Singapore Team Failed to Compete in USD$310,242 Dota 2 Tournament Due to National Service and School

Background

First Departure competed in The Summit, a global Dota 2 tournament, where regional qualifiers are played online with the winner of each region invited to the Los Angeles studio to compete in a Local Area Network(LAN) finals against the winners of other regions in the world. The tournament starts with a base price pool of $100,000 dollar with 25% of all in game sales contributing to it. At this time of writing, the total prize pool stands at $310,242!!!!

A wasted opportunity for the nation

Number of viewers watching the grand finals of The Summit 2 Tournament

While there isn't a strong ground of debate for Meracle who has military duties to fulfill, I believe that more could have been done for him. Back in July 2014, we had some guy who wanted to sing in The Voice of China and was able to reschedule his enlistment date in order to facilitate his participation in the show.

So why wasn't Meracle from First Departure provided that same flexibility? I came up with a list of possible reasons:

Allowing Meracle to go would make it unfair for the rest who are serving their national service diligently.

Yes, it would be unfair to the rest but if that guy has a shot at national glory who actually cares if it is going to be fair. If you've not figured this out by now, the world is unfair so just accept that fact and live with it. Since we've already opened the can of worms by allowing Jeremy to reschedule his enlistment, why not continue to do so for others? Problems where Singaporeans are trying to compete for national glory overseas but have conflicting responsibilities are actually good problems to have.

Gaming is a waste of time

Gaming is NOT A WASTE OF TIME. Getting addicted to gaming is bad but so is anything that isn't done in moderation, so lets get this argument out of the way. In fact, I would even dare say that being addicted to a particular skill is how one becomes a professional in anything. Whenever someone tells me gaming is a waste of time, I've always wondered how they came up with that statement. How is trying to kick a ball into a net, throw a ball through a hoop, hit a ball to hit another ball into a hole not a waste of time then? In fact, E-Sports like the World Wide Web provides an equal playing ground where our tiny physical asian frame do not put us at a disadvantage unlike in sports where we have to kick a ball into a net, throw a ball through a hoop and hit a ball to hit another ball into a hole.

Meracle would be moonlighting if the army allows him to try and bring glory for Singapore

This is sad but it just demonstrates how inflexible our military system can be. Quoting John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” Is baring arms the only thing I can do for my country? I think that Singaporeans can do more but there is a lack of support in areas where the government does not believe will benefit the country. Could there be a system where we review things on a case by case basis instead of generalizing on the sectors which are good? At least First Departure isn't asking their maids to play Dota 2 for them right?

Source: http://iantan.org/

Now lets move on to education. “When you are in school, you are supposed to focus on your studies and not personal interest” ~ Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Source: Image taken from Ngee Ann Polytechnic site

To those who have applied or are going to apply for Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I’m sorry that your ambitions are not going to come true if it is not related to your studies. However, you’ll still able to support others in their pursuit of gaming by designing their games through a course offered by Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I’m not trying to slam but trying to say that whoever that made the decision obviously isn't aligned with the vision of Ngee Ann Polytechnic and has a wrong view towards education. Education is all about finding your personal interest.

At his National Day Rally on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talked about the need for a “culture shift” to persuade young people to consider alternative routes to career success.

Can gaming be that alternative route to career success? We've already seen Scythe Gaming coming in third at Dota 2 The Internationals in 2011 with each player taking home USD$30,000 from a single tournament which roughly translates to a monthly income of USD$2,500. In 2014, Dota 2 The Internationals had a total prize pool of USD$10,000,000 with the top team bringing home USD$5,000,000.

Spot the Singapore Flag

Singapore has had more promising successes in E-Sports than the traditional sporting events where some of the talents are not even born in Singapore but have come to call Singapore home through the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme. So can we please give more support to our nation’s E-Sports players where we have a pretty good shot at creating a global presence for Singapore in sports (Yes, E-Sports is a sport).

Conclusion

We need more support for gamers who are pursuing their passion and interest despite some members of the society viewing it as a ‘waste of time’. We don’t need an official E-Sports body. We don’t need monetary schemes to support us. We just need the mothers, the fathers, the girlfriends and the government to stop perceiving gaming as a waste of time and start embracing it as a new channel of entertainment where great things can happen.