My heritage vs my country of birth

September 5, 2015 3:29 PM

I’m a proud Australian of Malaysian heritage. I like to tell people that I grew up in Perth, and when I tell people that I’m Chinese, I always add “from Malaysia”. I’m proud of every component of my upbringing and my culture. I like to think of myself as a rainbow of colours and influences.

My first 14 years of life was spent in Kuala Lumpur. My dad was second generation Malaysian Chinese, and mom was first generation. Both were born in Penang. Dad was English educated and mom was Chinese educated. So while they both look Chinese, culturally they were different but what they had in common was being Malaysian. They both studied university in Australia (dad in Ballarat and mom in Sydney). They didn’t meet until they went to KL for work. I’ve written a bit more about them previously.

I’m telling you all of this to show you the stuff that I was born into. Then, living in Malaysia up till my early teens I enjoyed going to school and learning three languages (English, Malay, Mandarin) and thought that was the most natural thing ever. And also picking up Cantonese and Hokkien on the side – the dialects that the Chinese speak in KL and Penang, respectively. I enjoyed switching between all of that as much as I enjoyed celebrating each other’s religious and cultural holidays. I enjoy eating Chinese food, Malay food, Indian food and everything else in between. I hate to use the word “fusion” but it really was that. And I enjoyed seeing Malaysians of all races enjoying each other’s foods unless not allowed to by their religion (ie. halal vs. non-halal).

Dat uniform tho

I enjoy speaking in the colloquial English shared by both Malaysians and Singaporeans, better known as “Singlish“. I enjoy the rivalry between our two peoples – hey Singaporeans, Hainanese Chicken Rice was invented by us ok? Just give it up already. Hahahah!

All of which is to say, yes I’m proud to have come from Malaysia and all that it entails. But, I’m not proud of Malaysia as a country. As John Oliver has joked, Australia can be a bit too comfortably and casually racist. However, at least the racism is not systemic and built into the laws like it is in Malaysia. The affirmative action policy in Malaysia (one that overwhelmingly benefits the dominant race in the country) ensures the following:

  • 30% of the equity of publicly-listed companies are reserved for a Malay person(s) or entity
  • 85% of the civil service (besides teachers) are Malay
  • And the biggest bugbear and cause of brain drain from the country, and why my parents uprooted us to move to Australia in 1988 – 75% of university places are reserved for the Malays. Ostensibly, this quota system was removed in 2002 but bias persists still.

A Never Ending Policy | The Economist
Is Malaysia university entry a level playing field? – BBC News

And yet, more than 50 years after independence from the British ultra-nationalistic Malay politicians in the UMNO party (United Malays National Organisation) still refer to the Chinese and Indians in the country as immigrants even though both races have been there way before the Dutch, the Portugese or the British. They constantly play to the racist view that their special rights as Malays are being impinged upon, especially by the Chinese. All of this where the laws are written in favour of them and where important levers of the government (political, judiciary, military) are dominated by Malays. All of this when UMNO is the dominant political party in the ruling coalition since independence.

Bersih4 rally in KL
Bersih4 rally in KL

What prompted me to write this post are the events that happened recently, whereby USD700 million of funny money appeared to have been funneled into the PM’s account and how he subsequently fired his deputy PM who was critical of this, and the attorney general who was leading the investigations into it. And people who participated in the massive street rallies that followed did so under threat of arrest.

Investigators Believe Money Flowed to Malaysian Leader Najib’s Accounts Amid 1MDB Probe – WSJ
Why Malaysians are disillusioned with Najib Razak – BBC News

But the depressing thing about this is, it has happened before when another PM (Mahathir) fired another deputy PM (Anwar Ibrahim) in 1998. And before that, he has also locked up anyone who dared questioned his behaviour and policies.

BBC News | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia’s deputy prime minister fired
Operation Lalang – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And what is hilarious about it is that Mahathir seems to have felt that the current PM has gone too far, even by his standards.

