The Evolution of Blogging

The act of blogging has taken a change in discourse for as long as the Internet exists. It still remains 1 of the ways to deliver information to the general public who reads and consume information online. As I was modifying this blog and changed the ‘About Me‘ section, I was reminded of my old blogs on other hosting websites such as Blogspot and LiveJournal. If I recall correctly, Blogspot is perhaps the starter domain for people who are new to blogging. LiveJournal would be more on the content sharing site.

I used to think that people who write online on personal blogs are called ‘bloggers’ and the act of writing is called ‘blogging’. When the Internet took off in late 90s early 2000s, writing online is appealing that it shifts away from the traditional media (newspapers and magazines). This was the Modem era where using the Internet means no one can use the house phone as it is connected to the land line. Loading an image takes minutes and videos aren’t popular just yet. These are all before YouTube as YouTube was founded in 2006.

So how did people share information before YouTube? It does sound impossible now, isn’t it? My old blogs reveal to me that the difference between now and then is that the speed of information in which they travel. Getting information from blogs or websites means one would have to read the entire article written by the writer. On video sharing websites, however, one needs to search for what they are interested in, click the video and watch the information formed onto words and visuals. It does sound like a chore reading an article about something when the same information can be compressed onto a video but hey, we’re talking about pre-YouTube here 😛

But of course, I think that when YouTube becomes more relevant and engaging, the art of blogging transcends to many different methods. People don’t write to spread information but rather, create the content in video forms. Video sharing websites make information more exciting where it has visuals and motions. Blogging for the sake of blogging isn’t as popular as it was.

How does blogging fits in today’s complicated and intricate world of social media? If you happen to follow online personalities on your social media accounts, chances are they may start out as a blogger, and slowly becomes a person with an online presence in the things they enjoy doing and perhaps known for. Now, you have your food bloggers, beauty bloggers, YouTubers, the list is endless. 1 thing in common between these ‘new media professions’ (at least that’s what I like to call them) is that they are all sharing information within a specific subject and/or interest through the Internet and social media apps. Food bloggers are more likely to talk about food and eatery places. Beauty bloggers may discuss the beauty trends and provide review on the new makeup collections. Yotubers in general showcase their interest in videos on Youtube.

But does that mean blogging is ‘dead? I refuse to think so because there are plenty of blogs out there that spread information without having any YouTube account. There are also YouTubers who have blogs as a means to explain more in depth in writing. I don’t think writing will become obsolete in the near future because having things written down is an evidence that it had happened. Videos may be entertaining to watch but I’d like to think that reading can be as entertaining as well 🙂

 

After 2 months hiatus, I’m back.

It’s a little over 2 months since my last blog post. There are reasons for this.

When I broke the story on donUT scarves’ story on stealing designs, I have doubts if I’ll ever be contacted by the company, etc. Fortunately, until today, no actions were taken towards me. But was this the reason I didn’t blog? Of course not! 😛

Lack of inspiration was one thing. I think we do have at some point of our lives just didn’t wanna do anything. And then comes the fasting month where things just slow down.

I had a chat with a friend of mine who works in the media industry. We pondered upon reasons why we started these kind of medium: What was the purpose? Do we do it for information? For fame? For self satisfaction? As a hobby? The list goes on.

It made me think too about this blog and all the other blogs that I had throughout the 10 years of blogging.

I can say that this blog will be a semi-personal blog where my opinions are posted. But at the same token, I’d like to share useful tips and tricks on the things that I find interesting.

Dear donUT Scarves, stealing is damn wrong.

Before I post my opinion, I’d love if you could read what my friend had posted at her Facebook and share the post at your account.

Basically, Donut Scarves just stole a design from a Japanese artist by the name Shinji Tsuchimochi (Instagram link here) and NEVER CREDIT him.

Okay, I understand. Originality is dead. Everyone copy each other, fine. BUT, there is a fine line between taking an artist’s materials for personal use and for business purposes.

Shinji’s artworks are posted on Behance where all of his artworks are protected by Creative Commons License, specifically the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). In other words, his artworks are not meant for commercialization at all.

Clearly, Donut Scarves violated this rule by commercializing Shinji’s work. It’s bad enough that they didn’t bother to give credit but making money, potentially thousands out of it?

