I have a confession, I have been playing Pokémon GO and not blogging. Love it or hate it, it is taking the world by storm. Personally I prefer to be swept away and ride the wave rather than fight it but I totally understand why you would love/hate it.
Even before the game came to Singapore, I had already started interest in another similar augmented reality game: Google’s Ingress. Unfortunately Ingress did not take off here so when Niantic launched Pokémon in the USA, I was already anticipating for it to come to Singapore.
Finally after almost two months after the launch of their game in the United States and subsequent countries and continents, it is finally here! I quickly levelled to level 5 in a day but slowed down significantly afterwards. As this is a game that you can go as fast or as slow as you like (provided you can resist giving in to peer pressure) I would say my style is more of a Pokécollector than a Pokéwarrior.
Currently it has been a mere two weeks here in Singapore and it seems the Poké effect has already taken place. For example, there are more people walking around with no target and seemingly being led by their mobile phones and looking utterly bewildered after they look up. Probably they were wondering where they were having followed all the Pokéstops. Much more people can also be observed loitering around in the neighborhood Parks especially after dusk, but most of them are of the quiet and passive nature. The benches have never had so many butts sat on them before than in the past two weeks. Cars tend to go much slower than faster, although whether that improves safety on the roads is another thing. (DO NOT drive while Pokéhunting!!!) Basically, it is as if there’s a zombie-pocalypse or similar effect on everyone.
That said, pleasant things are also happening. For example people are getting more Vitamin Ds and more glowy (maybe I’m just imagining it) and I see more children at the playgrounds because now the parents have a reason to sit at the playground and wait for the Pokéstop to regenerate itself. Food establishments are seeing an influx of visitors, even at later hours when people are usually at home. Pokéhunting is hard and hungry work! Best of all, late-night ex-void deck loiterers have moved their rowdy and loud gatherings to the park where the Pokéstops usually are.
Which brings me to the topic of this post: Here are some of the reasons why I think Pokémon is made for Singapore:
All Singaporeans own mobile phones and devices, some even two.
According to Wikipedia, every other person in Singapore has two mobile devices or more, because we are generally very rich. That’s a lot of Pokémon accounts! Heck, you could even take turns battling yourself at the Pokégyms and get some good EXP.
Singaporeans are rich
Well, most Singaporeans I know are cheapskates but then they have no qualms about spending a couple of dollars on buying virtual goodies from the shop especially if they think it is worth it. I haven’t spent a single cent though maybe it is because I’m not..
Honestly, we are the kiasuest people on the planet. For those reading this post from elsewhere, kiasu literally means afraid to lose. So what happens when your buddy got that 1,200 CP Gyrados from Hougang Blk 401? You would want one too even though you are staying in Boon Lay. And secretly you are watching hours of guides and YouTube videos on how to increase your chances and beat your Best Friend. And you might even resort to cheating, shame on you.
Thankfully, Singapore is a small country.
And that’s good because we have a high density of Pokéstops, PokéGyms and travelling within an hour can get you to nearly all the rare Pokémon nesting sites. (Check out the Apple app GoRadar.)
Finally, Singapore is safe. Relatively speaking.
Playing carelessly is something we can take for granted. Although I would say exercise immense caution and restrain but that’s starting to sound like the police and government. All I’m saying is Poké-related crimes are still pretty low. Yes there was a scuffle a couple of days ago and then there are, ahem, crazy people dashing across the roads and such, but here you can walk around even in the wee hours without fear of being robbed or killed.
That said, take nothing for granted and play safe Singapore while you gotta catch them all!