• Dale Roberts

Malaysia and Australia's Eurovision relationship



Today is Malaysia's Independence Day and to celebrate we're looking at their Eurovision connections with Australia.


According to the 2021 Census, 165,616 Australians were born in Malaysia. This ranks eighth among overseas nations, so it's no surprise they have had an impact in many aspects of Australian culture and life.


From Senator Penny Wong to tennis player Nick Kyrgios, there are many well known Australians of Malaysian heritage.


And of course, there are some well known faces associated with Eurovision. Let's take a look:


Guy Sebastian



Guy is Australian, but was born in Malaysia and lived there until he was six-years-old. His father Ivan is Malaysian Indian of Tamil origin.


He was Australia's first ever Eurovision entrant, finishing fifth place at Eurovision 2015 in Vienna with 'Tonight Again'.


He spoke to 60 Minutes about his Malaysian heritage saying,


"I have nothing but great memories of Malaysia. I go back there and eat.. a lot! I've still got some relatives there."


While he spoke further about his connections in an interview with Fly TV, but the subject was still family and food.


"I was born in Malaysia and I lived there for a good six years of my life with my older brother, It’s very ingrain in our culture that family is very important," Guy said.


"We're lucky because our parents, even though they've been here for a long time, they're Malaysian at heart and so they my dad and my mum as well, they cook incredible Malaysian food."



Jordan-Ravi



Jordan-Ravi competed at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' with the Tania Doko and George Sheppard written song 'Pushing Stars'.


Before Australia Decides, the 22-year-old from Darwin had competed on America's Got Talent impressing Simon Cowell himself.


Jordan-Ravi's connections to Malaysia come through his father Devan Sabaratnam, who was born in Malaysia before migrating to Australia in 1978.



Adam Liaw



TV chef and mega Eurovision fan Adam Liaw has been part of the SBS Eurovision coverage with his 'Destination Flavour Eurovision' programme and other 'Eurovision Bites' content since 2017.


He also is a very regular tweeter of the Contest via his account @adamliaw



Adam was born in Penang, Malaysia with his father Malaysian Chinese.


He teamed up with another TV chef, Poh Ling Yeow, to put together the show 'Adam and Poh's Malaysia in Australia' which not only focused on food, but also their shared Malaysian heritage.


He spoke to female.com.au about his passion for Malaysian food.


"Malaysia Kitchen' to me is a great name for the program, as food is a passion and a sense of pride for all Malaysians. In essence, you could say that Malaysia itself is one big kitchen, bringing together different ethnic and cultural influences to create a truly delicious and unique cuisine," Adam said.


And his favourite Malaysian dish?


"I love Hainanese Chicken Rice, but it's hard to go past a great Malay satay, cooked over coals and served with the traditional accompaniments."



Kamahl


Kamah (far left) with other Australian jurors. Photo credit: SBS

Kandiah Kamalesvaran, or better known as his stage name Kamahl, was born in Malaysia (then the Federated Malay States) back in 1934.


His parents were Tamil and Malaysian Indian and he was raised and educated in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Australia just before he turned 20-years-old.


He went on to have a multi-decade music and TV career in Australia, even charting in The Netherlands and Sweden.


But what does Kamahl have to do with Eurovision? Well the legend himself was a juror for Australia for the Rotterdam 2021 contest!


The Australian jury that year gave their 12 points to Destiny from Malta with her song 'Je me casse'.



With many talented people coming the nation, there is no doubt Malaysian-Australians will continue to play a part in Australia's Eurovision involvement.


We look forward to seeing more artists representing this wonderfully talented community.


Follow Aussievision on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for the latest Eurovision news from Australia and abroad.