The controversies involving Israeli-Palestinian vlogger Nuseir Yassin or Nas Daily are not yet over.
In a new video posted on Monday, Aug. 9, Yassin again denied accusations of exploiting tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od. He also insisted that he consulted with the artist’s family before putting up the course in the online learning platform NAS Academy.
The vlogger also revealed that he is currently coordinating with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) about the matter.
On Wednesday, Aug. 4, Whang-Od’s grandniece Gracia Palicas accused NAS Academy on Facebook of being a “scam” stressing that the artist didn’t sign any contract to do the course. The online tattooing course features “rituals, tools, and methods for making traditional tattoos” for P750.
Since last week, Yassin has been under fire following Palicas's statement, sparking accusations that NAS Academy was "commodifying" a hallowed ritual. Some netizens also accused the vlogger of being one of the “nastiest Pinoybaiters” among content creators.
A look at Pinoy-baiting
Described by the internet as “modern-day colonization,” "Pinoy-baiting" has been described as a form of content marketing strategy that’s meant to make Filipinos feel good about themselves. It includes exaggerated and over-amplified reactions to anything about the Philippines.
But instead of promoting Filipino culture, the real goal is to gain views, popularity, and followers. The examples of “Pinoy-baiting” content are usually reaction-based content toward Filipino singers, brands, and TV series, among others.
According to Pinoy content creator M.A. Buendia HD, it’s an “effective” marketing strategy since “our thirst for global validation is real.”
Pinoybaiting is a marketing strategy used by creators to attract Filipino audience & fans. Foreign youtubers exagge reaction videos to our singers; series, tv shows and films involving the Philippines in their plotline. It’s effective coz our thirst for global validation is real.— M.A. Buendía (@MABuendiaHD) January 5, 2020
Yassin is one of the foreign content creators who always had a strong presence in the Philippines. One of his popular videos “How Cheap is the Philippines?” has over three million views, as of this writing.
Yassin, however, has denied "pinoy baiting" allegations, saying that his goal from the start was to always support the Philippines.
NCIP to investigate Nas Daily’s contract with Whang-Od
The NCIP-CAR announced on Thursday, Aug. 5, that an investigation on the supposed signing of the contract by Whang-Od with Nas Daily is now ongoing.
In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe via Messenger, NCIP-CAR Regional Director Marlon Bosantog revealed that there will be “preliminary talks with the counsel of Nas Daily and some of the families of Apo Whang-Od.”
The investigation will also include a thorough review of the contract, the subject of the contract, and an onsite visit to Buscalan Proper to “seek testimonies that matter.”
“We must seek consent from the owners or stewards of said ancient arts… It is by this process that we can draw the line from an artist's personal artistic freedom, and that which belongs to the whole community, for which the latter must consent collectively,” Bosantog added.
NCIP-CAR personnel Rocky Ngalob said in a separate Messenger interview that Yassin “violated customary laws of the concerned community by not securing prior informed consent for the IP Community.”
Sought for the timeline of the investigation process, Bosantog said an outcome can be expected in “two weeks.”
‘Intentions are not enough’
UP Diliman anthropology professor Nestor Castro and Ateneo de Manila University associate professor Jayeel Cornelio also offered their two cents on the Whang-Od-Nas Daily controversy.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Aug. 5, Castro said Yassin doesn’t “know Philippine law, more particularly Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.”
In a separate interview with PhilSTAR L!fe via Messenger, Castro also stressed that there was no “consent by the community.” Even so, it’s still “questionable because there is no Kinalingga language translation of the 'contract.’”
On the other hand, Cornelio told PhilSTAR L!fe that the controversy is also a “form of cultural commodification” even if Yassin repeatedly insisted that his “intentions are pure.”
“But intentions are not enough when dealing with indigenous communities and their heritage. Far too many exploitative practices have been carried out against IP communities in the name of good intentions,” Cornelio added.
When asked if content creators can feature indigenous communities, Cornelio said it’s allowed as long as “no money is involved” and they “do their homework.”
“This could have been avoided if they only did their basic homework about cultural heritage and the ethics of ‘collaborating’ with them… Tattooing is the cultural heritage of the Butbut people in Kalinga. Such is the nature of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Therefore, no one is by default an owner or has the authority to commit an entire heritage on behalf of an indigenous community,” he added.
Banner and thumbnail photos from Nas Daily on Facebook, and @michaelmalabs and @MABuendiaHD on Twitter