Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The End

Ngee Khiong

Well, this is it. The end of the end. The last posting on this blog.

There are a lot of things I would like to talk about in this final posting on my blog, so it's going to be very long. I'm aware that it's going to stay here forever as the last thing people will read about on this blog of mine, so I will choose my words carefully. Hopefully people will remember me for the better part I played in informing people about various hobby news and updates, but not anything bad as you would perceive from this posting. Everything I say here is from my point of view, as a Gundam and Gunpla fan who has been blogging about my hobby for almost five years now. Perhaps this very long posting will be meaningless for many, or maybe it will trigger some idea in certain people's mindset about the community and the hobby in general. I'm not sure, but as a very ordinary fan in this vast community, this is what I want to say before signing off from a blog I love so much and work so hard for. There's no need for anyone to change at all, for me or what I say here in this posting.

My point of view

As mentioned in the previous posting, "I'm extremely disappointed with the development of the Gundam and Gunpla community as I see it now, so tired I don't want to share my interest in Gundam and Gunpla anymore on this blog." - the exact same thing from that previous posting just to show you that that wasn't a random sign of frustration, but the lasting conclusion I came up with before the ultimate decision of terminating this blog.

The great bashing?

But don't get me wrong, I'm not going against the world here. I'm not standing at the edge of the cliff with a machine gun going, "Bring it on!" Nothing like that. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, I think it's very clear that I never used any harsh word of any sort on any issue at all, let alone explode in this last and lasting posting of my blog, and be a laughing topic in everyone's mind for the rest of my life. So,the "great bashing on many people" as mentioned in my previous posting would probably be like a soft breeze on the intended person or group of people. If you're looking for how I turn mad and throw a TV out of the windows for protest, I'm sorry, no soap opera in this posting. ^^;

Instead, I'll just tell you how I feel before succumbing to my own decision of closing the blog. No change is needed from your side. This might be a really tiring experience on your side because of the length of this posting. I thank you very much for your effort in advance.

A tiny little customer in front of a restaurant not of his liking

I think the whole decision is more like someone going to a restaurant, finds out none of his preferred menu is served, or the environment is not of his liking, and then he leaves. He would place a notice at the doorstep of that restaurant, with some ideas and his feeling on how things can get better from his point of view. Of course the restaurant can just ignore the notice and move on without any action. I'm the one who left the community, and this is my notice. The community can just ignore this as a sick joke and continues like nothing had happened. That's how insignificant I think I'm in the face of the entire community. My decision to close the blog would be equally insignificant as well. People who are upset about no more news from my blog rest assure, some good stuff will be disclosed in this last posting as well, no worries.

A long one this is going to be, so I'll break the whole thing into blocks for better thought organization (on my part). This is going to be purely my opinion, so for those who are not interested, no worries, just scroll all the way till the bottom of this posting, you will find all my bookmarks on the various websites where I got all my news from, basically telling you all the places you can visit to get the news you read regularly on this blog. If you are not interested in my writing, no hard feelings, just ignore this mighty chunk of text and go straight to the links. Thank you for your time.

Credibility vs Sensation

Comparing now and five years ago, I think people can get the news and updates on various Gundam and Gunpla stuff much faster now, and through wider sources as well, so more people can verify whether it's a credible one or just a hoax. Credibility is something I take very seriously on my blog, because something you say wrongly on your blog could cause many people to be mislead. I include the links for every posting I make. Sometimes it's 7 or 8 in a single posting, and to sort these things out in HTML editing mode can be extremely messy and troublesome, but I would do it, to show my appreciation to the owner/original finder of the news and images, but ultimately, check and balance where people can find their way to the original sources to verify whether the information reported in right or wrong.

"What's the next MG/HG/PG"

With that said, I don't see my blog having the need to deal with "sensational news", as in issues like what is the possible next releases in the MG series, will this and that come up, what's the next PG, things like that. I really don't see the need to actually go and discuss about this with all your heart and mind out, and of course the need to argue about such things would seem really strange. Fighting for or against something that doesn't exist? Then again, I took a step back and thought, well, that's fine, since it's human nature to speculate on things.

"I heard he's going to bash so and so ..."

Rumors can be very entertaining, like how people are speculating who are the XXX or YYY or ZZZ that I'm going to speak out against as mentioned in my previous posting, which eventually leads to unnecessary video reviews of whatever sort discussing about the possibilities. I'm not sure why the need to do so, making assumptions unnecessarily, open up discussion for even more assumptions and misleading information. All rumors are not useful at all, they are very entertaining though. Like fortune telling like that. (tired smile ^^;)

"My crystal ball tells me the next MG will be 00 Raiser ..."

So, like most people, I would choose to just ignore these speculation related news or messages and stick with the concrete information I have. But then again, it can be very disheartening when people treat these rumors so seriously and get all riled up about them. For example the new PG kit to be released when it was hinted some months ago; the new Gundam Double O MG hinted in the recent hobby event. The news got many people guessing what they are going to be, and I find people going fired up about them, many who went over the edge and too much into the extreme.

Come to think of it, the evil side of me could easily do a posting propagating the rumors by putting in my own opinion as well. It could be this and it could be that, I have no evidence whatsoever but I could just make up anything, but I think many people would like that since that sort of news really feed to the whole rumoring sensation.

Adding oil to the fire

Of course, looking at how this is like adding oil to the bushfire, I don't want to do it at all. I remember I had postings on my speculation of a possible MG Astraea, or an even earlier one, possible release of MG Gundam Impulse Sword and Blast Silhouette, but they are based on images of the actual runners, where we can dissect Bandai's molding technologies to see the engineering part of the kit. I do slip in that kind of personal opinion, but only when I get to see some evidence would I go and do that.

The regrettable need to just take the bait and fell into a trap

Also, come to think of it, maybe the only thing the company (Bandai) wants through this sort of hint is indeed just a hint, and so why the need to be so fired up about it? And on the negative point, if this is a marketing gimmick to indeed get people's attention, shouldn't we be smarter over the years to not fell into the trap and get all fired up (again and again)?

I remembered when PG Strike Freedom Gundam was announced, the only information we have was a magazine scan that isn't in the right perspective. The only thing we knew back then was the announcement itself, the line art, the designer's name and the release month. Clearly more information was need. Yet, it's disheartening when you get people screaming at the news like it's the end of the world or something, obviously from people who don't like the kit. I suppose it would be fine if I stayed in the greatest state of ignorance and just move on with my blog, but I received many emails telling me about the response to the news, and again, on my side, it would be just fine if I just stayed away from everyone reaction.

Darn, I had to watch it, and regret about it

But on one instance, I clicked through a link provided from the email and watch a really "violent" video response to the news. It was the recording of a Skype conversation I believe, where a few folks were cursing and shouting at the release. It was horrible, especially when it was so easy to tell that they are not targeting the design, but the pilot of the Gundam from the anime.

No more laugh of ignorance from me

That was the same crazy reaction I read about as a kid 5 years ago (maybe not so much as a kid) when I was not running a blog. We are about to enter the second decade of this millennium and the same stupid reaction comes on again. People are bashing a model kit where the focus of the complain is not on the kit itself - not enough information on that anyway to be starting any sort of argument, but their opinion on the anime series. If you think about this carefully, both of them are not really connected, are they? All the gimmicks and features can be redefined and refined through the redesigning process of the designer, if the only concern is the negative feeling one cannot take off after watching a certain anime, how many good model kits will be sneered unnecessarily? I laughed at such people's stupidity with all my heart 5 years ago, I cannot do that anymore now, when the source of the news, from that video I watched, is from my blog.

Freedom of speech

Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion and idea, and I do respect that. Different places have different culture, and level of vulgarity (excuse me on that). I can't expect everyone to be able to talk about the design itself all the time. Some people might look at this PG as the first Gunpla they have ever seen in their life but still bash it like they know everything there is about it. Still, why the need to be so riled up? It's just a plastic kit anyway. It's good to know that the announcement of a new kit makes people happy for the rest of his days. But that doesn't mean the negative side of it should be necessary. Someone can feel down the whole day because Strike Freedom is the next PG, not Unicorn Gundam. No way! Gunpla as the hobby should be something to make people happy, not the opposite.

The extreme group of the community?

And to find out that a few people talk in the same manner through the conversation kind of suggests to me that the minority of such people, which I try to ignore (and laugh at) all these years might not be of so minor proportion in the entire community I imagine it to be at all. It's disheartening that after all these years, with so many Gunplas releases, more advancement in design and technologies, and with even more information released through magazine scans and new images from time to time, there are still people who are unable to distinguish between selfish grudge towards a fictitious character (and how ridiculous that sounds) and the understanding of the model kit itself to be in a discussion about it.

