Secondlife in Digital Life


At the risk of sounding juvenile, I’m quite affected with this week’s edition of digital life.

I’ve been involved with secondlife, an online 3D community, for since october 2004 and was extremely puzzled to see that there were no features about it.

Thus, I offered to write an article about Secondlife to the editors at digital life, a weekly newspaper edition featuring technology in Singapore. I was very polite and enthusiastic. I gave a quick introduction from here and here (in fact, I’ve done two quick videos here and here) and asked for guidelines for the submission of articles. This was in early may.

It would be fine if they said no but I never did got a reply back.

Recently, a reporter, Chua Hian Hao wrote an article about Secondlife not being popular in Singapore. But with all due respect, how long has he been in Secondlife anyway to give a review about it?

He interviewed a university professor whom did a survey with 700 gamers. But that survey by itself was already biased. Its comparing apples and oranges. Because Secondlife isnt a game, its a community. The professor herself has confessed that she is a veteran on Worldcraft online. We cannot categorize secondlife as a game. These gamers that were interviewed would not be familliar with secondlife.

And can the people being interviewed be of a wider range? Surely there are more people than just university students and professors to represent gaming and the internet world.

This professor continues saying that, “If you played Secondlife and told an interesting Secondlife an occurrence who didn’t played it, it would be just a story about a game he doesn’t play. But if you shared a Maplestory with a fellow Maplestory player, he would get it, making your experience richer

I don’t dispute that.

I don’t play maplestory. I did try it once but I didn’t feel compelled to play it long term. I understand that a particular gamer would understand that gamer better. But that doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t try to understand each other. Just like the real world, its a matter of understanding diversity.

These people interviewed insisted that Secondlife isnt popular.

Mr Simonsen, a gaming programmer, stated in the article, that Secondlife demand more out of the players and will not consider the steep learning curve to get the fun.

There is an undergraduate, Sim Yuze who says that he doesn’t have time to play Secondlife and thinks that its not profitable. He illustrates this by saying that “if he quits worldcraft, and diablo, he will be able to sell his character off. You cant do that if the game isnt popular and there are no buyers for your character

Secondlife is a community that thrives on currency exchange. You could easily design clothes, or build items which can be sold to be made into real money. Even me, I whom is motivationally challenged is able to sell some apparels for some sum of money.

Mr Simonsen and Sim Yuze would have to realise that should they both be businessmen, they both are losing business if they choose not to see the potential economic viables that secondlife bring.

In fact, there are many companies whom invested in secondlife – IBM, invested 10 million in Secondlife, Reuters has opened an agency in Secondlife, just to name a few companies.

Besides, Secondlife has been gaining popularity. With personal experience, in 2004, I only met one Singaporean online, the number has now increased dramatically with an active Singaporean group in Secondlife.

I wish the reporter interviewed any Singaporean Secondlife players to counter what has been written for a more balanced side of the story. For example,Kevin, a vocal and active player or Preetamrai whom has been enlightened by the advantages of learning via 3D community. Both of whom have a large following on the internet. I dont believe its that hard to find Singaporeans who play secondlife. It could have advertised on the newspapers or he could even advertise on Most youths don’t regularly read newspapers any more anyway since internet is their main medium now.

I hope for more neutrality in the article.


Edited for tone, clarity and to add : Whoops! Sorry! There *was* an article whom interviewed a secondlife player. But it was nondescript that I completely missed it out.

13 Replies to “Secondlife in Digital Life”

  1. Hey Rinaz! Thanks for the comment and the link.

    Actually, the local media has become increasingly interested in Second Life. Last week I was contacted about Second Life by two different journalists (including Hian Hou). I was hoping to refer them to 2 other more ‘senior’ Singaporean Second Lifers but they were not available (one was doing Reservist, the other declined to be interviewed).

    Nevermind, there’ll be a next time! Second Life is here to stay. I’ll be glad to point all enquirers your way 🙂

    PS. look me up in SL – I’m Vantan Gray. Will be back in SL next week after my holiday. We should have a 2nd SL S’pore gathering!

  2. *makes a little room for krysss we both sob hysterically and all diva like*

    Hiya Vantan, I do hope that I didnt offend you, I guess the post was written in a fit of err … passion.

    Have a good holiday with your mum and sister 🙂

    Hiya preetam, thank you for the link 🙂 Actually 3D isnt something new, it goes all the way back from the days of vrml, if I’m not wrong. Like cybertown and such.

    Now we have not only secondlife, there’s also, and even …

    Anyways, I just find 3D communities exciting and interesting. SL isnt the only one but its one of the best I’ve seen so far.

  3. You’re the most veteran Singaporean SL resident I’ve known to date. It’s too bad the reporter didn’t get to you, even though we bloggers pointed out your video in our posts. Don’t fret though, as long as we know, I’m sure we’ll help point you out next time.

  4. I came across this article about secondlifer being a millionaire from it, duno if you’ve read it or not.


    When you make that kind of money in SL, don’t forget me. Hehe.

