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Cut thick gailan stems on a sharp bias into thin slices. Thinner stems can be chopped into 2-inch pieces. Once you get to the leaves, cut them into bite-sized chunks. Keep the stems and leaves separated.
If using chilies, pound them into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Then add garlic and pound just until they look "shredded" (see video). You can also just roughly chop garlic and chilies.
In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and water; stir to mix.
In a wok, fry the garlic in a little oil over medium-low heat for a minute or so until light golden. Don't use high heat as you want the garlic to have time to soften and infuse the flavour into the oil.
Add gai lan stems, turn heat up to medium and cook for about 30-45 seconds.
Turn the heat up to high, then immediately add gai lan leaves, the sauce, white pepper, and cook for only about 30-45 seconds. Remove from heat immediately once the leaves look mostly wilted. Do not overcook, the residual heat will wilt the leaves further, and the leaves also get chewy when cooked too much.
Serve immediately with jasmine rice. Enjoy!