Hayden Ridzky Tobe
Igwe Junior, 13
Hayden Ridzky Tobe Igwe Junior identifies himself as Malay, but to others he identifies himself as African. Sometimes, he’d rather call himself rojak to avoid explaining too much!
Mother, Siti Yuslisah Oshiafi and siblings
Dish of Choice:
African sugee, African stew
Have a listen to Hayden's reflection in this journey of documenting his mother cooking African sugee or read on in the transcript below.
Shiyun: Let’s start off with talking about the food that you have presented in this project
Hayden: Ermm, the food is African Soji with African Stew. If you take away the Soji and replace it with rice, it can also be eaten as a malay food so technically it’s a malay-african food
Shiyun: What is Malay about you and what is African about you? If this question makes sense
Hayden: I guess sometimes the way I talk, the way my lifestyle is, you could say it’s like a malay lifestyle. But at the same time, I still have that like small drop of african (blood) because I never really stayed in like Africa
Shiyun: So do you feel closer to identifying as a Malay or an African?
Hayden: Usually I identify myself as a Malay, but like if people ask me like what I am, I just say that I’m African. I not really sure lah. Sometimes I just call myself Rojak
Shiyun: In your stand-up comedy, you were talking about some of the experiences you have, being sort of different growing up here… can you share one of those experiences?
Hayden: When I was in primary 2, I went down to the playground, and I was trying to like to play soccer, but then they (other kids) started making fun of me, calling me the n- word and all that. Then I got angry and all that, but I didn’t know what was happening at that time, and I thought it was just a normal insult, and I didn’t know what the n-word was.
I got into a fist-fight with them, and then the parents came down and everything. From there my mom told me what was the n-word, that’s when I knew where I came from, because growing up, I thought I was just a normal malay boy
Shiyun: Mmm… does this name calling still happen?
Hayden: It does, but I’m cool with it, because I understand the word now. It depends on how they say it. I learned that the word can be used in different types of form, like a greeting, like a slang? Or it can be used as an insult. But now usually my friends don’t use it as an insult, they use it as slang, so I’m alright with it. And then we always joke about it, like giving n-word pass
Shiyun: What is the n-word pass? Like a friend and you’re allowed to use this?
Hayden: Not like a friend lah, like you just allow them to use it to make fun of you
Shiyun: How is it like growing with siblings?
Hayden: It’s alright, but like cause we live in a small house, we don’t really have our own privacy so that’s like one thing I don’t like about living with them. Like I don’t have my privacy
Shiyun: Oh…so if you had your privacy, what would you like to do in that quiet?
Hayden: Just like, chill by myself
Shiyun: If there was one day you can spend with your mom, and just your mom, without your younger siblings, how do you think you would spend that day?
Hayden: Just have fun lor. Like go out, and do stuff with her that we could do without them. For example, going on rides at USS. Usually I could do it, but I couldn’t do it without my mother because nobody is gonna take care of them while they’re waiting for us to finish the ride. So it would be fun if it’s just me and her can go. And then maybe watch movies that are PG13, which they cannot watch also
Shiyun: Do you actually look forward to spending time with your mom, without your brothers and sisters?
Shiyun: Do you get that much?
Hayden: Not much lah. Cause she’s busy working and then she’s also busy taking care of my brother and sister, but she could do it, but like there’s nobody to take care of my siblings