Organiser eyes tourism package for HobbyCon

Johan smiling while holding a babywith the cosplayers at the event yesterday.

Johan smiling while holding a babywith the cosplayers at the event yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: Organizing chairman of Youth, Hobby and Lifestyle Convention (HobbyCon), Johan Julian Lee Abdullah is aiming to upgrade the event to world class standard.

Johan said he wanted to provide a proper venue of air-conditioned place for each community that was taking part in the event (HobbyCon) with a specific room or hall for their own competition and the current practice was that all of the communities were placed together in the sports complex hall.

“If possible, we want the event to be a tourism package. This event is actually also sponsored by Sabah Tourism. I think they also understand that we are able to bring people from outside of Sabah to come over,” Johan said an interview during the 9th Instalment of HobbyCon at the Likas Sports Complex here yesterday.

“Hobbycon is not tied specifically to a culture. We are talking about hobby. So anyone, who likes pop culture, animation, movies and cartoons, will find it easy to take part in it. So, what we need to do is to provide them with a proper venue space and entertainment to keep them coming,” he said.

Those who came from outside of Sabah were from Labuan, Sarawak, Brunei as well as from Korea.

He also highlighted that HobbyCon had always been counting on the Sabah Tourism calendar since its first year on 2007 which was held at Asia City Complex here.

Johan emphasized that there was a very big increase in terms of people coming in as well as increasing numbers of each of the communities.

“Maybe last time when we organized the first community started with cosplaying, we had maybe about 50 participants in the whole of Kota Kinabalu. However, now we have more than 120 participants for All-Star March. That is not including the ones who are not participating in the march,” he explained.

He also said that in the first year of the event there were only 12 booths as compared to 60 booths now.

In terms of the number of participants, there were only 200 people when compared to last year’s 2,000 participants and more participants were expected in this year’s HobbyCon.

Asked about the proceeds from the sale of tickets, Johan explained that it would be used for the upcoming event as well as to hire coming guests for logistics and providing accommodation for the guests.

“This year’s guests, who came from Taiwan and the Philippines, are not just coming for this two-day event but they will also be brought to islands here.”

“We want to give them a chance to visit Sabah. This is actually good because when they go back, they can tell people and other future guests on the event and  it will roll that way.”

“We also reward our volunteers a lot because they work for use for free and stay with us one whole year. So we reward them by taking them out to have a good meal together with the guests,” he elaborated.

A hairsylist, Brian Chang Chee Kang, 20, cosplayed a character namely Tsurumaru Kuninaya from a video game of Touken Ranbu.

He said he had always been a fan of various genre of animation and had participated the event for the third time.

Brian also said that the costumes had cost him about RM300 which took him two months to prepare them and being a hairstylist enables him to make his own hairstyle using a wig.

The same goes with his team mate Alisthir Chong, 22, who is a chef, and loves animation, the the first animal he likes is the Dragonball.

He said he also spent about the same amount of money as Brian for the costume of a character, namely Kogi from the same video game which he had ordered online from China.

Alisthir hoped that this kind of event should be kept up as it benefits the youth from involving in negative activities such as gambling and drugs.

Meanwhile, two women, in their 20’s, had made their costumes themselves which only costs less than RM200 for both costumes.

Irene Lee and Loretta Yap who dressed in the character of a video game,namely Alice: Madness Returns, also told reporters that they had asked for other people’s help for props and started to prepare for the costumes since September.

The highlights of the two-day event, which started yesterday, include  TM-sponsored Solo and Group cosplay, a Tekken Tag Tournament and FIFA 16 tournament by Kinabalu Button Mashers, a Fuwa Fuwa Maid Cafe’ with Sailormoon theme, an All-Star March by cosplayers, band performances by Team Hikaru and showcasing a variety of ACG merchandice such as collectibles, memorabilia, comics, toys and figurines.

This year’s new activities and side events include a lightsaber performance by Fightsaber Malaysia (Lucasfilm-recognized), Cardboard Battle, event Photo Contest, League of Legends e-sports competition, HYPERAY Cardfight! Vanguard G Championship 2015 and Tamiya Competition.

The two special guest appearances were by renowned cosplayer Misa Chiang from Taiwan and prop-maker Lyron Aquino from the Philippines.

HobbyCon 2015 is sponsored and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah, Ministry of Resource Development & Information Technology Sabah, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sabah, Telekom Malaysia (TM) Berhad, Soundtech, Monsters Ink, D’artsign, Bread Market, Power Root, Seasons Street Lodge, Borneo Military Cosplay and Kitty In Boots.