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Mythbusters: Unravelling the Vegan Lifestyle at Singapore Vegan Festival

Over the last weekend (21 and 22 November), EatRoamLive held the second iteration of the Singapore Vegan Festival (SVF). The two-day event saw the Singapore vegan community coming together to shop amazing deals on vegan products and services, attend workshops and talks, learn from one another, and share their journeys and experiences.

As someone who has always been curious about the vegan lifestyle, I went into the festival with an open mind to learn more about this community here in Singapore and beyond. Admittedly, there were some assumptions I held about veganism prior to this which had held me back from adopting a vegan lifestyle; some of these were that veganism is a difficult diet to maintain, that I would be heavily restricting my food options, and that I’ll have to take supplements to ensure my nutritional needs are met.

However, all these myths and misconceptions were quickly debunked during the festival! Do read on to learn more about what was shared during the festival, and how it has completely changed my perspective on a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan food is boring

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Asia Culture Culture Entertainment International Lifestyle Local Review Singapore Sports THG Youth Uncategorized@#

Mythbusters: Unravelling the Vegan Lifestyle at Singapore Vegan Festival

Over the last weekend (21 and 22 November), EatRoamLive held the second iteration of the Singapore Vegan Festival (SVF). The two-day event saw the Singapore vegan community coming together to shop amazing deals on vegan products and services, attend workshops and talks, learn from one another, and share their journeys and experiences.

As someone who has always been curious about the vegan lifestyle, I went into the festival with an open mind to learn more about this community here in Singapore and beyond. Admittedly, there were some assumptions I held about veganism prior to this which had held me back from adopting a vegan lifestyle; some of these were that veganism is a difficult diet to maintain, that I would be heavily restricting my food options, and that I’ll have to take supplements to ensure my nutritional needs are met.

However, all these myths and misconceptions were quickly debunked during the festival! Do read on to learn more about what was shared during the festival, and how it has completely changed my perspective on a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan food is boring

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Culture Games Highlights

Luxury Fashion Brands Get Into Gaming And Play It Right

At first thought, fashion and gaming may seem like an unlikely duo. But if the fashion industry were to ensure it continues to be accessible and relevant in every way possible, it would seem almost ignorant to cash in on the gaming trend as esports becomes more mainstream. 

The COVID-19 lockdown has led to an acceleration of various trends. And perhaps this is why the convergence of both industries may not come as a surprise, as more and more major fashion houses and fast-fashion giants want in on a piece of that gaming pie. Besides, with thousands of gamers in the virtual world, what better place than that to reach out to potential customers. If you can’t flaunt it in real life, you do so online by dressing your avatar in new skins, clothing, and accessories from various brands. What’s more, these fashion brands would also be able to reach out to a much younger audience, a group that is relatively harder to get to. 

But before we get into the subject itself, let’s have a look at the numbers. According to research firm Newzoo, the online gaming industry generated approximately US$138.7 billion in sales last year, and is most likely to rake in US$159.3 billion this year — that’s about a 10% growth! And by next year, this is likely to exceed US$180 billion. Now here’s something more interesting. If you were expecting teen boys to constitute the bulk of mobile game users, you’re sorely mistaken. Because 63 per cent of them are women. That’s right. And according to a marketing report by Liftoff, female gamers are 79 per cent more likely to make an in-app purchase than their male counterparts. A research from Mindshare has also shown that over half of esports fans are millennials, a generation that is reaching their prime spending years. So whether it’s a small in-game purchase or for the whole gaming experience, the esports industry has definitely proven to be a viable avenue for fashion brands to get to potential customers, and convert them into loyal clients.

In all honesty, you would probably have seen this coming. Some 20 years ago, fashion brands were already making their foray into the gaming industry, and exploring this territory by venturing into games like ‘The Sims’. Or just like how Moschino and Diesel opened virtual boutiques in ‘Second life’ in the early 2000s.

Louis Vuitton recently entered a partnership with US-based developer Riot Games, the business behind the famous ‘League of Legends’ online championship which saw 100 million global e-spectators watch its finale last November. All it took for the French fashion house to ensure maximum visibility was for its Creative Director, Nicolas Ghesquière, to design an outfit for one of the characters in the game during the finale.

And most recently, on March 20 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Japan’s Nintendo launched ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’, a social simulation game that invites its players to control digital avatars live on paradise islands and indulge in various sorts of peaceful activities including gardening, DIY, fishing, and even having picnics with neighbours. In just a span of a few weeks, it sold over 10 million units and became the star game of the lockdown.

With increased possibilities for customisation and dressing up your avatar, it certainly didn’t take much to lure fashion brands to Animal Crossing. It’s in-game ‘Pro Designs’ function allows users to make their own outfits by reproducing the trendiest pieces from brands like Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, and even streetwear labels like Stüssy and Supreme.

