Meet Muslim creators sharing their culture on YouTube
With more than 240 million Muslims in the region, Ramadan is one of the largest religious moments in Southeast Asia. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and holy month of fasting, is observed by Muslims globally.
For this year’s Ramadan, we are highlighting four Muslim creators from Southeast Asia who are using their channels to share and educate people about the their culture and community, and also help Muslim viewers stay safe, healthy and active during Ramadan.
Makan Channel (Thailand)
Before starting Makan Channel on YouTube, Kandid Srivoraphand’s family lived in Nonthaburi province and worked for Sheikhul Islam Office. This organization has been driving the local Muslim society for 30 years. Until his father’s death in 2013, Kandid ran his father’s company in which all the employees are Muslims. To share more information about Muslims to other Muslim people and people of other religions, Kandid began creating content on Makan Channel.
Kandid’s inspiration is rooted in Muslims' food culture: halal food. He uses his channel to feature lesser-known halal restaurants in Thailand and the easy ways to follow proper halal cooking methods.
To make halal menus more easily accessible, Kandid also created an app called “Makan,” which lets users browse halal restaurants across the country. Most recently, the app is adding new halal food delivery service features.
During Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims worldwide, Makan Channel will introduce viewers to the markets that sell halal ingredients and restaurants that open in the evening for fellow Muslims during iftar and suhoor time before sunrise.
Get started at the channel’s basics: "What is halal food?"
Egypa Balindong (Phillipines)
Egypa Balindong is a Filipino Maranao-Muslim who started her YouTube journey in 2014. Her journey to becoming a YouTube content creator started by sharing short films she made with her siblings. Her strong interest in reading led to a love for filmmaking, and she saw YouTube as an outlet to pour her passion into.
Eventually, her channel also served as a platform to promote the Maranao-Muslim community, with the goal of raising awareness and debunking misconceptions about their people. Maranao, "the people of the lake," refer to the tribe from the southern part of the Philippines and the northern part of Mindanao. They are one of the 13 original Bangsamoro native Filipinos that have never been converted to Christianity during the colonial era.
Each tribe has different culture and traditions, and she shares those of her tribe by documenting her daily life. She also helps promote tourism in their province by featuring unmissable destinations that are less frequented by travelers.
Saleem Hamaad (Vietnam)
Saleem Hamaad is a Palestinian living in Vietnam since 2011, where he fell in love with Vietnamese culture, people and local food. Through these explorations, Saleem managed to learn Vietnamese and currently creates content in the Vietnamese language.
Saleem’s goal for his YouTube channel is to add new and unique content for Vietnamese users, educating them on Arabian culture in ways they may have never seen before. He is also a friendship ambassador of Palestine in Vietnam.
For Ramadan last year, Saleem shared with Vietnamese audience how Muslim people celebrate, what they consume after fasting and what they avoid during this holy month. This year, Saleem has planned a big trip back home to visit his family for the first time in two years, but won’t forget to visit the biggest mosque in Hanoi to interview fellow Muslims on how they celebrate their Ramadan month.
Lek Damis (Indonesia)
Lek Damis, a mother to three children, originally sold vegetables at Cepu Market before starting her YouTube channel. In 2020, she started to vlog her daily life, showcasing a variety of content like food mukbangs, local shopping and cooking at home.
Her videos share the Muslim culture and communities of her neighborhood, such as the celebration of Lailatul Qadr night (Selikuran in Javanese), which shows how local tradition blends with Ramadan. Her videos now garner viewers from countries far and wide, from Taiwan to Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia, as well as people from Indonesia who missed the rural atmosphere.
Today, Lek Damis’ channel has turned her into one of the most famous people in Cepu City.