8 October 2010

Ngee Khiong

For those who are fans of the Gundam franchise or are familiar with the Gunpla (Gundam plastic models), Ngee Khiong is a blog that they are quite likely to visit. For years he has been providing the English-speaking community fans with timely Gundam-related or Gunpla news, as well as other mecha-related and large hobby event news.

On 1st October Ngee Khiong has decided to stop his main blog, stating that he was disappointed with how the Gundam and Gunpla community has turned out over the years, making him didn't feel like wanting to be a part of it anymore. His final post, explaining his reasons explicitly on what he has become disappointed with, with was up 4 days later.

After reading his final post I was a bit sad about what the community has done to him, and was planning to emphasise the problems I have seen with the Gundam / Gunpla community, but I've changed my mind and instead I've decided to write about my personal experience I had with his main blog in a more positive way rather than "bashing" the community with details or examples. It would be quite a long text post, which is something I don't do usually, but I do want to share my humble thoughts out as a fellow blogger and a friend of Ngee Khiong.

I remember that I first encountered Ngee Khiong's blog when I was searching for Gundam 00 episodes to watch. That would be almost exactly 3 years ago I'd think, since Gundam 00 was first aired in October 2007. Back then his blog was not a big hit yet, but I would still visit it now and then for updates. His news, less frequent to what it has been this year, were added with a bit of his personal touch and opinions with a good sense of humour now and then. I remember I was really excited when he replied to my first comment too (yes I know, I was that naïve ^^;), which encouraged me to do more interaction with him as a blogger. And so I decided that I would definitely stick around his blog more and comment now and then like chatting in a way.

Eventually the blog's popularity grows. As more timely news came in, readership increases as well. Understandably the comments became too much for Ngee Khiong to reply to, so he stopped replying unless it's something specific. Bad apples drop by now and then, but overall atmosphere still seems good for quite some time.

It's around Summer 2009 when he disabled comments on all of his posts, as he was getting bugged by abuse of comment section, mostly by one particular person, and it affected other readers too due to the unfriendly atmosphere the commenter has created. The chatbox, which had always been there ever since I first knew of the blog, was still up and therefore people commented and chatted there instead.

So this went on for 14 more months, until Ngee Khiong has decided to close down the chatbox. The chatbox was plagued with spam and people intending to disrupt the flow of discussion now and then, and Ngee Khiong expressed his fatigue on having to do IP bans all the time. Soon after his announcement of closing down the chatbox, there came his annoucement of closing down his blog as well. From his announcement he was originally planning to keep it up until March 2011, which would have marked his blog's 5th anniversary, but at the end he decided to close it on 1st October, the same date the chatbox was scheduled to cease existing as well.

His annoucement came as a shock to many readers, and I wasn't fully anticipating for it to happen either, even though there were hints from the solemn colour scheme, as well as someone on the chatbox mentioning "長痛不如短痛". And so it happened, with the reason stated that he's "extremely disappointed with the development of the Gundam and Gunpla community". He later published his final post, with his full explanation on why he has decided to quit blogging, including but not limited to discriminations, divisions / segregations within the Gundam and Gunpla community, and the amount of negative influence he has faced associated with his blog.

Perhaps Ngee Khiong has been a bit sensitive over what the Gundam and Gunpla community has been doing, but then even though he has tried his best to brush off the negative things as much as possible, receiving hate mails after hate mails and having his blog linked / "associated" with the hate stuff continiously and over a long time has put him on a toil eventually. It must have been hard for him to bear, after seeing his favourite hobby having so much negativity within the community that he used to love to share with. He may have been a high profile blogger in the Internet or at least from the Gundam community, but he is also an ordinary person in real life, just like most of us.

The whole thing really shouldn't have turned out like this. A hobby is supposed to be enjoyed with, not the other way round. It is supposed to be very simple, but it didn't turn out to be so. It's a real pity, but I do respect his decision. I just hope the burden will be lifted for him. At least his EX blog is still up and running, and he's keeping his humours and writing style just like the old times.

"Feels like old times already."
Image from YouTube, footage from StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

I would have written this post in much negative way, but after thinking about it I decided it's not worth doing the 'bashing' and all that sorts; it would do more harm than good, and Ngee Khiong would probably not want to have it that way either.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise, so I've decided to look at it on a more positive side. Given that I check his blog every few hours or so every day, it will feel a bit strange not to do so now, but I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually. Even though Ngee Khiong will no longer update his main blog, he has given us all the links and sources where he got his info from, and as he said a lot of the information comes from Chinese-speaking community as well. In addition to Japanese sites and Chinese-speaking forums, there are also English blogs like SRW Hotnews and Gundam Guy that are still running and providing news for the English-speaking community. Just as Neo-Era of Gunota Headlines (another great Gundam-related news blog which stopped 2 years ago) has said on his final post that "anime fandom today is more Japan-savvy than it was 5 years ago. Imageboards, largely unknown to English-speaking fandom then, pick up on news pretty quickly. The latest rumors & magazine scans can be seen on other fine sites and are passed around message boards every day." I think with so many sites and info being much more available to us than it was, we should be good enough to try stepping into the new grounds ourselves.

