With the competitive e-sports industry in Malaysia growing at a rapid rate, even Malaysia is playing host to one of the one of the biggest e-sports tournament with a USD1 million prize pool.
With the boom of e-sports in Malaysia, there are many new talents born that are changing the country’s e-sports scene. However, old timers who used to play Counter-Strike (CS) might know of John “SiuPakChoi” Choo as he was one of the members of the legendary Team No Kaki At All (NKAA).
Team NKAA won multiple tournaments in Malaysia and cemented their place in the history books of Malaysia’s competitive gaming scene as one of the legendary “Big 4 of Malaysia”. Sadly, he retired from the competitive scene in the mid 2000s, but he is back now and hungry for more.
John “SiuPakChoi” Choo
For non-chinese speakers, you might be wondering what is “Siu Pak Choi” and why does John have that as his IGN (in-game name). Apart from the meaning of it in Chinese which means small Bak Choi, a type of Chinese cabbage, he got the name when he and his friends were having a game of CS and decided to use vegetable nicknames such as Hamchoi, Lobak, Kangkung and such. Thus ever since then he just stuck with “SiuPakChoi”.
John said that he didn’t really make any decision to join competitive gaming as gaming was just part of his life. He added “I started playing a lot of First Person Shooter games when I was very young, games like Heretic, Doom, Quake, and some Real-time Strategy games like Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Starcraft, mainly games where I can play against other players.”
John is currently 35 years old and has a full time job as a Real Estate Negotiator and is also a freelance graphic designer.
In gaming terms, 35 may seem old but John has a lot going for him as he is making his comeback in the scene. Before starting streaming and playing PUBG, John played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) regularly with friends, even joining tournaments but always fell short of winning.
John is also happily married with two kids, aged 8 and 12. Thankfully, he has a supportive wife who fully understands what’s a gamer like, since both of them dated during his competitive gaming days.
“I think it is a challenge to everyone, not just gamers, to balance out their time with the family. I just got to make sure I have time for my family, that’s it. My kids love watching my streams, and my wife is extremely supportive on this. She used to be a gamer, and we regularly play Dota 2 together at the cyber cafes,” John added.
The AWFUL SQUAD
As John has transitioned from CS:GO to PUBG, he now has a team called the AWFUL SQUAD which was founded by a group of friends, where most of them met in-game and some knew each other for many years.
“The original founding players are Trololol2k17, mikik0, WOWSODOGEWOW and myself, SiuPakChoi.”
Due to work and family commitments, some of the players are on rotation.
Their latest players are d4npablo, who is the loudest recruit, Genx, who is John’s buddy from the Counter-Strike days, and DunQMe who is the latest addition.
Participating with WOWSODOGEWOW at the Broadcaster Royale S1 Grand Finals in Seattle, USA was the biggest achievement for the team so far.
John added, “We had to go through like 3 regional qualifiers and compete with around 300 teams before we made it to the Grand Finals in Seattle. I guess I had achieved my dream, to be able to compete against other teams around the world.”
“Got to say, the experience I got over there was worth the wait! 17 years competing, and finally made it out of the country,” he said.
AWFUL SQUAD will continue to join tournaments whenever they can and at the same time John wants to build his streaming audience on Facebook. He has high ambitions and hopes that he will be able to grow it to a level like Shroud, who has almost 3 million subscribers on YouTube.
“Seems impossible, but no harm trying right?” he joked.
His typical daily schedule would be waking up in the morning if there are any work appointments, otherwise he would get up around noon to get some lunch and finish up some work until the evening and will then prepare for his streams at 8pm. His streaming sessions lasts from 8pm to 12am and he stops to go to sleep at 2 or 3am.
E-Sports Then And Now
Back then when the competitive gaming scene was still small, John and his friends didn’t really have much opportunities to grow as professional e-sports players compared to now.
“My old buddies always mention that we were born in the wrong generation, if only this happened earlier like 20 years ago,” John quipped.
He believes that the current government is openly supporting e-sports now and he has his fingers crossed on whether the government will do more to continue to grow the industry at a faster pace.
“The media also plays a very important role, it’s how they paint the e-sports industry positively, and how they help highlight the potential issues and get the attention from the government for assistance,” added John.
To end it John has something to say for every gamer out there:
You can check out John streaming on his Facebook page.
Feature Image Credit: SiuPakChoi