KUALA LUMPUR: Chai Yee Fung was the toast of the Malaysian gaming community over the weekend when he and his teammates took home US$1.4 million (RM5.6 million) in prize money for their fourth-placed finish at The International Dota 2 tournament held in Seattle, the United States.
Chai, better known as Mushi, led his Fnatic team, comprising Yeik Nai Zheng (MidOne), Adam Erwann Shah (343), Chong Xin Khoo (Ohaiyo) and Filipino player Djardel Jicko Mampusti (DJ) from a poor start to a respectable finish in the tournament.
However, that success did not happen overnight. And no one knows this more than Chai’s mother, Fong Yau Seam.
Fong said that when Chai, 25, first began playing competitively several years ago, she was worried that her son would not have a bright future.
She used to have arguments with her son, trying to persuade him to concentrate on his studies instead.
"He was determined with his passion in e-sports and continued playing and practicing his gaming, even though he lost many times playing Dota (Defense of the Ancients) and Dota 2.
"The family is proud of him, but we were worried that his chosen vocation would have no future.
"It came to a point where he was given a year to produce some results, failing which he need to find a steady job," she told the New Straits Times.
Along the way, the family learned to understand and care about his passion and keep up to date with Chai's progress during events.
These days, Fong helps to cook food for her son's team at the team’s house in Seri Kembangan.
When the family is unable to travel with Chai to events, they keep track of him through online broadcast of games, especially his father.
"This gives us the feeling that we are with him on his trip.
"We hope that he will eventually achieve his dream of winning the world title and be the "Lee Chong Wei" of Dota 2," she said.
Meanwhile, Sybil Anchant, who is Adam’s mother, recalled how she was also worried, like any parent would be.
However, one day, they sat down and talked. Adam then explained to her what he wanted to try and achieve.
"As always I support him 100 per cent and always want the best for him.
"As a single mum, I can only advise him on the bigger picture but at the end of the day, he needs to evaluate for himself what is good and bad.
"I will always be there for him, that's what families are about," said Sybil, adding that Adam, 21, has always been a very good son who is respectful and caring for others.
Meanwhile, Chan Ah Noi, the mother of Chong, remembered how she used to cry and scold her son for being too involved in the game.
Chan and her husband had wanted their four children to study well so that they can lead a comfortable life.
"Our family was not very well off; we wanted the kids to have a bright future.
"When he was 18, the whole family sat down and talked about it, and we decided to give him a year and see how far he can go.
"Now, his performances have made the family very proud. We are very happy for him because he had worked so hard to become one of the best in his field," she said.
These days, the family stays updated on Chong’s progress through a family WhatsApp group, always making sure that he will get back to them on how he is doing, not just on his gaming career but also his life.
For the uninitiated, Dota 2 is a multiplayer online video game in which two teams of five players compete to collectively destroy a large structure defended by the opposing team, known as the "Ancient", while defending their own.
The total prize pool of this year's The International is almost US$21 million (RM84.4 million), with the eventual champions taking home the lion's share of US$9 million.
The last time a Malaysian team performed well in the tournament was in 2013 when Orange Esports, also captained by Chai, bagged third place, albeit with a lower cash prize of RM1.15 million.