As for the closing words, I want to use this oppurtunity to say "Thank You" to Ngee Khiong for his hard work providing the fans and community with the timely news and info all these times, and I hope to see him continue his blogging in his own pace well and sound on his other blog!

@ Ngee Khiong:
I assume your MG G-3 OYW ver. is in the same condition as I have sent it to you? I haven't built mine either! XD I wonder whether either of us will get around to it eventually, or we ended up finding it too precious to assemble ^^;

The older Ngee Khiong banners are from his 3rd anniversary post


  1. Hi Q,

    It's being quite a while since I last visited you blog. So sorry about that. With more time now, I can really do that more often than ever. ^^

    Then again, to make a comment inside a posting about myself is unbelievably awkward. Hoho~ ^^;

    But I believe you made a good decision by not putting out the negative side of your feeling about the whole case. There's really no need for anyone to be burdened by my problem and decision. I thank you very much for your great concern. I remember you as the very first few who emailed me when the notice of stopping the blog came out some time ago. Thank you very much for that. We only know each other through our blogs and emails, but I really feel your care, and I really appreciate that.

    And very selfishly, I would like to take some space on your blog here to thank everyone who sends me their letters of concern. Thank you very much and bless you all in your hobby.

    A funny joke to share with you, my friend phoned me right after I put up the last posting asking if I was going to commit suicide. -_-

    "Yes, Seppuku!" I said ^^;

    Only the blogging part stopped, my love for my hobby is just as strong as it was the moment I know what is toy. The most basic sense of happiness is always there when I got myself a new toy, or even when reading a news about an upcoming release. I think most people can connect to that. When we were kids, we never worried about the world or anything. If we're able to retain that interest we have in robots and model kits, That's awesome, because we still remember that most primitive yet purest happiness. We shouldn't taint it with any negative feeling we get from real life when we grow up - hatred, anger, frustration, selfishness etc. Like you said, hobby = happiness. Just like that.

    Except the day when you cut yourself when building a model. That's a bummer, because you have to halt the excitement for a few days. That's no good XD

    On the other hand, it's really funny to see how people keep on saying that it's human nature to fight, so there's no way to stop it. It's just like saying one already understand the problem, but is unwilling to not participate in it, treating it as just human nature. I would just step away from the argument instead of butting in. I'm not sure how hard that is for many people out there, but I choose to stay in the most profound state of ignorance towards this kind of problem. Ending the blog is a great help to me in archiving that objective. Now I can choose to be with those people who really appreciate this hobby to share our ideas and opinion. I can really enjoy my hobby and share that happiness with them.

    Feels like old times already. XD

    Oh yes about MG G3 Gundam Ver. OYW. It's too precious for me to build it! ^^ A habit of mine is to leave the good stuff till the last, like the fattest chuck of meat must be reserved till after finishing all the rice XD Wait and wait and wait, more models skipping the queue of assembly and that MG is still pretty much how you sent it to me, err, 2 years ago ^^; I will experiment on how to paint the pre-assembled hydraulic pipes of the leg better using my MG Musha Gundam first before working on that limited MG. ^^

  2. My response: a 12 mecha/figure gun-salute with a shot of Haruhi's LoL-zooka. XD

    @Ngee Khiong: Long comment is long. XD

  3. @Ngee Khiong: p.s. forgot to say thanks. Thanks. =D

    and also (shameless self-promotion):

  4. You wrote well. I am impressed with the collection of header of Ngee Khiong you put up. It actually show very much of NK love at different point of time.

    All is not lost as NK is just a email away. ")

  5. Great post, Q.

    Seeing NK's old banners again made me feel a bit nostalgic ^^;. It's great that you actually use this post to touch on the "good times" instead of mourning like the rest of us. But be it a negative or positive post, I'm sure everyone really are grateful for NK and wishes him the best in what he wants to do next.

  6. hmm, I'm not really in any position to comment about all the stuff which has been going on since I'm not really deep into gunpla in general.

    Having said that, the segregation and prejudice has always been there and having a popular blog on the hobby just paints a massive target on your back. Every clique will use whatever info they get as a weapon against other cliques. It's just the way things go. It happens with everything big, gunpla, video games, anime, etc.
    I'm just glad that my main hobby is one which is so niche that everyone gets along because it would simply die if we didn't! Gunpla is too big for that.

