The Comprehensive Personal Finance and Support Guide for LGBT in Malaysia

Let’s face it: Malaysia is NOT a good place for LGBT individuals to freely express themselves. But no one can choose where they’re born at, can they? Discrimination is sadly common, usually justified by religion.

If you disagree with ‘the LGBT lifestyle’, I ask for your empathy. This is not a ‘guide to be gay’ article, this is a ‘what to do when you need help’ article. Know the distinction. Don’t kick people when they’re down. No religion teaches that.

This article answers the following questions (in order):

  1. My family kicked me out after they find out I’m gay / lesbian / bisexual / trans / queer. What can I do?
  2. I need to check my STD / HIV / AIDS status and find out where to find information about medical help, treatment and support
  3. My colleagues at work are bullying me because of my sexual orientation / gender identity. I need the job. What can I do?
  4. I need to talk to someone. What are my options?
  5. My gender does not align with the sex I was born with. How can I transition and what kind of expenses can I expect?
  6. I can no longer/do not want to stay in Malaysia. What can I do?
  7. I am in a committed, if unrecognised relationship with my partner. If anything happens to me, how can make sure she/he can inherit my money and properties?
  8. I don’t have immediate problems but would like to prepare myself financially, in case anything happens. What can I do?
  9. I’m LGBT individual / ally with financial means. How can I help?
Continue Reading…

Reviews of All The Ewallets in Malaysia I’ve Tried

As a finance geek, I enjoy trying out new fintech products, including ewallets. It’s fun exploring what kind of perks and cashbacks each of them offer.

Ewallets in Malaysia  – The Current Scenario

There are many companies trying to enter and compete in the ewallets scene in Malaysia. Last I checked, BNM listed 31 e-money issuers. I’m sure that list will keep growing in the next few years.

In time, I think we will see a few clear winners in this ewallet race, like what happened with Alipay in China. But for now, potential customers like you and me can have fun and enjoy being courted by these companies. Some of them are pretty generous with their welcome or referral bonuses – good for us!

Here are reviews of all the ewallets in Malaysia that I’ve tried out so far, and what I like about them. I have excluded banks and crypto ewallets from this list.

#1 – Lazada Wallet Review

Best for: Regular Lazada users

What I like about it:

  • Super fast refund on order cancellations. Your money comes back in a few minutes only, as opposed to hours/days it takes with other types of payment methods.
  • Easy to top up with credit card or online banking. Super seamless.
  • No need to download an extra app. Integrated in Lazada app itself
  • Sometimes they have extra cashback and offers if you buy stuff on Lazada using the Lazada wallet. I received RM20 voucher this way (this particular campaign have since expired)

#2 – BigPay Review

Best for: Travel junkies and AirAsia users

What I like about it:

  • Comes with a gorgeous-looking powder-blue Mastercard-branded debit card. You have to top up RM20 into your account first before they send the card to you, but the card itself it free (RM20 will appear in your account)
  • The app’s UI is really good. Very clear instructions. Security features are great
  • According to a FB commentor, the debit card’s overseas exchange rates are damn good and similar to XE.com rates! That’s a HUGE plus!
  • No processing fee if you use this card to buy AirAsia flights (RM4-RM16 in savings!). Note: If you want the card for this feature, make sure to apply 3-5 working days before so there’s enough time for card delivery
  • Can collect BigPoints, which you can use to redeem for AirAsia flights
  • Can transfer money to friends for free
  • Many fees are waived for now (later on, they will charge RM2.50 monthly fee if you don’t use the card at least once in a month. Not a huge issue tbh, Mastercard is accepted everywhere so it’s easy to use)
  • Apparently the app is designed to be Mint-like. Purchases will be categorised for you. Haven’t tried this feature yet.
  • GENEROUS sign up and referral bonus! Get extra RM10 credit if you use my referral code INLALP7ZLE (I get RM10 too!). To download the app, find BigPay in PlayStore (Android) or Appstore (iOS)


Received a hack from a kind commentor and want to share it with you!

