Monday, August 30, 2010

Singapore Paintball

It is like beating the dead horse everytime I discuss about this topic. Been a while since I last touched on the topic of paintball development in Singapore... but yeah thought it is time I write something about it from a multi perspective point of view: a paintball promotor, a paintball player, a paintball field operator, a paintball proshop person. I live, eat, sleep and shit paintball. Everyday of my life and for the last 4 years was to think of how paintball can be developed and grow our country. Every day, every hour, every minute and every second. It is always paintball, paintball and more paintball. Many people asked me if I ever get sick doing this everyday...

I will be the first to admit that I love the game and I treasure every moment of this since I quit my last job and venture into the world of unknown. The feeling of unwrapping Singapore's first electronic paintball marker was similar to a child unwrapping a box full of candies and chocolate. I was thrilled to register the Paintball Association (Singapore) 3 years ago when we wanted a recognized body to represent the sport in Singapore. I was happy to see the first flag hang when we created the first 5 on 5 paintball tournament in 2009. I was most excited to know that paintball participants no longer have to play with a center line dividing the field into half regardless of recreational or competitive and the many many more exciting things that unfold, regular pool of competitive teams, rookie and noob challenges, paintball clinics, paintball awareness program, paintball in schools, paintball proshop, SPLAT, paintball collaboration with regional countries, Singapore Paintball Series, paintball sponsorships, etc. It is a constant growing process from ideas to implementation to development to what we have presently. And of course, all these would not have happen if not for the spread of love by our fellow paintballers. Helping and contributing their every bit to make Singapore paintball work.

I would love to be able to compete in a paintball tournament in Singapore, not as an organizer but as a player. For this to happen... we need more than what we see now. Paintball is not about me, my team, my field, my shop and my competition. It is not about me not doing my job and not about me not offering the best paintball package in Singapore. It is not about how well supported our paintball league is and certainly not how much support the government can give to us. What is paintball all about? Seriously, I really don't know and I don't have an answer. Some time, some day all will aged and go old and someone has to take over. Will paintball still be as popular by then? 4 years ago... there was hardly anyone playing regular paintball... no one knew what speedball was and there was hardly any paintball community and the fact that paintball was around in Singapore since 12 years ago didn't really speak well of paintball development in Singapore.

What do we need for Singapore paintball? Ask yourself... this might be a really tough question to answer. If one day, the government ask you: "What can we do to help you develop paintball in Singapore?", what would you say? Show me the money perhaps? If it was that easy to begin with...

What we need for Singapore paintball is not cheaper paintballs, cheaper gun packages, cheaper playing options because without money as a form of motivating factor, how is this a thriving industry for potential stakeholders? Motor GP is all about money, F1 is all about money, YOG is all about money... money makes the world goes round and everyone knows it. It all about money. It is always a chicken and egg story for Singapore paintball... which one comes first? Let's say we need money to grow the sport in Singapore. First thing people will ask you... how many teams do we have in Singapore? How many people play paintball in Singapore? How many places can you play paintball in Singapore? How many competitions can you play paintball in a year? I am sure what their reply will be: "We understand your concerns and passion for the game but we need more than the current figures to support your game as you know, we need to support sports with a stronger appeal to the public... paintball is a niche sport and I am sure you can be as good as the rest but right now, we are putting our money on our best resources and events and sports that can created the biggest impact for Singapore sports."

We then go back to the drawing board and then write down these words: "We need more people playing paintball in Singapore" And I say this again... Singapore. Not anywhere else... we know there are many people playing paintball around the world, we know that there are many people playing paintball in the regional countries, we know that there are many Singaporeans playing paintball in Johor but these don't matter to them... it has always been about how many people plays paintball in Singapore. After all, we are doing our part for Singapore paintball, aren't we?

Paintball in Malaysia has thrived and progress over the past few years. There are many paintball tournaments that you can participate in Malaysia. They have a pool of the finest paintball players in Asia and they have some of the biggest brains, people, resources, facilities out there to direct the growth of Malaysia paintball. We can only learn... It is a given fact that paintball is cheaper in Malaysia. It is a given fact that Malaysia have better playing resources. It is a given fact that paintball is a recognized sport in Malaysia. It is true that Malaysians have done it right to grow the game in their country. Gone are the days where people have to hide in the forest to play paintball. Paintball is now a growing sport in Malaysia and they can only credit themselves for that. They make it work for themselves. Are we doing it for ourselves?

I am sure we can develop a better system for Singapore paintball. More news to come after the Singapore Paintball Series (SPS)...