Question Everything?

Don’t. Please don’t. Don’t question everything. It’s unproductive, depressing, and annoying.

“Question Everything.” The context isn’t lost on me. It’s a tagline – intentionally simplified, providing an alternative extreme to correct erroneous behavior. You accept everything automatically? Stop. Accept nothing, question everything.

We know that’s not practical. Yes, it’s pointless to question axioms – fundamental truths of a system that you have to assume are true. But you don’t have to question something to adopt it into your personal belief system.

Here’s a better mantra that will never be adopted because it’s not a catchy tagline. Nor is it extreme. But I think it’s much more practical. “Know your sources.” The first and most relevant collateral is that you know what you’ve accepted without question. Your parents told you that sleeping early makes you smarter? Good for you! It’s totally fine to accept that without question. Just understand that your argument for that case is as strong as your argument for Santa Claus existing (i.e., because your parents told you so).

One great benefit of remembering your sources is that it gives you a mechanism to resolve conflict. If you believe in Santa Claus and have been told he doesn’t exist, then it boils down to assessing the different sources. Your parents say he exists. Your friends say he doesn’t. Which source would you rather believe? And then the other question – do you expect other people to have the same reverence for your sources as you (i.e. why should your friends believe your parents over their parents who told them Santa Claus doesn’t exist)?

The phrase “question everything” is supposed to be used to snub those who accept “unscientific” points of view. But often it instead is used to dis unpopular points of view. Having a more skeptical, more widely-accepted source, isn’t always better. Different sources mean different things to different people. This is why anecdotal evidence is problematic – it means a lot to the one person who experienced it, and means about nothing to everyone else.

On Nicknames

I was/am watching the TI5 qualifiers and I was well… I’m not sure what emotion I had, a mixture of disgust, irritation, and a drop in respect for a SEA competitive player who was taking part.
You can read the comments and view the picture here
It so happened that watching this game was a trigger for me to make this post and say something about it, it’s not to single this player out, but to talk about a wider issue of how players conduct themselves however they wish, without thinking about the bigger picture.

I’m from a very conservative family, where as a kid I was slapped for saying so much as “shit” or “damn”. I’ve witnessed my parents telling off young punks in public for swearing at the top of their lungs.
The general rule was, you have an education, you can speak multiple languages, so use that and express your emotions and thoughts in a respectable and logical manner. (Not saying that I agree wholeheartedly with this, but it’s just to let you know what it was like for me growing up, which probably contributed to how I think about this issue.)

I’m also currently part timing with a local NGO that’s pushing for eSports to become mainstream, and they’re working hard giving school talks and workshops, reaching out to the younger generation and their parents, so I understand a little about the difficulties involved in changing mindsets and trying to portray eSports as a legit, wholesome activity.

So now that I’m done with elaborating on my background, let me tell you why I find it unacceptable for players to use whatever derogatory or offensive nickname they want, and let me reply to certain comments.
Offensive nicknames would include vulgarities, derogatory terms, racist and sexist words/terms, symbols depicting something impolite…

1. There are people fighting really hard to show that this is a serious activity with a good future etc, but imagine if parents of young teens or elementary school children watch these games, see the nickname, and maybe hear the caster reading out the name. Does this help?
And no, you cannot control who watches the stream or game. So saying that only asians will understand the name (argument also not valid because I’m not just talking about this particular case), or that you aren’t expecting kids to watch this, also doesn’t make sense.

2. “No one else is offended, so I don’t see why you should be kicking up a fuss”
Is that what you’re going to say to a rape victim too? No one else was hurt or offended but you, so just shut up about it?
Maybe that example is a little too far fetched, but I am offended, and THAT IS ENOUGH FOR ME TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I’m not saying you can’t think otherwise or have your opinion on it. Feel free to state your point of view on your own social media page, but don’t tell me what I should or should not be offended by.
Also, saying it’s the norm, doesn’t make it any more acceptable to me.

