Friday, 30 December 2005

I am a car thief

Ok, I admit it. Sometimes I look up "Mark Leo" in Google, well actually I do that to see if my blog actually comes up but something really funny came up instead.


Attempted break in
Lock up, hide contents and park in a safe place.

West Midlands Police are cracking down on car crime and Inside Out investigates the problem and reports on some of the solutions.

Mark Leo was a car thief. He is banned from every car park in the country until 2007.

Since leaving prison, in December 2002, Mark Leo has gone straight.

During his crime spree he was, previously, responsible for breaking into one in twenty of the cars in Wolverhampton city centre.

Nothing would deter him, not even closed circuit television cameras.

"Soon as they turn back round, duck, hide behind the car," explains Mark.

" Soon as they turn back round again, jump in and do what you got to do and go. So cameras are no deterrent really."

- Source

Man, I am a car thief, all the way in the UK. Eeeek! Of course that isn't me, its actually some weird parralel universe where everyone is named Mark Leo. That doesn't really help one bit for me here though. I really do need to find something else to do other then looking up my name in Google or lepaking around. Productivity is the key word for me next year!

Darn it, why are there sirens outside my house now???

Just kidding, Happy New Year everybody!

Thursday, 29 December 2005

Remember the good old days?

Remember the times during "Kemahiran Hidup" or Life Skills classes when you were in form 3, you had to solder some electronics project? For me that was over 6 years ago but I clearly remembering having plenty of fun soldering those LEDs together and creating an array of wonderful coloured lights powered by a 12 volt battery. Then, components were quite big. Even the one depicted below is rather small but at about 1cm in length it is easy to solder them.

All you had to do was to insert these components into the breadboard and solder the legs at the other end. Very simple and easy. No hassle and no need for extra help.

But times have most certainly changed. Everything is becoming so small nowadays. It takes two soldering irons to solder components now. Right now as I type this, I am trying to let my sore fingers and frustrated brain relax a little before I attempt another mission, to try to solder these capacitors!

They are so ^$&@%!^$*@#$% small!!! Sigh, if only I could turn myself small enough to solder these components.

If you are curious about these components, they are capacitors and you can most probably find these types in your cell phones.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Do not Pass Go!

"Do not pass go, do not collect $200", doesn't this phrase sound just familiar? Of course, its from the world's best selling boardgame in the world. With over millions and millions of copies sold (over 200million), Monopoly has become a household name and is sold in over 80 countries and in 26 different languages.

Here is a brief history of Monopoly taken from Hasbro's website.

It was 1934, the height of the Depression, when Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, showed what he called the MONOPOLY game to the executives at Parker Brothers. Can you believe it, they rejected the game due to "52 design errors"! But Mr. Darrow wasn't daunted. Like many other Americans, he was unemployed at the time, and the game's exciting promise of fame and fortune inspired him to produce it on his own.

With help from a friend who was a printer, Mr. Darrow sold 5,000 handmade sets of the game to a Philadelphia department store. People loved it! But as demand grew, he couldn't keep up with all the orders and came back to talk to Parker Brothers again. The rest, as they say, is history! In its first year, 1935, the MONOPOLY game was the best-selling game in America. And over its 65-year history, an estimated 500 million people have played!

* Over 200 million games have been sold worldwide.
* More than five billion little green houses have been "built" since 1935.
* A set made by my friends at Alfred Dunhill, with gold houses and silver hotels, sold for $25,000.
* The longest game in history lasted 70 straight days.
* The longest game in a bathtub lasted 99 hours!

The MONOPOLY game is so much a part of today's popular culture that my lawyers have trademarked many of its graphic elements. The tokens, Railroad, COMMUNITY CHEST, CHANCE, and Title Deed designs, as well as BOARDWALK and all four gameboard corners are legally protected.

Contrary to what you just read, I heard that the true creator of Monopoly didn't get a single cent out of it. Who knows, or could it be just another urban legend?

Ok, so what have been going on and on talking about Monopoly after playing Eurogames and being a judge at GameCon-1? Well something caught my eye last night while I was shopping at 1 Utama.

Yes, it is a life-size Monopoly! Huge isn't it? Why am I getting all excited over it? Well I am not. Just that I happen to walk by it when I was heading towards the parking lot.

Sponsored by Hasbro and Nokia, I really wonder what this exhibition is all about? Will it be played? Will there be a competition? How are we going to throw the die? Will it be the size of a exercise ball? Are there any prizes?

