Challenges Of A Modern Malaysian Man : Jeremy Teo

“We’re creating a movement for men! We feel like men in this day and age are at a very strange place!”

Jeremy Teo – a bundle of charm and talent, is looking at me expectantly over a Skype screen. He looks slightly different from the on-screen persona I know so well – today, he has glasses on and has his hair is slightly mussed up. However, he loses none of his charisma and exudes a sure confidence, occasionally pausing to let out a robust, full-bellied laugh.

I met Jeremy in the most random way, through the ICQ, a now defunct chat messenger. I was 13 and Jeremy was 15, and we spent loads of time chatting to each other. Somehow as we grew older, we lost touch along the way. A few years later, I was browsing through Cleo magazine, and he popped up on one of the pages as ‘Cleo’s Most Eligible Bachelors’. My eyes popped. This guy? The one I was chatting with as a 13 year old? No way! This happened 10 years later, so we only met in person then!
We caught up and he’s been one of my best friends since then. While he’s no longer an ‘Eligible Bachelor’, he often has so many projects lined up, it’s hard to keep track.

“Right now, there’s Yellow Mango Communications, my social media agency. That keeps me busy with work that’s making money. I host events, I do voiceovers and I take on little projects that interest me – like The Brofessionals. That’s where my friend Yuri and I get together and talk about being a man in the 21st century. We’re creating a movement for men! We feel like men in this day and age are in a strange place. The ideal of the ideal man is still tied to something very old school, like a lumberjack, or a ‘manly man’. That’s especially that’s how men look at other men! Even women to a certain degree help perpetuate that. Women, on the other hand don’t have anything of that sort! Women have come a very long way. A woman can be a MMA fighter and nobody will think her any less of a being a woman. But if you’re a man and you’re a househusband, there’s a little bit of stigma with it, even though logically, there’s nothing wrong with it. The Brofessionals are our attempts at railing against this pro-masculinity! We’re trying to say that hey, as long as you’re a man, you’re a man, you be and do however you want.”

The Brofessionals, an entertaining, engaging podcast is aired weekly. It’s tone is much more friendly vs authoritative from what I had expected of two men telling us what the world would be like according to them. I love listening to this podcast – it’s chatty, light and entertaining!

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“The idea that we try and promote with our podcast is be that anyone you want to be! There’s no right or wrong way, and everything is a discussion, it’s all about being at peace with who you are. What we are really against is for you to feel pressure. There should be no pressure! You should just want to be better at the things you want to be good at. You just do whatever works for you!”

Recordings for the podcast take place every Friday, the subject matter inspired by the week that both Jeremy and Yuri have had. Sometimes, even Facebook poker can stem off a conversation!

“One of our episodes, I spoke about how poker is a metaphor for life. That was because I’ve been playing a lot of Facebook poker lately. That came from the idea that, oh man, sometimes you have to go all in, sometimes you have to fold, sometimes you have to know how to bluff. “

One of his projects, his favourite, if I might hazard a guess, is his newfound love for vlogging.
“Years ago, my dad got a camcorder in the house. I’d do stupid things like talk to the camera and all that kind of stuff. I’ve been doing radio for the longest time, and I’ve also been a host – which means I’m always a proxy for someone else to channel their work through me. The main reason I wanted to start vlogging was to do something for myself. So whether it was stupid, moderately inspirational, silly or waste of time, I just wanted to do something that was mine and that came from my head. That’s something that I’ve felt for the longest time, but I’ve always been trying to figure out what the proper medium would be. I knew about vlogging because I live on the Internet, but I was never such a fan of the vlogging formats that came beforehand because I thought it was seriously self-absorbed. And as egoistical as I might come across, I’m not as self indulgent as that. I wouldn’t be able to sit with myself I did this! And then Yuri introduced me to this vlogger, Casey Neistat.  There was stuff in there which I really would have loved to have come up and created on my own, because it kind of feels like even though it’s about me, it’s not all about me. I figured I could do something like that. I’m going to admit that at the beginning, I ripped off a lot of Casey Neistat’s video styling, but along the way I’ve increasingly grown the confidence in vlogging and my video editing. Before I started vlogging I didn’t know how to do video editing at all. You’ll see that from my first vlog till now, it’s changed. There’s been an evolution there. It’s always fun to work on stuff like that. “