It seems to me that everything about Gunplas have improved, except people's mentality and perception about it. Fan bases, extreme groups among the communities, elitists are all plaguing the Gundam and Gunpla community, and to be in the same community with them, helping them in their course of action by supplying them the news and information I would so want all other fans to enjoy and love, is very disheartening.

I can't choose

Then again, I can't choose who I want my audience to be, and it should be that I don't have to choose as well. I welcome everyone who are Gundam and Gunpla fans, and those who like other hobby items to my blog with no restriction. I keep my own opinion down to the minimum to allow more people to identify themselves with my blog. Over here, everyone is welcomed. I have my preferences in my hobby, but I try to give the same coverage to everything interesting I come across with. The idea of sharing the interest in hobby with everyone is something I like very much.

But to be sharing the same interest with some of those people who are going into the extreme is something very disheartening for me. The fun of hobby is ruined, and the possibility of a proper discussion is destroyed with so much negativity put in based on personal opinion and hatred. I scorned at such people, not as a owner of this blog, not as the source of the news as shown in the video, but just a normal human being.

Demotivating seconds of fame, and then guilt

But it's extremely demotivating. For one second I was feeling really good to be featured in a video, the next second, the news I reported was being used in such an ugly attempt to show off some people's stupidity. And when I associate my blog to be read by such people, I felt quite disgusted, and then a heavy sense of guilt, for what have I done to prevent such situation from happening? Nothing, because I always thought things weren't so bad in the community, and it's not supposed to be so anyway. What has my blog contributed over these few years to improve this situation? Nothing, because I always thought that by not stating my own opinion, people won't be skewed by my words as the source of the news, and can discuss it with an open heart.

I'm always assuming that the community is a better place with more timely information, which may not be so widely available in the past. But in the end, I seem to be supplying more mortar to all the negative argument.

I can't stop people from forming such ridiculous conversation, that's their freedom of speech. But I have the right to remain silent too, from now onwards. And that's a sarcastic remarks just to make myself absolutely clear for those people who think with their stupidity and talk with their ego.

The overwhelming tiredness

I'm sure many of you would say to me, "Just ignore them, most of us are not like that. It's unfair to ignore us because you can't ignore them." True, very true. I have steeled my heart over the years over tons of hate mails targeted at me for lousy translation, no promotion for Malaysian hobby sites, bad Gunpla-ing skills and bad blog design. But over the years, the coldness have taken the toll on me I suppose. My own blog has become a place I don't really know of, and the tiredness is very hard to bear. I'm so sorry for those who supported my blog, the decision to quit has been extremely unfair to all of you. I know you are good people, good friends who are extremely concerning towards me and my blog, and are good people who can see the same simple happiness in out hobby. I'm human after all. (very tired smile ^^;)

Apart from Gunpla, Gundam anime has been a great topic for worthless arguments as well. That zealotry will be discussed in a separate section below.

The same cases of fail

If you think PG Strike Freedom is an exception, try and think about the cases with MG Victory Gundam Ver. Ka, MG Exia, MG The O, RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 and the most recently announced MG 00 Qan[T]. There should be some other cases before MG Victory Gundam Ver. Ka, but my rusting old brain can't remember them anymore. The trend of failure is repeated over and over again. The moment MG Victory Gundam was shown, instead of thinking and discussing about the significance of the transformation gimmicks, people are more interested in whether V2 Gundam will be released next; when RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 was announced, people were ranting about having so many versions of Gundam RX-78-2's model kits in such a short period of time, instead of talking about how the design and gimmicks are going to be different with all the various versions.

RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 turned out to be real marvel eventually. For those same people who rant about the multiple versions, I wonder if there's any moment when they would feel that little sense of guilt for ranting too much on things they don't know, and now they are amazed at the great designs, and then a tiny bit of embarrassment on why so much worthless anguish and animosity towards the kit in the first place?"

And the old saying goes, "As if the company is placing a machete over you neck forcing you to pay for every single one of those kits."

Hate them all, buy them all

From there, think about how many of those who trash the model kit on forums and websites at the beginning, but secretly buy them in the end, and then the realization of, "Hey, that's not too bad after all." And then, "Why did I failed so hard at ranting about them in the first place?"

That might be funny, but the damage can be far worse than you think: the influence of such ill manner on others who aren't so well informed. They might look at these louder members in the forums as their sages, and their opinion will affect their understanding and appreciation of the kit and ultimately the whole hobby.

The scary damage

I mean, you just know Gunpla and join a forum, and everything the people who participate the most in the forum is how crooked the company is, and how much variations they produce, trying to cheat as much money from the customers. If you don't know much about the hobby, you would take the poison as your medicine. Moving on after a few years, they will become senior members and they are going to react the same way and influence other younger members of the community, and eventually, that's the only thing people will talk about. This horrible cycle is extremely hard to bear, and it's happening right now.

Improvement on perception with more information? No really

Seriously, how can it not be disheartening, when after four and a half years of blogging, the only thing that happens without fail is the running of the same fail train, over and over again. At first I was thinking, maybe it's because we are lacking in the news about these kits. Not many sites are doing the info transfer, from Japanese and Mandarin into English. The lack of information will definitely lead to poor discussion, but after all these years, so many forums, so many hobby websites, so many hobby stores, all helping to disperse the news, any news about a certain new release, and the same ill manner remains? More and more younger brighter people joining the hobby, but they still become part of the same problem I saw so many years ago? What has changed anyway? Why can't we be better?

And, interestingly enough, when you put yourself in the shoes of the people over at Bandai, what are they going to see us as? A bunch of hobby enthusiasts who care about the design we are getting? Or just a bunch of losers who are never happy about anything?

Putting in all the "normal" fans, people who generally don't care about anything, Gunpla fanatics, extremists in the same room, and that's the Gundam and Gunpla community as I see it today. Very segregated and diversified. Everyone think differently, how many of us are in for the true enjoyment of a hobby?

A hobby to enjoy

From emails, I learned that they are so many people out there who appreciate it as just a hobby, something they enjoy doing and feel happy about. That's really awesome to hear, because frankly, that's the same thing I have been feeling all these years. I have preference on what I like and what I would want to buy, but there was never a kit that I despise or criticize so badly as some people are doing now. Because no matter what the releases are, they are just a combination of plastic parts. It's our own feeling and judgment on them that give them the value we see in them. So, I don't see any point where negative thoughts and feeling need to be associated with this hobby at all. All Gunplas are good, they are meant to feed our childhood dream of robot fantasy we didn't surrender to reality after glowing up. They are meant to make us happy. Some people will like this new release, some people prefer something else. It's just, well, maybe this month isn't a month for you to feel extremely good as your favorite MS has not been announced, maybe next time it's your turn. The anticipation isn't exciting enough for you?

More variations means more things for people to choose from, and as the market is growing, how can one be so sure that what he doesn't like is definitely going to be something others will dislike as well?

Wait, the excitement of waiting is on

No PG Unicorn Gundam? No problem, wait. I don't foresee myself to be gone (ahem!) next year, I can wait. No MG Justice Gundam? No problem, wait. A popular MS will definitely be on the list, I can wait. Oh, MG Advance GN-X has been turned into a resin kit? Disappointed, but BB Senshi Sonsaku Gerbera was once a resin kit, but was given a regular release after that. Maybe the same will happen to Advance GN-X. No problem, wait.

I have been waiting for any new version of Gerbera Tetra since before I started blogging, but I don't find any need to scream my heart out at this disappointment. Just wait, there are so many other really good releases out there that I like as well.

Helping out a whining baby

And surely, with 8 or 9 releases a month, there has to be one that will hit your heart? Still no? what about some of those old releases you haven't explored? Maybe this month you can do that? Still no? Do you know Kotobukiya produces mecha plamo kits as well? No love for Kotobukiya kits? Just Gundam? Do you have any liking in the Robot Damashii series? or Revoltech? or even kits from Aoshima, Wave and Hasegawa? I do have news about all these products, none of them can make you happy when your favorite MG is not announced? Too bad, do you cry when your mama don't buy you the toy you want? How old are you now?