If you look really close, it seems that this version is our very own local version with many local locations. It is not really centered on any city here in Malaysia but rather more of it as a whole because I think I did see Langkawi somewhere on the board.

Somewhere at the bottom left corner of the image above. Anyhow it did fascinate me, although many small things like an arcade centre might fascinate me for quite a bit.

Monday on the other hand was good because I managed to learn to play a new game called PowerGrid thanks to Boon. I believe the game was very tactical and lots of future planning is needed in order to win. Its a game I definitely want to play again!

Friday, 23 December 2005

A Hungry Christmas?

A friend asked me what would it take to make this Christmas perfect? Well I did mention a lot of things but of course I could never leave out those wonderful christmas goodies.

Now this would definitely make this christmas perfect! Thinking about it has already made me hungry. Only but a couple more hours till dinner time!

Okay, you can stop drooling all over your keyboard. Will have more interesting updates after Christmas. Till then, have a very blessed Christmas. God bless!

Unfortunately I received these images from my friend through a forwarded email. I would definitely like to give credit where it is due so if you are the owner of this pictures please inform me and I will take them down or give you the credit.

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Child Porn?

As I sit behind my computer staring at the screen, reading an article which caused much emotions within my very being, my mind lost in thought amidst a busy workplace. Written by Kurt Eichenwald and published on the New York Times, this article shocked the very core of my being. After receiving this link from a friend through my email, I started to read the article only to expect another case of a crazed paedophile trying to coax young children with sweets and then ending up molesting them.

No, this time the situation proved completely different or shocking. Entitled, "Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World", this article tells a story of a young boy whose life was changed with the very aspect of technology that was created to bring the world closer together. Young and innocent, this boy was entrapped in a world that I never would have imagined existed. It is in this world that kids solicit money by exposing themselves through webcams to whoever would pay them money.

Now, on an afternoon in 2000, one member of his audience sent a proposal: he would pay Justin $50 to sit bare-chested in front of his Webcam for three minutes. The man explained that Justin could receive the money instantly and helped him open an account on, an online payment system.

The power of money allows even the most grevious occurrences that haunt the inner most soul of any being. With that began a horrifying experience for Justin and also the beginning of his walk towards the dark path. Technology meant to help reduce work for men is now being abused for our own wicked desires. Justin's answer to that?

"I figured, I took off my shirt at the pool for nothing," he said recently. "So, I was kind of like, what's the difference?"

Justin removed his T-shirt. The men watching him oozed compliments.

So from just removing a shirt, his life continued to dwell deeper in these activities nourishing his hunger for love and acceptance as well as money. In truth, if these cases were isolated I wouldn't be this much affected but as I continue reading the article, things just really went out of hand.

The scale of Webcam child pornography is unknown, because it is new and extremely secretive. One online portal that advertises for-pay Webcam sites, many of them pornographic, lists at least 585 sites created by teenagers, internal site records show. At one computer bulletin board for adults attracted to adolescents, a review of postings over the course of a week revealed Webcam image postings of at least 98 minors.

The numbers do not lie and more of these sites are coming up because of how easy it is for a young teenager who craves for more spending cash to set one up. Its as simple as heading down to Lowyat plaza and buying the cheapest webcam around and start stripping in front of a PC connected via Streamyx.

Entry into this side of cyberspace is simplicity itself. Webcams cost as little as $20, and the number of them being used has mushroomed to 15 million, according to IDC, an industry consulting group. At the same time, instant messaging programs have become ubiquitous, and high-speed connections, allowing for rapid image transmission, are common.

Evidences shown by federal investigators reveal that several professionals such as doctors, lawyers and even teachers are culprits. Why this is terrible is that these people deal with children one way or another in their jobs thus allowing them to build communication skills with children. Using these skills, they are able to coax children and kids online to force them to strip or reveal themselves.

A $35 Asante four-port hub, which allowed for the use of multiple cameras, was bought by someone calling himself Wesley Taylor, Amazon receipts show. For $45, a fan nicknamed tuckertheboy bought a Viking memory upgrade to speed up Justin's broadcast. And then there were cameras - a $60 color Webcam by Hawking Technologies from banjo000; a $60 Intel Deluxe USB camera from boyking12; and a $150 Hewlett-Packard camera from eplayernine.

