2006 till now

My corporate law exam is tomorrow but this is a topic I’ve been ruminating on for a few weeks now so it’s probably best I pen down most of this. Hi, hello there Facebook friends. Facebook is probably the primary channel in which people click-through to get to my blog, with Urbanspoon coming in second I think because of all the food reviews. A lot of my Malaysian high school friends and acquaintances would know this, but I’ve been blogging on and off since 2006. I’m not sure what happened around the years 2004-2007 but there was this sudden influx of tweens and teens in Malaysia wanting to blog and write, that practically every third person in SMK Damansara Jaya probably had a blog. While there were a lot of avid writers and content and image-heavy posts, the majority were probably less than 200, a single selfie or some lyrics to a really popular emo song at the time. Friendster was our social media of choice back then and you couldn’t make statuses or get likes for your selfies so I guess having a blog satiated that craving for online attention.

As with all forms of self-expression, blogs became another platform to facilitate drama. There could be a lot of speculation based on whether you were on someone’s link list or even worse, if you were removed. People bitched about one another, sometimes under pseudonyms, sometimes not. There was a girl at school who got into a massive fight with a temping art teacher (who was a recent high school graduate from our school) and blogged about it. The art teacher’s friends who must’ve been in their late teens or early 20s somehow thought it fit to pick on the girl in her chat box. It went on for quite awhile. I too once had so much anger towards an English teacher I had in Form 2 that I wrote a massive rant about how much I hated her and how she must have bought her teaching qualifications because I didn’t think she was fit to teach. I even named her. Probably a really, really good thing that was never discovered. I guess when you’re younger, you might understand shame but you’re still by and large a lot more liberal with your thoughts. Blogging today, I’m not even sure I’m 100% comfortable with putting photos or actual names of other people on my blog because they may be sensitive about it.

Here’s another example of a blog post I wrote. So during that same time frame, surf brands suddenly got really popular as well despite all of us being true urban city kids. Not only was the nearest beach almost two hours away by car, I don’t think you could actually surf at many Malaysian beaches at all. But everyone started sporting Quicksilver t-shorts, boardshorts, hoodies (in 28 degree humidity, yes), and the notoriously popular tiny backpacks that us girls would carry to school, even if it meant half our books were in our hands because they couldn’t fit into that damn small bag. I didn’t own that many pieces of street wear because it was so horribly expensive. But my first overseas trip with my godparents, they took me to Thailand where Shaun (my godbrother) and I stocked up on as many fake Billabong and Roxy t-shirts as we could carry, haggling prices that were already a fraction of how much the originals were. I had a t-shirt and boardshort set that I was super proud of. Even though the shorts were actually a couple of sizes too small, I sucked in my muffin top and took a couple of selfies from the neck down. I then uploaded it to my computer and wrote a quick blurb about it (omitting the fact that they were fake) and published it onto whichever was my active blog at the time. I suppose that was my first #OOTD post ever. One of the main differences between me blogging now and blogging then is back then I tried my absolute hardest to hide my blog from my mom because I was really shy. Which is kind of funny to think that I was happy to share my feelings with the rest of the planet, just not my mom. Anyway she found my post and made a completely benign comment about it but I was still embarrassed anyway and deleted it and the rest of the blog with it.

A lot of those blogs are long dead now, both mine and that of other peoples’, either deleted or with the last updates dating back to 2008 or something like that. I know this because that part of my brain that remembers a lot of useless facts from the past, still remembers some of the blog URLs of people I wasn’t even friends with (there were over 2000 kids at my Malaysian high school) but knew by name or by face. I definitely miss it a lot, blog hopping was addictive, mindless and a good way to kill time. Even famous SEA bloggers like Xiaxue has slowed down; hey 90’s Malaysian kids, Xiaxue. I’m sure a lot of you still read her blog or observe her on new social media channels, but it’s crazy to think that when I first started reading her, she had brown hair and was going for more of a Taiwanese bombshell look complete with a Juice Couture obsession. And now she has a son and looks like a Japanese fairy. I also still read Cheesie’s blog Cheeserland like crazy, and click on Kennysia’s blog occasionally even though I know he doesn’t really blog anymore because he runs his own gym business now. Again another really surreal feeling, having read these blogs for almost 10 years now it feels like I actually know them.

Off the top of my head I had at least seven blogs from 2006 to 2009. I blame inconsistency, deleting blogs, switching blogs, long periods of inactivity, as the reason my blog still suspends in this limbo of ‘family, friends, family friends and 2nd degree connections’ as my primary readers.  I was very shy back then so shame was probably the biggest motivating factor to keep deleting old work as I always thought what I wrote was terrible, almost immediately after it was published. I don’t think I was wrong, but I definitely wish I’d kept everything. I suppose the big question here is, why am I still blogging? If you measured the success of a blog by page hits and fame, I’m probably not even 0.0001% of Xiaxue’s fame. But there is a pattern to this. As I write and delete, write and delete, the itch to write is always there no matter how many times I think I’ve thrown in the towel for good, or decide to use other social media platforms to express myself. I guess coupled with being an attention seeker, I love it when people read my blog. Until today I still thank people who message me about a new post or even a restaurant recommendation I might have made because it shows they took time out of their day to read my writing. And even though I’m not Xiaxue, I wouldn’t let go of this blogging or writing. It’s helped me make friends, it’s even been a bit of a boost for a lot of jobs I’ve applied and gotten. But most of all, writing has always been my catharsis. Whether that catharsis’s name is Real Fantaji, Trojan-Dart, Rinoaskyes, savv-y, secretsunday or samanthawxlow.

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  1. Oh man, Kennysia!
    I actually miss those times; when blogs were the in-thing (together with the side chatbar and music that plays on auyomatically once the page is loaded).
    You’re great writer, Sam, and I really enjoy the postings on your blog!
    Glad you kept blogging, and keep up the great writing 😀

    1. I actually met Kenny and Cheesie in Sydney in 2010! I’ll see if I can dig up the old post from Tumblr archives. He was still actively blogging then. Since you’re on that side of Malaysia now, perhaps you’ll bump into him! And thank you (even though I’ve thanked you a million times now) for always reading my blog!

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