You can combine the BigPay card with the Public Bank Quantum credit card to earn 5% cashback. How:
– top up the amount in BigPay debit card with the credit card
– use like normal, anywhere Mastercard is accepted!
– PROTIP: reload on Monday to get ADDITIONAL 5% cashback. One time only, and need to sms Public Bank. Go check Public bank for details of this particular promo

ALSO! This is a great card to buy stuff from overseas (that’s not priced in RM). You’re charged XE.com rates, which is amazing! Cards from normal banks NEVER give that kind of rates

#3 – Fave Pay Review

Best for: Fave users (for non-users, it’s like Groupon but no minimum number of buyers to unlock deals)

What I like about it:

  • Built-in the Fave platform and app, no need to download separately.
  • Always have ongoing cashback promotions and offers. Many promo codes.
  • The app can search places near you that give you extra promotions and cashback. The cashback deals are generous; between 5-30%. Sometimes when I’m out and about I’d open the app and pleasantly surprised by the offerings near me, lots of smaller shops I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
  • Accepts AMEX!
  • Referral bonus. Get RM5 off your first purchase if you sign up via this link (I get RM5, too!)

#4 – Boost App Review

Ewallets in Malaysia

Best for: Buy discounted vouchers!

What I like about it:

  • Lots of discounted vouchers available, including for Steam, Lazada, Zalora, 11th Street, MBO, Redbox, Grab, Mobile prepaid top up and more. Many are discounted by 10-20%!
  • Effectively better than Shopback for some purchases. Example – I can buy RM50 Lazada voucher for RM45 from Boost and save 10% rather than get just 1% cashback from Shopback
  • Can transfer money to friends for free
  • Kinda meh about this, but they do have pay-with-QR-code feature
  • Integrated with Fave
  • Referral bonus. Enter my invite code sur8oko and get RM5 cashback after first payment or RM10 purchase. Find Boost App in Playstore (Android) or Appstore (iOS)

Those are the ones I’ve tried so far, but there are more ewallets coming in!

Ewallets in Malaysia I Want to Try

#1 – Touch N Go

I’ve used Touch N Go cards, sure, but I haven’t downloaded their app. But I will after they revamp their app – CIMB has a major stake in TnG, and last I heard TnG  have a joint venture with Ant Financials (the company behind Alipay). So let’s see what they’ll offer when they finally revamp it.

EDIT: They have a promo now to attract users 😀

#2 – GrabPay

To be fair, I already use GrabPay for Grab rides, but not the version they’re planning in (near?) future, the version where you can use it to make in-store payments and maybe even offer insurance and micro-lending.  GrabPay partnered with Maybank kot. I have high hopes.

#3 – WeChat Pay

I don’t use WeChat, but I know it’s insanely popular among Chinese users (and young Malay kids for some reason). Hong Leong Bank partnered with WeChat Pay so I’ll be following the news for this development.

Ewallets in Malaysia I Haven’t Tried

If you’ve tried any of these ewallets (Source: FintechNews Malaysia), I’d love to hear your reviews. Are they good? Worth trying out?

  • VCash
  • KiplePay
  • HotWallet
  • MCash
  • PrimeKeeper
  • SamsungPay
  • VeCash

Any other ewallets in Malaysia that should be in this list?


I have two thought processes here about this topic: ewallets for cashless society and ewallets as credit card replacement/competition

Ewallets for cashless society

I know there are lots of talk about ewallets being integral towards a cashless society.

Cashless is good, sure. However I’m still a big fan of using cash for payments though. Something about physically handing cash makes me sayang it more, so I am more mindful when I spend.

My personal rule is to use cash unless there are financial incentives to using digital payment methods. If it doesn’t give me discounts, cashback or loyalty points, I will keep on using cash. I don’t care about QR codes, tap and pay systems or whatever other fancy things – they’re secondary to its money-saving ability.

