Better to leave my uncle in peace, says maker of viral video on the man's life story
Bilibili user Yi Ge would have never imagined that a single video he shot about his uncle's life and struggle would garner so much attention online. Inevitably, doubts and questions have ensued.
The video has stormed all major social media platforms in China, with views on Bilibili reaching 30 million just within three days. On top of that, Yi also gained almost 1 million followers to his channel.
Some doubters wondered if Yi had made up his uncle's life story; others believed he had "beautified" the uncle's struggles or had simply used the story to chase internet fame.
Yi answered all such doubts in an interview with China News, insisting that every thing he said about his uncle's life was factual.
There are definitely legions of youth who suffer from overthinking just like Yi himself, and millions of ordinary and resilient Chinese people who are just like the uncle. Many young and anxious audience may have been touched by my uncle's down-to-earth attitude and optimism, Yi said in an interview with 36 Kr, a Chinese hi-tech and investment news outlet.
Many young people from rural parts of China have chosen to work in the cities and can only go back to their hometown maybe once a year. But their connection with their home may just be too strong. They may have the feeling that their families or parents who remain in rural China are getting older each time, each year they visit home, which could be another reason why so many people can find something relatable in the uncle video, Yi pointed out.
Before becoming a full-time short video maker in 2021, Yi was a history teacher in a private online extracurricular institute in Beijing. It was pretty normal for him to work overtime, sometimes until 2am. The work pressure induced in him a pretty negative attitude and his family, especially his pregnant wife, always got an earful of his complaints.
After the uncle video was finished, Yi changed the title of the video from My Uncle to My Uncle Cured My Overthinking before posting it. Yi admitted that the new title might have a better resonance with Bilibili's huge young user base.
Comparing himself to his uncle, Yi felt that even though the latter was physically-challenged, he still managed to take care of himself, his adopted daughter, and even the whole village when they needed him. This realization pushed Yi to tell his uncle's story to the world.
At first when Yi returned to his hometown and expressed his wish to film his uncle, he was turned down. The uncle didn't see there was much to tell about himself. When Yi suggested that the uncle's attitude towards life might be inspiring for his students, the elderly relative relented.
It was rather hard to collate the uncle's life story, for he's a man of few words. Yi had to talk to the uncle and then to his siblings, who always summed up that he led a very hard life.
After the video went viral, Yi's parents, and the uncle's adopted daughter Ningning cried a lot after watching it. Maybe that's something they never thought they would experience – a family member whose life's story was captured in an online video and touched millions of people. Maybe it was a mixture of pride and empathy, Yi thought.
"My uncle may have cured my internal mental friction, or overthinking, on whether to make it in a big city like Beijing, or just live an ordinary but fulfilling life. A lot of the time he just feels that he's not really sure which one he truly wanted," Yi mused.
Some viewers have suggested that Yi should cash in on the uncle's fame and push him to do livestreaming. But Yi is having none of it. He posted on his Weibo account, saying that his uncle has lived an honest life and it touched some people. It's better to leave his uncle and grandmother in peace in that small village which they call home.