I want to say that not all Malays are part of or agree with UMNO (just like not all Australians agree with Tony Abbott’s stance against refugees – a topic for another day) but the rot will not stop until UMNO decides to stop it which is unlikely. Why would they when the current system perpetuates their dominance, their existence and their illicit ways? And that is what is depressing about Malaysia as a country. Malaysia may be close to being “Truly Asia” but it is not even close to being “1Malaysia”.

Nasi Lemak, Malaysia's national dish
Nasi Lemak – the one thing that all Malaysians agree on

ps. If you are Malaysian and you can vote, please exercise your civil rights and do so. Thanks for reading. This has been a long one. :)

Stop being so sensitive? How about you stop being so racist?

July 30, 2015 8:47 PM

Nicky Winmar
Was Nicky Winmar also overly-sensitive?

Picture this scenario: someone tells what they think is a light-hearted racist joke, and someone else of the race that the joke is making fun of gets upset, and then that first someone tells the second someone “Oh don’t be so sensitive”. Those who says that most definitely have not suffered any kind of racism or discrimination.

Unless you have lived as an ethnic minority for most of your life, you cannot fully understand how hurtful racial slurs are. Yes, you may have been called names yourselves: bastard, wanker and cunt. But these words attack your person and not your race. They are nothing compared to the words that cut deep into who you are and cannot change: chink, kike, lebbo, curry muncher and black cunt. The last of which is what many non-white players in the AFL have been subjected to. It wasn’t difficult for me to find these examples below, some from a few decades ago and some recent.

Adam Goodes

Which brings us to Adam Goodes and him taking essentially stress leave away from the game, because of the racial abuse that he has copped over the years. Some people have said that he’s being overly sensitive and that if he’s playing in the big leagues, he should just get over it. If the abuse and booing had no racial overtones, then I’d agree with them. I will also agree with them that not all AFL fans are racist. But can they honestly tell me that he was never racially vilified and that some of the booing was not racist in nature? No, they can’t.

And to those who said that they’ve been called names too but they’d moved on and didn’t let it affect them, you haven’t gone through it on the national stage under spotlight. You hadn’t had your reaction to the racist behaviour called “provocation”. You had not been called overly dramatic for calling out a 13 year old girl who called you an “ape”. But you know what? Adam Goodes can be as dramatic as he wants about racist behaviour when the mother of that girl, the mother who excuses her daughter’s behaviour, wants him to apologise to her daughter. Him to apologise. HIM! Fuck you, lady.

I’m glad that Adam Goodes did his war dance, and that Lewis Jetta backed him up a few months later.

Lewis Jetta

To all the white folks out there who wish Aboriginals wouldn’t get offended by words despite all the injustices dealt their way over a couple of centuries, here’s a bit of advice: Don’t make a complete hypocrite of yourself by getting offended because an indigenous player dances a jig and pretends to throw a spear (or boomerang).

Those booing Adam Goodes just don t get it – The West Australian

I’m also glad that there are support from others in the AFL too, and also from the NRL.

Players considering ways to support Goodes this weekend –
NRL backs Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis in Adam Goodes support. |

So yeah, we will stop being overly sensitive when you stop being racist pricks.

Love is Love

June 28, 2015 8:56 PM

Is it love in the air or ... ?
Don’t eat bacon if you don’t want to piss off God (Leviticus 11:7)

This weekend saw the United States legalising same-sex marriage across all 50 states. This comes after Canada did it in July 2005, the UK in July 2013 (with the exception of Northern Ireland), and New Zealand shortly after that in August 2013. Ireland is also soon to do so following approval of a referendum on 22 May 2015. Not to mention a whole swathe of European countries having already done the same.

Same-sex marriage in Canada – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Same-sex marriage in New Zealand – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Therefore, as of right now Australia is a very noticeable anomaly amongst developed western countries, though there is starting to be some political momentum to establish marriage equality in this country too.

US Supreme Court ruling in favour of same-sex marriage could influence debate in Australia, federal politicians say – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

So it is a question of when rather than if it will happen here so I won’t talk about that. Instead, I want to talk about why it is illogical that same-sex marriage freaks out so many straight/religious people everywhere.