When everything fails, you get to save all your money for this month to move on for a bigger buy next month, or maybe you can get something for your parents with the money saved. That has got to something awesomely good right? Nothing to do directly with the hobby, but is good anyway. ^^

The dreadful reminder

So, I guess my point is how frustrated I felt with people constantly reminding each others that whatever Gunpla we are getting is the result of some evil money making scheme some folks at Bandai are coming up with in a smoke-filled room. People are constantly associating the hobby with money, and all discussion that follows after that become ever so dull and depressing. Sure money is involved, surely there has to be some consideration made to reproduce certain kits using the same frame, but do people need to keep on bringing that topic up as if that's the most important topic of all? I'm not in favor of any businesses in this point, I just don't want to think about the money part too much. It's very depressing to have the news of a new kit announced, and then people start speculating what subsequent kit to be released using some parts of that model. What happened to that model itself?

When everyone starts to think that they can do a better business than Bandai (and maybe they can actually), and ignore the happiness part of Gunpla as a hobby, all the fun goes down the drain. I personally do not want to walk down this path.

Close-minded personal preference based discussion

In the end it's just personal preference on certain kit, people will only be happy when their favorite kit is released, nothing else matters, yet, in discussion they would act like they know everything by giving advises, criticize others, sending people off when their ideas are different. When I see how close-minded these people are, and that I'm in the same community as they are, trust me, I would think about running away and be with my own friends who share the same interest as me, those who are more open-minded and mild in their manner of discussion.

Segregated fan bases

Five years ago, we have UC fans fighting against Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny fans against Gundam Wing fans; five years on, today, the same fight continues, with a couple of other factions joining in the fight, Gundam Double O fans and Gundam UC fans. I don't know why, but somehow they hate each others, and each group feels that they are the victims of some sort of discrimination. The older fans cannot accept newer concepts and design, and the newer fans think that newer series are more superior than the old ones.

More ridiculously, you can also find fan groups that are hybrid, like "I like Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny, but I'm also in for Gundam UC, all other series are bad." "I like all Alternate Timelines series, except G Gundam."

The need to hate is necessary?

Everyone is obsessed with that one or two series they like and will not accept others, like he's going to be a major loser if his favorite series isn't being recognized as Number 1 of them all. Is there a need to do so? Is there a need to really declare a winner, or the best, or the greatest, or the most epic out of all the series? Is the need to hate really that important? How about every series is a winner, every series is the best, every series is the greatest, every series is epic, in its own setting and story background, how about that?

Am I the only one who can watch all the series and find them all to be good, in their own way? Am I the only one who finds that everything I watched is all but fictitious design? And that they should not be taken so seriously that we need to even start an argument over any of it? I do hate some of the characters in the story intensely, but I'm also sane enough to realize they are only dumb*** in the story. The moment the media player is off, the hatred towards the character or the story is gone, and I go back to work or study or be with my friends. I can discuss my displeasure about the story with anyone, but none of us would start an argument about it, let alone establishing fan bases to mark our allegiance and loyalty to certain series we like. What's the need for all that anyway? Too much time at hand don't know what to do? Go and convert all that negative energy into helping your mom with the dishes or laundries please, she will be delighted, and real work get done too.

The ero-ero connection

And I find the need to associate sexual preference with anything in Gundam totally out of context. Take a moment and laugh about it now, come back, think about how many people have responded to such association in the past, lightly or intensely and go off and laugh even more about these people's strange perception. It's the people's imagination (or dark fantasy maybe?) that is laughable. I'm not sure if that's the only thing they see in Gundam, or in everything they come across with. So much energy, unbelievable. Why don't they write their own stories about these things and stop messing up others' discussion with the topic? Won't that be better? Leave us alone, most of us fans are innocent, we have better things to talk about, and we really want to enjoy the story, and animation, the music and the characters as they are shown in the anime.

The continuous war

Five years ago, I saw the same thing going on and on, the "war" if I may call it. I used to think that it was just some people's sick joke, that they find the compare and contrast "game" between different Gundam series a productive thing (for them to continue doing so for such a long time). Of course I laughed it off. Five years after that, the war rages on, and it's getting worse, with even more soldiers fighting under different and newer banners as mentioned at the beginning of this section. It has gotten so ugly, that civilian like me, who choose not to choose a side to stand on, is being forced to choose.

Choose your side

"Hey Ngee Khiong, you like Zeon MSs right, then you must be a UC fans." "That's right, even that blogger Ngee Khiong is on our side, all other series go and ***" "He likes Gundam Exia, he must be a Gundam Double O ***, just like some of those kids out there" "What a loser, to support Gundam Double O" "Which side is he on anyway?"

No kidding, I got emails asking me to join some forums and write about my love for Zeon MS design in certain section. When I do check it up. The thread was so long, but half of it was the "war" I'm trying to stayed away from.

I never said anymore remotely close to any of the claim, about choosing a side to stand on. Sure I like Zeon MSs, that's purely out of appreciation of their design, some with Gundam Exia. It's most definitely not because I belong to any fan base out there that some idiots set up. If I'm to choose a side, I choose the one that says, "None of these fights is needed." I stand on nobody's side.

Having a war among fans over Gundam series that are about anti-war

That was recently I think, from last year I suppose, when I found out that people tried to associate me with certain fan base, and that's very disheartening. You see, I talk about all Gundam series on my blog, even SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors, which doesn't seem to be that popular outside Asia. Is that message not clear enough? Why would I be on any side if I can blog about all the different series, with almost the same level of importance given to each of them. And why can't people be moderate about this issue as well? Don't fight, everything about Gundam is good. Every series is different from each others, but every series is about the ugliness and unnecessary path that is of war. And we are having a war among the fans ourselves? How low can we go?

Gunpla fan bases

This is another major bummer I saw through the development of my blog, probably the more disheartening one than the anime fan base issue, since Gunpla is the main interest I'm into on my blog.

"M/P G or nothing at all!"

Over the years, I find that people "idolized" certain Gunpla series over another. "Give me MG, everything else is inferior." "I like this MS, I will wait for the PG release of it." That's a fairly common observation across the Gunpla community I suppose. Might not be harmful at all when you think about it at first, except the annoying frustration of hearing whiny kids lamenting their favorite MS not being announced in the series they like - a scene very common at the beginning and the end of the month when new kits are announced through hobby magazines and hobby websites respectively.

But unfortunately, that's just half the issue. When expenditure and expectation are also being lumped together with this Gunpla preference, things do go ugly.

How would you define "Best"

This normally happens to the MG series, where most people would identify it as the "best" Gunpla series among so many. Best with a pair of quotation marks, because the word "best" is subjective. What is best to you may be just moderate to me, and when the word is used on Gunplas (and often applicable to other items), a hierarchical rank structure is established. MG is the best, so HG is not as good? On what ground of comparison? MG has inner frame details, yes, but the price is higher. HG is smaller in scale (maybe not preferable for folks who like bigger model), but is easier to pose and build, and is easier on your wallet as well. And what about BB Senshi kits, they are fun to build and play with as well, not as much articulation, but the price would be the even more affordable for those who are not having enough money to spend on this hobby.

Patience is a virtue

So for me, just like Gundam series, I treat all Gunplas equally. That's why I report on every single one of them. I find interestingness in every kit, even the recolored re-releases. I choose the one I like the most, I won't buy all of them, so my money is safe within my wallet and bank account. There are websites with reviews on these kits, and we get to see them for free. The point is, you don't have to buy a kit to know how it will turn out to be, so even if you're not sure if you should spend the money on a certain kit, you can wait and see others' work to make the final decision. What's the need for the bickering about the company cheating people's money? If you're not sure if any variation will be released, just wait and see. Building a Gunpla isn't easy anyway (depends on how you build it), you can spend the time building your masterpiece but you can't do the same waiting for a kit to be announced?

The inability to look into others' strengths and potentials

It would seem to me that some people would buy a lot of kits, and then blame the company for "milking" them, and then buy some more kits, blame the company even more, so whatever releases announced, as long as they are not to their expectation, they rage. Is that a norm in the community? I'm not sure. Because I like Gunplas so much, I see the strengths and goodness in each one of them, sure they are going to be flaws, but you can always enjoy the fun of building them, unless you don't have a heart to enjoy the process to begin with. I'm not sure why the need to simply stick with one Gunpla series and get disappointed at the company for not releasing what you want.

I suppose it would be the same as their behavior in the community as well - the incessant need to make others agree to what they say, and the inability to accept that others may have strengths - reasons and logical arguments even though they are against them.

I suppose that's more of my own issue, since I enjoy Gunpla so much, the whining and complaining part do put me off on many times. The impact of the next issue is a huge one on me. And somehow when I connect it to the incessant need of some people to "buy them all" or the desire to own something they want, it became a great issue that almost destroy me.

