An excerpt of my interview with OMY was translated into Mandarin and published in My Paper and U Weekly 优1周 UW on 10 Nov 2014.
Here is the full interview in the original English.
1. What do you really blog about?
I blog anything about food and travel that moves me to write and share. Though anchored on the core of food and travel, I am not going to set boundaries for my own space.
Having said that, what moves me are the unfancied and untold.
I love blogging for the underdogs. The unsung food heroes. The untold food and people stories. Hence, Johor hawkers, which was where I started in the beginning. I have been looking for more unheralded food. For example, I am now looking at new immigrant food in Singapore.
2. What do you think is special / unique about your blog, that's different from most other food blogs?
My blog draws widely differing reactions from readers.
A judge in the OMY Blog Awards panel commented that my blog is "full of life and filled with the human touch".
Perhaps, because most of my content is so mundane and familiar, I have to look deeper to find interesting angles to present to the reader.
Find beauty in the ordinary.
3. How much ($) do you spend into running your blog on average each month?
About SGD1,500 a month. Mostly on food and transport. I am using Google's Blogger which is an essentially free platform and hosting service like YouTube which also belongs to Google.
4. Being a food blogger, how do you avoid "eating too much" and putting on weight?
Yeah, I have a extra big challenge. I actually try to eat all the food that I am served instead of just tasting small sampling bites. It's an attitude my mum instilled in us when we were children. It got stuck.
When not food tasting, I try to have simple meals like more oats and fruits. I brisk walk at least an hour a day except when the haze prevents me. Actually, my way of blogging involves a lot of walking. I often park my car and walk around the shop houses, markets and coffee shops to sniff out good food.
5. What are the best and worst experiences you've had in your blogging journey?
At the wedding of Bryan and Sue May
The best experiences is when I am able to make a positive connection with people, and between people.
Hawkers invite me to their homes and introduce me to their families. Sometimes strangers at other tables paid for my meal before I went to settle the bill. Strangers came to say hello. I attend readers' weddings and other private celebrations. Johoreans overseas write to me to tell me my blog keeps them connected with home. Johoreans write to me to tell me that they are discovering their own hometowns through my blog.
Worst experiences are when I got chased away by hawkers, which still happens once in a while.
Social media is a very new phenomenon, so some misunderstandings are inevitable. I myself am quite confused by social media, say just three years ago.
Some hawkers are wary of bloggers because of bad experiences, so their defensive reaction is understandable.
6. How do you deal with the bad experiences, if any?
Too blessed to be stressed
I just remind myself of the objective and social purpose of what I am doing and that always gets me recharged for the next blogging trip. In any case, by far most of my encounters are very heartwarming and positive, so I know that the occasional humps along the journey are just exceptions.
7. What do you wish to see more or less of the blogging community, perhaps especially for the very competitive food scene?
I hope more people realise the possibilities and opportunities blogging and social media create for community service.
For example, I wish more bloggers join me to explore the new cuisine that new immigrants are bringing to our food culture. Yes, create more awareness of the new comfort foods that are entering Singapore's food culture. In this way, food can serve as a bonding tool as it had done before when our forefathers too came to this island from other shores.
Though Singapore probably has the highest density of food bloggers in the world, the voices are not as varied and diverse. I hope there are more trend setters rather than trend followers.
8. Say a few words about winning in Singapore Blog Awards 2014!
Firstly, my gratitude to the hawkers whose stories won the readers' and judges' hearts - I am just a scribe. My heartfelt thanks to my readers in Singapore and overseas for voting for Johor Kaki. I would like to congratulate and thank SBA for playing a crucial role of setting the quality benchmark for blogging in Singapore every year.