Today’s #arkaysqotd (top) is pretty straight forward, life will throw shit at you, just do your best because that’s all you can do isn’t it? Only you will truly know what your best is.
Anyway, It’s a nice quiet morning here in Flat White SS15. Except for some awesome tunes playing from Spotify, I’m here in solitude, thinking, typing and sipping. It’s been a pretty good morning so far, woke up early and went for an actual run on the treadmill, by actual run i mean nothing less than 5mph, to start of my Holy Hour, followed by planning my day and reading of some of my protocols; then i was off to ss15. Getting up was a little tough, but nothing too bad, thank you for keeping your relative distance fibro.
Today i’m going to go back to yesterday’s post. I’m going to write a version 2 because i think i didn’t do justice to what i wanted to say.
Over 2013, i’ve become more tuned into our Urban Malaysian Culture. Growing up i used to try and dissociate myself from local things, whether it was arts or business. The mentality was that Malaysians couldn’t do better than the West, than Hollywood and so on. Growing up only speaking English, watching Hollywood movies, only listening to (mostly) American music (exception being Too Phat around the start of my teenage years); essentially confining and immersing myself in Western culture and disregarding my roots, my Sri Lankan tamil roots, my punjabi roots and most importantly, my Malaysian roots & culture.
The Question I asked myself sometime this year, or last, was “Who am I, if I am not Malaysian?”
I was brainwashed by the coolness of the West for so long. Brown on the outside, but white on the inside. Knowing more about American culture, instead of my own local urban culture, let’s not even start about my knowledge of general Malaysian culture.
Now, I look at myself then and think… ‘what a goddamn snob”
Not because i loved the arts and Business of the West and other “First World” Countries, but because i made it a point for a long time to disassociated and disregard the local scene, things, events and places right around the corner.
So what’s happened over the last year? Like i said above, i’ve increasingly become more tuned in to Urban Malaysian culture.
- Listening to Malaysian music again, although mostly the older stuff, working on getting into the newer stuff, but whatever it is, it’s great to hear Too Phat over my headphones again, along with classics like ‘Monay Monay’ from Poetic Ammo and of course V.E.’s ‘Party Like this’.
- Watching our local Youtube Talent and realising how good they are! This of course started with JinnyBoyTV and then included DMingThing and is ever growing.
- Checking out and then supporting local F&B start ups, especially those by Young Malaysians. GenY! This list includes the Last Polka, Potong, Flat White SS15, Artisan Roast, the Red Bean Bag, The Bee, myBurgerLab, Burgertory, Big Hug Burger and many more.
These are all elements in my local urban culture that i ignored for so long. I was told about artisan a long time ago, but i dissed it… why? because it wasn’t Starbucks. I heard about myBurgerLab when it first started up but didn’t make a real effort to go.. why? because it wasn’t a franchise.
Things have really changed for me. I’m becoming more MALAYSIAN, and a i love it.
All these guys above are an inspiration, they’re doing what they want to do and not conforming. Whether it’s making us laugh, entertaining us, keeping us company when we’re alone, or providing A-Class coffee, burgers and more.
I’ve become a supporter of places like this, opting for a cup of amazing Deep Dark Chocolate by The Last Polka istead of having a scoop of Baskin Robbins World Class chocolate, waiting in line at myBurgerLab to try one of their “interesting” burgers instead of hitting McDonald’s, Chilli’s, Carls Jr or Burger King (all of which i was a big big fan of) and finally instead of heading to a Starbucks, I opt for either Artisan HQ in Sectio 13 PJ or Flat White in SS15 Subang most of the time (sometimes i venture to Publika, though not often).
Money isn’t the sole purpose of their existence or continuity. They aren’t MNCs (did i used that right) like Starbucks or McDonald’s who have become monotonous vendors who are more concerned with consistency and low cost manufacturing of their products rather than roasting and brewing the best cup of coffee or making the best or most interesting burgers.
They’re doing their own things, they things the want to do and their doing it well… very, very well.
“A generation of kids choosing love over a desk.” – macklemore
In terms of marketing, all these franchises had done such a good job in positioning their products and brands in my mind. So it was not easy for these local places to do, to displace the positions of the franchises and MNCs.
Now how did this all start? coffee.
After a year away from caffein, i started drinking Coffee again a little while after I started blogging; what started as a sip of a Starbucks Mocha lead to my current Flat White here in #FlatWhiteMY.
There were a couple of factors involved here:
- Realising how much Starbucks relied on sugar.
- Realising that it was mostly the sugar, the environment and incredible brand (which i still love) of Starbucks that kept me there.
- The Coffee education from my friend (What Up Neil!) and the emphasis on NO SUGAR so that you can actually taste the coffee, not the sugar. This was a key factor, although not immediately effective it was swirling around in my mind, because he related it to tasting wine and whisky, and that’s what really opened my mind up.
- My maturing taste and appreciation for wine came into the picture a little while later after Neil’s analogy.
- Hearing about how Starbucks failed in Aussie and their strong appreciation for the good yet local stuff.
Anyway,so all together this started my journey for a quality cup, not a large cup, of coffee coupled with comforts and conditions similar, if not better, than that of Starbucks.
The support that i used to give from these Big Guns and giving it to our Home Grown brands that not only make a better product but also provide a bettter overall experience. Yes they may be more expensive, but i personally prefer quality over quantity, I prefer a better overall experience.
I’d rather have 1 small good cup of coffee rather 1 large Starbucks lattes, which would even out my budget 🙂
So that’s how all of this began. Starbucks.
What started as mere search and indulgence in great coffee has grown into great appreciation and support for my fellow Malaysians, their ventures and their innovative spirit. Don’t let the negative image of some Malaysian brands taint the others (proton etc). I’ll call out their flaws and will keep suporting them as long as their value and quality is in line with my expectations, if ever the day comes when i want to look for an alternative, i’ll look and evaluate other local venture alternatives before looking at foreign ones. (Foriegn only if i have to or the value of the local venture isn’t worth it).
This piece isn’t about dissing or boycotting foreign stuff but to create awareness for the quality and talent we have in our own backyards. These local ventures in our Urban Malaysian Culture have shown me that Malaysians are so incredibly talented. They just need more people to believe in them and support them.
- I will keep going to local F&B ventures.
- I will keep supporting malaysian you tubers like JinnyBoyTV & DMingThing (any other channels i should check out?)
- I will make it a point to attend more local events.
- I will make it a point to watch more local bands and acts.
- I’m going to do my best to keep my money in MY country instead of letting it flow out and away into the pockets of the Big (Foreign) Guns.
wait a second… am i becoming Indie or a Hipster? (what is a hipster anyway, like really?)
Anyway, They are an Inspiration to me because they knew what they wanted from life and had the guts to go out and do what they love.
They’re #MadeinMalaysia, and I Believe in them.
(All this has also made me more aware of the much overlooked potential of my generation, GenY, which i’ll address another day)
Keep Moving Forward