Pirated Gunpla

I had an article on the court case of Gunpla piracy in China last year. It was really something I felt very important to the world of Gunpla, and it's an issue many people have been wondering about since a long time ago as well, like why Bandai wasn't doing anything about this problem before the court case.

Target lock on!

Not long after the posting was released, quite a few emails came in from many sellers, local and international one urging me to take down that posting because it was "damaging to their businesses". And of course, knowing that that means they are selling pirated Gunplas, and didn't wish to stop doing so, I didn't want to listen to them at all. Emails are simple enough, just ignore and forget about them, I've enough of such experience dealing with hate mails from many people over the years. But not enough with email, I even received a call to my cell phone demanding me to take down the posting, untraceable number it was. "You just talk about your usual stuff and let us do our business. That will be just fine." A very loud and angry shout over the phone. That was one of the few things I remembered from that phone call. I can't really remember much from that call, and I didn't say much as well, because I must admit it, I was pretty scared at that point, how did they find out my phone number? Was there anyone looking at me through a sniper scope at that time? (I exaggerated on that part I'm sorry)

Because I do have my contact and personal information up on my blog, it seems like to target me wasn't a hard thing at all. I mean, whatever you read about me in my profile is really me. The idea of associating this interest with myself is so strong, I never felt the need to invoke the cloak of anonymity.


Still, no, I didn't want to obey the demand. It was just an article. I mean, that's the truth isn't it? Even if I don't talk about it, someone else will. All they need is to translate the original article from China and the same thing is going to come out. I never wanted to take it down, maybe there was that little moment of uncertainty when I asked myself, "Am I brave enough to take the risk? Maybe big, big trouble will come up next if I don't do as they say." I was a bit sissy then, but in the end, no, the words were out, and none of what I wrote was false, or exaggeration of any sort. Even if I took the posting down, people will remember that it came from me, and I had no regret at all for bringing up the news. I stand firmly with everything I said over my blog, in any posting. That's what I do, that's what I do best on my blog. So, why must I be afraid of anyone for targeting me?

The sense of achievement

I was feeling really good for a moment then for I thought that for once, I've done a great service to the community. Putting up such news only available to folks who can read Mandarin previously, it will be passed to the international community, where they will see the news and know Bandai's action. The availability of the news is good, and I would gladly stand against the challenges that might come because of my frankness. For once then, I thought it was the same courage I chose to have when soldiering on with so many people looking down on me and my interest in Gunpla back in the older days. "An immature kid who don't know when to grow up" That was what they called me once. I lived through those dreadful days while enjoying my interest. Seeing Gunpla being promoted so widely nowadays really makes my decision to stay with the interest seemed all the best for myself. People who looked down on me once are going to be the ones to regret having such harsh judgment on my interest. I have nothing to fear. Sellers who threatened me are the ones who are going to regret their overreaction, one day they will realize that piracy won't work. People are aware of such issue now.

The greatest horror and sin of my blog

However, when I turned around and read about how the news I reported on Gunpla piracy was perceived on the community, the horror and a great sense of guilt on my side was totally unexpected and is extremely disheartening.

New segregated Gunpla groups

It seemed to me that people used the article to try to stamp out those who purchased pirated kits in the past, and to attack them ferociously. The already segregated community has another segment going in: Original vs pirated Gunpla buyers. People who support original kits look down on those who purchased pirated kits, labeling them as betrayers and not real fans of Gundam and Gunplas. Pirated Gunpla buyers try to justify themselves on the issue of money and quality of the pirated Gunplas. Such discrimination is really disheartening, and is extremely sad to see, and the fight is equally bad.

I personally do not support pirated Gunplas, but instead of looking down on those who buy them, I would try to listen to them on why they do so, and try to offer my personal opinion on that. It's really up to them whether they want to listen or not. This has something to do with the value of Gunpla in your life, which I will talk about later, but the point is, there's really no need to go "violent" on the issue. Harsh judgment will only lead to retaliation, and further segregation in the already diversified community. In the end, more and more people will be discouraged from the interest. It's like, "You want to be in Gunpla? What series you like? Gundam SEED? OK, go to that little corner there, where you fan base is gathering, and you must buy original Gunpla, else, you're out, whatever your reason maybe."

Suddenly, the interest becomes like a high class club belongs to the elites.

Personal guilt and shame

This is never the outcome I wanted. Dreadfully, instead of informing people about the article, I've given many people the reason to launch a "crusade" - original Gunpla buyers versus pirated Gunpla buyers, and the ammunition comes from me in this war. For some time then, I was extremely disappointed with my own decision to go with the posting. Maybe things would be fine if I didn't say anything at all. Just "do the normal stuff" as I was told. Maybe that was what he meant, the article was more damaging to everyone that the little bit of information I hope it would bring. I was ashamed of myself for not thinking much about that. And then what about the other news I reported in the past, shouldn't I be worried that some of those (if not more) too had been turned into subjects of even more bickering and to get people to be riled up for no reason - something I hope not to see right from the beginning.

And then I thought, "Is this all people can think of when such news come up?" It's pretty much back to the Gundam anime fan base issue again. People desperately try to prove others' wrongness and inferiority by choosing the other side in the matter. Everything must be loud and extreme to prove one's point. "You may be right, but I'm righter than you, and if you disagree with me, then you are wrong." "You may be good, but I'm better than you, and if you disagree with me, then you are not good." Ridiculous I know, but that kind of trend can still be found here and there now.

Sad isn't it? I used to think that all these confusion would arise when you don't have enough information to work on. The very basic human nature of striving for knowledge will lead us to better reasoning and to make better judgment on many things. The more we know, the better informed we are, the better decision we can make. But all that doesn't improve manner I suppose, people can use the thing they read to attack others, to humiliate others, to discriminate others and to cause further separation among people who are supposedly gathered for the same interest. What role can I play in this mess? As the leader and tell everyone they are wrong and then try to talk reason into everyone? That's just plain hypocrisy - by telling people not to act big when I'm acting big.

Shoud have end it right there

I think, right after that incident, this specific part of this posting should go up onto the blog and then I should just shut down. I brought up the subject, I added more oil to the fire that is the divided Gunpla community, I must take responsibility and begone. But I shamelessly go on to the new year, which I find quite amazing right now. I don't know why I didn't choose to shut down the blog back then, when I was so low on morale. Another new year came, another incident hit me, plus another few issues and they were quite enough to give me the hit on the head to finally leave.

The value of Gunpla in life

I'm not sure about you, but Gunpla plays a very significant part in my life. The idea of enjoying Gunpla is pretty much the same idea as everything else in my life. I enjoy doing everything in my life. I enjoy blogging for example. People often asked me how can I blog so much everyday, but it's an interest I developed for four and a half year already, it's really just part of my life now. With all the easy tools in the hosting site, it's not hard to do it at all. Even when I was sick, I blog, because it's really something I enjoy doing. I mean, if your interest is music, even when you're not well, you would still listen to some CD or radio broadcast right? Same with me and blogging.

Same thing with Gunpla as well. I try to do something about Gunpla every single day, maybe painting one part of the arm today, maybe panel-lining one part of the head the next day if I'm on a busy schedule throughout the week. When I'm free, I do more. So, I get to go through the process of working on a Gunpla more than the final assembly, and I like this way very much. Gunpla is part of the way of my life I suppose.

My story

Here's my boring story, when I was younger, I had very little money to buy Gunplas. Maybe one kit every two months, smaller ones since the product lines weren't so many as compared to what we have today. Moreover, there were fewer shops that sell Gunplas at my place as compared to today again. The interest was a niche in the market back then, so it was mighty hard to get a kit I like even if I had the money (which was just on one or two occasions of course). I bought a lot of kits I have no idea what they are, but I enjoyed every single one of them. Since I had so few kits back then, I did many funny stuff among them, like counting the number of parts from the manual, coming up with catalog for them. And amazingly, I'm still doing all these today, when the need to do all these seem all unnecessary.