This excerpt reveal that nothing will stop these paedophiles from satisfying their lust for child porn. Because of this trend, kids will post their wish-list on an online account whereby these offenders will then purchase the necessary equipment for them.

But the scariest of things is that stuff like this is kept hidden, really well.

His mother saw little evidence of a boy in trouble. Justin's grades stayed good - mostly A's and B's, although his school attendance declined as he faked illness to spend time with his Webcam.

It is all about problems with acceptance, love and materialism. Children of young age crave for attention and there are more and more stories whereby university students sell their bodies to fund their cravings for luxury items such as designer goods and the latest gadgets.

The daily interviewed a 22-year-old student who confessed that she was willing to sell herself because she was envious of some of her friends leading extravagant lives.

“Moreover, she admitted that she and six of her friends earned about RM4,000 a month or RM250 for a weekend session,” Kosmo! said.

The student, who claimed to be from a poor family, said she started becoming a call girl when she was in her first year.

The report said what lured her into the “profession” was seeing her friends wearing branded clothes, driving cars, having mobile phones and always having cash in hand.
- The Star

If things like this continue to go on without any form of intervention, I am really concerned about what is to come, judgement? I am afraid so.

To read the full article from the New York Times, please click here.

New York Times
The Star Online

Gadgets for Christmas

As the holiday season arrives, frantic shoppers pace the walkways of our nation's shopping complexes, eyeballing every bargain and hunting down discounts available to surprise loved ones and friends alike. The countdown till Christmas started over a month ago but there is only 5 more days till that special day arrives.

So what do you get people who have everything they ever needed already? Small gifts? Presents? Gadgets? The problem about gadgets, in Malaysia, they are horrendously expensive, but hey, I am living in a dream world. What I will try to do is compile some top 10 lists and create one myself.

T3 magazine placed the Xbox 360 as one of their top 10 Christmas wish list, while for us Malaysians, that is out of the question as the Xbox 360 only ships here sometime next year.

But there are other alternatives such as the very hot selling iPod Nano as stated in Tiscali's christmas wish list. Now that wouldn't that be a nice christmas present? *hint*hint* I would like it in black haha!.

Another gift meant for your loved ones is Panasonic's Lumix digital camera. This camera is on Firingsquad's christmas gadget list and I think it would make a very nice present for someone close and special.

As technology improve each year and the trend seems to be moving towards a very mobile age whereby everything can be brought anywhere by you, here is an item that will keep the kids busy while driving back to your hometowns or while using public transport such as trains or buses.

Yes it is a portable DVD player that comes with a LCD screen. I guess it would be pretty popular in a country whereby people mainly use public transportation to get around such as trains or buses. As for me, I would recommend the in-car DVD system.

Another cool gadget I saw recently at 1 Utama is this nifty little toy which really gives you a big shock (literally) when played. It can be found in the lower ground floor at one of the gizmo shops. Its quite nice and it does make a good party toy to fool around with.

If you have a friend who is an avid computer gamer, a good present would be this G7 Logitech mouse featured as the number 1 gadget for christmas at Firingsquad's wish list. It is great for gamers but it still comes with a hefty price tag for us Malaysians.

By now you would have noticed that each of these gadgets shown here are extremely expensive and very impractical for the not so super rich. Believe it or not gadgets are extremely expensive and most of the time make very desirable christmas wants and not christmas gifts.

If you are looking for cheap gadgets that will definitely make the receiver laugh or be happy, maybe you could try one of these?

Isn't that a tasty looking USB thumb drive?

Monday, 19 December 2005

Friggin Huge LEGO!?!?!

Browsing through the web and certain eBay sites has been a habit for me ever since studying in the UK. You never know when certain bargains might just pop up. Then there are pretty interesting items which are posted up there such as people selling their soul or their virginity on eBay to raise cash.

It was until I came about this item that was put up for grabs. As the title says, its a huge ass LEGO construction. At first I thought whether if it could be bigger than the 1 metre long Star Destroyer LEGO set I saw in the Bull Ring, Birmingham. After seeing the title, yup, you guessed it right. Its way bigger than the one I saw.

The current bid for it at this time is about US $30,901.11. Quite a high bid if I do say so myself and this does not include delivery as delivery charges is free for this item. What this hopes to do is to raise enough funds for the Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane relief efforts in the southeastern United States to aid families who are rebuilding their lives in the wake of the natural disaster.

