They're game for e-sports

p>If everything goes as planned, Mr Romulus Tham, 25, will soon have to hit the gym, attend personal grooming classes and have sessions with an image consultant as part of his new job.

No, he's not planning to be a fashion model, actor or singer. He's becoming a professional video gamer.

Mr Tham is the captain of Team Singapore Sentinels, an electronic-sports (also known as e-sports) team that competes in multi-player games.

"I think it completes the whole package of a healthy mind and a healthy body," said the Singapore Institute of Management student.

"As professional gaming is for professionals, we must also learn how to carry ourselves."

Mr Tham and his team will be showcasing their gaming skills at 5pm today at Gain City's 31st anniversary celebrations, which will be held from today to Sunday at the Singapore Expo.

It was Mr Tham's team manager, Mr Hammy Lee, 27, who suggested the team members undergo a makeover and hit the gym if they want to be professional gamers.

"E-sports is a physical activity as well. Good physical well-being equals mental well-being. It is all related," said Mr Lee, who is from e-sports publishing company Garena.

"They will be representing not just the team but Singapore to a certain extent, when they are playing at international tournaments. So it's important to represent our country well."

The other team members are students Baldwin Sai, 19, Lim Yang, 18, and Jason Koh, 17.

Mr Lee said he is in the midst of signing up Mr Tham's team to be Singapore's first professional e-sports team.

"They will be paid a full-time salary, better than most starting graduates actually, so they can go back home and tell their parents that they can truly be known as professional gamers."

Another gaming team that will feature at the Gain City event is the nine member all-female group, Team Girlaxy.

Four of its members, Ms Dawn Ng, 23, Ms Sherlyn Koh, 19, Ms Julia Tan, 20, and Ms Janet Su, 23, will show off their skills at 5pm tomorrow.

While they train daily to keep their skills sharp, they are quick to point out that gaming is not the main priority in their lives.

Balanced lifestyle

"We try to keep a balanced lifestyle," said Ms Su, who leads the team. "We don't want gaming to overtake other parts of our lives."

For example, Ms Ng is passionate about photography and Ms Koh loves cosplay.

Ms Tan, who's studying at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, is an avid artist.

Ms Su loves to bake "sweet pastries, like cakes and desserts".

Ms Ng, Ms Koh and Ms Su said they have boyfriends and make sure that none of the members' boyfriends feel left out.

"We invite them to come for our trainings and see what we're like," said Ms Su. "We want to make sure they don't feel separated from the rest of us."

Gain City plans to hold gaming tournaments at every alternate road show to "promote gaming and help (the) youth excel at what they want to do", said its marketing manager, Ms Irene Lim, 32.

She added: "We also want to be a store that is connected with gaming, gaming technology and youth affairs."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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