If we turned in our essay for turn-it-in for plagiarism check in university, we can definitely use our EYES to see that the illustration is similar. This is the design that was being STOLEN from Shinji:

donut scarves plagiarism cheat copycat Japanese artwork      shinji tsuchimochi ORIGINAL Japanese artwork

Picturesque Japan plagiarized version versus the original artwork titled ‘Zojoji’ at IG and at Behance 

What is clever for Donut Scarves is that they Photoshop a sakura tree onto Shinji’s original design and zoomed in the original artwork to make it less obvious. Also, they blurred Shinij’s artwork so Donut’s looked like it was painted in water colour. If you click on each individual link and compared it side by side, the drawing is the exact same copy. Unfortunately, Donut Scarves heavily edited the original picture to make it look like their’s. What doesn’t change is the positioning of the temple, Tokyo Tower, people, birds, clouds and sky. I am not an artist myself but anyone can see the immediate resemblance on first glance! If Donut Scarves were to draw the exact same picture based on Shinji’s original artwork, it wouldn’t look the same. The strokes, the colour, the shapes, the whole canvas really. Since they claimed to have drawn this design in 1 month, I’d expect a totally different style of art.

Donut Scarves could have hire an artist or an illustrator and draw something that looks similar or gain inspiration from the pictures to have their own ‘picturesque Japan’. This is no brainer. But nope, they choosed to take another artist’ work, make profit out of it when they are not supposed to, and failing to give credits. Shinji took about 3 years to publish an artbook and donut scarves took literally a few clicks to steal people’s work.

Feel free to comment or share this post if you agree with me that the company had stolen artwork at their disposal.

On another note, Donut Scarves IG is notoriously known for blocking followers who talks the slightest negative about their product. There are users who had posted on their own IG page, criticizing the lack of quality of their scarves and tagged Donut Scarves onto the pictures, only to have found out that their username had been blocked. In addition, any negative comments on Donut Scarves IG will be deleted as soon as possible so they could continue to milk your money.

In the time where social media is so rampant, people are free to talk about anything, including criticizing a brand. There are people who give constructive criticism in hopes that the brand will be better. If Donut Scarves cannot take in constructive criticisms, then why do they continue to be arrogant? Your  customers want the best for your brand and you silence them off. Know your mistakes and improve, not continue to make mistakes.

Update 1 (2017 May 2nd, 3:13pm GMT +8) Shinji posted at his own FB page in Japanese expressing his thanks to the person who informed him that his work was used for commercialization.

Translation:  It seemed that my illustrations were used for commercial purposes without permission. It’s sad that the painting (illustration) is the one I drew by myself. I am thankful that someone had brought up this matter to me. Thank you.

Update 2 (2017 May 2nd, 7:02pm GMT +8) Donut Scarves issued a statement at around 5:30pm local time. You, the wiser reader, be the judge.

Update 3 (2017 May 2nd, 9:02pm GMT +8) I did mentioned above that Donut Scarves will delete negative comments, right? Here’s my proof of screenshots. If you have nothing to be afraid of, why hide the truth? The fourth picture is meant to show that the deleted comment was originally in between two other usernames. You be the judge. Click to view screenshots.

Update 4 (2017 May 4th, 8:30pm GMT +8) I still stand firm to what I had mentioned about Donut Scarves delete any negative comments. At the same announcement post, many of the negative comments were deleted in order to hide the truth. I screenshot the below pictures 2 days ago. The last picture is a screenshot that I took today, and is a proof that the user who had pointed out the truth on Donut Scarves copying designs was blocked by the company. Read all the comments below and compare to the announcement post here. You will definitely noticed all the deleted comments at their IG post.

It’s unfortunate that Donut Scarves will continue to do what they are “best”. This post is to spread awareness to you readers. Whether you would continue to support this brand (especially Malaysians because you want to support local businesses) or not is your own prerogative, your call. You decide. I am only a citizen and I can do this much to shed light about this matter. Thank you for helping me spread awareness by any means of communication if you did and God bless.

Trying to be a Minimalist

As the title goes, I am trying to be a Minimalist.

There is no clear-cut definition to become a Minimalist. It doesn’t mean throwing away everything you own or having nothing hanging on the walls or walls MUST be painted white, and the list goes on.