Religious opposition stems from the Book of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. But if you adhere to one Old Testament Law, then you should adhere to others too like:

  • Not wear polyester or other fabric blends (Leviticus 19:19)
  • Not eat shellfish even though they are so delicious (Leviticus 11:10)
  • Not touch a woman who’s on her period – how would I know? Is it ok to ask? (Leviticus 15:19)

The above is perfectly illustrated by this clip from “The West Wing”.

No one is expecting you to accept same-sex couples in your place of worship, nor can you be forced to. In any case, they would probably prefer to be somewhere else more welcoming. You are not expected to understand or condone their relationships but you can at least be civil. Remember “love thy neighbour” (Mark 12:31)? Why all the hate and bigotry? Why this need to feel threatened by their love?

For the non-religious straight people, same-sex marriage does not affect your ability to do the same. Their marriage is their marriage, and your marriage is your marriage. All the talk about how same-sex marriage will destroy the sacred institution that is marriage is bogus too because straight people have been doing a pretty good job at trying to destroy it since forever, and yet it endures. The sanctity of marriage is stronger than you give it credit for.

And if it is not the sanctity of marriage that you are worried about, but because gay/lesbian sex makes you feel icky inside then stop thinking about it, you pervs.

I will end by quoting this article:

If it’s true – as Republicans insist – that marriage is good for the family and for society more generally, then how is growing the institution a bad thing? There’s nothing positive about marriage that can’t be preserved or enhanced by allowing more human beings to participate in it.

Go away, Mike Huckabee: The culture wars are over — and hate and the GOP lost –

Reasons for being single: hers and mine

June 11, 2015 9:41 PM

My love life is a blank

A female friend laid it out in the following way. When she is being wooed by a man, there are three possible outcomes.

  1. She doesn’t like the guy and if there was a friendship there to begin with, it will probably not overcome the rejection. Or the friendship will be lessened and changed irrevocably.
  2. She likes the guy initially, they embark on a relationship together and then it fails sometime later.
  3. She likes the guy and their relationship lasts for the long term.

She said, “Notice how two of the three possibilities are negative. And that is why I prefer platonic friendships sometimes because they tend to last longer.” It’s quite logical, though not wanting to ruin the friendship has never stopped me from pursuing someone. My thinking is that I have enough friends and if I lose one because I wanted to take it further, then that’s ok.

No, my reasons for being single is that I’m just lazy. I wrote about that before so I will just quote from that old post (Grass-Eating Single Man):

You see, as I started reading these daily emails and I kid you not, I started to feel tired at the thought of doing a series of dates and having to make small talk at every one of them. Yes, it just felt like too much work to me. Yes, of course if the matches are what eHarmony promises I wouldn’t be making small talk for long. And yes of course I could possibly meet an awesome girl out of the whole exercise. But then I also thought of having to go on dates and possibly not contacting some of the women I would meet ever again and err yeah … I didn’t wanna do that.

I wrote the above almost 2 years ago, and I still haven’t changed my mind about it. My emotional health is amply taken care of by the people in my life. Although I crave physical intimacy, I don’t crave it enough to bother with dating or trying to date. Yeah I might just die alone but I don’t think I will die unhappy because I really do appreciate all the simple things in life that don’t involve being with a woman and/or having sex with her.

But it doesn’t mean that I won’t cherish the experience if I’m lucky enough to stumble my way into a relationship. :)

She's a single and crazy lunatic

Every day is Mother’s Day

May 11, 2015 7:48 PM

Ooi Family, 1979
The Ooi family, 1979

If it wasn’t for every one posting updates and retro-tastic photos of their moms on Facebook I would have totally forgotten that it was Mother’s Day yesterday. That is because I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day. Why? Because every day is Mother’s Day son!

The Ooi Family, 1981

But then she called me …

Mom: ‘Cus.
Me: Hi mom.
Mom: What day is it?
Me: I don’t know? Sunday?
Mom: What day IS IT?
Me: I really don’t know.
Mom: Mother’s Day!
Me: Oh shit son!

and now I feel guilty. So here’s a tribute to my mother. My mom is great because:

  • Everything I know about women, I learnt from her.
  • Everything I know about cooking, I also learnt from her.

