the interview – unedited


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regarding me being one of the 5 women bloggers featured in the clove magazine from the star paper dated 3 oct., i have updated the post with link to the article tittled ‘blog brigade’. have you read it already?

ee-tan, the writer had sent me the interview questions 2 weeks before the publication date. what i said had been edited a lot, cut short especially of course since i’m a chatterbox and long-winded. haha. anyway, now i would like to present here the answers i had sent to ee-tan, exactly as i wrote without editing. i feel it is good to have it up anyway so as for people to get to know about me and my blogging better.

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1.    When did you start blogging and how did it happen?

27 Sept. 2003. Believe it or not, first of all, it was my 11 years old niece who influenced me. She started a blog and I did asked her how she did it but she just told me “Like that, like that” and I wasn’t any wiser. Then I think to myself if an 11 years old could do it, why not I. So I began to experiment with blogs. That time I just posted some ‘rubbish’ as experiment (and of course did not made my blog public). Then I started reading Jeff Ooi’s blog and was impressed by the news and current issues he provided. I was also fascinated by the fact that a particular post has so many links, which means just from one post, I can go to so many other websites for information. Wow! A goldmine of information in just one post!

After reading Jeff’s and a few other bloggers for some time, I decided since I have a lot to comment on their blogs, why not I started one myself so that I can talk all I want! Then in Sept. 2003 when Dr Mahathir announced his resignation, the blogosphere was full of talk about his resignation and who was going to be his successor and all that. I cannot ‘tahan’ already, having so much to say myself, so I started my present blog, ‘mental jog’ which went public on 27 Sept.

2.    Can you briefly describe your blog? What are the things you blog about?

Mostly on socio-political issues, current issues and news. Once in a while, I will have some personal posts like on my travel stories or food places.

3.    Why did you decide to blog on social-political issues?

These are real issue that happens right in front of us, issues which we should be concern with. Beside, it gives me an opportunity to voice out how I feel about a particular issue, instead of suppressing all my thoughts. Right in the beginning when I started my blog, I had already decided on social-political issues… remember the reason I started my blog? To say something about Dr. Mahathir’s resignation. 

4.    Where do you get your inspirations on what to blog about?

From the mainstream media or online news media. I picked up some news/issues here and there to blog about. Sometimes I get inspirations from other bloggers too or from conversation with friends.

5.    How `controversial’ are your posts?  Do you self censor?

Er… not that really controversial… though there were some people who said I am very controversial, especially when I touch on religion or race.
Yes I do practice self censor. There are some things I like to blog about but I know they are sensitive so I restrain myself not to blog about it. Then if I spy some visitors who made comments that are sensitive or seditious, I will delete the comments. I don’t delete abusive comments though – want to show to everybody how stupid and abusive they are.

6.    Who are your readers? (if you know)

They are mostly other bloggers, and a few non bloggers but regular commenter who also comments in other blogs.

7.    How often do you update your blog?

I try to update everyday. As I mentioned earlier, I was influenced by Jeff Ooi’s posts that were full of links, whenever I made a post, I try to provide lots of links too. This takes a lot of time. I have to source for links here and there and sometimes resort to doing a google search for news/info. When I don’t have time to source around for news, to make sure I have updates everyday, I will post up some ‘cut and paste’ materials or some jokes. (but jokes are very rare please as I don’t like having jokes up on my socio-political blogs!).

8.    How many hits do you get a day on average?  Is that very important to you?

I only get an average of 100 hits… it fluctuate up and down, less or above 100. I know this is nothing at all… just a tiny teeny weeny drop in the ocean… compare to the other popular bloggers like Jeff Ooi and Kenny Sia.

Well I would be lying if I said the number of hits is not important to me. It is… but on the other hand, I’m not too worried over it. I know to some bloggers, the number of hits is very important to them and they like to well… show off… that they received 2000 hits, 3000 hits a day when mentioning their blogs. To me, the number of hits is not important at all as I do believe what every bloggers should believe – “blog for yourself foremost”.

The number of comments is more important to me than the number of hits because you know, hits doesn’t really mean ALL of them do read your blog, if you know what I mean. Having touched on comments, I would like to also say that quality comments are more important than quantity comments. It’s no point having 20, 50, 100 comments if most of them were just one liner like “Great post!”, “I agree with you”

9.    Did/do you actively promote your blogs to friends/ online?

In the beginning, for the first 2 years, yes – but mostly to friends online. I rarely promote my blogs to real friends! Nowadays what I did is ‘subtle promotion’ – having my blog link on all forums and newsgroup I visited.

