GamerMalaya’s Exclusive Interview With Astro eGG Hosts

During the Asian Games for E-Sports (AGES 2016), Astro proudly announced their new 24 hour esports channel named “eGG”. Alongside the channel launch, they also introduced the hosts of the channel. We interviewed 4 of the hosts: Danelie Antoinette Purdue, Faraz Shababi, Faisal Ariffin and Pinda Rika Dorji.


Daniele Purdue

Hailing from Australia, undergraduate in games art design Danelie has casted for a number of eSports tournaments in Malaysia with her most memorable casts being the Malaysian Cyber Games 2015. She attributes her love of eSports not only for the fun games available but also the energy and crowd at eSports tournaments which provide for a thrilling experience. Danelie wants to help promote and grow the eSports scene in ASEAN by inspiring more talents to join the community.

GamerMalaya (GM): First of all, congratulations to you for successfully being chosen as eGG hosts. Mind expressing your thoughts and feeling on it?

Danelie: Thank you. I honestly love the whole concept of eGG. I’m super excited to be able to bring esports through eGG into audiences in Malaysia. It’s something that we’ve waited for a long time and with the television industry now proceeding headfirst into esports, it is going to be amazing. eGG is going to be there to provide the content and bringing esports to the mainstream.

GM: What are your thoughts on eGG as the 1st 24/7 esports channel in South East Asia?

Danelie: It’s a dream. It’s an absolute dream. Never in my life did anyone ever think about doing an esports channel on television, let alone for 24 hours non-stop. I daresay eGG as what they are now is going to be one of the pioneer for esports on television. It’s going to be first for us.

GM: Thoughts on AGES event so far?

Danelie: AGES is in top condition and working wonderfully for me, and it is bringing teams from all around SEA to participate. It’s what we need in esports, we need to bring these countries together and inject new blood so that we can have players represent SEA in online tournaments. There are so many teams from US as well as Europe and we’re hoping for SEA team to be in top tier and favorite teams in games not only Dota2 but in CSGO, LOL and other games as well.


GM: What do you look forward to in eGG?

Danelie: For me, I’d say experience. I need the experience. Esports presenters are quite rare and we need people to develop the skill to do it, to present the content. Obviously I’m in it for the skills and from there I want to present esports to a huge variety of audience so that not only we connect to the people already in the esports scene but people that are new so that we can pull in more audience members. Then we can spread the love of esports because as I see now, esports is getting bigger and when we can spread it all around the world, that is my dream to make sure everyone accept esports as it is.

GM: Any advice on budding esports presenters out there to encourage them in this scene?

Danelie: Practice. The best people that comes into this line of work of esports presentation like casting and hosting is that they have dedication. Make sure that you want to do this. Either you do it for money or do it for fun. The best people in the scene starts out doing it for fun because people know when you’re doing it for money. They can tell from your clothing, your voice and the way you present yourself. When you are doing it for fun people know because they can sense the passion. Keep on practicing and do it for fun, enjoy esports with passion and people will appreciate it.


Faraz Shababi

Originally from Iran, Faraz has been in Malaysia for well over 6 years and is currently enrolled as a computer science student in Sunway University. Though in his teens, Faraz has already been hosting local eSports tournaments and events, more notably with regional gaming company Garena hosting the TGV League of Legends Worlds viewing party and as an official shout caster and interviewer for Garena Premiere League 2016 for League of Legends. He jumped at the chance when offered a role to do what he loved on a 24/7 channel like eGG network.

GM: Can you introduce yourself a bit?

Faraz: My name is Faraz Shababi from Iran. I actually just joined eGG and it is very exciting for me because this is what I love. Gaming is my passion and I’ve been doing it since my brother got his first PC and I started playing with him. We played lots of different games and FPSs (first person shooters) were what I played the most. I actually hated games like DOTA and League of Legends (LOL) in the beginning but then I played LOL once and it grabbed my attention. I was addicted and I kept on playing that. So for the past few months I’ve been shoutcasting for the LOL esports scene. I’ve been doing a lot of game events such as GPL (Garena Premier League) tournament with Southeast Asia team. So those are the things that motivated me to join Astro as a host in eGG, to help people with guides, walkthroughs and everything esports and gaming in general.

GM: What are your feelings, having been chosen as eGG host?

Faraz: Very exciting. I was very shocked in the beginning because there are hundreds of people that went for the audition and I was chosen among the few. It is an honor because being able to put my passion into what I love everyday and do it as my job, that is very, very exciting.

GM: What are your thoughts on eGG as the 1st 24/7 e-sports channel in South East Asia?