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Jeremy’s been attempting to vlog every day, but admits it’s quite the attempt.
“I want to do a vlog a day, and at one point I was doing really well for 2 weeks. 14 vlogs in 14 days! But then, sometimes, you just have nothing. There are days where I’m just sitting at home playing video games. I’m trying to figure out a balance. Some days aren’t as vlog friendly as others, so then I try to figure out how to convey my day in a more interesting way. I’m trying to figure out a balance.”

I watch both Casey Neistat and Jeremy’s vlogs, and it’s always great entertainment. Sometimes I think Jeremy is completely mad to publish some of the things he says, like in this vlog here and sometimes I think, ah, this is right up Jeremy’s speed when I watch a vlog like this.

You wouldn’t think Jeremy has time for more on his plate, but he also has his own company, Yellow Mango Communications.
“At Yellow Mango Communications, we handle social media pages for people. Brands nowadays have a social media presence but may not necessarily have the skill set to manage that presence well. Sure, brands are starting to grow more and more, and have started up their own teams to manage their pages for them. At Yellow Mango, we find it could be more cost effective to outsource the social media work, and that’s what we handle for you!”

Jeremy laughs when I ask him to tell him something that we don’t know about him.
“I’m not wearing any underwear right now. No? Not something you want? OK, I’m still scared of ghosts. I’m terrified of that. I don’t watch horror movies, I don’t like hanging out in the dark and my friends rickroll me by sending me videos of something like, ‘Hot chick video!’ and when I click on it it’s a trailer of The Conjuring.”

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He pauses, when asked about what the hardest thing in life he has gone through is.
“I don’t know. I confess, I’ve been very lucky in my life to have had been given the opportunities I’ve been given. I can’t even say anything that I’ve gonethrough anything really hard because I haven’t had to really struggle for anything. My struggles are nothing compared to other stuff have happening around the world. I’ve been very lucky to never ever have to go hungry. I’ve been able to be sent to school, my family is well and we’re a close unit. Anything I have right now is really small shit, which is how I give myself perspective when I have a bad day. Right now I’ve been technically unemployed for the past 4-5 months because red fm, where I was a radio announcer at, let all of us go. But even then, I have never felt it was such a great struggle. Sure there’s worry about money and I have to manage my finances differently because I have no stable income, but I have a company of my own that I have a small share in, and I host events so I still have work. It’s not really a hard struggle but it’s a matter of figuring where I want to go and what I want to do.

I’ve always been of the perception that I’ve been one of the lucky ones, and one of personal philosophies is to always try to be happy and grateful. Even if I’m not the number 1 radio host or the most handsome guy in Malaysia, I’m still happy and lucky enough to be surrounded by people who love me, and whom I love, and lead an enjoyable life. Even if my car breaks down or I get into a fight with my girlfriend, it’s not that bad. If you’re car breaks down it means you have a car. These are good problems to have!”

I think this is so true. Often, we forget how blessed we are, and that our problems are actually masked blessings. I like this reminder, and I file it away in my brain to use on a day where I’m busy complaining about nonsense.

Watch Jeremy vlog here, or listen to his thoughts on the modern man in The Brofessionals or get his social media expertise on Yellow Mango Communications.

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Ann Jie

Loves good conversations and hates small talk. Finds people fascinating and wonders why meanies exist. Loves writing violent, graphic short stories but finds horror movies too scary to watch. Follow me on Instagram @annjieslices or tweet me a slice of YOUR life at @annjieslices!

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