A significant amount of time was spent on each one of them, so what is good about them to me now isn't their appearance, but the memory of that part of my life when I was all excited about being able to own the kit and then assemble it. Everyone of them is like an old photo in my album, telling me the story of that part of life I had when I was younger. I had a deep cut when assembling my MG GP01Fb back in my secondary school days, I just applied a plaster and continued till I completed the model. Now every time I look at the model, I tried to look for that part that was all bloodied back then, and I laughed; I remembered carrying MG Freedom Gundam, Sazabi and Nu Gundam I bought in KL onto the Air Asia plane and used up the entire luggage compartment for the three kits, some other passengers seemed really pissed back then. Boy, was that embarrassing XD But no way was I putting my models in the hands of those cargo handlers. I went all the way to KL to get them, and got them all the way back to Kuching. Awesome. ^^

More and more Gunpla fans

So ya, over the years, more and more people have started going into Gunpla, and identified it as a great interest they can enjoy. That's great, because it's indeed a really fun thing to do. The same interest I enjoy, I'm very happy to have so many people who feel that same as me now. Maybe they would have some of those funny stories to tell about their model kits. It would be great if we get to talk about it together.

But obviously, even when the same interest converges, people have unbelievable ways to enjoy the hobby, which I cannot associate myself with at all.

Darn Youtube video again!

Through a friend's email, I watched how someone threw down a Wing Gundam from the top of a building and smashed it. Frankly, I couldn't continue the moment I saw the smash. What was the video for I don't know, but for me, it was very disheartening and cruel to watch. It's not my kit, but somehow I feel the pain of the kit. All well and nice, but smashed for? I have no idea what the point of doing so at all.

Another fight there was

Reading the comments if even more disheartening, where people commented that it was fun to watch (!) Some people disagree and there was a fight, just like the different Gundam anime fan bases, the segregated Gunpla fans, and now, a smashed Wing Gundam.

I wasn't into the content of the fight. Instead, I was wondering, what exactly has the interest turned into over the years. Because of the abundance of Gunpla releases we are getting today, the value of them in our life become significantly less and less? That they are now just a bunch of plastic parts we enjoy when we feel like it, and trash when we are not happy? Maybe affordability, a good thing enabling more fans to be in this interest has part to play in this issue, but that's silly. I don't want to see Gunplas being a high-price merchandise line only certain groups of people can afford and enjoy. Then again, price is not really a point here, because some other stuff in one's life may be value-less as well, but we treasure them forever.

Don't get me wrong here

Again, like at the beginning of the posting, this is not about my protest to whoever made that video, it's his property, that's true, and by doing so, it shows that he's rich, that's excellent for him. I'm happy for him, truly. But I don't recognize myself among these people. If I'm a Youtube user, I would just close that video and say nothing about it again, but I cannot do so with my blog. I can keep quiet but I don't discriminate anyone on my blog, and like I said in my profile info, however outdated you want to call it now, my blog is created to share my interest in Gunpla with everyone. Yet, I feel immensely uncomfortable at sharing my interest with the people who do not share the same appreciation I have towards Gunplas. That's why I choose to leave. Not because someone has done something wrong to annoy me and I'm closing down my blog to show my protest, nothing remotely like that. I just don't want to be with these people anymore, and to think that my blog is catering to people like these, I don't feel the same passion I have in the previous years in updating it anymore.

Back to the restaurant example

I just felt like I'm in a restaurant where I see some people I don't want to be with, I bag my belongings and go somewhere else. Just like that, I do that in real life actually, but I didn't say anything decremental to him or her while on the way out, so there's no conflict there. I leave because of my own judgment and feeling. It doesn't affect my interest, it doesn't affect the other guys' feeling, everyone is cool.

Or in another way of saying it, there's nothing wrong with throwing your Gunpla down a building, there's nothing wrong with setting your Gunpla on fire, there's nothing wrong with whatever you do with your Gunplas at all. People have different way with treating their interest. I understand that completely and I'm not at all in any position to place my value judgment on them. I'm too little and too insignificant to do so. On my part, what I can do is choose how to respond. Like many others who feel the same way as me, we shut up and let it go, and we go to somewhere else to share our interest. Unfortunately for me, my foot step out of the door would be a little bit louder because of the readership of my blog, but the meaning is all the same. Nothing against anyone involved with the video, or anyone who find it nice to watch. My interest in Gunpla is unaffected, but I don't want to be in the same community as those people anymore. Just as simple as that. No hard feeling for anyone at all. This is a very personal choice.

A bit of recap

As a matter of fact, everything I mentioned about leaving my blog have been purely on my side. No one need to do anything at all regarding the close down of my blog, or responding to this long posting. The manner of everything I say so far is very subtle and mild, just like all the postings I did on both my blog. I lost my cool a bit a few years back and did a posting with quite a bit of offensive words, but that wasn't about anything Gundam or Gunpla related. No one need to be upset with what I say today, but if you manage to read up to this far, is there anything that you can relate to in your perception about this interest and the Gundam and Gunpla community in general? If yes, that's good, I have an audience, and that's pretty much all I'm asking for all these years, somebody to share my interest and views in Gundam and Gunpla related matters. If no, that's excellent as well, you are a strong minded person. If you don't care about any of these, that's fine too, just scroll to the bottom of this posting and you can bookmark all my resources for your future references in news and updates, just like how I do it before closing down the blog, and thank you very much for your attention.

Ngee Khiong

Since I'm using my name as the title of the blog, I'm pretty much a straight target. If you're unhappy with what you're reading now or what I wrote in the past, the blame is straight on me; if you can connect with my reviews and postings, you are addressing directly to me as well. I associate myself entirely with my blog because that's the nature of this blog: I'm that person who like Gundam, Gunplas and everything I write about on my blog, and if you get to see me and we're not talking about serious academic stuff, we can talk about anything you read on my blog with me. My blog reflects that. My contact has been published since a long time ago, and it's indeed directed at me. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, I'm what my blog represents, I like the things I blog about, and I don't mind the work of sharing what I read and saw with everyone who can connect with me.

I'm just an ordinary person with a blog

I like all those hobby stuff, I blog about them but at the same time, I'm not the best site because everything I post about, some other websites and forums have already posted about them. I got the news from them, they are the better ones, and to show my appreciation to all of them, I provide the link, the full URL to every site I got the news from. They are the heroes for what we know today, I'm just a fan sharing the news, the translation job is just extra work. If you like what you read, you can use the source you find in every posting on my blog to show your appreciation to them as well.

Wrong name, no problem

As a matter of fact, most people got my name wrong in emails and comments. ^^; My full name is Chang Ngee Khiong, the last name is Chang. I suppose the proper way to write that is Ngeekhiong Chang, where Chang is my last name. Quite confusing I know, but that's how our chinese-english name works here in Malaysia. Most people thought that my first name is Ngee and my last name is Khiong. That's not true, but it's fine. It's kind of funny too. When I see messages or emails like that, I never try to correct it as well, because it's not important at all. Let's talk about our interest instead of the name, because that would the more important and interestingt. I'm just a normal fan, just like so many other fans out there who don't have a blog, the name isn't important.

On hate mails

On the negative side, every insult pointed at me is regrettably, extremely painful as well. Every now and then when I receive hate mails, my brain will tell myself to ignore them because there are people out there who like to hate, but my heart will always ask myself if I've said anything wrong to upset anyone in the most recent postings I did. I always look at my blog in the same way I set it up 4 and a half years ago. The intention is just to share my interest with everyone. I have a lot of sources of information that I found out and gathered over the years going into my blog (again, thanks to the many websites and forums before me), and I'm sharing all of the news I read with everyone who is reading my blog. That's it.

Blog income

I'm not sure what made people go mad at me. If you feel that I'm earning a lot of money but I'm doing nothing to show my appreciation to the fans using the money, I'm sorry but that's not the case. The main source of income is the Nuffnang affiliate program you see on the top, center and top right corner of my blog, and it's Malaysian based. Most of my readers are from North American region, so, nothing much for me at all. I got my first USD$100 check Amazon Affiliate this year for putting up the various advertisements on the side bar and at the bottom of the page for about four years of work, so that one is not so good as well in terms of income. ^^; Another source is undisclosed, but from how many emails I receive everyday urging me to share the partnership of my blog with them, or to spend more time going into the optimization part of my blog, I bet I've wasted a lot of the commercial potential of my blog, but I'm fine with that.

Money versus interest

The monetary part is really a puny portion of my blog. I do not feel the need to go and earn money from my blog, nor the intention to put in the effort to actually explore the issue. I mean, if this blog is a major financial success to me now. I won't let it go easily, I can say a lot of nonsense to make some people happy, earn the money and care nothing about my interest. That's possible, but I will be betraying my own interest and those who wanted to really share the interest with me. That's something I won't do for sure.