Ewallets as credit card replacement/competition

What I regularly do before I want to buy something is check:

  • Do I actually need this product/service?
  • (If the answer is yes,)
  • Are there credit card discounts available?
  • Can I buy it from Shopback for the cashback? (Related: Shopback Tips: How I Made Over RM2000)

Now with these ewallets, I feel like I have my work cut out for me – I would check them too in case there are discounts there.

This is not even including future ewallets that’s going to enter the market. When TnG, GrapPay and WeChat Pay comes… hooo boy.

What’s your take on this whole ewallets thing? What do YOU use?

Link Roundup #2: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this new regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 articles informational 🙂

1. Consumer Reports Tested 73 Sunscreens, and This Formula Got a Perfect Score – Byrdie

You already know how important it is to wear sunscreen, but not all of them are created equal. Some formulas give next-to-nothing protection even if applied – a big money waster, if you ask me. The honour for the perfect sunscreen formula apparently goes to a product called Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, produced by the company La Roche Posay. It costs $20 for 50ml, so I don’t think I’ll get it (even if it’s available in Malaysia).

BUT there are near-perfect formulas that are a lot more affordable! Anyone know where I can get these in Malaysia? Share in the comments section!

  • Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 by Equate ($5 for 237ml);
  • Quik Gel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 by Bull Frog ($9 for 147ml);
  • Water Babies and Ultra Guard by Coppertone ($7 for 237ml);
  • Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen by Neutrogena ($11 for 88ml).
Continue Reading…

What Malaysians Found Out After GE14

This is a commentary post on GE14. Not about who won – although I am elated about that – but about things that was suddenly unearthed after the results came in. Wherever possible, I added a personal finance element (gotta keep to the theme of this website), but some of them are just musings about what we just experienced.

Special thanks to post-GE14 TwitterJaya. I wouldn’t have been able to give these observations if not for them. Where possible, I’ve added the link to the original poster.

What Malaysians Found Out Post-GE14, In No Particular Order

Continue Reading…

What No One Tells You About Investing in Malaysia

Here are some of the things you always hear about investing: it’s important, you should do it early, and you shouldn’t put all your money in just one basket (one type of investment vehicle).

I’m not going to focus on that here. This article is all about what people don’t tell you about investing in Malaysia. Or not enough, anyway.

Continue Reading…

Budget Update: March 2018

Budget Update: March 2018

Professional life = awesome. Personal life = sucks.

Total expenses = scary, but mostly for the right things. Two-thirds of March 2018 expenses went to donations. Almost a quarter went to essentials like business, taxes and rent. The remaining went to groceries, a flight ticket, insurance, public transportation, mobile bill and some miscellaneous items (like a new chopping board to replace the yucky old one).

Two things that happen on a more regular basis now are invitations to events in my professional capacity and increased interest from advertisers to collaborate. You may be seeing more sponsorship posts in Ringgit Oh Ringgit from companies/organisations that want you to know about their products and services. I will try my best to be objective and fair to all parties, especially the readers.

Speaking of readers, thank you everyone who sent lovely notes and emails. It makes me feel really happy to know that my content helped you in your life. I love you, I mean it. Thanks for making my life purposeful. It’s more than what I hoped for when I first started this blog.


march 2018

Yay of the Month:

  • Produced my first (and possibly my last) theatre show. Proud that In A Different Light: An Earth Hour Tribute was a sold-out show. Glad people loved how we did our digital marketing. Happy that we received so much support from the non-theatre world. It will be repaid.
  • Served as a panellist, moderator and participant in a few events. Fun to meet like-minded people. Marion D’Cruz even agreed to be my mentor!
  • Paid zakat and taxes. Stings, but they had to be done. Like last year, I paid my zakat to Islamic Relief Malaysia (writeup) – they give out receipt for tax purposes. For taxes, I paid but still have to sort out the filings.
  • Provided capital for my sister’s business. She was so touched, she sent me the ugliest crying selfies. Lol padan muka siapa suruh hantar. Love you.
  • Achieved the lowest weight in my adult life. Before you ask, I’m on keto.
  • Fintech Singapore listed Ringgit Oh Ringgit as one of the best personal finance blogs in Singapore and Asia!!!!
  • Ran out of protein powder and coincidentally there’s a sale. 100 servings for RM175, or just RM1.75 per serving. The last time I got it, it was RM209. Score!
  • Read two booksBig Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and A Short Story of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. The former encouraged me to pursue my creative impulses for the sake of doing, while the latter covered a bit of everything from quantum theory, geology, chemistry, botany, evolution, astronomy and a whole load of other stuff. Unexpectedly, both taught me that life will simply move on, regardless how big (I perceive) my personal problems are. On a personal level, it’s okay to grief. On a cosmic level, it’s way too small to matter.
  • Inspired to continually tweak and optimise this website. Notably, fixed a caption issue that bugged me for ages!
  • Website traffic improved, but only marginally. Small progress is still progress though.

