In a country focused on academic achievement, Singaporean Galvin Kang Jian Wen did something almost unimaginable ― he quit studying as a teenager to spend more time playing computer games.
He went against parental and social disapproval after his high school finals to pursue his dream of becoming an eSports champion, but he believes the sacrifice has paid off as he goes to Southeast Asia’s mini-Olympics, with his national team.
Teenage gamers worldwide are disapproving mainstream education in favor of spending hours on computers and phones, attracted by a growing eSports scene where prizes at major tournaments reach millions of dollars.
Education pressure- He is the exception, however, in a country known for a compelling education system, focused on getting good exam results and where an increasing number of students go on to university or another form of education.
The pressure begins in the early years of primary schooling, and critics say it has contributed to the growing number of incidences of mental illness among the young, even though the government is seeking to make things easier through various steps like reducing the number of examinations.
The focus on education and a choice of well-paying jobs in the affluent country means that very few are willing to pursue a career in the fledgling eSports scene ― Singapore only has around 15 professional gamers.
“Now more or less everyone graduates with some sort of a degree… If you try to be an eSports athlete you have to give up on a lot of other things.”
Players also complain that the country’s system of conscription ― male citizens have to undergo two years of national service from the age of 18 ― is an issue for promising gamers who need time to develop their skills.