This interview is the third in a series of articles featuring the stars of Jalur 14 and this week we have MasterRamen. Firdaus Hashim, the founder of E-Sukan, a community and news portal for local esports back when dedicated media didn’t exist. He stuck around and earned himself the “Father of Malaysian esports” nickname for being a prominent figure in the scene. Having been a part of various games in the past, including Dota 2 and MLBB, he’s currently the manager for Team SMG’s PUBG Mobile squad.
Why the name MasterRamen?
Back in 2010-2011, my old Lowyat.net forum account was banned because I was trolling a lot, so I had to make a new account. At that time, I was watching a lot of Naruto, and I liked the character who always gave free ramen to Naruto and decided to name myself after him.
How’s it been managing Team SMG? How did the offer to manage the team come about?
It started during PMCO when the players approached me to become their ‘father’. That’s when I created Bapak Ah Esports, to groom and help them grow into professional players, in hopes of an organization to sign them in the future. Team SMG was one of the organizations who approached us to hire the team and we took their offer since it seemed like a good opportunity.
Is managing teams something you’re passionate about? What do you enjoy/dislike about it?
I’ve loved playing games for a long time and have been passionate about esports as well. I’ve also organized a lot of events and it’s very different from managing a team. The hype, the nervousness from watching your team playing – is why I focused more on the latter.
As for dislikes – when your team loses, there’s a lot of pressure on you. When your team isn’t do well, you won’t get sponsors, and vice versa. So you have to make sure that your team is playing well all the time. Another thing is taking care of the feelings of the players when they lose. That’s what I dislike most about it.
For likes – winning! The best thing is winning with your team.
How do you split your time between managing and streaming?
It’s really tough. Sometimes due to streaming commitments, I can’t be there for my team. But most of the time, I’ve sacrificed time with my family to focus on the team.
Looking back now, at the infamous Arrow Gaming incident, do you think it has affected the Dota or esports scene in Malaysia?
Back then yeah, but now I think most people have forgotten about it and surprisingly, all the players from Arrow Gaming are still playing just that they can’t compete in official Valve events. They still can make a living from it.
Do you still follow them or talk to them?
Sometimes, but since I don’t focus on Dota much, it’s not as often. The last time I talked to them was trying to get them to play for the SEA Games.
Do you think it was fair for the players to be banned from Valve tournaments? If no, what would have been a more suitable punishment?
It was a very harsh punishment, considering the amount of money involved wasn’t a lot. They were also very naïve and very young. But I don’t blame Valve for such a harsh penalty. They probably wanted to make a strong statement to the community. It sucks to be them (Arrow Gaming) because they were one of the first few people to get the Valve banhammer.
You recently participated at the SEA Valorant Invitational, how was the experience for you?
It was fun! The game is very new, and the concept is very fun and interesting. You can see a lot of people playing it now. It was a good experience because we won our match! I hope the format will be better in the future.
Your team actually won the match but failed to advance because of the point difference. Were you upset or frustrated over it? Soloz mentioned that he had only downloaded the game an hour before the tournament so he had no expectations, but he was happy you guys did quite well!
We had SiuPakChoi and JanuaryAKG, who were experienced FPS players, and that helped a lot! Also, we played together well as a team and had a lot of fun. Our opponents also were as new as us to the game so they didn’t have much of an advantage over us.
You have an impressive G-shock collection, what got you into the hobby?
To be honest, I didn’t have an interest in G-shock watches in the beginning. But people in chat were telling me about them constantly. So one day I did a search on them, saw a promotion for some G-shock watches on sale, and found myself attracted! I posted about it on Facebook and a lot of people agreed. Initially, I was going to buy a cheap one, but ManParang (from Yoodo Gank) messaged me, telling me to search more – which I did. I then discovered there was a lot of nicer looking G-shock watches out there, and that’s when my journey to collecting them began. Now I’m a G-shock collector.
What do you think of the current esports industry in malaysia, and what needs to change to take it to the next level?
The current esports industry is great at the moment. There are a lot of pro leagues especially for PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of FIFA tournaments, endorsed by FAM themselves so we can see that the government is still supporting esports regardless of the change. There is also a lot of positive news about the scene instead of negative (like in the past), so that’s nice.
What advice would you give to people looking to enter the esports industry?
My advice is, don’t throw everything away to jump into esports completely. You must know that not everybody can be a professional footballer. People with talent can be a footballer, those that don’t can’t make it as one. It’s the same thing in esports. Maybe you like to play games, if you have talent, you can possibly make esports your career, but if you don’t have talent, take it as a hobby. That’s my advice.
Anything to say to your fans?
My message to my fans is simple, “Kurangkan Toxic lebihkan amal!” (less toxicity and be good to each other!).
Watch Jalur 14 every Thursday, 9pm (GMT +8) beginning 26 November 2020, on eGG Network Astro CH800, available to all Astro subscribers. It will also be shown on Awani (CH501) every Sunday, 10pm (GMT +8) from 29 November 2020 and AEC (CH346/306 HD) every Saturday, 7pm (GMT +8) from 5 December 2020.
A docuseries chronicling the rise of esports and the gaming industry in Malaysia. Jalur 14 recounts the tales of 14 Malaysian icons including Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong, Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad “Fredo” Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti “ChuChu Gaming” Mohamed Ghazali, and more, as they share about their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success.
Covering some of the biggest games in Malaysia, namely, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Counter-Strike, and PUBG Mobile, Jalur 14 is a must-watch for anybody who’s had any interest in the Malaysian esports and game development industry. From zeroes to heroes, these stalwarts of the scene have all broken their backs putting the Jalur Gemilang on the map.
Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.