Faraz: The thing is when I first heard about it, I did not know this is going to be a 24 hours channel. I thought it is just a normal channel with some gaming content because gaming seems not that big in Malaysia. But actually its growing big and I think games are growing as well so its a very awesome idea to have a 24 hour TV channel catered for gamers. Everything from tournaments, live streams and so on just for gamers. It’s very exciting indeed.


GM: Whats your opinion on Malaysian gaming community in general?

Faraz: I’d say it is quite good even though some of them are salty. Gaming is big part of my life and obviously I want it to be perfect. Thats why I’m here, I joined Astro to make the community a better place. Obviously there are people that might be salty, might not very good to others so we want to bring them together, let them join together as one community. Thats why its called a community. Right now the community is sort of scattered pieces and we want to bring them together. In Malaysia its being very good and we are here and to help make it grow faster and getting better, more efficient I’d say.

GM: You are also at the quite young age of 18 now and already a TV personality. What are your words on that?

Faraz: Yeah, everyone were shocked when they know I’m 18 years old because I don’t look like and act like one but that is why I like the challenge. I was a very shy person when I was young but then thought that I should do better than this. Braving myself, go in front of a camera, start shoutcasting, being ambassadors, doing events for LOL, and now moving into absolutely being able to do those for all the games, thats amazing for me.

GM: How long do you plan to be in the scene?

Faraz: Still haven’t planned on that but I’ll stick for a while. Gaming is my life and I’m not going to quit on gaming. Everyone is great, the gamers and the staff are awesome and I think I’ll be in this line for quite a long time.

GM: What do you look forward to in eGG?

Faraz: Malaysian gamers are a growing community, although not as big as other country like Korea. We are here to make it grow. Obviously we don’t have that many audience, and we need more people because when there is bigger audience, there is more hype to it. The pro players get more motivation and we’ll get more teams coming in. So I think what I want to see from eGG is to make people that are not gamers become gamers because all this is going to be on TV and people are going to see it and get attracted because we are going to have a lot of content. We will have walkthroughs, gameplays, session with pro players, we will have the content to captivate the audience. This is for the gamers. We are doing this for the gamers so I think my passion is to make the community grow. Growth of the community, that is what I look forward to.

Courtesy photo of Faraz Facebook Cover Photo

GM: Any advice on budding esports presenters out there to encourage them in this scene?

Faraz: As I stated before, I was a very shy person. I know that a lot of us especially gamers we have a lot of shy people because gamers usually stay at home and play. We do not socialise that much in person, we’re always online in social media. So my advice is try to challenge yourself. Instead of playing only, go out and communicate. That is what I did, I was very shy but then I challenge myself. I do casting, going out to auditions like what I’ve done with eGG. Do it, even though you think you might not make it at least you tried. I did not know if I am going to get chosen for eGG. I did that, do my best and got to where I am today. So I am just going to say this: try your best and do not be afraid to do anything.

GM: Very insightful. We wish for your success in future endeavors.

Faraz: Thank you.


Faisal Ariffin

Faisal has been a gamer his whole life and has experienced the good old days of cartridge console gaming with Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis. At a tender age of 10, he was exposed to PC gaming with Counter Strike pitting himself against gamers at the cyber café and later online. The thrill of competing with players online got him hooked and started his competitive gaming journey. Besides eSports, Faisal is active on the sporting arena having captained his high school handball and squash teams while holding a black belt in taekwondo and conducting lessons as an instructor.

GM: Congratulations to you for successfully being chosen as eGG hosts. Mind expressing your thoughts and feeling on it?

Faisal: Thank you. I feel great actually. As some of you might or might not know, I’m a longtime gamer. I played cartridge consoles which are Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis and I’ve been into PC gaming since I was very young and played lots of Counter Strike. I’m not only console gamer or exclusive PC gamer, I’m an all platform gamer. So I feel great being chosen as eGG host to be one of the driving force in growth of esports acceptance in Malaysia.

GM: What are your thoughts on eGG as the 1st 24/7 e-sports channel in South East Asia?

Faisal: It’s awesome. One of the earliest 24/7 esports television channel and that it is from Malaysia, I feel very proud of it. Definitely one of the proudest achievement any Malaysian gamers can brag about.

GM: Thoughts on AGES event so far?

Faisal: I see AGES as my vision for gamers especially ASEAN region, as a cluster or platform for beginners to go and to be inspired to go professional. Actually I’m also the director for AGES 2016. Therefore I expect great things to happen and for it to achieve its objective. With AGES, I hope this is one of the starting point for community growth of professional gamers not only from Malaysia but from SEA region in general and will soon be comparable to the international esports community.

