This interview is the first in a series of articles featuring the stars of Jalur 14 and to kick things off, we have Mushi. One of the most iconic Dota players of all time, in and out of Malaysia, Chai Yee Fung started his career playing in small tournaments locally and shot to fame when his team, Orange Esports, won 3rd place at The International 2013. Known for his high mechanical skills as a mid player (one of the most demanding roles in the game), he now puts his wealth of experience to use as the captain of IO Esports’ Dota 2 team.
Is there a reason you and Ohaiyo and Yamateh have Japanese words as names? Was it by coincidence?
It was a coincidence! We didn’t even know each other yet at that time.
Jalur14 will have you taking a trip down memory lane – do you enjoy thinking about your history and glory days?
I do think about my past because I gained a lot of experience and lessons that I still use till today, so I will never forget about it. Even though there were a lot of good memories, there was always something I could learn from them.
What’s your happiest The International (TI) memory?
My happiest TI memory was TI3 – getting third place with a full Malaysian team of friends when we considered the underdogs at the tournament.
How do you feel about your current team right now (Team IO)? It is a mix of familiar and new faces, how did you get together?
Team IO is a full Malaysian team right now, which I’m really happy about. We haven’t qualified for many tournaments or haven’t been doing well, but I’m seeing the team’s improvement and sooner or later we will find out footing. The team started off with just me and Ohaiyo. We found Jia Hao (vtFaded) and Roddgeee. Neah666 is an 18-year-old Malay kid who came from nowhere – Roddgeee found him through a public game and suggested him to us. We tried him out and things worked out. Due to the MCO (Movement Control Order), we can’t fly in players from other countries, which was why I preferred a full-Malaysian team to play with. So this is how we started.
You’ve played with both Western and Eastern players before – do you feel there is a very big difference playing in different regions?
Yes, the biggest differences are usually cultural issues. The way they communicate – for example Chinese people will talk very loudly. People who aren’t familiar with them will think that they are arguing even though it’s just a normal discussion going on. Western players will have very different lifestyles from us, and their views on the game are very different as well. It’s not very easy to mesh our ideas together – when you play together as a team, you need everybody on the same page.
Do you still stream now? If not, any plans to stream in the future? Do you enjoy streaming?
I don’t like streaming even though I used to stream a lot in the past. However, I am considering streaming again because of the pandemic and the lack of Dota 2 tournaments to compete in. I’m currently working out some offers at the moment, so we’ll see what happens.
I didn’t like streaming in the past because the schedule was too packed – I had to stream 80 hours a month, which was very difficult when I was travelling every few weeks to attend tournaments. Now that I’m getting old and tournament schedules aren’t as hectic anymore, I think I could enjoy it more.
You don’t play solo mid anymore – do you prefer your current role as a support player? Why did you change? How different is it for you, and do you miss the mid lane?
I changed to position 5 because I understand that in Southeast Asia, there aren’t any good commanders or captains. I’m not there yet, but I think I can be. If I want to change someone to fill those shoes, why not me? So I’m willing to change myself first, I’m willing to accept the role since I’m the oldest one and have the most experience. I guess it’s easier for me than anyone else to adjust and adapt to a new role. So I don’t play mid and I choose to play 5. This the main reason for me to do that.
During the first few years, I watched many replays and games, learning and adapting. Right now I’m much more confident in my ability to play the role. Before that, I was emulating Puppey, Notail, Fly etc. Right now I’m finding my own way to play position five. I’m enjoying my current position now when my team is doing well. When my team isn’t doing well, I’m just a dying machine for them. “Die for me, die for me!” “Okay.” (he mimics the chat between him and his team).
As for missing the mid lane – I do miss playing core. But I get to play it in my pub games since I play any role. I don’t select a role (during the strategy phase) so whatever role that is left, I’ll play that role.
Dota 2 and other PC games has been losing popularity in recent years partly due to Mobile games – what do you think about that?
I feel that regardless of a game being played on PC or mobile phones, esports are esports. It doesn’t personally affect me – as long as the esports scene in Malaysia is growing, that is what I want to see.
Would you consider playing any mobile games in the future?
For fun, yes, but I wouldn’t go pro in them! I’ve played Mobile Legends before, but I haven’t played PUBG Mobile. The issue with mobile games is that my hands are too big for phones and it’s difficult to play games on them. I do play a lot of PUBG on PC though. I play many other games besides Dota, but they’re all for leisure.
It’s widely known that you’ve said you won’t retire until you win a TI, do you still feel the same way?
Sorry, I take that back! I’m too old already to say that. I think it was 2016/2017 when I said that? Now it’s 2020. I’m so tired! I need to stop soon. Maybe I will change to another position to fulfil my dreams. Maybe as a coach. I think I could make it as a good coach. In 2019, I proved myself when I coached Mineski for a month and improved the team drastically. After that year, I received many offers to be a coach but I declined them because I still wanted to play. But after how 2020 has been, I’ve been thinking to myself, why didn’t I accept them???
How do you feel about your success so far? Has your dream about winning a TI changed? Have your plans changed?
Definitely, I think I can achieve much more. Many players have won a TI championship while I haven’t. I think one of my biggest problems is my emotions – I’m too emotional to stay calm in high-pressure situations.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve learned how to be a captain right now, I’ve changed a lot. Maybe it might be too late for my gaming career, but it’s not too late to apply to my life. So this is one of the things I regret, and I will not let it happen again.
Any advice for kids who are thinking about following your footsteps?
Don’t really have tips for kids to follow my footsteps, cos things are very different now. Back then, esports was very hard to get into. There was no sponsorship, not many tournaments, and right now, even if you come out from nowhere, you have many more opportunities to play and prove yourself and there are a lot of sponsorships right now. I think the route right now will be much easier than before.
So, I think my suggestion is to understand what you want. If you want to reach the top, you must never give up. I took two years to get my first win in Malaysia before I started winning more. I know some people can’t accept failure and give up too easily. You need to know if you can do it or not, and you need to believe in yourself. That’s the most important part.
Any messages for your fans?
Thanks (literally all he said!).
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.