DotaBlast talked to WehSing “SingSing” Yuen after Kaipi’s failure to advance into the Boston Major closed qualifiers. In the middle of an answer regarding his future on the team, SingSing announced that he decided to “quit pro Dota forever” and that the Boston Major open qualifiers were his last tournament.
The confession came unexpectedly, even unbidden, in front of the rest of the Kaipi members, who were witnessing the interview from behind the camera, completely unaware of SingSing’s decision.
“There was going to be a team meeting tonight and I was going to tell my teammates during the meeting, but then this interview came up and they were here for it anyway,” SingSing explained.
It almost felt like he had ripped off a band-aid – painful and quick, but rather comforting. He must have had many rivers to cross before he reached this decision. Whether SingSing’s retirement will be permanent or he will reconsider and return to the competitive scene, remains to be seen. We can only hope that he does.
After the team meeting, Kaipi have unanimously decided to disband.
The end of a journey… pic.twitter.com/hBbnRmprnU
— Alaan Faraj (@SexyBamboe) October 28, 2016
SingSing interview VIDEO
SingSing interview TRANSCRIPT
DotaBlast: I know it’s still a fresh wound, but I have to bring it up. Kaipi failed to move forward into the closed qualifiers. What happened?
SingSing: Well, we suck, I guess. The better team won, you know?
DotaBlast: You switched to the Americas region for the second round of open qualifiers. I know you wanted to take that step in the first round, but three of your teammates didn’t think it was a good idea, so you ended up deciding against it. Why did you think you had a better chance of winning in the Americas region?
SingSing: It’s quite obvious. The competition is way lower and that’s really it, there’s no other reason. The competition is lower. I mean, just look at it: there’s not even eight invited teams in the regionals.
DotaBlast: So, less teams or weaker teams?
SingSing: Both, both.
DotaBlast: How would YOU change the qualifier system?
SingSing: I think I’d have literally an international qualifier, where all teams get together on LAN and they play, but it’s too much work for Valve, I think.
DotaBlast: Do you think Valve would care enough to do that?
SingSing: I think maybe they would care enough, but it’s way too much effort to bring every possible regional qualifier team into one ginormous LAN. It’s a dream scenario.
DotaBlast: It’s the ideal scenario.
SingSing: Yeah, it would never work: it’s way too many teams, way too much work.
DotaBlast: What about a more realistic scenario?
SingSing: Realistic, huh? Maybe at least like a visible, transparent point system for teams to get into the qualifiers, or maybe even direct invites to events and The International, of course.
DotaBlast: Sounds interesting.
SingSing: Because right now, it’s kind of random. We didn’t even know if we were in the regionals or not, so… We just kind of prepared for both.
DotaBlast: You only found out one day before the opens started.
SingSing: More like 12 hours before the opens started.
DotaBlast: Kaipi has been clearly struggling. Here’s what I don’t get for the life of me: there are four former TI players on this team – yourself included, and for some reason you can’t seem to make this team work. It’s always been Tier 2, maybe closing in on Tier 1 at times, but never close enough. Why is that?
SingSing: A lack of leadership, a lack of discipline, it’s a lack of everything, really. We just don’t play well enough. And there’s no unity in the team – that’s also a big problem. We have too many different ideas about how to play the game and that sparks a lot of arguments. During the game even and after the game. Endless arguments and we’re stuck in this place where we keep arguing about what’s better instead of trying to get better as a whole.
DotaBlast: So, basically, internal issues of all sorts.
SingSing: Yeah, for example, when we had Pieliedie on our team, he would be like: “stfu and just do this”. We did what he told us to and, boom, we won the game. That’s really just how simple it is.
DotaBlast: Is anything YOU could have done to help fix things?
SingSing: Yeah, probably thousands of things.
DotaBlast: Why haven’t you?
SingSing: Ah, it’s hard, you know?! It’s always hard to pinpoint what’s wrong exactly or which side to take or what argument to back up. Until it’s over.
DotaBlast: Pieliedie was the guy who was able to do that – coordinate the team properly, captain the team.
SingSing: Yeah, but it’s also a matter of ego and pride. When someone so much better than you does it, like Pieliedie, all that pride and ego goes away and you just listen to him. But when you have two players on the same team who have been playing for like a year or something – I don’t even know how long it’s been – they clash, they just keep thinking that their own ideas are better than the others. Just because of that we could never get better as a whole.
DotaBlast: Actually, the only time Kaipi was performing well was when Pieliedie was helping you out as a stand-in. That’s when you snatched that qualifier spot for WCA, right?
SingSing: Yeah, well, it also helped that me and bOne7 knew him pretty well – we know how to play around him, he knows how to play around us. So it’s not like we randomly picked a completely new player.
DotaBlast: So, smooth communication…
SingSing: Yeah, exactly, exactly. We kind of knew what to expect and how to execute it.
DotaBlast: Do you ever get the feeling that Valve doesn’t care that much about the Tier 2 scene?
SingSing: I don’t think “don’t care” is the right way to put it. More like they can’t really care. How do you really cater to every single Tier 2 team out there? I don’t really think it’s their fault.
DotaBlast: Even the fact that they waited until the last minute to announce who’s invited into the regionals and other stuff like that?
SingSing: That’s just incompetency. Why, why can’t you just say it a week before or at least a couple of days before? What’s the issue?
DotaBlast: If they had been here, at the Kaipi bootcamp, they would have probably realized it’s a very stressful time for teams, around the Major and TI qualifiers. Knowing just how stressful it can get, they probably would’ve announced everything a lot earlier.