"Just do it man, earn the money, laugh at the loot, pretend that you like it, what's so hard about that? It's legal too" I'm sorry, but no thanks (tired smile ^^;)

The great fall

I suppose the "strange" ideal I have about the money part will be the same as this abrupt ending of my blog as well. I sit back and think about the wording in the previous posting, and maybe the politically correct way, the gracious way to end the blog would be to say that I have other work to attend to, to pursue a higher degree in my education and I cannot continue with updating my blog anymore. I'm sure no one would be intimidated, and I can retire with the greater respect. People are expecting me to fall into the abyss for the stupidity I might show in this last posting, the so called "great bashing on certain people". However, given how I felt over the years, saying that I have other priorities is just a dumb lie. Now it's the time to end something I once enjoyed so much, but with my true feeling, just like my own interest. I talk about everything I like in the hobby world very honestly over these four and a half years, and now I need to end it, in this rather unpleasant way for some people indicated in this posting, and for so many who follow my blog intensely sharing the same interest as me (I'm so sorry about this). Let me say that I'm not happy to end my blog like this, but a sudden sting of pain is so much better than a prolonged state of suffering.

Blame me for the good of everyone, please

And also, looking at how much news causing the trouble in the Gundam and Gunpla community are coming from me. I think the end of this blog would probably be a good thing. The sudden end of the blog might be a wake-up call for many who are in the pool of worthless argument. "Hey look, the Ngee Khiong blog has admit that he caused all the trouble." "Hey, the source of the news has been identified, it's that dummy Ngee Khiong, let's put the blame on him and make him suffer. We'll have peace among ourselves, for the good of everyone. There's no need to fight, the culprit is not among us, but is that Ngee Khiong." That would be great, I'm willing to take the blame. Now that this is the last posting I'll ever do on this blog, I won't defend myself, for I do feel the responsibility to carry the weight of the problem I caused through reporting on certain issues. And often, it might be useful, you know, no weapon, no way to fight, and then people can start to sit down and rethink whether there's a need to fight. Maybe the end of this blog can bring a fresh restart to everything in the community. I won't defend myself at all, this is my last posting, so the blame will be here as well.

Convenient, but if taking the blame is the most useful part of me and my blog in the entire Gundam and Gunpla community, it's fine. I tried and failed, this is what I deserve actually.

Do a better blog than Ngee Khiong

With that said, please hear me out on one thing that might be useful to you as a Gundam and Gunpla fan. People often say that I get the news the fastest, and I'm a good source of information. Let me tell you this: if my blog is indeed a good one in your eyes, make no mistake that you can do it as well, maybe way better than mine, with even better balance between content and monetary reward, and better jokes as well. ^^ You can do better than I can, and receive just as much appreciation from others on your work. I'll share with you every source I have where I got my news and information from in the past four and a half years, bookmark all of them and check everyday, learn to use Google Translate, Excite Translate and this useful Katakana chart for translation, use Yahoo Flickr! or Imageshack for free image hosting, convert your passion in looking at the news and get excited about them into the strength to write them out on your blog, give thanks to where you see the news originally by providing the links, and that's pretty much it. I did over 5,000 postings in the past in almost the way as mentioned above, with or without translation that is.

I failed badly on this task. I just wanted to share what I know, nothing more than that. Maybe you can have more advertisement links placed inside you websites, and with better monetary return, the passion of sharing will grow, maybe that's the key of a greater success than Ngee Khiong. Go give it a try, my best wishes go with you.

Appreciate others' hard work, put in the links

There's no way that I can tell you how to write your blog, it's really your own decision, but know this when you are doing a news blog, where the main content is the news, not you, credibility is very important. The only way to show credibility is not by writing it in a formal way, but through check and balance from other fans. It's understandable, that when you discover a new piece of information nobody has seen before, the excitement can be overwhelming. "Hey look, I found out this and that." The thanks and congrats can be extremely fun to enjoy, and then the need to claim the honor can be equally great as well, so that people will recognize you as the original founder of the news, and that you have done everyone a great service. For me, everyone in the world of Gundam and Gunpla shares the same level of importance. There's no need to show the rank you earn in forums when you're talking about Gundam or Gunpla news, because everyone who read that kind of news connect to each others via the same interest you have while digging for the news. Today you're the finder of the news, tomorrow someone else, and the next time, something even more awesome, someone else. The attention given to the first person who did the job diminishes and the world goes on.

So, appreciating the hard work that others have put in is very important. Don't claim the news others have put in for yourself. If no link is given, other readers are forced to acknowledge you as the source of the information, and the people who put in the hard work to get the news up for you to copy get no appreciation at all.

No, not me, the real original sources

I'm sorry, I'm not referring all that to me, no no no. Hong Kong and Chinese forums often have the news up much faster than I can. I thank all the hardworking members from those sites in their relentless effort putting up all the news. People like CyberGundam from CyberGundam, tom dotcom from ToyWorld Forum, they are the real heroes in providing the news, not me. Sometimes I would trace the news and images back to their original Japanese sources, like Amiami, Happinet Online, Medio! Online Shop, Hobby Shop Digitamin, Hobby Search and so on. You don't know, they may be paying a lot to get these images published for their businesses and we are using them for free and without permission. The least I can do is to link the source back to them, and hopefully, they can earn some money from some of the readers through that for their effort in sharing the news and images. I cannot thank these great sages and generous websites for not taking action on me for using their images, so providing the links to them is almost close to nil in thanking them for sharing. How can I exclude that in every posting I do?

Also, what about hobby events? People going to the event, taking time to photograph the various items and sharing them with us. My job in reporting about them is insignificant as compared to attending such events, which can be very tiring. Their effort must be appreciated as well.

Websites seeking publicity, profit, hits and visitor number over real interest in Gundam and related hobby

There are some websites out there that don't seem to care much about appreciating others' work and effort. Copy and paste is very easy, but not useful to readers. I get a lot of emails from people asking me to translate the news from a certain Italian hobby websites, that does even more postings than me everyday, with plenty of images but just copy and paste everything from the original site. I saw some of my content in there too but that's fine. Many emails came to me and say, "Hey, I saw this on XXX, can you translate it for me, I'm interested in buying this." "Hey, it says on this XXX blog that this and this will be released, but the Japanese info is not translated, can you do it for me?"

Turns out that even when a blog is not mine, I have to share some of the workload as well. (tired smile ^^;)

I don't read Japanese too for your information. Taking other websites' picture is bad enough, but at least I show some of my own effort in appreciating their work by translating some of the information uploaded. Google Translate isn't useful, but so many years into the hobby, some understanding is already there. I would rather be laughed at for my stupidity in doing the translation bit, but at least I'm putting in some of my effort as a fan running a news blog.

Plagiarism = Stealing

Maybe it's the mindset of my profession, where copy and paste without citing the source is equal to plagiarism. It's stealing. I can't do that at all. Then again, as years pass on, it's increasingly important to me the need to show our appreciation to the original source of the news. The internet is vast, if you think you're the fastest in providing the news and people seem to look up to you for all the mightiness you think you're emitting, there will be some other people (a lot of them I believe) who would laugh at you for claiming the work of another person, and everybody knows it. Half the fake glory plus half the humiliation. Is that good?

I choose citing my links all the time for I'm just an ordinary fan who don't mind some extra work.

The value of the news

From there, maybe we can examine another important question as well, which would probably bring us back to the first part of this posting. Apart from the information given, what is the value of the news to you? Can you make better consumer choice based on what you see? For example, the Japanese Yen price provided is such and such, this piece of information should help you to determine if you're overcharged or not when you are buying something. That's useful, but if the announcement of a certain new releases only cause you to feel extremely restless in getting it, the over anxiety and excitement of getting this item, or against it, then it's probably not useful. There's no need to argue or be too vocal about a certain news, it's just a news, of something we like or dislike. Moderation is needed, because loud argument can put people off, and good discussion get drowned inside the bickering. Then the value of the news is lost. When people are no longer discussing the news, but their emotion about thew news, there's nothing left to appreciate.

Same thing with the news on my blog, What is the value of all the things you learned in the past from my blog? I can't tell you what to do about them, but I hope some of them, just some of those 5,000 plus postings would make you feel happy about having the interest in Gundam and Gunpla, because that was the only thing I would like to do through this blog, right from the beginning. It has never changed, for one second. Up till the point when I was about to finally announce the end, I was thinking about all the fun i had with the blog, and wonder if I could continue like this, have fun sharing my interest I so desire in an environment I no longer like and even comprehend. And no matter how hard I tried to remember the good times, I just don't feel like doing it anymore.

