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The People's Association /
Posted 6 months ago

Forming a community to include gaming enthusiasts of all ages and walks of life was an aim of the Paya Lebar Constituency Esports Interest Group (IG) when friends and community volunteers Roy Chan and Brian Ng co-founded it in 2016. Brian shares, “The group gives members the option of something to do together where we inculcate values through play.” Roy adds, “We have a member who used to go out drinking often. But he found the game enjoyable and started to join us every weekend to game with us instead.” In addition to teens, the IG also helps adults relieve stress from family pressures. The IG only chooses team games requiring cooperation where players get to socialise with one another. “We tell them, ‘Help your friend in trouble’ or ‘Even if we lose, it’s fine’,” explains Brian. While gaming teaches teamwork, planning and selflessness, the IG is careful to balance the virtual with the real. The group encourages players to apply values and skills learnt through gaming to real life. When someone appears to be addicted, they pull the plug. Roy explains, “We ask them to study, go to work and have other forms of entertainment. We have asked people to stop, taken them aside for a quick talk.” Until COVID-19 struck and forced the group to meet online, there were plans to expand to PC and PlayStation games. “We hope we can reach out to even more people once the COVID-19 situation eases off more,” Brian says about the IG, which has over 20 members. When the IG met up in person prior to COVID-19, an unlikely mix of people – teens and adults – could often be heard speaking excitedly or shouting words of encouragement as they defend their virtual bases in Mobile Legends. The IG is a space for all members to bond over various mobile games weekly. While some perceive gaming to be unproductive, Roy explains, “People enjoy it. It is a good opportunity to get members together not only to play but also to communicate and help each other in real life.” #PeoplesAssociation #SparkYourPassion

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