NTU student posts touchy content online, but is unafraid of criticism
Posting content online has invited criticism but that does not deter Ahmad Amsyar Mohd Adom, a spirited 22-year-old student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
In August, he launched Community Outreach Chewsdays (COC), a weekly series where he interviews people in his school and compensates them for their time by giving them "chews" – food such as pineapple, gummies, chips, pistachio and seaweed.
Each episode tackles issues that he thinks "might be buried under the media noise" such as dating, university pageants, food in Singapore, the NTU Muslim Society and the Israel-Palestine war.
Amsyar told TNP: “I received much criticism when I voiced the Mufti's point of view on where MUIS stands on the LGBT issue. Things can get touchy sometimes and a bit controversial but I think that's natural. When you touch on controversial topics, people will disagree and that's fine because humans disagree,” he said.
“My purpose is to get it out there and for people to discuss it.”
Titled “Chewsdays”, COC videos are mostly dished out on Tuesdays on his social media platforms – @_amsyares on TikTok and @mooo_eow on Instagram – which have approximately 1,000 to 2,000 followers each.
“Normally, I do khutbah reviews, which are on the Friday sermon that is centred on Muslims. A lot of the content I post online is based on getting people to start thinking about things. I thought there were other things that people had to think about, so I added more current affairs or topics that mattered.
"I don't think it'll blow up if I just talk to people. To widen my reach, I'm doing interview videos which generally go viral because people like seeing people talk and people like to hear what other people say," said the Psychology and Linguistics & Multilingual student.
“That's what I wanted to do – get something out there that would get people thinking about topics that matter to the youth, I guess.”
All he needed to get set up was his tripod, camera, microphone and, of course, a willing interviewee.
Spoiler alert below.
“My interviewees are my friends. I don't think I can interview strangers and get the same quality and depth of thought as I would from my friends,” he said.
“The purpose of COC is not to get superficial answers or clickbait things but to get people to think.”
For Amsyar, the COC journey began when he posted his first episode in August.
After telling his followers about the series via an Instagram story, his friends jumped on board.
“I texted two of my friends and asked if they were down for an interview. I had preempted friends that I might do an interview series and many of them indicated their interest,” he said.
@tnpdigital 🎤 Chews, views and news! 🌟 Join a 22-year-old NTU student (@_amsyares) who makes 'Chewsdays' unforgettable! Watch 'Community Outreach Chewsdays' (COC) 🎥, where he interviews the youth and students on hot topics, sweetening the deal with chews. Tune in for a secret about his series! #sgnews #fyp #coc #chewsday #singapore #university ♬ original sound - TNP
A friend, Adam Mohamed Razali, helps him with COC by playing the editor’s role.
Balancing studies and the series is not a walk in the park but the duo's shared purpose keeps the series going.
“I think it's just consistency. I feel like there's a higher purpose to it because I want to get the information out there. That's how I get the drive. I know time is limited. Everyone has the same 24 hours, but not everyone takes the same amount of time to do things. I take two majors in a single degree but it's okay,” he said.
“With the right intention, everything works out, slay.”
With his highest TikTok views clocking in at a whopping 47,700, Amsyar intends to keep his weekly banquet of ideas going.
“Insya Allah (God willing), I intend to do this consistently. It might not blow up but that's not the point. The point is to keep talking about things that matter. Hopefully, I'll get sponsored in the future,” he joked.
“I'm giving away free food.”
Viewers have asked him to film in their schools, he shared.
“The nicest thing I find is (viewers saying), ‘I'm looking forward to the next episode’ or ‘post faster please’ because these words show that people find value in what I do,” he said.
“The older generation can also take a look at my videos as well and see what the youth think about certain topics because, of course, the way we think is different.”