The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many lives for better or worse. For this Malaysian esports shoutcaster (not his only speciality), after 10-ish years of working in the corporate world, Sir_Cloud ventured forth to take his interests to the next level.
Fortunately, the huge risk he took reaped equally gargantuan rewards, regularly casting PMPL MY/SG (PUBG Mobile Professional League Malaysia/Singapore), the Wild Rift ICON Series (or ESL Mobile Open) and even the international PMCG 2021 (PUBG Mobile Global Championship). With such enthusiastic yet insightful commentary from the 35-year-old, one can see why he’s been involved in so many renowned esports tournaments.
Andrew “Sir_Cloud” Cheong’s own electronic sports journey began with Dota, which he used to be a hardcore player of since “the day of Blue Server and it’s a game that still holds a special place in my heart”. Mind you, it’s not an adjective this writer included lightly - he actually started out creating content that centred on Dota 2, ranging from meta videos and articles to live streaming his discussion of Valve’s MOBA.
But that was just the start - Sir_Cloud took his next esports step mock casting the Dota 2 Paris Major in his live stream, alongside a dear friend who encouraged him to do so. “I thought (shoutcasting) could only be done by Western shoutcasters through watching The International,” he recalled.
Though he naturally didn’t know what to do in his first attempt (“I hardly spoke!”) Sir_Cloud still found the endeavour interesting to the point that he practised for months - learning particularly from Tobiwan - before landing his first proper gig with Dota Underground, to whom he’ll always be grateful for.
Months went by looking for shoutcasting gigs to fill his weekend, and he eventually met other experienced shoutcasters like LinP and Adrian, who advised him to cast a variety of games to increase his odds. Sir_Cloud chose to start with PUBG Mobile, and even if he admitted that “it wasn’t my best craft, but it fueled me, even more, to discover how to be versatile in casting various esports titles.” Finally, the Kuala Lumpur native landed his breakout role with PMPL MY/SG Season 1 after an open audition and went on to cast Wild Rift esports too with ICON Series Malaysia.
Sir_Cloud’s family and friends weren’t aware of what he was doing in his early work, though that wasn’t intentional. “I'm the type that likes to do first and talk later,” he said, adding that he saw it as a serious hobby first. Once he got it up and running properly, they were supportive of his pursuits, after witnessing the fruits it bore. “I guess it helps that I did it in my 30s, so I am fully accountable for my own actions,” he said with a chuckle.
What a transformative transition it was for the Final Fantasy 7 fan, who possesses a Masters in Human Resource Management and worked a 9-to-5 corporate job within the said field for 10 years prior to this. The difference between his current and past life may seem like two worlds apart, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“You don’t need to abandon your education and work experience entering esports.” In fact, the skills Sir_Cloud acquired over the years still contribute to his esports pursuit, and he probably wouldn’t have gotten here without the experience he currently has.
For the Malaysian rock music lover (Sir_Cloud likes Pop Shuvit, Statik and more), it’s been an adventure for the past few years producing esports content. “There are definitely many ups and downs doing this, but overall, I feel good about it,” citing the opportunities he’s been given to grow, and meet and work with people he’s so accustomed to seeing on screen. “I’m grateful to be somewhat recognised in the scene.” A modest fellow who got the chance to shoutcast bonafide professional esports tournaments, in awe of the big stage and top-tier production he got to experience pre-pandemic.
However, there’s so much more to Sir_Cloud than the engaging and/or educational content he’s known for. He’s also a committee member for MESPA (Malaysian Esports Players Association), oversees his very own esports team (SC Esports), a columnist for The Vibes, as well as provides esports coaching and analysing services, especially for Malaysian PUBG Mobile teams like Damansara Flash Vision and EVOS ViP.
“I thought it (Damansara Flash Vision’s offer) was both an interesting and humongous challenge,” Sir_Cloud reminisced about his first coaching opportunity. Once the announcement was made public, he had a heartfelt moment when one of his followers told him they believed in him, even comparing him favourably to football manager José Mourinho.
“In a nutshell, my reason for building an esports career didn't start out as a ‘career’ per se,” Sir_Cloud revealed. “It was more of an interest in crafting and trying to fill a gap within the community.” In the long run, the JRPG fan even hopes to get into formal education as a professional educator on esports, because “I want to contribute and fill in the educational esports gap in Malaysia”.
Even with plenty of goals and pursuits in place, Sir_Cloud prefers keeping his options open and seeing where life takes him. “As an esports shoutcaster, I just want to exercise my craft and do better from time to time. I hope to someday inspire the newer generation down this path, perhaps even closely mentoring someone in the future.” Goes to show that as long as you make full use of the time and chances you have, you can achieve what you set out to do.
“If it’s done with passion, it’s bound to grow.”