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Being Malaysian: What does it mean?

Words: @oliverinstead • Location: PETRONAS Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Whenever my ethnicity is questioned, I am always “Malaysian first, Chinese second” Y’know, except for the times I go undercover or register for free airport Wi-Fi… but that tends to raise more questions than it answers; fo’ real, what does it really mean?


For starters, being Malaysian means your ancestors had probably done their fair share of travelling since about half the Malaysian population is of non-native descent. In my case, all my grandparents came from some corners in Mainland China… but I claim to be no Chinaman!


Because the country is so rich in cultural diversity, being Malaysian almost always means being multilingual. As someone who travels to live, I cannot stress the importance of this attribute enough. It’s allowed me to navigate my way around many countries with ease – whether it’s Britain or Brunei, I could speak at least one of the locals’ languages.

travel-Malaysia-KLCC2On the flip side of that, being Malaysian also means your physical traits shall be subjected to scrutiny in the form of “yeah… but where are you really from tho?” and at times even “if you’re from Malaysia, why do you look *inserts another Asian nationality*?

In all fairness, it’s not unusual that I’m mistaken for a native when I travel to foreign countries neighbouring Malaysia. So it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that I could also be half-Thai / half-Filipino… with a pinch of Javanese somewhere down the line. #sarcasm


But I’m ok with that.


The fact remains : I’m still learning about my motherland and I probably learned more about it in the last seven, eight years since I moved away than I ever did growing up in this tropical melting pot. Nowadays, I build upon my understanding and appreciation by exploring a new region or six whenever I return… and truth be told : never had I realised more, that my home really does have so much to offer.

What about you? Have you ever been to Malaysia? What does being *inserts your nationality* mean to you? I want to know so spill it all in the comments below!! x


Oliver ❤

Chit-chats Travel Tuesday

I quit my job to travel!?

overheated blog 2
Words: @oliverinstead • Location: Somewhere pretty in Phnom Penh

So for those who follow me on socials, I’m sure you would’ve noticed that I’m currently touring Southeast Asia / working my way through the map from Phnom Penh to Penang, from Kampot to Kuching.

Today, I would like to chat quickly and briefly about why I decided to quit my day job to travel for two months. Continue Reading

Chit-chats Fashion

My Christmas wishlist • w/ Manière De Voir

Words & Photo: @oliverinstead

Since my return from Vienna last month, I’ve been coping with some health condition that led to quite an emotional strain… hence why I’ve been MIA on the blogosphere but hey, it’s December! Translation : ain’t nobody got time for medical complications in Dec so I’m back today in a festive mood + with a Christmas wishlist of my own whilst introducing to you my new favourite brand, Manière De Voir! Continue Reading

Chit-chats Travel Tuesday

Five things I learned about: Vienna

Words: @oliverinstead • Location: The Schönbrunn Palm House, DDSG Blue Danube, etc.

If you’re following me on social (find me on Instagram / Twitter), you probably know that I spent most of the past week in Vienna. As anticipated, it was an awesome trip and throughout my brief stay there, I made a few observations and now I like to share ’em with you so here are five things I learned about the lively capital city of Austria. Continue Reading

Chit-chats Fashion Lifestyle

Five gifts to consider this winter: for him

Words & Photo: @oliverinstead

The winter is just around the corner and apart from the cold, the following months generally bring tons of gift shopping, wrapping and giving. In fact, Christmas is less than two months away and Thanksgiving is even closer (for those who might be reading from the States) so I have put together a list of five items I always find myself circling back to when I’m stuck for gift ideas.


one Perfume & toiletries

Although this can be a thoughtful gift, it is also slightly risk because everyone has a nasal preference but whatever scent he fancies, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something in L’Occitane‘s collection of Eau De Toilettes for men.


two Footwear

Since mankind has only created so many styles of footwear for us men, it’s not difficult to guess what someone is into in this department. However, if you’re really unsure then the general rule of thumb is that everyone could do with a pair of classic trainers in their shoedrobe…

Then it’s just a case of figuring out his shoe size, good luck! 😉


three Accessories

In a similar vein to footwear, accessories is also a safe option because it’s not as obvious as a Christmas jumper or onesie but can still have that expensive feel – it’s all about that box that they come in. Give him something mininal, i.e. a silver cuff bangle then you won’t have to experience that “Oh… Thanks but this is too out-there for my style” situation.


four Books / Magazines

If he is not into his fashion then proceed to ask yourself, does he have a fav author, series of books or magazine that he reads religiously (not in a ‘bible’ kinda sense)? If so, then I suggest getting him an annual subscription or a collection of said books/magazines.

This is a relatively risk and fuss-free gift idea for two reasons : 1) it’s pretty much tailor-made for him 2) many magazine or newspaper subscriptions come in e-edition nowadays, which brings us to…


five Gadgets

This category will open up a whole new scope for your gift-hunting mission; Kindles, tablets, cameras, MP3 players are just some of the gifts I have both given and happily received in the past. BUT, if your budget doesn’t permit this level of luxury then consider an accessory like a laptop case or camera bag that will complement his existing gadgets… the possibility is endless.


Follow this guide and I’m sure your hubs, bae, dad, son or bro will be a very happy man this festive season but remember always, it’s the thought that counts and on that note, happy gift shopping and I will see you in the next post.


Oliver ❤