Check this out as well:

Shipping and Delivery: FREE!
Our goal is to raise as much money as possible to benefit those families affected by Hurricane Katrina. 100% of the final value received for this model is going to Habitat for Humanity. To encourage the highest final value possible, The LEGO Company will pay for all Shipping Costs! An approximate $2,000 savings! Model will be delivered by freight truck and will arrive in a crate. You will need about 4 people to unpack it and mount on the display stand. Delivery will take approximately 2-3 weeks after auction is paid for. Sorry, but we can not deliver before Christmas.

4 people to unpack it? Now if only I can find 4 people to help me carry it. That is if I do buy it. Anyway I must have been dreaming.

Interested to know more about the builder (Erik Varszegi) and an interview with him, you can check it out here.

Image source:
  • FBTB

  • eBay
  • Saturday, 17 December 2005

    Xiaxue, hacked?

    I was just surfing the web on a bright and nice Saturday morning when I came about and noticed something weird. I logged on to Xiauxue's blog and noticed that the site has been hacked. Don't believe me? Check out the image below.

    I wonder how long it will stay up or maybe I am just a little blur and forgotten that she might have changed her weblog address maybe? Anyone can clarify this?

    Actually if you checked the web address properly in the image above, the address states and not the original Of course, everyone seems to flounder upon on Xiaxue's blog very often due to her very controversial posts. But cases like this are not rare.

    There have been plenty of cases whereby web addresses of famous web sites have been used for directing web traffic to another site. For example, if you type in you get the famous web search engine but if you accidentally typed in you get another site selling a product. Another example is and

    To be honest, not everybody can type perfectly and there are people who bound to make simple typos but somehow these companies rely on typo errors for web traffic. Brilliant or sneaky?

    I am sorry to have to use Xiaxue's case as the primary example, to be honest I really thought it was hacked until I saw that I made a typo error.

    Friday, 16 December 2005

    Proton, oh Proton...

    It was about a couple of months ago when Proton and Perodua launched their mini hatchback models and it was then when people saw how far Perodua has come and how backward Proton may seem to be moving. There was a lot of flack coming from every direction towards Proton, more and more people shifted their mindsets away and their domestic market share has fallen.

    Everytime I see an episode of Top Gear, I am only reminded of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's view of the Savvy and Gen-2 and how they constantly make fun of Proton. They laughed at the "My very first Lotus" tag-line which was given to the Savvy in the UK and continued to ridicule the Gen-2 on its cheap and inferior interior (hey that rhymes).

    Proton on the other hand moved towards a new MD to head things up and had talks with Volkswagen to try to come up with a deal to set up shop here in Malaysia. Yes that is good but the whole AP issue was brought up and the blame was then put on that. I don't see any real change within Proton's mentality yet. All I see is a fancy new building along the Kesas highway which I don't know why it had to be so lavish for a company that creates cheap products which keeps breaking down. I see plenty of new cars stored in Subang Jaya and Shah Alam, all waiting to be sold instead.

    If you read the newspapers lately such as TheStar, you would notice that Proton had placed a lot of advertisements regarding their latest car, the Proton Chancellor. The definition of chancellor is "any of various officials of high rank, especially A secretary to a monarch or noble and others". It was built for executives and designed to be a chauffer-driven vehicle. But in any executives right mind, who would want to ride in one of this unless they were forced to? That is why Proton forecasts to sell about a thousand of these cars next year.

    From the outside it looks exactly like a Waja. Actually it looks like a Waja from the inside as well and I would know, I drive a Waja. The only additional things you might get with this car are leather upholstery and fancy gadgets. They even turned a 5-seater car into a two seater car. But of course, you are to be driven around in a car like this. So far I have not had wind of any price tag on this car.

    Honestly, I still see Proton as a pride of Malaysia. But instead of going around making such "fancy" cars, shouldn't they be concentrating on ironing out the existing problems found with their cars? Why can't they try to improve on various build qualities or tighten their QA checking procedures? Or maybe source for suppliers that provide them with quality products rather than just selecting the cheapest. There are many issues that surround all of these problems but alas, their are all shrouded from our view. Is there too much of a blend of politics and business?

