Saturday, December 3

Thebg Game Boyz and their Sarawalk

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TIMOTHY Tan Zheng Chuang was one of the more quiet participants at Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak’s Youth Engaged in Social Innovation, Service, Education and Entrepreneurship (YES I SEE) camp, which was held in Lundu last December.However, when he went up in front of 25 of his peers on the second night of the camp to share his idea, he received one of the loudest rounds of applause for the day.

More than three months later, 21-year-old Timothy and his group ‘Thebg Game Boyz’ — consisting of Mohamad Hafeez Jeniri, 25; Eric Yong Jin Foh, 19; and Garret Cronnolly Imbang, 18 — have come up with a comprehensive business plan to make his idea a reality.

According to Hafeez, who was selected to lead the Thebg Game Boyz, their project is called Sarawalk, which basically combines the fun elements of online games with the serious job of promoting tourism.

“Our group project hopes to promote Sarawak in a fun, engaging and educational way. In Sarawalk, we have developed an attractive tourism website with social networking capabilities, with twodimensional online games, featuring virtual tours and also ‘mini game challenges’,” he said while adding that their main goal was to showcase all the good things about Sarawak to the world.

“This includes our places of interest, our food, our culture, our music and much more. We have a very unique culture and also beautiful natural places that many will be interested to explore.

“We hope by doing this first in an interactive way through Sarawalk, people from all over the world will want to come to Sarawak and experience it themselves,” he explained.

Garret added that visitors to the website would also be provided with all the information they would need for a pleasant stay in Sarawak.

He said through Sarawalk, they would be able to help improve the state’s economy as a whole, as more tourist arrivals would mean more income for Sarawak.

“Then in the future, when we make money from Sarawalk, we hope to provide financial support to some of the causes that we are passionate about, especially to the organisations focused on conserving nature and wildlife,” he said.

For Timothy, the major challenge they faced was to meet last week’s deadline to present their business plan to Azam.

As for Hafeez, as team leader, one great challenge was overcoming their limited technical abilities and financial constraints to come up with a prototype and business plan within three months.

“For me, everything about this project was hard, especially with the online games and the virtual tour.

“We have never done such programming before, but with our passion for this project, plus the support from the mentors, we had fun and enjoyed the process all the way.”

Garret, on the other hand, found the task of gathering information challenging, but explained that he managed to pull it off with the encouragement and help of his team mates. In the process, Garret has even improved his English and overall communications skills.

When speaking about the gratification they felt from the project, Timothy pointed out that he valued the fun he had within the last three months, working with his team mates, whereas Garret appreciated the sense of cooperation that was present in their group.

Their group leader said it was gratifying to work together as a team, with each of them passionate to make their plan a reality.

“We all worked together even though we never met or knew each other before the camp in December,” said Hafeez.

It is clear that the great value of Azam’s YES I SEE project lies in its focus on nurturing the creativity and innovativeness of Sarawak’s youth.

Through Sarawalk, Thebg Game Boyz have shown that given the opportunity and mentoring, Sarawak’s youth are prepared to shine, not only for themselves, but also for their fellow Sarawakians.

The YES I SEE project is a component of Azam’s Sarawak Youth Empowered and Engaged to Serve (Sarawak YES!) programme that it coorganises with the Sarawak Development Institute and Azam subsidiary Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd.