Friday, November 26, 2010

An Ode to Collectors

The article below (click read more) appeared in yesterday's papers and it is most timely since my coverage / post of Hot Toys magazine feature covering their ten years (2000 - 2010) of producing and releasing 1:6 scale movie-related merchandise under their Movie Masterpiece Series (see previous post).

It makes for an interesting read as the writer ponders why people collects things in general. The writer says her mother told her that "things should be bought to be used, consumed, worn or enjoyed. Not placed in glass cases or climate-controlled rooms to be admired." Yet the same woman has a miniature perfume collection that she lovingly dusts off once a year during Chinese New Year. The irony is lost on her LOL

The writer goes on to cite reasons why people collect - out of a need to possess rare and exceptional things, to flatter their self-esteem or taste, to feed an obsession that verges on the pathological or perhaps something that is linked to the artistic impulse.

The writer herself says she doesn't collect because of "real life" demands - time constraints, money, the dust issue (collections collect dust as well, she reasons). She sees a tragic hero in the collector: a compulsive kid who never grew up and is doomed to hunting down the next item, and the next, and the next.

The full text of the article is included here

Well, I cannot let the matter rest without saying my piece. As I've mentioned on the side bar under the title "Why I collect toys?", I collect them simply because toys to me are works of ART in 3-D (three dimensional form) which one can admire and appreciate from every possible angle. I believe most collectors are very visual people and we really appreciate the visual arts in all its forms. Most collectors I know are designers - graphic designers, interior designers, product designers, all types of designers with one common link: it's all very visual. We collect because we appreciate all the work that went into making the toy or collectible - it is a piece of ART! Note: I said "collectors" and NOT "investors". "Investors" are people who buy toys to invest, hoping to make a quick buck out of the entire exchange with no love for the toy itself.

I also find that collectors are people who have reached a certain stage in their lives where their basic needs have been met and they are able to look at a higher level of need or want. You won't find any serious collector in a third world country where their basic need have not been met, they are just looking to survive, not to LIVE!

Like the writer said herself, she has no time to collect because she is too busy chasing after money or the demands of her job takes up all her time, leaving her no time for anything else. Collectors are able to devote time to collecting because they manage their time better and are able to find a balance. Personally, I have a well-balanced life of work and play AND I'm enjoying LIFE and not just plodding along on a mundane existence. Some people choose to go out partying and drinking till the wee hours because that is what they enjoy doing but as for me, I enjoy collecting. Some people choose to spend time playing games (be it computer games or sports) because that is what they enjoy, I enjoy collecting. I've only known HAPPY collectors and not miserable ones so if collecting makes them happy, then I say "Keep on collecting!"

I don't see myself as a tragic hero or a compulsive kid that refuses to grow up who is doomed to hunting down the next item. I see myself as a very happy individual who collects because he wants to and not because he has to, who has made friends with a GREAT many like-minded people through his blog and who enjoys sharing his passion and appreciating all the compliments he gets everyday. I don't live for the LOVE of MONEY, I'm loving LIFE and living it, and the toys are just a part of that enjoyment (dust included)!


saruman said...

I couldn't agree more!:D

Little Plastic Man said...

I second that bro!
Collectors unite!

ethan said...

I sped down all the way to my office to write down my comment (saw the post on my iPhone, but typing it seems forever with what I want to say here, so the keyboard is still the best & fastest way).

Anyway, I'm 200% with you on this. I'd almost going to curse all the known magical words in the world to this smart a** journalist. But sometimes to think of it, it would be useless, like cursing in the wind.

These people just don't get it. People collect or in a way spend on just that, they don't aware of it. Some spends on girls, clubbing, partying, rearing fish/birds, branded hand-bags...they just didn't realize it. And us, we collect toys (still like to refer it as collectibles though)

My arguments to whoever (wifey included, no offence darling) that questions us again...and again...are:

1) You can buy $100 diamond today, you sell it tomorrow at only $80. You buy a collection $100 today, you can sell it for $120 tomorrow (although this is worst case when you really need $ and need to part with your 'precious').

2) Some guys spend $100 for some chicks..we spend $100 on collections (with appreciation value). Think even my 2 years old kid knows which is better.

3) The meticulous work and engineering feat to produce the's almost equivalent to an artist's work on a masterpiece. We have the artistic 'values' at heart...why surpressed them? :)


Kal said...

I collect for the same reason you do. I like the look of well designed things and seeing a figure transfer from a comic or film to an object in my hand is fascinating to me. Even back when the 12 inch GI Joe's first appeared there was alot to admire in the way the outfits were constructed and the props were made. Today's technology and manufacturing techniques create truly beautiful works of art which I am happy to see you show off on your excellent site.

KazeTora said...

I second that as well, bro.

One should not mess with other's hobby. It's going to be a never ending war. It's called "guilty pleasure" for a reason, rite?

PS: Probably her hobby is collecting "real life" constraints? Hahaha.

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

i think you know how i feel about this, Friend- and if i had not got into collecting and enjoying toys i would never have got to know about you- i would never have wanted to miss that. your words echo my feelings about this matter- i appreciate the art that goes into these toys. i also like the fun they bring to my days & nights- and i'd tell that journalist i'm a lot happier spending my time doing this than i was drinking my life away. in a very real way these toys saved my life, and you played a big part in that, Alex- you are the Father of my love for toys.

alex teo said...

hi guys (saruman, adrian, kal and kazeTora) , THANKS for all the support :)

thanks ethan for penning down your thoughts and adding more ammunition and points to support our cause

hey colin, i'm really glad this hobby turned you around :) there are people i know who are still drinking their lives away (every weekend and every chance they get!) and it's quite a pity because they are missing out on so much more but i'm not the one to tell them how to live their lives - i just show others an alternative and i'm certainly overjoyed that collecting has brought so much more positives into your life CHEERS and i'll definitely drink to that LOL

D@isy said...

i am so proud of my hubby, THE collector :)

alex teo said...

my number ONE fan, supporter and better half :)

ethan said...

That says it all :)

alex teo said...

yup, totally agree ethan, without the better half's and family support, it wouldn't be as FUN and enjoyable :)

WL a.k.a Wee Loong said...


This juz goes to show the bond here..

If everyone juz bought things for practical reasons.. the world will be such a boring place to live in..

Collecting reflects the unique personality that each human-being has..

Everyone needs to have fun, and this is juz our way of doing so...

Collectors.. unite!



Kenny said...

Well said, my friend.

alex teo said...

thanks for the support, my "band of brothers" haha

D7ana said...

I collect because I enjoy seeing the figures, and they inspire story ideas. (And your post inspires a longer response ;-D that I'll add to my blog. Someday ...)

Sigh. The many detractors ought to wonder why they spend time critiquing another's hobby. Hobby envy?

alex teo said...

thanks D7ana, it's always nice to have another fellow collector's support (and a female one at that :) who says all collectors are males haha) CHEERS

D7ana said...

Online high-five from one of those rare and elusive "female" collectors LOL

That bit about collectors being male (the tragic hero) - huh? - struck me as weird: isn't the usual criticism against adult collectors against female collectors?

alex teo said...

A high-5 back at you, D7ana :) over here in Singapore, we enjoy the company of collectors, both male and female - no criticisms from us guys.