3. It’s not like I’m one of those goody two shoes that doesn’t randomly emit an expletive, I’ve been filmed by dendi learning to swear in Russian. And no, my mum wouldn’t be proud of me if she saw it. But there is a time and place for everything. That was a relaxed, comedy video (that I actually didn’t know would be uploaded) and at the worst, the use of Russian expletives reflects badly on me as a person, also, I knew what I was being taught to say.
Using an offensive nickname in a professional tournament is much trickier because
– since it’s dialect, not all the casters or viewers might be aware of it, and it makes them look like a fool especially if they keep repeating it while casting.
– even if the caster was aware, it’s not a match I’d like to televise and show my parents, future kids (if I have any), aunties, uncles etc, and say that this is eSports, this is what I’ve given up a great part of my time and effort to be a part of.
– eSports already has a bad enough reputation, is there any need to create a greater barrier with the rest of the world?

4. I’m angry cos I’m a feminist and it’s cos it’s an asian guy???
This sort of comment totally didn’t make sense to me… so, wrong on both counts. The picture might have showed 2 teams in particular, but my caption is a general one about nicknames in general.
So just stop bringing up all the possible offensive nicknames that are used and asking me why I’m not pointing them out and getting offended by them.
Also, I’m not angry because it’s an offensive name. I’m angry that a professional player in a professional tournament would conduct himself in this way.
Try to imagine how it might be like if Messi or Ronaldo, or Lebron decided to take on a nickname meaning something similar.

5. “It’s just a nickname, let it be, let them do what they want”
Yeah, I ‘m not actively reporting them anywhere or pming them or their managers to get it changed, or making it known to valve etc. I’m just stating what I feel on my facebook fan page, and now on my blog.

At the end of it all, I’m not insisting organisers, or valve or anyone do anything about it, even though I would very much like them to. It would be nice if players and managers were a little more deliberate in ensuring professionalism in tournaments, It would make it much easier for people, who are trying to help the scene from the backstage, to make a more convincing case. And this isn’t limited to choosing nicknames, but also punctuality, statements they release on social media etc.

Just to add on, I don’t think this is the first time that in game nicknames have been considered offensive. A zenith standin created a big hoohaa in the NA scene for having a homophobic nickname a couple of years ago, and another Singaporean player created a racist nickname and played in a minor tournament and invoked the wrath of many – after a repeated offence he was removed from his team.

So the question isn’t “What’s the problem with using whatever name I want”, but rather, “why cant you choose a neutral nickname to avoid controversy?”

It’s ALIVE!!

I know I’ve been silent for quite a few months, my server got hacked and then I got tied up in organising GoodGame 2014 Convention.

So now that I’ve gotten a more secure server, and I’ve also finished with GG2014, I’ve had time to revive the blog.

To be honest, I’m not sure where this blog is going. I have too many interests and I can’t focus on just one topic to attract that one bunch of readers. So… I’m just going to fine tune my layout, look for some nice graphics, and revive, which also got hacked, since they were on the same server.

Meanwhile, I’m still running giveaways and updating my facebook page regularly, thank goodness for social media or I’d be totally radio silent these past 5 months.

So… cheerios, and check back soon for updates! (Not sure what category of updates they will be though!)

4 Reasons Why A Dating Couple Should Take Public Transport

Because I’m female, I’m obviously writing from my perspective. Pretty sure some point are relevant to guys too, but what would I know!
Decided to write one of those cheesy X Reasons Why articles cos I’ve been seeing a lot of them linked around here and there, and some of them are funny, but some of them are quite meh…
So, just trying my hand here, let me know if you like it!

It shows you how much effort you’re worth.
Not saying that driving a car doesn’t take any effort, just that if your bf picks you up from work daily, and he has to travel there by public transport, it says a lot about the effort he’s willing to put in for you. Or if he sends you home after a date, by train, then takes a bus home, it definitely takes a lot more out of him than dropping you off on the way would.
Conversely, if he complains about how far it is, and how long it takes, you’ll know how much effort he’s (not) willing to put in.
Of course there are exceptions, like if he works really long hours, or if the distance is really far. But I’ll leave you to figure those out yourself. Ultimately, you’ll be able to gauge how much of his convenience he’s willing to give up for your comfort and happiness.

It gives you time to bond, and learn more about each other.
Share a set of headphones and get talking about the music you enjoy.
Exchange latest reads on your kindle.
Talk about the latest gossip on facebook and figure out your respective stand on things.
It just gives (or forces?) you an extra hour or so of time to spend 100% on each other.

There are fewer distractions.
No one has to concentrate on making sure he doesn’t kiss someone’s bumper, and no one has to look out for the correct exit, or plan the route, or examine the GPS.
Also, no one has to worry about how much the parking is going to cost, or if the summon aunty has come round yet.
If it gets too late for bus and train, just hail a cab.
It’s just time, at your disposal, as you two travel from A to B.

