting. This is called Poverty Porn…The rest of the world realised poverty porn was a problem in the 1990’s. When will the Philippines wake up and realise filming some body in an awful situation, adding sad music to make their situation look even more ‘Kawawa’ is demeaning and exploitive?”

They both make a good point, though they’re talking about different things. Doc Adam is correct about poverty porn being an old, exploitative, and cringey way to harvest sympathy and clicks. Hungry Syrian Wanderer also scores when he points out that, hey, maybe it’s not a foreign vlogger’s place to say speak out about Pinoybaiting.

So who won? Doc Adam’s two posts have amassed a total of 32K and 27K Likes as of this writing, while Hungry Syrian Wanderer is at 59K. Using the metric that matters on social media, it looks like a tie with no winners.

This article, It’s vlogger vs vlogger, as Doc Adam goes after Hungry Syrian Wanderer for Pinoybaiting and poverty porn, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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1 COMMENT

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