Issue 124 | Jan-Mar 2021

Breaking Stereotypes

Mr Aditya Talwar (Yale-NUS ’20) picked up conversational Mandarin while in university — and has since gone on to create a series of hit videos in the language.

Since the start of the pandemic, many people around the world have taken to producing their own video content via a slew of social platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, to occupy their time. Recent Yale-NUS College graduate Mr Aditya Talwar’s YouTube content, however, manages to easily stand out from the crowd, given that he is a young Indian man who speaks fluent Mandarin. The 23-year-old, who goes by Adi, also had a headstart, having started video-blogging, or vlogging, about a year and a half ago. 

Some people create structural change in society by analysing data; I am on the other side of the spectrum. I want to change the world by connecting with people [through videos] and change their perceptions of other countries and other people.  Mr Aditya Talwar, Yale-NUS College graduate, travel vlogger, and content creator

Adi says he was motivated to create videos, which are mostly in Mandarin, while on a university exchange programme in Taiwan. “I realised that the locals were friendlier when I had said I’m from Singapore, than if I were to say I was originally from India. So clearly the latter came with certain stereotypes,” Adi explains. “But still, it was obvious to me that they were accepting, kind, and curious, so I figured what better way to showcase my culture to them than through videos and debunk some of these stereotypes.”
Aditya’s YouTube channel, Indian Prince Adi, has more than 93,000 subscribers. Many of his videos have garnered over 200,000 views per video. 
Many of Adi’s videos feature his adventures in India when on vacation, and also his experience as a Yale-NUS College undergrad. “I’m also keen on producing videos on topics such as sports and tech,” says the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) major. His grasp of Mandarin did not happen overnight. “It took me about three years of taking up Chinese modules while in university,” he says. “I decided to commit to learning it while on a volleyball trip to Taiwan in my first year. That’s when I fell in love with the place, as well as its food and culture.”
Adi doing a show-and-tell video on the streets of Taichung City, Taiwan.
The goal, now that he has graduated, is to travel the world and create more videos of his adventures as soon as COVID-19 stops being a global health crisis. “I also hope to live in a predominantly Chinese-speaking environment to really gain mastery of the language,” says Adi, whose video production skills are self-taught. “I do believe everyone has the capacity to do what I do with videos — the barriers to entry are low and there are great teachers on the internet,” he says. “Humans are also natural storytellers.”

Catch Aditya at印度王子阿迪IndianPrinceAdi.   

Text by Min Ee Mao.

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