    Personally, I don't think the gunpla community has changed much over the years. More cliques have appeared but that's to be expected since there are more shows but they aren't any more obnoxious than they were before. I did find it quite humorous to hear news of the PG strike freedom starting a rant on it which was basically down to how certain people hated the pilot. But I can't say I'm surprised. I've always had 1 rule. Hate the pilot but not the mecha. Amazing how many ppl don't do that.
    I still loathe Shinn Asuka but why should the Destiny gundam suffer as well because of it? (OK, so I'm not a massive fan of Destiny either but I don't hate it, just the show). Having said that, I was also a little disappointed in the decision to make a PG strike freedom. Sorry, But I just can't stand those gold joints and painting them all grey for a PG is too much hassle! I would have preferred regular freedom but I'm not one of the bandai planning guys.
    Likewise, I wasn't too fussed on the news of the Victory gundam as I know the design isn't particularly complex but like many fans, I saw it more as a symbol of intent from bandai about eventually releasing the more complicated V2 gundam, which has been high on the wishlist since I think the MG line first came into being!

    In any case, we can all respect the decision of NK to discontinue his blog even if we don't exactly agree with his reasoning.
    I am sad to see the page go. It was a good 1 stop souce for plamo info, not just for gunpla but other mecha related merchandise as well. I know some other blogs which have taken up a similar "service" but I have some issues with their ethics. GuNjap, for example, doesn't quote his sources and, in one example which really irked me, he took the darkened images of the gundam resin kits from volks, used photoshop to lighten them up to make the colours more vibrant (even though you could see everything anyway) and then watermarked the images with his name!
    With things like that going around, losing the main NK site makes things a little darker.

  7. @ Ngee Khiong:
    Hey Ngee Khiong, it's been a while indeed!

    Commenting in a post about yourself must have been quite awkward, or even embarassing, especially since you are the first one to comment ^^;

    I was originally writing the whole post in quite a negative way, but after writing halfway through, I read it and thought "that's not I'd like to read", so I deleted the whole post and started all over again, taking a whole new attitude to look at it. Despite the fact that I don't mention much about the details and problems on this version of the post, I think I'm happy with this decision afterall, because what we should enjoy should be a simple rather than a complicated thing.

    Ending blogging sure is a big thing, but some thought that means you're commiting suicide?! o_O But then sometimes when I read others' posts about you stopping blogging and they wrote it almost as if you're gone or something... The phrase "大吉利是" (knock on wood) came into me all of a sudden ^^;

    It's good to know that your hobby is unaffected by the stuff you're troubled with. Being able to achieve happiness in the simplest manner and not being affected by outside unwanted matter is great. Perhaps that as we grow, more stuff in the world and life will alter some of our perspective hence affecting the hobby as well. Arguing and having negative thoughts on what you supposed to like or enjoy would defeat the whole point of what hobby should do. I'm glad that you now get to choose to share your hobby and happiness with people who share the same interests and appreciate the hobby in the same or similar ways as you do~

    Haha the G-3 is very precious indeed, especially since it's a limited Gunpla that is NOT clear colour or extra coating version. Saving it for the best eh? I shall look forward to it when the time comes~ Hm when shall I start on mine I suppose... Probably a long time from now after I'm more familiar with MG kits ^^;

  8. I loved NK banners...especially that SD one with the Ex-S right in front. We'll miss your news NK. Q, that was very nice of you to obtain that G3 for NK! Good work buddy!

  9. @ bd77:
    When Ngee Khiong comments, he often does them long and detailed ^^

    And lol shameless self-promotion ^^;

    @ LEon:
    The banners are actually from his 3rd anniversary post as mentioned at the end of the post.

    And yep you're right that all is not lost - we can still keep in contact with Ngee Khiong via email.

    @ Z:
    Looking back at his previous banners does bring me back the good times. It sure is a pity that Ngee Khiong has stopped bringing Gundam and other mecha-related updates, but as you said a lot us are grateful for what he has provided for us these years. Good thing is that he left the links of where he got the sources and info from, so we are not lost for sure.

    @ gundamjehutykai:
    True, with anything big there's bound to be some bad apples against it.

    From what I've seen across communities, Gunpla community hasn't changed too much, but the negative voices have been louder and more prominent than it used to be. One way or the other, seeing much arguing and negative influence within a fanbase is kinda sad. Such internal 'conflict' is not seen so much in other hobbies, be it figures or even military etc.

    As for Gunpla that are not what we have wished, I guess we just have to wait until the one we want is released. If the final product is out and one still isn't satisfied, I guess one can always mod one, or make a whole new one from scratch (if you're willing to). I can't say too much about it otherwise.

    As for sites not doing proper "etiquette", well there's not much one can do about as this is the Internet here, but then there are other blogs out there that may do a better example and we can seek for those instead. Putting a dark cloud over such things won't do us much good. Obtaining info these days is much easier than what it has been several years ago, and I believe that we should be able to find a greater number of sources ourselves these days rather than having to rely on a number of 'services' these days.

    @ Apt-1B:
    I remember Ngee Khiong was in 'despair' when the MG G-3 OYW ver. was announced to be an event limited model as he wished for it for a long time. It later appeared in Gundam Expo Hong Kong 2008, so I thought I'd do him a favour and bought one for him. Not harm helping each other for sure!


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