GM: What do you look forward to in eGG?

Faisal: I hope that eGG will do what it envisions, bringing esports content to the mainstream and to entertain the target audience which are esports enthusiasts and maybe pull in new audiences from the general public. With wider acceptance, I hope that eGG will grow bigger and can compete at the international level of esports content coverage like ESL.

GM: Any advice on budding esports presenters out there to encourage them in this scene?

Faisal: Never give up on your dreams. Maybe find someone that you can look up to and get inspired from him/her. Then you’ll get the motivation to improve yourself in the scene. Long story short, never give up.


Pinda Rika

Born and raised in Bhutan, Pinda Rika Dorji is an eSports enthusiast having just graduated with a degree in Construction Management at Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur. She started playing DOTA 2 back in 2013 and has been streaming and following the game since then. She recently started a YouTube channel along with a Facebook page with over 30,000 followers to stream her live games and produce updates as well as reviews on big competitions. In addition her channel features short song covers and dance renditions as well as tutoring fans who are new to DOTA 2. Pinda is currently based in Malaysia, working as Project Administrator.

GM: Congratulations for successfully being chosen as eGG host. Can you introduce yourself a bit?

Pinda: My name is Pinda but you can call me pindaPanda. I’m from Bhutan, a small country in the Himalayas. Been gaming for 3 years, actually more than that but with Dota 2 seriously for 3 years. I have a Youtube channel and I stream regularly on Twitch. I played other games too like Team Fortress, CSGO, League of Legends and others but Dota 2 is my basically my main game, it is what I played the most.

GM: What are your feelings, having been chosen as eGG host?

Pinda: I’m really, really excited actually. I’m shocked because I never knew gaming could go this far for me. I have some thoughts on going big, but not this big (being eGG host) so it’s very shocking for me at least. Really exciting.

GM: Tell us a bit on how do you get into the audition for eGG.

Pinda: It was a normal day, and my friend tagged me to one of this post for fresh talent search for esports channel host. I thought “thats for TV and I don’t do TV, I am a streamer, a game caster” but my friend told me to give it a shot. So I registered, got an email invite and went to the audition venue. Then I look at the list of people there and there are around 300 applicants. I seriously thought that I’m not going to make it. Still, I gave it a shot, do the tasks given like introduce myself and what content I did before etc. Fast forward then finally I got shortlisted as an eGG host. It’s exciting because I have high hopes for this and my streaming and casting experience finally paid off. I’m really glad that I didn’t turn back.

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Courtesy photo of Pinda Facebook Fanpage

GM: What are your thoughts on eGG as the 1st 24/7 e-sports channel in South East Asia?

Pinda: I’m really glad actually. Everybody watch TV and especially esports is something you want to watch with friends. Its common to enjoy esports with friends, arguing and competing on sides or teams and the enthusiasm of esports means so much to me. I love esports, I love Dota. So it is a very brilliant move by Astro in making a 24/7 esports channel that me and my friends can enjoy watching. You no longer need Internet connection all the time to enjoy esports. One can just watch esports events like they watch footbalI games. I honestly need to buy myself a TV just for this channel (chuckles).

GM: Tell us a bit on your gaming history and the motivation behind it.

Pinda: My first ever video game was Super Mario, and I was around 5 years old at that time. Then my brother started to play Warcraft, and I often watched the gameplays. Then I kind of stopped and started gaming again 4 years ago, around the time Dota 2 started. Something that I want to point out is that there is this mentality especially in Southeast Asia that “video games are not for girls”, “girls cannot be pro because you lack exposure” and all these paradigms. Whenever I tried to play games my brother will mock me with “this is not for girls, go play with your Barbie dolls”. So I want to prove that they are wrong. Girls can game and women are absolutely able to be professionals in gaming.


GM: How is your family’s reception of your career path in gaming?

Pinda: My mother is very supportive of my decision. She always push me to do my best in whatever I do including gaming. She is by far the biggest supporter in my life.

GM: What do you look forward to in eGG?

Pinda: Basically provide a good show. Give the crowd what they want, enjoy the game. I have ideas of my own for the contents but Astro have their own too and we’ll collaborate together to bring the best content for the sake of the audience.

GM: Any advice on budding esports presenters out there to encourage them in this scene?

Pinda: Give 100% of your effort to do what you want. Instead of thinking it as “whatever, forget it” kind of dream, just believe that “I can do it!”. Who would have thought that gaming can be this big and we have professionals in the gaming industry now be it gamers or casters. It’s not too late. Nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself.

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