Feras Bugnah puts himself in other people’s shoes



Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 20 February 2013

Last update 20 February 2013 5:53 pm

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Feras Bugnah started a voluntary group named “Ghairny” (change me). It focuses on changing bad habits in society by using simple means.
His YouTube show called “Youmak Maai” (Your day with me) invites viewers to reconsider people who have a different status in society. The show teaches viewers how to deal with them correctly.
“The ultimate goal of the program was to know that you are not living in society alone. There are others to think about too,” he said.
Bugnah was born and raised in Riyadh. He studies Finance at Prince Sultan University.
Life & Style had a chat with him last week.

So far your YouTube channel FMB4Tube published six episodes of the show. Are there more?
So far, no. I don’t think that I would like to do more episodes for the same show. My idea for the channel is to have new shows with new concepts every now and then. My next show is going to be under a different name and a different concept.

You have stepped into the shoes of many persons for the show. Tell us about your experiences.
The experience I went through for the first episode, “The Cleaner,” was very hard. To me it was the hardest. For the first time in my life I had to sleep with 17 people in a single room. Then I had to work more than eight hours under the sun. I had to bend down several times to pick up the trash other people left behind, to clean the roads. Wearing a uniform was very hard to get used to. I don’t regret the experience, but it was really tough.
When I was a beggar in the second episode, it was the most embarrassing experience I ever had. I had to go up to people and beg them for money. In real life I was not used to ask even my parents for money. The most embarrassing part was when I walked to cars asking for money. Some of the people in the cars knew me, and some rejected me in a shameful way. Even if it wasn’t to me personally, it felt bad.
For the third episode I stepped into the shoes of a kidney patient. We had to get accepted by a hospital to use their facilities. Then we had to convince them that our show would show them in a positive light. And after all, the doctors should act in a way that would make the viewer understand the message behind it. The episode was very emotional for me personally, because it reminded me of my uncle who passed away many years ago. He was really close to my brothers and me.
I loved experiencing what life is like to a blind person in the fourth episode. I often thought what it would be like if I lost my vision. This experience would be a dream come true, and I got to film it? Great! I really felt useless and I was walking like a baby: confused and not knowing if I was facing the right path or not. I was so careful and every step was so slow that the cameramen asked me to go faster. I was terrified when I crossed the road in front of the traffic light. I was afraid that maybe a car would come and hit me.
The episode where I was a handicapped person was one of the best. Not because I enjoyed doing it, but because people were more than great with me! They stopped their cars for me to help me when I waited for a taxi that never came. They pushed my wheelchair when it was hot from the sun, and they didn’t stare a lot at me. The dark side was that there aren’t many facilities for handicapped people.
The sixth and final episode was about why we made this show, and we showed some footage that wasn’t used previously.

How did you choose your characters?
By brainstorming with my friends and choosing the characters that the viewer can relate to and can interact with in daily life. The characters should have an obvious feature that anyone would recognize. I eliminated some characters, such as the orphan.

After the success of your show, are you considering acting as a career?
Acting? If it would be for a good cause, I don’t see why not.

How did people react to Youmak Maai?
It was beyond our expectations! When people came out to greet the workers and cleaners at Eid-al-Fitr and gave them presents, we knew we had done something right. Our audience is willing to do nice things to others if they have the chance to.

What is the future of the show?
Youmak Maai ended by the end of Ramadan 2012 and we will come up with a new show and a different idea. When? I don’t know yet. Not soon.

Why did you choose to publish your show on YouTube instead of via an official TV channel?
We had the chance to air it on a well-known channel but they asked for 30 episodes and we couldn’t deliver. Another reason was that our targeted viewers were young. We thought we could reach them best via our YouTube channel.

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