In this age of technology, the humble LEGO brick has not only endured, it has survived and thrived against all odds. These small colourful blocks appeal to almost every individual, of any age, attracted by the idea of building things. And perhaps its appeal lies partly in the fact that the potential to build something is never-ending. A professor of mathematics calculated that there are more than 915 million ways to combine six eight-stud Lego bricks. Today, LEGO is not just about buying tiny plastic bricks for kids, it’s now also about adults re-engaging with the LEGO brand to build stunning new creations. We had the pleasure of chatting with Jet Lee who is a parent and also a LEGO collector and enthusiast, to find out more about his interest in this hobby.
How long have you been collecting LEGO?
I have been actively collecting LEGO for about six to seven years now. I reconnected with the hobby when I had kids. Initially, I bought my kids LEGO because it was one of my favourite activities growing up. However, playing alongside them made me realise that I still have the passion within me for this.
How many bricks have you collected so far?
I have approximately 50,000 bricks at home.
Do you display all your LEGO sets?
I stopped displaying most of them a few years ago. Simply because they were taking up way too much space, and my home does not have sufficient room to store all of the displays. What I normally do is after we have built a new LEGO set, we will celebrate by leaving it on display for a few days. And then, we’d take some pictures and post them on Instagram. Then, we’d take them apart and organise the parts accordingly before putting them away. It takes almost as much effort taking them apart as it is putting them together. The good thing is that by keeping them organised, it makes it a lot easier to build again in the future.
Do you step on LEGO bricks at home?
All the time! That is the biggest hazard of being a LEGO lover. We often joke that the best way to stop thieves is to leave the bricks on the floor at the door entrance at night. The sharp edges of the bricks would surely scare them away!
“Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between kids growing up playing LEGO and their tendency to become architects as adults. In fact, many architectural firms today use Lego as prototypes when showing clients their ideas for projects.“
How can playing with LEGO be beneficial to a child’s development?
First of all, it fosters interaction and gets the family closer together. It is always an occasion we look forward to. In an age where most of the kids’ activities revolve around the iPad, Lego is a good platform for kids to actually touch, feel and build something.
At home, my kids and I are equal partners when it comes to LEGO projects, no particular person is taking the lead all the time, so it actually promotes team work.
In fact LEGO Architecture allows you to recreate famous architectural landmarks and this is popular with adults but there’s no stopping kids from starting early – to foster a career in the construction industry!
Tell us about Brunei’s LEGO Club (BULAT).
BULAT stands for Brunei Usergroup LEGO And Technic, it is a community for Brunei LEGO enthusiasts. We have about 1,400 members on Facebook, where we update each other on the latest models available on the market; we find out about discounts; and exchange ideas and bricks. A few times a year, we will get together for an exhibition in the malls where we collectively bring our own sets to showcase to the public and to share our passion.