SingSing: It’s always like that, even for other events. They get pushed around like that. Remember DreamLeague? It was packed with teams and then suddenly Boston is announced and all the teams left.
DotaBlast: Do you blame that on Valve?
SingSing: Well, yeah, of course. They didn’t announce their tournament before – I think they could have. I don’t see why they couldn’t have.
DotaBlast: I’m not going to ask you about roster changes, because I know you haven’t decided anything yet. But, are you willing to give Kaipi another try?
SingSing: Well, the answer is no, because I’m going to quit pro Dota forever. This has been my last tournament.
DotaBlast: Are you serious?
DotaBlast: What are you going to do?
SingSing: I’m just gonna focus on streaming instead and some other aspects in life I was going to pursue either way.
DotaBlast: Have you thought this through?
SingSing: Yeah, I was gonna do it right before bOne7 asked me to join Kaipi and then we went through all this, but now I’m pretty sure.
DotaBlast: I just hope you change your mind.
SingSing: I most likely won’t.
DotaBlast: I think you’re a great player and you definitely deserve to be in the scene.
SingSing: But that’s the thing, right? Deserving is not a thing in competition. You earn it or you don’t.
DotaBlast: I still think you can earn it, but let’s just hope you change your mind, maybe after you’ve taken a break from the competitive scene.
DotaBlast: You’ve been on bootcamp with Kaipi for more than 10 days now. The bootcamp takes place at the DotaBlast house, so of course I’ve seen you every day and I’ve learnt a lot of random stuff about you. Things like: you shower before official games, you like Asian food, you hate Parmesan…
SingSing: I hate cheese, in general.
DotaBlast: … you take your time eating, because you think it’s important to enjoy your food…
SingSing: It’s a simple pleasure of life – eating well.
DotaBlast: … and you can get insanely loud when you play pubs, which got us into a lot of trouble with our neighbors. Thank you!
SingSing: One time! One time!
DotaBlast: One time, that was all it took! But what struck me the most is that in real life you’re very different from your stream persona. How would you explain that?
SingSing: Actually, I don’t know. To me, I’m just me, you know? I don’t really change anything specifically. It’s more like when I’m playing video games I just enjoy what’s in front of me. Especially online, behind a screen, you can just be so much different. It’s not that I wouldn’t be this person in real life, but this is how I can express myself even further – especially on a stream, in front of an audience.
DotaBlast: So, you’re an entertainer?
SingSing: Well, it kind of just came naturally. I never really thought about it, it just happened.
DotaBlast: For somebody who only knows you as a streamer, you can seem rather buffoonish.
SingSing: Yeah, well, I really don’t care how people see me. The only people I care about are the ones who are close to me, so whatever.
DotaBlast: But in reality, I found you very professional, polite, mature, disciplined, rational, even wise I’d say.
SingSing: I think you’re wrong, but, uhm. You’re probably wrong. Maybe you haven’t met enough people.
DotaBlast: Compared to other Dota players I know, you’re quite mature and responsible.
SingSing: Maybe it’s from my upbringing. You know how, for example, in a team players can get quite angry for very little reasons? I think I take after my parents. I had a great example in my parents and even siblings. They never got angry at petty things, they’re always very calm, even during stressful situations. I took after that.
DotaBlast: I know you used to work in your parents’ Chinese restaurant.
SingSing: Mostly during rush hours, because they were really understaffed and I was just there always playing video games.
DotaBlast: Did that experience help you get disciplined?
SingSing: I don’t really think so. It’s more just helping out my parents, because I knew they were extremely busy and tired.
DotaBlast: You obviously make a lot of money from streaming and item sales alone. I’m not going to ask how much. However, you don’t come across as a wealthy guy, but rather a low maintenance one. How come?
SingSing: Well, yeah, there’s not so many things I really want to buy. I don’t know how to answer this. I’m just me, I don’t really think about it that much.
DotaBlast: Who handles your finances? Do you get involved at all?
SingSing: I have two different people who do it for me. I get the final say, of course, and I always ask about it.
DotaBlast: I know you like to draw – and I’m not talking about those obscene mini-map drawings, but the actual drawings and sketches. Are you any good?
SingSing: I used to be decent, but I stopped practicing when I was 19, maybe, so like six years ago. I guess I just started from doodling around on notebooks and stuff, in school. And then, from there, I kind of spent all my time drawing: from maybe an hour a day to 12-14 hours a day.
DotaBlast: Where did you get the talent from; is it inborn?
SingSing: It’s never really talent when it comes to drawing. It’s a skill, it’s not a talent. Talent is creativity and knowing how to use that skill.
DotaBlast: So, you’re saying there’s no talent involved in drawing, at all?
SingSing: Painting, drawing, there’s never talent involved. Only practice.
DotaBlast: Do you have any other talents? Can you sing? I know you hum a lot on stream, but do you actually have a singing voice?
SingSing: (laughs) No, not even close! Music is one of the things I regret not trying more. I had music classes in school, for example, but I just skipped them, because they weren’t necessary.
DotaBlast: Do you know how to play an instrument?
SingSing: No, that’s the thing. I kind of want to!
DotaBlast: What instrument?
DotaBlast: Oh, I took piano lessons for 10 years. It’s great, you really should go for it. You can talk to Dendi, his mum is a piano teacher.
SingSing: (laughs) Yeah, I’ll ask Dendi’s mum to teach me how to play piano. That sounds great!
DotaBlast: Thank you for the interview, take care and, please, change your mind!
SingSing: Most definitely not going to.
DotaBlast: Any final words to your fans? You do have a lot of people who care about you.
SingSing: It’s not as many as you’d think. But, yeah, thanks to everyone who has been following me from the beginning of my career!