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The Brains Behind Vietnam’s Meme Explosion

Vietnamese netizens have embraced internet memes which employ a mix of humour and satire to create a new lens with which to view everything from daily life to pop culture. In a recent interview, Vietmeme’s Patrick Sharbugh spoke with two pioneering Vietnamese, An Khung An Tung (Duy An) and Minh Chanh who have helped usher in the era of meme culture in Vietnam.

In August 2013, Duy An and Minh Chanh launched the Tuyet Bitch Collection (TCB). This ensemble of memes takes well-known Disney characters, from Snow White to Cinderella, and cleverly adds Vietnamese language bubbles that poke fun at current events in Vietnam.

The online collection grew considerably, reaching 50,000 fans, in just three weeks.

Why is it so popular? Duy An thinks that memes help the Vietnamese people, especially youth, express themselves. Sharing and liking the images on Facebook and Hai.vl for example, is one way that fans can use memes to communicate how they feel.

Duy An and Minh Chanh don’t have their own office but meet up and talk about what to post online. They are conscious not to post sensitive personal issues or anything that could cause real offence. Issues related to the government are off the table so they scour the web to see what’s generating buzz. Timeliness is an important consideration of the Tuyet Bitch Collection as it ensures that its memes are meaningful.

TBC aims to ensure that their satirical images are balanced and avoid biases. The tongue-in-cheek remarks are an amusing way to report what is going on in Vietnam. An warns that there are some fake websites using the same name and doesn’t want the reputation of TBC ruined. The co-founders have since revealed their identities to their fans to prevent further confusion.

It seems as though the duo have perfected the art of mixing humour and satire to address daily life issues through the medium of the still image Disney memes.

Keep ‘em coming.

Head over to Vietmeme for the full interview.

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