    Hi mom. I fed myself well tonight. Pork congee with dried squid and carrot. :9

    A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

  • She’s always asking me, “Have you eaten?”
  • Her sense of humour. Like that time she gave me a matrimonial charm because she thought my looks and personality weren’t good enough to get her a daughter-in-law. Hahah good one mom! What? You really meant that? :(
  • Showing me how to be good to your parents.


Oh and one last thing – she’s great because she didn’t marry that other guy and married my dad instead, thus giving birth to me and my brother. :)

Mom and dad's 40th anniversary, 2013
Mom and dad’s 40th anniversary, 2013

Why Australians will still pirate

April 14, 2015 10:15 PM

22 Jump Street
That Australians are the torrent pirate kings of the world is an indisputable fact. However, there are also some of us who are willing to pay for content even if it means using a VPN to connect to Netflix USA. They do this because the legal alternatives to streaming content in Australia cannot compare to what’s available in the US.

Seven out of 10 most pirated movies not available for legal purchase in Australia –

The above article was written in Sept 2014, and even though Netflix Australia has now launched here, the situation has not improved.

Of the 158 movies that topped Australian box office takings between 2010 and 2014, just 26 are available on Netflix Australia. While older flicks have a better chance of appearing, even in 2010 less than a third of the chart-topping movies have made their way to Netflix. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a lot to watch — but if you think of a popular movie, the chances are it isn’t on Netflix right now.

These Are The Most Popular Movies Netflix Australia Is Missing | Lifehacker Australia

Even when the desired content becomes available, we are waiting too long and paying more for it than people in the US.

Legal downloads not cutting it for Australians: Comms Alliance survey – CNET

So once again like the last time when I tried to legally rent and stream “The World’s End” without much luck, I’ve decided to conduct a very scientific study of one to prove the points listed above. Spoiler alert: I came to the same conclusion as previously.

One fine weekend, I wanted to watch “22 Jump Street”. I searched the two streaming services that I know of in Australia that do not require a subscription (I’ll never pay for one!): EzyFlix TV and Bigpond Movies. Both of them don’t have the movie available to rent. A bit more research via shows that the only rental options in Australia require subscriptions (Quickflix and Fetch TV).

Needless to say, I then did the easiest thing. Not going to say what but suffice to say, I was entertained by Mr. Hill and Mr. Tatum over the next two hours. So there you go – until the content providers fix the cost and availability issues for Australian viewers, Australians will continue to pirate content. Even with this legal precedence being set:

'Dallas Buyers Club' wins access to pirates' information in iiNet case – CNET.

You Cannot Be Friends With Him

March 14, 2015 6:52 PM

The heterosexual dating world is unbalanced. Women will get asked out more, and men are most likely the ones who’d pay for the privilege. Not just in buying meals and drinks, but also in terms of getting rejected more. That’s only logical if we are the ones doing most of the asking out. Ideally, when a man gets rejected he accepts it and moves on. The problem occurs when the woman, for one reason or another insists on remaining friends with the man whom she has just rejected.

A common reason would be if they have been friends for a long time and she feels the friendship would be wasted. I’m here to say that once the man had romantic feelings for the woman, that friendship no longer existed. Which is to say, he doesn’t view her as a friend anymore no matter what she thinks. So for the woman to insist on remaining friends is misguided at best, and selfish at worst.

Of course, saying “I hope we can still be friends” is a nice way to reject someone and if the guy can take a hint that will be the end of it. And if the girl is classy, then it is possible to maintain a friendship. I know because I speak from experience.

However not every guy can handle that because once a guy wants to be more than just friends, he can’t go back to just being friends that easily. And you insisting on it will make things worse. Again, I can also speak from experience – when I was rejected by this girl I couldn’t wait to not be her “friend” anymore.

Every situation is unique. It will depend on the guy and what has led up to the point of him confessing his feelings for you, and you rejecting him. Some guys can’t handle being just friends and seeing you with other men because it will hurt too much, while some don’t want to subject themselves to false hope whether or not you were leading him on.

So by all means, say “I hope we can remain friends” if you can’t bring yourself to be brutal with the rejection but don’t actually insist on it. 😉

Friends by xkcd
(source: xkcd)