10.    What are some of the joy you get from blogging?

The comments. It shows not only are people reading my blog but they bother to say something. Once in a while, I also had some people writing to me personally (instead of making a comment in my blog) about what I had posted.

When my blog posts were posted to ‘Global Voices Online’, I felt very happy to as Global Voices Online as the title suggest is known globally, thus giving me some exposure out of Malaysia.

However, the 2 greatest joy was when I was ‘recognised’. Let me explain.

On 1 December 2003, a post I wrote about World AIDs day. I was pleasantly surprised to learn later that I  was nominated by the Malaysian AIDs Council for its ‘Daimler Crysler Red Ribbon Media Awards 2004’. Though I didn’t win, the very fact of me getting nominated was enough to made me delirious with joy!

Then during the great Aceh Tsunami on Dec. 2004, I blog extensively on some relief aid work I did for the Tsunami victims. When the Singapore Strait Times did an article on aid offered to the Tsunami victims from different countries, I was surprised that it mentioned me!

11.    Are there any drawbacks in blogging?

It takes up a lot of my time! I had to discard all my other interests like watching TV and reading. Oh, also don’t forget that if I made friends via blogging, so will I made some enemies via blogging too.

12.    Any interesting experiences/incidents you can share from blogging?

I managed to locate some lost old friends. They found my blog and contact me.

I once gave a short talk to a small group of about 30 people about blogging at a gathering about podcasting and blogging organized by Ong Boon Keong (activist and recent Freedom Film Festival winner)!

Of course the other interesting experiences would be all the bloggers gathering I had attended. (refer no. 13)

13.    Have you made more friends and widen your network through blogging?

Definitely! Years back, I used to organize some bloggers gathering in Penang. However, most of these gathering were attended by bloggers who were very much younger than me, and also bloggers who were ‘lifestyle’ bloggers and not SoPo bloggers like me. Well, age doesn’t matter in a friendship, right, so I did managed to made friends with some of these bloggers who were younger than me.

I notice that no. 1, there are very few SoPo bloggers in Penang and no. 2, most lifestyle bloggers are younger ones while most SoPo bloggers are older and nearer my age. Thus I started to ‘mix’ with more SoPo bloggers online (and mostly from KL).

The recent ‘Bloggers United’ gathering held in KL in May this year – I was one of the organizer. Although it initially was meant for SoPo bloggers but we open it for all bloggers. However, in the end, it ended up that mostly SoPo bloggers attended anyway. The gathering was a success! Near 100 people turned up! All big names too! I managed to meet face to face the many bloggers that I had chatted to online for the first time. Managed to meet those ‘big names’ popular bloggers like Jeff Ooi (though this was the 3rd time I met him), Rocky, Raja Petra and Marina Mahathir. Marina was so sweet and friendly. I had a photo taken with her!

14.    With the recent government pressure on SoPo bloggers, do you fear there is a risk? Why still do it?

Yes a little, especially when I criticized the ruling coalition a lot in my blog. Well, a blogger friend told me that once you are a SoPo blogger, your name will be at Bukit Aman’s file and assured me that my name would be there in Bukit Aman’s record! Well, I’m one of the few bloggers who blogs with real name. Yes, not only do I have my real name up but I have my photo up too so I guess I make it was for the SB if they are looking for me. Haha!

Well, as long as I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong by just expressing my personal view, I guess I’ll continue doing it. As long as I know my limit not to tread on seditious ground, I guess I shouldn’t fear.

15.    How long do you see yourself blogging? What motivates you on?

I guess I will keep blogging as long as I’m able to – mentally and physically!
What motivates me to go on blogging is the fact that there are people coming to my blog to read what I wrote, even if it is only 100 or so. If I stop blogging for days, I will feel like I’m disappointing my regular readers.

Also, it is my love for writing that keep me blogging. I had been interested in writing ever since I was in primary school.

16.  Pls feel free to add anything else you’d like to say!

I would like to say something about the heading of my blog!

It took me some time to pick a heading for my blog. Tossed around many suggestions. Then I remember what someone said “We jog to keep our body fit, but we also need to ‘jog‘ to keep our mind fit” thus the name ‘mental jog’ came into my mind.. and I threw in the tagline “jog-along with MENTAL JOG. Exercise your mind”.  My blog is more of a ‘mental jog’ for myself than for my readers. Blogging everyday help to keep my mind alert. Funny though, not many people remember my blog name as ‘Mental Jog’ but they refer to my blog simply as ‘Lucia’s blog’. Is it the word ‘mental’? Hope I won’t go mental one day for getting too addicted to blogging. Haha.

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