Nay of the Month:

  • The company that was supposed to do my trust for me (As Salihin) decided that they can’t do the trust after all without a wasiat/will, despite the earlier assurance. Wasted a lot of time with them.
  • In the span of 2 days, I bought 8 games from Steam. Just RM23.74 in total, so it wasn’t a huge amount to waste. But still, my productivity level dropped.
  • Did not quit smoking after all.
  • Overwhelmingly confused by the tax documents CP500. So LHDN will now calculate income tax based on our last recorded earnings and want us to pay in six instalments?
  • For the last 5 or so months, I’ve consistently earned more than USD100 per month via Google Adsense. In March 2018 it went below that amount. Have to step up quality, share-worthy posts.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Going on a solo trip to Hong Kong. Got a cheap-ish flight in April. Should be fun. At least, a distraction. And something to write about. Now in the process of booking accommodations. Looking for a ‘living in the city’ experience – want to walk around, check out museums, go grocery shopping, meet people. Where should I stay there? Any recommendations and tips for Hong Kong travel appreciated.
  • Dating again.
  • Filing my taxes and claiming back overpaid payments.

I’m hoping for a quiet, reflective, yet busy April. Making an effort to chase happiness. Praying for yours, too.


To read about my past monthly budget update, click here. Graphs are taken from my expense-tracking app Money Lover (review).

Crypto & Blockchain in Malaysia: Communities, Companies and Associations in Malaysia You Should Know

blockchain in malaysia

One thing I noticed about people who are passionate about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is their ideologies and values. They tend to be the same people who rank transparency, efficiency and financial inclusiveness high in their belief system. Not all of them (some just got in it for the moneh), but many of them. And for that reason, I support the industry.

In the interest of promoting the cryptocurrency and blockchain in Malaysia, I have compiled Malaysia-based companies, associations and groups you should know. Note that this list is not exhaustive – I might have missed some – but the popular ones with active members are here. If you know of any more, please comment and I’ll add it in.

Continue Reading…

All The Mafan Things About Personal Finance and Life

Mafan = slang for ‘annoying’, ‘malasnya nak buat’

If you find personal finance mafan, you’re not alone. Heck, I still find it mafan. I’m lucky to get a head start on it, but actually it’s still really quite the mafan. There are just so many things that you have to sort out to be at least semi-good at it.

But that’s adulting for you. You just have to do it, don’t you? Because no one else will. And I’m not going to be that person who lets my partner/parents take care of my finances and life for me, nope. I’ve heard enough stories. We’ve all heard the stories.

This post is all about things we all have to do in order to be ‘good’ at personal finance and life. Some of them are more mafan than others. I’ll explain. And use cat pics.

Continue Reading…

Keto in Malaysia: Budget Tips that Work Here

keto in malaysia

The first time I did keto, I lost about 12kg. It’s the only diet that worked for me so far. Who knew that a high fat low carb diet can be this efficient?

I have since regained some of that weight so I’m doing keto again. This time around, I notice there are more people doing keto in Malaysia. And many of them complain about the same thing: all those good fat you have to eat to get into ketosis are so expensive!

So here are some budget tips that personally worked for me.

Continue Reading…