    As consumers, we only get the end result, which is a broken down side window which had to be changed twice, door handles that cannot open doors, faulty signal lights, creaky suspension systems, so called Lotus handling which handles as graceful as a sackful of potatoes and a glove compartment that is falling apart. You see, these are not just the problems I see with my Waja, it happened to all of my friends who drive the same car. For a fact I know why SmartTag gets good sales, its because the more you use your electric powered window to receive your toll ticket or use your Touch N Go card, the higher the chance it will break down. Now I use a SmartTag and yet my power window broke down twice. I opened the control circuit and found that the motor was faulty and the circuit itself wasn't working all too well.

    Which car company continues to manufacture a car model or design that is already more than 20 years old? Its sad to know the real truth because I really long to be proud of Proton and that it can achieve international greatness. I have yet to see an MNC of Malaysian origin. Maybe it might come but I am not putting my bet on Proton for the next couple of years. I see more future in AirAsia instead.

    Check out these links below that show why Proton has a very tarnished image. Some of these are views of Proton car owners.
    - Link 1
    - Link 2
    - Link 3
    - Link 4
    - Link 5

    These links are all from the forums. They are just views. I will try to get more links from other forums but it might take a while as there are a lot of them out there especially if you check out the Autoworld forums.

    Image source:
    Business Times

    Thursday, 15 December 2005

    Women vs Boys!

    Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a competition which pitted the girls versus the boys. Unlike any physical competitions, this one was rather on a more mild-mannered side. The atmosphere was calm and quiet at first but when the initial round began, the placid environment turned violent and the once calm and serene background turned into one of shouting and screaming. Let me explain more.

    This competition required plenty of skills, hand and eye coordination as well as a good command of the english language. Quick thinking was essential as well as good hearing was as equally important. At this level, neither the guys nor girls had an upper advantage, the playing field was equally balanced and neither side would move a budge. Competition was fierce amongst the fiery contestants yet the situation was well controlled by the judges.

    You see, this competition was the boys versus girls sandwich making competition and the initial round which decided who had the bigger budget was played with Taboo. How this was played was that each team (boys and girls) had an initial budget of RM10. The winner of each Taboo round would be able to increase their budget by an amount stated at the beginning of each round. There was an extra RM20 up for grabs.

    The first round, the initial prize was an extra RM2 for the budget. The girls took the early lead by edging the boys by a few points. Maybe it took the guys a round to get used to the game and prevent themselves from using the Taboo words. At the end of the first round, the guys had RM10 and the girls had RM12.

    Not to be beaten, the guys increased the pace a little and won the next round. Using their continuing winning streak, the initial round ended in the guys obtaining RM23 in total and the girls, RM17. Joyous screams and shouting filled the room, jeers and teasing began amongst the boys camp while the girls were reluctant that a mere RM6 extra would allow the boys to win the main event the next day.

    With their new found budget, the boys and girls raced through the shopping lines of Jaya Jusco, scouring every inch and nook of the place looking for the best bargains on bread, butter and sandwich fillings. Everyone knew that they had something to prove, pride was at stake and egos were flaring about, the presence of humility was just about as near as the sun is from the earth.

    The girls had a great idea, the kept within their budget, bought all the necessary items for their sandwich as well as hunting around the complex for free items such as salt, pepper and ketchup from McDonald's and toothpicks from DeliFrance. If you asked me, I thought that was ingenious.

    The guys on the other hand, went in and bought a very expensive item for their sandwich, a teriyaki chicken which they intended for it to be kept in the fridge and then be used in a cold sandwich tomorrow. Each team thought their plans were going to win them the competition but little did they know two enemies creeping up behind, complacency and principles.

    As the rooster crowed early in the morning, everyone rushed out from their rooms and started preparing their sandwiches. There were very little utensils, there was no butter knife, no plates and no kitchen to prepare everything in. Experience was all the two teams had and everyone was fighting for a piece of action until something happened.

    The mood began to dwindle and eyesbrows were raised as the boys team emerged sadly demoralised. Unfortunately someone had left the teriyaki chicken outside the fridge. Bold steps had to be taken and the sniffing began. Some agreed that the chicken was spoiled while others were stubborn enough to insist that it was still alright. A quick test showed that the chicken had indeed turned bad. As the ego baloons had burst, a good sense of sportmanship allowed the boys team to help out the eventual winners of the competition, the girls team.

    While the boys team were frantically finding a way to try to get back into the game, the girls on the other hand combined ingenuity and skill to create a wonderful sandwich. Although I stick to my stand that it wasn't a sandwich, after a taste of it I agreed that they had won hands down. Even if our chicken was not spoiled, we wouldn have lost, badly might I add.

