A few weeks ago Kenji gave me a call. He wanted to interview me for some content for his school documentary about the Melbourne FGC. Kenji went through some of the potential questions he had with me; how did you get into the community, what word would you use to describe the Melbourne FGC, what are some of your contributions to the community and so on.
I found myself being quite excited about the whole thing, and it was only later on after the whole interview that I realised why. In the middle of our conversation we had run across the topic of “what have I got out of the community, or what has the community done for me?” and I started talking about all the stories I could tell, such as Bosslogic (Dave) actually helping me land my current job, and more, and I found myself being very passionate about the topic. I realised I’ve had some of these stories in my head for a while, and have probably just been waiting for somebody to ask me the right questions.
The next SBR came along and Kenji sat me down in front of a camera and microphone and fired away. I talked about who introduced to the community, and how people like Xavier, Dave, Ali, Baz, and even THK really took the time to talk to me and to sort of lay out the big picture of the community. I also mentioned hearing about this mystical figure called “Humanbomb” around this time. The interview chugged along, and the question of what the community has done for me never even came up.
Kenji finished off by asking me to describe the community with one word. Previously off camera the word that I had used was “Salt” (I think I had just been eliminated from a tournament) but this time I said “Love”. I wanted to explain how everything in the community was driven by people’s passions and “love for the game” as well as selfless individuals such as Loki, Bugs, Chris Ho etc.
But what came out of my mouth must’ve been this torrent of unbearable cheesiness because Kenji and the camera guy had these faces: half smile, half grimace. Then Kenji’s recorder ran out of space, so they had to do another take.
Perhaps chickening out of fear of another blast of cheesiness I found myself giving a lame answer instead. I talked about how entering the community could turn you into a punani magnet like Pyro, or a stud beefcake like Geese. That answer was probably even worse than my previous one, and it was simply a result of me being self-conscious of my horrible cheesiness.
To be honest, I’ve always been a below-par public speaker. And I’ve always struggled when talking about myself. So when Kenji asked things like: “what have you done for the community?” I stammered, and hemmed and hawed, and mumbled things about CCH and podcasts, completely forgetting to mention some of the things I’ve done- like my CouchWarriors stuff for example.
So I walked away from the interview having this feeling like I had done a pretty shitty job, but not knowing exactly why. And only later on I realised this was because I didn’t get to tell the “things the community have done for me” stories.
It’s not even things like, Daichi teaching me Marvel, for example. Or Sol constantly encouraging me and giving me long sets against whatever character of his I wanted to verse. It wasn’t fighting game related stuff like that. I wanted to expand on how people in the community have helped me outside of games, in real life, when I’m in trouble or confused, and much more.
Take my current job for example. This is a story I’ve not told in a public space before, but I actually owe my current job (that very likely saved me from having to go back to Malaysia when I ran out of money) to Street Fighter and Bosslogic.
See, in my job interview, for the first time in a long time, my prospective bosses were funnily enough- asking me about the Street Fighter section of my resume. Asking me about my experience with podcasts, writing, video recording, live streams and things like that. I didn’t know what was going on at the time, but it turned out those specific things had caught their eye, and very likely gave me the edge over the other prospects.
I left the interview not expecting much (I had been job hunting for over a year), and the next day I got a call from Dave (Bosslogic). He told me a lady had just given him a call, and hilariously it took him thirty seconds to realise she was talking about me (Chee Seng) because obviously Dave thinks of me as Muttons. Once he realised she was talking to him about me because of a job (because I had Dave on my Street Fighter section as a reference), he proceeded to lay on the silver tongue and talked me up to high heaven. I have no idea what he said, but I do know it must’ve have worked, because a few minutes after I put down the phone with Dave, that same lady gave me a call and offered me a job.
So kids. When they say playing Street Fighter isn’t gonna get you anywhere…
That’s just the first story I would’ve told. I have other stories like Bugs helping me immensely when it came time for me to pretty much develop the company’s streaming setup/gear from scratch, answering so many noob questions about software, hardware, bitrate, encoding…Bugs was a godsend. Rossco helped me with my X-split questions, and Igor helped me to learn the basics of audio editing and with so many other tech issues. Dave introduced me to Sony Vegas and the basics of video editing.
So basically a lot of the skills I use in my current job- Street Fighter players taught me all of it.
I’ve gotten relationship advice from people, I’ve gotten real estate intelligence and so much useful life advice from people. Berzerk has opened the door for me to multiple game journalism portals, Ali has shown me what happens when an Arab finds pho and laksa for the first time, Zan has taught me about hipsters in Brunswick, and Hoppa’s even done my taxes!
And sure, the FGC has given me so much even just with the games themselves. I’ve learned a lot about myself through the competition, I learned I have a great work ethic and patience to learning, and I’ve also learned that I have so many flaws and limitations, such as my self-confidence and tendency to crumble under pressure. Being in the community has taught me to be braver externally, to be a more social person, and to be someone less afraid of public responsibility. That’s just what playing Street Fighter has gotten me. But as I’ve elaborated on above- it goes far beyond that. And I completely failed to convey that in my interview with Kenji. When I think about it I finally realise-
I have people behind me.