Friends' support

Over the years, I had a lot of fun doing the blog, it allows me to know many people, people who never knew me before, but become close friends just because of the existence of this blog. I had a great discussion on hobby and lot of gifts I shamelessly took when I went down to Singapore not long ago from Dennis who knew me merely through my blog, I got my RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 and other free gifts from Zaku999 who knew me merely through my blog as well. Many of the stuff which are limited stuff one is unable to get anywhere else. I was shown around Singapore for hobby places by LEon. I really appreciate their generosity, and I'm in their debts. All I did was to blog, nothing else, and the support people shown to me over the years was extremely heartwarming. I don't expect that much thanks and appreciation for the simple job I'm doing on my blog, so every thanks is a great treasure to me.

Friends' emails

I have email from readers living in Malta, the Netherlands, Ireland, and a few other countries, on top of several other European countries like France, Britain, Spain and Germany. It's great to know that Gundam has reached to so many places outside Asia, and to feel the support of so many people around the world in this interest is unbelievable as well. I remembered an email from someone in Alaska talking about assembling Gunplas with mittens on, "Why didn't they make the parts bigger for once?" XD that line was pretty fun. I had email from someone saying that he kill time in the hospital reading all my Gunpla reviews on this blog and Ex. That was long time ago, so I'm sure he is all well now. I remember people sending me email from the land of Gunplas, Japan as well, asking me how to get certain hobby stuff, that was very fun as well. Should have told him to send me a couple as well. XD

It's hard not to think about all these emails when I was deciding to end my blog. I cannot imagine the disappointment they are in, when someone who seem so enthusiastic about this hobby suddenly isn't running the blog anymore, and I'm extremely sorry about this very selfish decision of mine. I'm still the same me who are interested in Gundam and Gunpla that you know of. I'm just not running a blog about it anymore. Maybe Eric, one day I'll go to Alaska and assemble Gunpla in mittens with you. Lets try the RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 in mittens how about that? XD Maybe omura_90, one day I'll get to go to Japan, and tell you how to get your Japanese toy in Japan. How about that? XD

If you get to see me one day, maybe we can have a cup of drink and talk about our hobby. That would be awesome. This blog will be no more, but we can still have a very sincere conversation about our hobby nonetheless.

There's no turning back

With the disclosure of all the links I have, I do not see the need of Ngee Khiong the blog (or me) in the community anymore. If you're interested in the news (only), you can bookmark all the links I posted, and get everything you want from those websites. You will know just as much as me, and you can decide on how to use those news on your own. There's no turning back for me, for the damage (if any) is already done through this posting on some of the people seemingly indicated in it. Then again, I stand by what I said in this posting with all my heart. That's exactly what I see thus far in the community, that's exactly how I felt, since sharing my interest in the world of Gundam and Gunpla with everyone is the only objective I have for this blog, maybe this very long posting will help to make the point clear as well.

No proper exit for me

It's too bad that I can't have a glorious exit, but that's fine. I started off low four and a half years ago, so ending low is not an issue to me. Furthermore, I'm ready to sign off with acknowledgment of my failure and the harm I have done to everyone through the many postings on my blog. None of the negative outcome was my intention, but I should have thought of the possible consequences of the news. The decision to publish them was mine, so I'll take responsibility for them, by prohibiting myself from releasing any of such information over the Internet anymore. I have no solution for the bickering and argument that's going on right now, and I've no authority suggesting any to you too. I do hope that the end of my blog will bring some peace to the community, with the realization that everything in the fight is just about fictitious characters, machines and stories, and that Gunpla is just a hobby people should enjoy together, no argument or show of superiority required. All arguments, to the point of upsetting people, further segregation of the already divided community, or to simply to show that one knows better than someone else are not necessary at all. Everyone is equally good, people just enjoy the interest in a different way than we do, maybe by listening to them for just a while, we might learn something we never think of ourselves as well.

And of course, if you really don't feel like entertaining someone because they are over their head, if you're really sure about that, and not because you're the one suffering from the same problem, it's always useful to just back away. Throwing down an argument doesn't mean victory to the other side. Instead, it's a chance for either side to examine the whole conversation, and maybe restart at certain point to make it even more productive and fun. After all, it's the same interest that got us all together, why not enjoy it together.

Easier said than done? I just close my blog I did for so long, with now over 50,000 page views a day to get out of the argument zone.

The last few words

So, I hope my points are clear. I'm leaving not as a sign of protest or displeasure against anyone or any group of people. The only reason I'm closing the blog is me and myself. I don't wish for the community to change because "Yeah, this moron Ngee Khiong is thinking all big about himself, threatening to close his blog and shut off the news sources of everything we like because he's pissed at something personal." None of that at all. I'm leaving because I don't want to be part of the community anymore. The community doesn't have to change one bit. Just as how the community doesn't need me right from the beginning, it will do just as well without me, maybe even better. To show you that you don't need me, I'm offering you all my sources of information and news, and you will see that I have no special source over what I posted in the past. I just update a lot because it's something I'm capable of doing. Maybe I'm used to the work, that's why I'm fast, but I'm not doing it for any benefit or recognition. It's just my interest. Now that I feel uncomfortable in sharing my interest in this community, I leave. That's it.

The future of Ex

I thank you very much for reading everything I wrote so far. It's a very tiring job, and your effort and concern about this blog by reading through this is very much appreciated. I do have my other blog going on, Ngee Khiong Ex, and I really enjoy writing in that blog. The snail speed and unconventional dragging manner in which I review a certain item do cater to some niche reader group, and that's quite unique in a way. I felt like closing that blog too at the beginning because I'm anticipating Ex to be overshadowed by Ngee Khiong. People will treat it as a dumping site for all the complains and rants they have for the close-down of Ngee Khiong, a very likely outcome in my perception, but moving on into the new year, and after that, I suppose people who wanted the same thing on Ngee Khiong to be shown over on Ex will probably be able to recognize that that won't happen at all. When only those who can stand my slowness in reviewing everything stay with the blog, maybe that's when I get the audience I identify myself with, and I would be able to fulfill the intention I set up from this blog.

So, ya, I'm willing to go on with Ex. No news on Gunplas, just some writings on Gunplas, other hobby items, and who knows, it would be even more fun than this blog.

All my Gundam, Gunpla and other hobby items' source websites as promised:

[Combined Hobby Info]

* Onegai Gaigar - Japanese. Combined information on all hobby related news, text links only. Very useful. Updates around midnight Malaysian time.

* GToys Blog - Japanese. Updates that are more centered on Gunplas and Gundam related items.

* ToyWorld Forum (Gunpla and other hobby items) - Cantonese. Latest magazine scans, merchandise images, and other news on upcoming hobby items of almost all genres expect 12" action figures.

* CyberGundam - Cantonese. Latest magazine scans, merchandise images, and other news on upcoming hobby items of almost all genres. Blogger's personal review usually on Sunday (Malaysian time).

* 2chan (plamo discussion area) - Japanese. Latest hobby magazine scans will appear on either the 22nd or the 23rd of each month (Malaysian time).

* Muso's Photo Album - Taiwanese. Photo gallery style updates on various hobby news, magazine scans and product images. Gallery on the latest episode of SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors will be up on Saturday evening (Malaysian time).

* Toysdaily (hobby item section) - Cantonese. News and updates on Gunplas and other hobby items. Has more discussion and reviews.

* Hong Kong Model league (hobby item section) - Cantonese. News and updates on Gunplas and other hobby items.

* ToyWorld Forum (anime and show series) - Cantonese. Separate section of ToyWorld Forum on information, magazine scans and screen shots from latest Gundam anime, Gundam manga, Kamen Rider TV series and other TV programs.

[Gunpla news and release schedule]

* Bandai Hobby Division - Japanese. Official site of Bandai Hobby Division. Has links to all plamo lines offered by Bandai Hobby Division.

* Gunpla 30th Anniversary official site - Japanese. Updates on various Gunpla 30th Anniversary related new items and series, as well as other new Gunplas.

* Bandai Premium - Japanese. The official site of Bandai's limited item section, with links to various departments. Limited Gunplas are listed in the Bandai Hobby Online Store.

* Bandai Hobby Division Monthly Schedule - Japanese. Full schedule usually released between between 5th and 10th of the new month.

* Hobby Shop Tam-R - Japanese. Availability of schedule before new month: very regular.

* Apron People Model Production Diary - Japanese. Availability of schedule before new month: occasional.

[Gunpla preview and reviews]

* Herrickwok Blog - Taiwanese. Often has previews on new Gunpla releases not released yet in Japan due to different hobby shop roll-out dates.

* Dengeki Hobby Workshop blog - Japanese. Often contains previews on upcoming Gunplas.

