Chhineneang Leangmeng, better known as Noobie GMK, is one of the biggest Facebook Gaming Creators in Cambodia. Over the past five years, the twenty-four-year-old from Prey Veng province has managed to amass over six hundred thousand followers on the platform and it doesn't look like he's stopping anytime soon. Every time you tune into his channel, you can expect to see a cheerful, jovial boy, having a good time in front of the camera - be it swinging swords in Naraka Bladepoint or driving long distances in Euro Truck Simulator or shooting down opponents in PUBG.
However, things weren't always this peachy for the young Khmer. He had to work hard, in the beginning, to establish a following - back when he was a nobody and was dabbling in content creation for fun. Noobie's foray into the scene started with his YouTube channel, where he shared videos of him playing games with his friends and online acquaintances. "At that time, I only got 1-5 viewers! And they were just from my mates. But day by day, our number of views grew," he recalled.
With his YouTube channel gaining traction, he found opportunities to be part of the esports scene when he organized and casted a Vainglory tournament from his own bedroom. It was from that point onwards when the doors flew open for him and his esports career took off. Since then, he has organized and casted many tournaments for various games, such as Rules of Survival and PUBG (PC and Mobile) for brands like ASUS and Huawei.
However, his time in esports is coming to an end, he admitted during the interview. "My career in esports is almost over because I have a lot outside work (his regular job). But I have noticed that the esports scene in Cambodia has gotten much better recently, and there are many other people who are getting involved in the industry."
Unlike a lot of streamers we have interviewed in the past, Noobie GMK isn't a full-time content creator. When he's not in front of his computer at home, he's in front of a computer elsewhere, doing his job as an IT security specialist. Thanks to his steady job, he makes good use of his stream income by spending it on people in need. "Since I'm supported through Facebook Stars from fans every month, I always collect those Stars to help those who are weak or needy such as homeless people. Especially every year on my birthday, I buy books and supplies to help schools in rural areas."
His generosity stems from the fact that he grew up in a low-income household, where he went through the struggles of living frugally. "I am not the son of a rich family. My mother was a factory worker and my father was a motorcycle repairman. But they really worked hard for me and I thank them for making me who I am today."
"When I was a child, I was the kid who was disobedient to teachers and my parents, I liked to make my own decisions! But when I grew older, I realized I was actually being a nuisance and after that, I vowed to myself that I will repay them for all the trouble I had caused. Today, I do what I can to alleviate the burden of my family by buying groceries, paying for the car, bills and so on. All I want to do is to see them happy and smiling."
When Noobie was in fourth grade, his cousin, an expert in computers, taught him everything he knew about the subject. This turned out to be a momentous point in the young boy's life as he became fascinated with computers and the world of tech. In tenth grade, he got his first gig writing about tech which led him down the path of gaming, esports, and where he is today. "Games changed my life," is a motto Noobie lives by, and is something that has stayed relevant to him till today.
Like many parents in this part of the world, they found it hard to accept Noobie's decision to game for a career. Streaming wasn't a thing back then (and still isn't widely accepted yet), so it was difficult to garner their support. But after putting in the effort, work and hours, he achieved his goals of being a successful content creator and they are now fully backing him.
Noobie GMK didn't have many people to look up to when he was starting out as a streamer. He didn't have anyone to help or guide him in his circle. He felt like the only one in Cambodia doing it and had to explain to a lot of people what being a streamer meant. However, this obstacle had a silver lining - it allowed Noobie to do what he loved: share information with the public.
While he was already reaching out to people through his tech-focused blog (which he claims was in Alexa's top 10 during its heyday), streaming allowed him to reach out to an even wider audience, especially after he gained recognition through the tournaments he organized. Fun fact, the letters in (Noobie) GMK stand for Game, Meng (part of his name) and Knowledge/Khmer - not to be confused with GMK electronic design GMBH! From the very beginning, he already had a goal to spread knowledge. Since he was the one who was a self-made expert on the topic, he could be the one that people turned to, he helped a lot of people who needed advice about starting a stream and continues to do so.
Though he enjoys how streaming has improved the gaming community in Cambodia, he has some problems with it as well. Noobie dislikes streamers who use inappropriate words on stream and show unscrupulous content to attract attention. He is also tired of the perceptions of gaming being criminal in the country. He's trying to change all that by setting an example. Noobie also makes sure that any sponsorship deals he accepts fall in line with his goals. "Do not demand attention. Find your true fans - that is better than any other traction which won't allow you to grow in the future. As a streamer, we should share and show good things to our fans!"
Noobie is happy with how things are going now - he can fulfil his dreams, has a decent income, and loves what he is doing - but he's not about to rest on his laurels just yet. His current goal is to hit a million Facebook followers within 2022.
"Finally, I would like to thank you for your support from the beginning till today. I am lucky to have and know all of you and I hope you continue to support me like this for the rest of my career."
Tune in to Noobie GMK's streams - every day, 6 PM (GMT+8) onwards on Facebook Gaming and check out his videos on YouTube. For more interviews and features on your favourite Facebook Gaming creators, stay tuned to eGG Network!