    The sandwich had a great combination of butter, unrolled crabstick, lettuce, mixed together with a bland of mayonaise and ketchup to create a simple home made thousand island. Sandwiched between two pieces of bread, 2/3 the usual size of a normal slice, an equal sized ham was placed and the entire bread rolled up and kept rolled by a tooth pick. A single piece of seaweed covered the outer bread and two small fresh tomatoes were used to hold the bread at each end of the toothpick. If you ask me, that was definitely art.

    Wednesday, 14 December 2005

    GameCon-1 Blog: Day 2

    Although GameCon-1 may have ended a week ago, the events that happened there are still fresh in my head. After judging the Settlers of Catan tournament on the first day of the convention, I was gearing up to judge the next tournament, Acquire, which is a thirty year old game (so I heard). Having studied science my whole life, Acquire is a business game which required skill and good business sense. But before the tournament started, it took me about an hour to find a parking space in MidValley. Still I arrived there early enough to try out new games, and when I said new games, it was really new.

    In truth I never had this kind of experience before as most board games we play are all ready packed nicely for us to play. Anyhow I got a little bored after that and thats when I decided to walk around and try to snap some nifty shots of the area.

    Now I really do wonder how many people actually play games for a living besides those professional computer gamers such as Jonathan Wendel and Sujoy Roy. How nice would it be to do all those things for a living. Their work would be their passion thus making it fun.

    Soon the Acquire tournament was about to begin and I had to set the tournament place up. The previous location for the tournaments was located all the way back, hidden in some corner of the exhibition hall and after a short chat with Long and Edwin, we decided to bring it closer to the entrance where it would get better publicity. Its not easy trying to locate the DJ to make an announcement regarding the starting the of tournament while Music Canteen bands blasted our ears right outside of the exhibition hall.

    The tournament began with 8 players, each of them seemed to know the game like the back of their hands. With a keen business sense and a hand that can pick the right tile, these players battled it out on the business battlegrounds trying to become the winner for the Acquire tournament where the grand prize was RM300.

    After the tournament was over, I had quite a bit of free time allowing me to browse through the convention and try out the games available for the public to try out. I played a couple of games of Hamster Roll and Ticket to Ride which led me to get my own copy of Ticket to Ride. Up until now, I played 2 games with it, hoping to at least play about 50 games.

    I think the highlight of the convention, well for kids mainly were the people who dressed up as your favourite Star Wars characters and other fantasy characters. If I am not wrong, it costs about RM10 for a picture with them with a full background image. Pretty worth it if you were a kid.

    The final event was the prize giving ceremony for the tournament winners throughout the convention, not just board games alone but Warhammer, table top and painting competitions. Mr Tom Vassel was there to give out the prizes. Pictured below is the number 1 Settlers of Catan player in Malaysia and yes, she is a girl.

    And the sum things up, I managed to see a local game developer trying to introduce his new game called QQChess or Quad Quest Chess to the gaming community. Its mainly a 4 player chess game with extra rules but the concept is very much like chinese chess. I can't say that its very creative but I believe its a start for the Malaysian community to try their hands and creating board games. Still we are far behind the Europeans but no matter what, Malaysia boleh!

    But of course a career in creating board games doesn't exactly appeal to the Asian community. We definitely need a paradigm shift, sometime soon I guess.

    Thursday, 8 December 2005

    When food comes to mind?

    Ahoy there! I just started a food blog. Check it out here!

    Soon it will be filled with loads of food reviews. Well, soon enough.

    Wednesday, 7 December 2005

    GameCon-1 Blog: Day 1

    Finally GameCon-1 has arrived and I expect a lot of fun from this event, the first ever in South East Asia. Since I was one of the judges for the board game tournaments, being there early was inevitable. There goes my precious Saturday morning sleep. Although I only arrived at the MidValley Exhibition Hall at about 10am with Seng, the area was already bustling with people from PanGlobal running around trying to get the show on the road. Of course being just a volunteer, I had no t-shirt and no passes so getting in was a little tougher than expected. After asking around and finding out the person in charge, we were given our t-shirts which Edwin insisted that Seng wore and our Exhibitor tags as well which gave me access to almost every bit of the convention.

    A huge crowd of people greeted me in the hall. Most of them were gearing up their fingers in the trading card tournament (Magic The Gathering and VS Marvel). Apparently there is a cash prize of USD$10,000 up for grabs. Nowonder everyone is here so early. I would to if I had the chance to win that much cash prize.

    After settling down in an obscure corner or should I say the "quiet" corner where the boardgame tournaments will be held, I sat myself on a chair and started getting some paper work done. Well when I said paper work, it was more like reading through the list of participants for the Settlers of Catan tournament. Although obscure it may be (its located at the very back, next to the toilets), I had a security guard to take care of the area. Talk about safe!

    Oh look, they even made individual sign boards for each section. My one regret is that if they had huge banners hanging from the ceiling, the whole event would have been extremely eye-catching. But of course, the cost to have that would be astronomical.

    Next to the "quiet" corner was a display of very well built models consisting of vehicles from World War 1 and 2 as well as the solitary Gundam fighter from some war that will take place in the future. Each of these models, personally I would consider them a work of art because it must have taken the owner countless of hours to build them and spray them into such marvelous masterpieces. I always wanted to build models but I just do not have the patience at all.

    Besides just board games there were the usual table top games such as Warhammer and Confrontation. There were some other ones as well where mostly expatriates love to play. I know some played the game for over 8 hours and it hasn't ended yet. Wow, talk about long.

    I would say that these games do look rather interesting. All I see are people carrying measuring tapes around and some funny looking red straw to enable them to have a "line of sight" view of the battlefield. Next on the event was Tom Vassel's talk on using board games in classrooms. Tom is no amateur when it comes to boardgames, he has over 850 games in his personal collection and he uses it in his classrooms in Korea where he teaches over there.

    Thanks to bad lighting and my miserable camera phone, the images here didn't turn out as nicely I would have hoped. Its my fault since I rushed out of my house to get to the exhibition. The talk given by Tom was held outside of the convention hall thus allowing members of the public as well as the teaching community an opportunity to listen to Tom and guess what? An education fair was held right next door.

    On my way back from the talk I noticed two guys playing a game which really caught my eye. It was a Star Wars board game. Actually you have to see what really caught my eye in the picture below.

    Yes it was the huge model of the AT-AT walker right next to him. Believe it or not, I saw them using it on their board game although it took up about a third of the board. It should anyway, I wonder if you could do a Skywalker and bring it down in the board game itself. That would be nice.

    After all the sightseeing, it was time for work. The tournament was about to begin and the first game was Settlers of Catan. After setting up the draw for 12 contestants, it was obvious that this group were seasoned veterans in this game. Everyone took their own time to think as well try to outplay their opponents. It was a pity because this group had good players and that there wasn't any seedings.

    The other group on the other hand was more balanced with some seasoned players as well as young players. Among all of the contestants, the winner claimed to have played over 800 games since starting the game two years ago. Now isn't that a tall tale? But no one can claim that because she is considered the number 1 Catan player in Malaysia and she will be ranked internationally.

    In between tournaments and games I would sometimes wander around the exhibition hall, checking out these guys painting their models in the booth next to the tournament booth.

    Other times I would see the whats all the fuss about the trading card tournament. Well they gave me a USD$10,000 reason to why they would cram themselves up and wait patiently for each turn.

    Of course I would admire the beauty of the terrain settings for various table top games such as Warhammer. I wonder how long did it take for them to set up. But it will never take as long as painting each miniature. I heard some can take up to 20hours of painting time to complete and do they look gorgeous.

    The Acquire tournament was starting tomorrow so I thought I would try out a few rounds of Acquire with some people who failed to qualify for the next round of Settlers. After teaching the rules to these guys together with Seng and Long, we couldn't finish the game as the next round of Settlers was starting.

    After everything has been completed, I looked forward to returning home and having a nice dinner with Chuen. On the way back I noticed this board game called "The Hottest Race" and it was created by PanGlobal. Not too bad. It depicts our Malaysian F1 circuit. It was a pity I didn't see this earlier.

    Finally it was time to head to my car and I noticed that the Christmas season has arrived, well in Midvalley of course. The place was beautifully decorated and there were plenty of people taking photos around.

    Coming up next, Day 2 of GameCon-1 and the grand finale of the other tournaments.


    Please bear with me as my camera phone is rather pathetic or "cacated". I tried my best to keep my hand from shaking but alas, some pictures didn't quite portray the true essence of what I wanted to capture.

    Related sites:
    Board Game Cafe
    Board Game Geek

    More photos can be found here.