You get to see how he interacts with strangers.
Does he keep an eye out for elderly passengers and automatically give up his seat for them?
Does he notice that you’re in an uncomfortable position (squashed between a large lady and a huge man perhaps) and make efforts to shield you from them?
Does he get annoyed with that baby bawling in the corner?
When someone accidentally treads on his shoes, what is his reaction?
Ultimately, it’s about how he treats other people, it shows you what kind of person he is.

So put your smartphones aside (unless you’re listening to music together!), and be prepared to fully utilise your journey-time with conversation and observation!

Games in Asia Meet Up

pic courtesy of Games in Asia

Was invited to speak on the panel of the Games in Asia Meet Up, which was held at the Wargaming HQ at Dhoby Ghaut MRT.

The time passed pretty quickly and I felt that certain issues weren’t discussed in detail, but I think that’s more because everyone had an opinion, as opposed to scheduling problems.

I noted down a few things in my book which follows me everywhere. I’m very big on writing.

QN : What do you think of eSports in Singapore?
I think that as with everything else in life, if you want something, you have to go ahead and get it. Those on top can only do so much for you, the rest of it is up to how much you want it, and what you’re willing to do to get there.
As a gamer you need to take yourself seriously, there has to be a level of professionalism. If you don’t even believe in yourself, that you can make a living and a future out of doing what you love, how are you going to convince everyone else around you?

QN : Is drive nature or nurture?
Drive isn’t something you can nurture. It comes with knowing what you want in life, and wisdom to know how to get there. Then all you need to do is create the opportunities, or wait for them to open up.
It all starts with WANTING something badly enough for you to go and do something about it yourself.
eg. Chawy isn’t exactly a personality, but he’s been finding a balance between knowing that his fans want to know more about him and being an excellent player.
eg. Ant doesn’t have the drive to succeed in gaming because he has other avenues in life that he would rather focus on, and that’s perfectly fine, by the way.

QN : Any tips on how to build the attitude that will lead to drive?
I think this is the million dollar question that everyone is asking. Even people in the Ministry of Education would like to know how to put drive into the kids nowadays. They can make it gradable, they can set up courses, but in the end, you can’t really build drive. And here in Singapore, everyone is just born with a silver spoon in their mouths, everything handed to them on a silver platter. There’s nothing to fight for. Everyone is just tagging along for the heck of it, and waiting for someone else to make the first move.

QN : Do we need the support of the government in Singapore?
As Jasper said, if you can’t even get something going on your own, why should the government set up something to regulate something that doesn’t even exist?
The government might be seen as an invincible entity in Singapore, but there are many aspects in which they cannot interfere with, your own desire and drive is one.
We can look at getting cooperation from the government, so that leave from NS, Schools, and work is easier, if we need to attend competitions, but what more do you really want from them? As Wanda mentioned, we have all the infrastructure, cheap LAN available, affordable internet, there’s nothing stopping us from doing what we want. As for 2 years of NS, a player who thinks about the game the most, is more likely to do better. Spend your book out time focussing on your game instead of your entertainment and life, spend your book in time thinking about strategies or memorising damage output, mana cost, skill upgrades, armour stats, reading changelogs etc (all of which iceiceice used to do in camp!)

QN : What is the first step towards getting one of the eSports regulatory boards set up in Singapore? (Jensen/Donovan)
I don’t actually think anyone answered Jensen properly on this one. I think it’s possible that we can do it Taiwan style – have a few organisations grow huge enough (eg, Asterisk*, iSg, SCOGA maybe… Scythe, FCG) and then decide to band together to become an informal regulatory board.
So Step 1 would be growing independant organisations to a level that they are influential, Step 2 would be getting them to cooperate with each other to form a board.

QN : How do you fix the misconceptions about eSports in Singapore? (Pokemon guy)
I really didn’t manage to catch this guys name, but I know he holds events for Pokemon. So to me, the greatest misconception not just in Singapore, but globally, is that eSports is for kids who like to play games. In actual fact, eSports is for adults (like any other career, or job), or for kids who can think like adults.

So these are the questions that I felt like emphasizing. I think that what Games in Asia is doing is great, and you all should go support them at !

Looking forward to the next meet up, perhaps this time as a spectator =)