  5. Kevin : Its not my itention to sound antagonistic. The root of the matter isnt me being interviewed, I just dont think that the article was written with a balanced view. Instead it was biased and just plain skewed.

    The survey with gamers for example doesnt give it credibility for a 3D community that does not have the same genre. And the people that was interviewed for the article isnt appropriate to have their say because of their lack of experience in Secondlife.

    Chu Wen : I think you’d like it, come on and join sl, its free now anyways 🙂

    Miza : yeahh … haha, that character is a very very famous (and also quite notorious) for since sl started. I dont think I’d be rich from sl though, I’m too darned unmotivated to sell things in there 😛

  6. Hi Marina.

    It sounds like you are unhappy with a story that appears in a medium that “Most people dont read newspapers anymore anyways”.
    Your reasons appear to be:
    1) The story didn’t worship SL.
    2) It didn’t feature you.
    3) You didn’t get to write a story about SL in a medium that nobody reads anyway.

    If you were not so angry, you would had noticed the article put SL and the SL community in very positive light.
    While it is undoubtedly true SL is not as popular compared to WOW or Everquest, it made the distinction between “games” like Warcraft and “worlds” like SL.

    It also tried to explain why this is so, the different appeal of the two genres, and why people might be drawn to one and not the other.

    Sadly, from your post, I understand why the editor won’t let you write.
    Lets say that you wrote the story. Are you likely to say anything other than how good and great SL is, and ignore how underappreciated this is among most people?
    Since there are already plenty of articles praising SL, do we really need another one, and how will your article be different from those anyway?

  7. Dear Anon,

    To reiterate the following comment in the comment above, I am not as concerned about my being interviewed as to what I feel that the article was misleading.

    To the typical person on the street, the title gives an impression that there are hardly any singaporean secondlifer. I am disenchanted that it focuses on mmorpg gamers whom do not have the adequate experience. It is understandable that these are their personal reasons as to why they do not play secondlife – but I feel that the article was unbalanced as it focuses only as to why it was unpopular. It would be good to add to the article its pros too.

    Perhaps it did. The same issue interviewed vantan, a secondlife player. HOwever, it was a small article, and was easily looked over. In fact, if she did not post that article up in her blog, it would be missed completely.

    Whether an editor allows a person to write for an article or not, is up to their disgretion. But it would have been civil to have a reply back to those with genuine concerns.

    Why not do an actual comparison of different genres of games and worlds for the article rather than the commentary “what type of gamer are you”. With a clearer explanation of each types, it would be less ambiguous.

    Or how about comparing secondlife with the different types of 3D worlds? There are many types of 3D worlds out there such as,,,, among others.

    To be clear, I do not have a cult mentality for secondlife. As much as I enjoy secondlife as an escapism world where I can be creative, secondlife isnt perfect.

    There is frequent updates where you need to reload about 30meg of software at a time. And there are a number of downtimes. Nowadays it is difficult for newcomers to buy land and the entire world can appear very commercialised nowadays. But I enjoy it for the people that I meet as well as the impressive creations by builders and its graphics.

    I apologize should you find my tone hostile, however, I stand by my thoughts and beliefs. I understand that much time and effort has been put in writing the article. But outside the box, I think that it can be improved.

    As I accept your critsism of me, I hope that you too be able to accept my views.

  8. well i agree with your point that digital life really has biased and almost anti-tech viewpoints though it claims to be be singapore’s no 1 mag for digital lifestyles, eg being their coverage of social networking websites which always has a negative viewpoint of privacy, security and identity theft, pet topics which perpetuates the mindset of fear among those who dun understand social networks. It seems they fail to understand objective reporting and I have hardly seen any balanced viewpoints from their journos.

    Anyway, i will try to look for you and the Singapore gang in SL. I just joined a couple of months ago and am still figuring my way around. My avatar is Josebo Onlyone but i shld be changing to another one soon cos this name is too tongue in cheek.

  9. hey, I d/l-ed secondlife and it hangs the moment I start it. What could be wrong?

    My lappie isn’t really powerful, is that the cause?

    oh no, sound like techie helpline here

  10. Hi Bjorn,

    Social networks? As in Having tried it before, I must say that its a very interesting place 😉

    Thanks for sharing your views. I’m not so sure about the biased and anti tech viewpoints comment, To be fair, there are some articles that I enjoyed reading, for example, the report on innovation nation at the Singapore Discovery Center. But I do think that there are some issues that can be improved.

    How do you like secondlife so far? I’ll try to look for you too, my username is rinaz bijoux, would be wonderful to see you inworld!

    Hi Chu wen,

    Welcome to secondlife 🙂 Usually its the graphics software, you need to update to the latest driver, if you’re using nvidia, you can click on the link here and you need to update your directx too, and you can download it here

    Its usually when this two are resolved, than you will be able to run secondlife 🙂 Let me know if you need more help, or the forums are a much faster way for seeking help when you need it.

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