* Nintendo World BBS - Mandarin. Chinese forum containing previews on new Gunpla releases not released yet in Japan due to different hobby shop roll-out dates.

* Bandai China Crew Blog - Mandarin. Chinese blog containing previews on MG kits from time to time.

* PSB-Mall - Korean. May contain previews on upcoming Gunplas from time to time. New previews are a bit less recently.

* 2chan (plamo discussion area) - Japanese. Apart from the latest hobby magazine scans, straight assembly of the latest Gunplas, some reviews on the latest action figures will be shown here.

* Hachakka - Japanese. Often features one of the fastest reviews for the latest Gunpla releases.

* Hobby no Toriko - Japanese. Often features one of the fastest reviews for the latest Gunpla releases. Has very creative Gunpla modification from time to time.

* Blog-like Review Yard - Japanese. Often features one of the fastest reviews for Tamashii Nation's completed action figures. Often has more than one reviews up on the same day when new items hit the market.

[Event and Item Preview]

* Hobby Stock Blog - Japanese. Hobby blog of Hobby Stock. Reports on hobby events and preview on upcoming action figures and figurines.

* Gigazine - Japanse. Reports and updates on various topics in Japan. Has very often reports on hobby events as well, especially those related to Tamashii Nation. Update is very frequent.

* Amiami Blog - Japanese. Hobby blog of Amiami. Reports on hobby events and preview on upcoming action figures and figurines.

* GA Graphic - Japanese. Reports on hobby events and preview on upcoming action figures and figurines. Is the official site for "Broken Blade", "Frame Arms" and merchandises from Kotobukiya.

* Hobby Shop Digitamin Blog - Japanse. Previews on upcoming action figures and figurines. Report on hobby events is a bit less often.

* Moeyo - Japanese. Reports on hobby events and previews on upcoming items. Also reports on all hobby related news that happens in Akihabara stores, including release of new Gunplas and other items into the market. *Sometimes contains ero-ero stuff.

* Akiba Hobby - Japanese. Reports on hobby events and previews on upcoming items. Also contain links to other modelers and websites' reviews on latest released hobby items.

* Union Creative International Blog - Japanese. Reports on hobby events Kaiyodo and UCI participated in. Also features new images of Revoltech action figures and other completed figures on an irregular basis.

[Gundam anime and others]

* Gundam Dot Info - Japanese. Covers all events, has introduction on Banpresto's previous month's Gundam prize items at the beginning of next month.

* Xhood Dotnet - Mandarin. Contains new Gunpla previews, discussion on upcoming new Gunplas and other Gundam items, anime and others. May contain new images or magazine scans from time to time.

* Gundam Double O official site - Japanese. Check for movie release related information. News update page

* Gundam UC official site - Japanese. Information on the OVA and news. Special trailer video are all not watchable outside Japan unfortunately. News update page

* SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors official site - Japanese. Information about the anime. Information on the anime and merchandises. Will have boxart and item image up fairly quickly then other websites. News update page

* RG 1/1 Gundam Project in Shizuoka official site - Japanese. Will have information on special events related to RG 1/1 Gundam Project and limited goods occasionally.

[Hobby websites]

* Hobby Search - English. Box image, content and construction manual of Gunplas and other plamo kits very timely according to their formal release dates. Contain images of action figure releases in the mecha section.

* Amiami - Japanese. Clear images on various hobby related items. Updates is frequent but is not according to any schedule, must check from time to time.

* Hobby Net - Japanese. Often the fastest in terms of putting up new items for pre-order, but release info may be inconsistent with official announcement.

* Medio! Online Shop: Gunpla, All plamo - Japanese. Often has new images uploaded for new Gunplas and other plamo kits from time to time. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Happinet Online: Gunpla, Other plamo - Japanese. Links provided are with the different items sorted according to release dates. Official announcement of new Gunpla and other plamo are announced on the 1st or 2nd day of the month, if 1st or 2nd of the month is a weekend, it will come on the first Monday of the month. Contains all official information of each release.

* Bigbe - Japanese. Gunpla announcement section is as timely as Happinet Online, and often has one or two more images as compared to Happinet Online.

* Amazon Japan - Japanese. Sometimes has new images of upcoming Gunplas and other new items. To search, use the Japanese item name copied from Happinet Online or Amiami.

* Hobby Shop Digitamin - Japanese. Work in almost the same style as Bigbe.

* The Gundam Base Side One - Korean. New clear images on various new releases from Bandai Hobby Division. Updates are irregular.

* Dengeki Online - Japanese. Online news section of Dengeki Web. Updates are mainly on games related topics, but do cover hobby events.

* Dengeki Hobby - Japanese. Dengeki Hobby magazine section of Dengeki Web. Preview of this month's magazine content will be up on either the 22nd or 23rd of the month.

[Other plamo kits]

* Kotobukiya official site - Japanese. Official site of Kotobukiya. Plamo kits are sorted according to the series they come from. New item announcement usually at the middle of month (14th - 17th). Updates on box art and new images are on irregular basis in the respective page of each series.

* Kotobukiya official blog - Japanese. Official blog of Kotobukiya. Updates on upcoming plamo kits including box art.

* Wave official site - Japanese. Official site of Wave. New items announced on irregular basis. Updates and discussion of the Five Star Stories section will be on the 15th of every month.

* Hasegawa official site - Japanese. Official site of Hasegawa. New items announced on irregular basis.

* Volks official site - Japanese. Official site of Volks Hobby the resin kit and action figure manufacturer. Special interest: A3 Senjutsuki series, Five Star Stories.

[Complete figures]

* Tamashii Web - Japanese. Official site of Tamashii Nation/Bandai's Collectors' Division. News update page

* Tamashii Nation new item release schedule - Japanese. Release schedule of Tamashii Nation's new items for the month. Link changes every month. Monthly schedule update is on irregular basis - often depends on the first date of new item release. Generally between 1st and 15th of the month.

* Tamashii Web Diary - Japanese. Official blog section of Tamashii Web. Contains new images on upcoming items from the company from time to time. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Tamashii Web Shop - Japanese. Official web shop of Tamashii Nation's limited merchandises. New items usually added to the list at the end of the month, but may contain exceptions. New images of the newly announced items are updated on irregular basis.

* ROBOarts - Japanese. Tamashii Web's section on Robot Damashii and S.H. Figuarts.

* ROBOarts Diary - Japanese. Official blog section of ROBOarts . Contains new images on upcoming Robot Damashii and S.H. Figuarts releases from time to time. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Tamashii Nation's Twitpic Album - Japanese. Latest snapshots on various items and from hobby events where Tamashii Nation participates. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Yamato official site - Japanese. Official site of Yamato.

* Yamato Developer Blog - Japanese. Updates with new images of upcoming releases from Yamato.

* Revoltech Catalog - Japanese. Product introduction and images of new Revoltech releases across various sub-series. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Sci-fi Revoltech official site - Japanese. Official site of Kaiyodo's Sci-fi Revoltech series. New items will be introduced in details in the Lineup section.

* Akiba OS - Japanese. *A lot of ero-ero stuff. Has images of Revoltech action figures on display at Kaiyodo's Hobby Lobby from time to time.

* Senaka Blog - Japanese. *A lot of ero-ero stuff. Has images of Revoltech action figures on display at Kaiyodo's Hobby Lobby and new plamo kits from Kotobukiya in hobby stores from time to time.

* Seibertron - English. Transformers related news and review.

* TFW2005 - English. Transformers related news and review.

* TF-HK Forum - Cantonese. Transformers related news and review.

* Actoys Forum - Mandarin. Chinese forums on various action figures. Transformers section often has new review on upcoming releases.

* Mega Hobby Station - Official site of Megahouse. Contain links to the blog section.

[Prize items, gashapon, shokugan]

* Banpresto official site - Japanese. Updates on various prize items from different series on the 1st of every month.

* Banpresto Ichiban Kuji - Japanese. Ichiban Kuji section of Banpresto.

* Takarajima Create Webshop - Japanese. Has promo poster of future gashapon sets disclosed much earlier than most other websites. Updates are on irregular basis.

* Bandai Gashapon World - Japanese. Gashapon section of Bandai. Updates on new releases of the month is on the 1st of every month.

* Bandai Candy Toy - Japanese. Shokugan section of Bandai. Updates on new releases of the month is on the 1st of every month.

[Special interest]

* Kgm84 - Korean. Often has rumors and special information on Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series.

* Yunakiti - Japanese. Rumors and information mainly on anime related news. Updates are in 2Chan style.