This surge in creativity spilled over to social media, with players creating dedicated profiles just to share their outfits. One such example that capitalised on this want for fashion-savvy avatars is Nook Street Market, recreating looks from luxury labels like Chanel, Off-White, Vivienne Westwood, and Fendi. This buzz prompted brands including Valentino, Marc Jacobs, and many others to offer their own designs to Animal Crossing players — offering them the ability to access virtual clothing and accessories for free via special codes which can be obtained from Instagram stories.

And it doesn’t really matter that the in-game outfits are simplified, and without details. Perhaps what’s fascinating is how these luxury labels are still able to command desirability even in the virtual world, making the gaming industry a viable way for brands to reach out to a new clientele, and even strengthen relationships with their pre-existing fans.

In recent years, designer labels like Burberry and Gucci have even created their own games. Similarly, Italy’s LUISAVIAROMA has also just launched the ‘Mod4’ application, which gamifies the shopping experience. ‘Client players’ are invited to create their own avatar, browse items offered by the store, and take part in contests with other players.

Perhaps this is part of the new normal, an increasingly virtual world that has forced fashion to switch from e-commerce, digital showrooms, and even online fashion weeks, to the gaming industry, a new territory with immense potential for its businesses to diversify.

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Culture Games

For ****’s Sake, Call of Duty League, Stop Fining Players

Call of Duty League’s recent clampdowns on so-called profanities violate the very conventions of free speech.

Censorship within games is not unheard of. From time to time, both casual and professional gamers are banned from in-game chats for cursing excessively. But censorship that extends to and infringes on personal vocalisations are justifiably rare.

Therefore, it comes as a surprise to find out that Call of Duty League (CDL) has been imposing fines on players who spoke out harshly against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

As a former Modern Warfare player myself, I am not convinced by these accusations. I first started playing the game on my Mac desktop in late 2011 when my father bought it as my birthday present. The online multiplayer community was thoroughly wholesome and generally innocuous during typed or voice chats. Even when there were vulgarities, they were few and far between the usual banter. Compared to games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and DotA 2, Call of Duty has a decently clean track record of swear words.

Maybe I’m just liberal. But terms like “trash” and “one of the worst CoDs ever made” barely constitute anything remotely vulgar. If Seth ‘Scump’ Abner, who has the second most major tournament wins in the history of Call of Duty and has competed professionally in other Call of Duty franchise installments (Ghosts, Advanced Warfare, etc.) wants to voice his opinions candidly in a livestream, it’s ultimately his right to do so. Why should CDL fine him for it? After all, it could have at least tried to be a little humbler by seriously considering his genuine (albeit extremely forthcoming) feedback.

Let’s backtrack to early October last year. Call of Duty: Mobile had just been released when Reddit users brought to light the game’s profanity filter. They reported “blocking of all words related to war”. Under this filter, words such as “boom”, “sniper”, “Jesus”, and “kill” were blocked from chat. Ironically, expletives were, at most, only partially censored.

Call of Duty’s mindset can be summed up in one word: hypocritical. Yes, the game’s developers are hypocrites who plan to water down a violent game into a Fortnite-esque one aimed at children aged around 12, while secretly using their conservative, kid-friendly stance to suppress dissent. Violence is violence and gore is gore. And where there is blood, there is bound to be blood-pumping rage and anger-fuelled vulgarities. This is the target audience of all Call of Duty games. Pretending that this hasn’t always been the case and penalising players for ‘profanities’ is akin to playing Silent Hill and bitterly suing its developers for its graphic scenes and immensely terrifying monsters: you should have known what you were getting into in the first place.

Besides, those accused of obscenities were actually giving relevant feedback on in-game issues like “confusing Modern Warfare spawns” and being “kicked out from the game” after changing class.

Call of Duty League’s inaugural season was only launched at the start of this year in late January and has, within the span of only five months, already gone on a fining spree of its top participants. But despite its widespread efforts to silence its dissenters, some of them have chosen to continue speaking out against it until the aforementioned issues are rectified. In a reply to Scump, Sam ‘Octane’ Larew, a fellow competitor from Seattle Surge, stubbornly affirmed that he would “pay to speak” his “mind” because CDL had robbed him of a year’s worth of money.

So far, neither the affected players nor CDL has disclosed the amounts of the imposed fines.

Free speech is an essential civil liberty that applies to the citizens of the esports world. As such, CDL was absolutely wrong to punish players for speaking out against it in secular settings (i.e., in non-competitive environments). The same couldn’t be said if such comments had been made during live matches, though. But whatever the case, I am strongly in favour of those who have been persecuted and silenced into oblivion (players like Octane and Skrapz have since deleted their offending tweets) and feel that CDL’s militant approach will only steer serious players away from participating in its future competitive seasons.