For years, I have been decluttering my room. I am blessed to have a roof over my head for almost 2 decades now and when I first moved into the present house, I remembered my bedroom was like a warehouse. There were about 6 to 8 boxes of STUFF. I spent a considerable amount of time (years) discarding stuff from my room and hesitating if I should throw them away or keep it just in case I needed it. It doesn’t help that when I returned from Japan after a year, I brought back 12 boxes more. The reason that it took me this long to “clean” is because I kept on bringing and introducing new items to my room the moment I have space. Perhaps growing up poor meant that whenever I have the opportunity to buy the things I wanted, I will buy as I may loose that chance of buying.

While I am still feeling unsatisfied with how much clutter my room has, it had definitely been better. I am at this stage where if I want to buy things for my room, I would need to visualize where this item is going to my room. If I can’t find a place for it, then I know that item would just become the next clutter. Temptations to buy doesn’t always disappear and there are times where I just buy for the sake of buying. I had read Kondo Marie’s book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” to come to understand that in the process of decluttering, you keep things that make you happy. How I wished I knew this back then.

Lately, I have been watching videos on YouTube on the concept of ‘Minimalism’, house tours, decluttering makeup and just videos of reducing waste that it got me inspired to become a Minimalist. I think another turning point for me to become as such has to do with the number of wants I would love but also realizing that there are opportunity costs with what I do with money. I have taken money for granted far too long to realize that I really want isn’t many materials, but more experiences. I mean, of course, you can’t skimp on everything for sake of financial savings because that wouldn’t be too realistic.

The present mission is, of course, to apply the ‘KonMari’ method of reducing more clutter and ultimately, a room without boxes.

Why I had decided to privatize my IG account.

For some of my present followers who had watched my IG Stories, I posted about removing followers and privatizing my account.

There are a couple of reason that I came to this conclusion. I don’t know if my brain works in a chronological way but here goes.

Firstly, I overthink simple stuff.

Allow me to illustrate. When my account was publicly opened, there are some followers that I have no idea who they are. This kind of annoys me. My brain starts to have this pattern:

Okay, who are you?

Why are you following my account?

What if these people just want to butt into my life?

But then again, maybe they just want to see other people’s life on the other side of the world?

Will they talk shit about me? I mean, I know I cannot stop people from talking shit about things but I don’t know you and you want to talk shit?

Wait, wait, wait. Go back to the beginning. Maybe they just want to follow so they can get more followers? If like that, fine by me. It’s not like I will follow you.

Yes, I overthink simple stuff.

Some of you may ask, “Why not just private your account? Then you don’t have to think so much.” My sister said this to me. I wished I was brave enough to do so years ago.

Why didn’t I do that? Maybe I want people to think that I am being ‘nice’ for showing them (the followers, whoever they are, etc) my life, sharing good things, recommend cool stuff, fangirl about anime and so forth. I want ‘them’ to be happy in case they are feeling sad. I want my friends (or ‘friends’) to know that I am doing alright. Back then, I didn’t overthink about what people would say about certain things. It’s also a way of saying “Welcome to my Life! See what I had posted so these are what I am into at the moment. I hope it brings you cheer!”

Secondly, at the same token, exposing my Life publicly also meant self-insecurities for me. I had a period of time where I put so many hashtags at 1 post just to feel validated with the number of likes. With the number of followers I had, I was naïve to think that all of them would like my pictures too. I won’t feel happy if I didn’t get at least 10% out of the number of followers I had in liking my picture I has posted. You could well say that some of my pictures were only there just for the likes. I think I can tell which pictures when I scroll down my feed.

Thirdly, maybe it has to do with maturity and now, I couldn’t care less if I am the only one liking my own post. I put fewer hashtags or sometimes, none at all. Instead, I care who followed my account, be it from friends, fans of certain fandom that I am into, IG sellers, etc. because I –actually- care who these followers are. I became selective.

I had been too ‘free’ that I started to be a realist (or pessimist). I start to think about Life in general, who I am, who my friends are, etc. When all of these thinking lead to nowhere, deep down, I know that performing an action is the way to silence those uncertainties, albeit how scary is it. Little did I know that removing followers when your account is Private makes it easier to do so because that follower wouldn’t know that they had been removed unless they remembered they followed your account decide to view or stalk your profile.

And so in a span of an hour, when I removed followers, one by one and I felt at ease.

At ease knowing that most of my followers now are people I had met in real life and they appear to be nice people.

At ease, because I don’t allow unknown people ‘entering’ my life. I am selective as to who get to see ‘me’ (or me).

At ease, as I know, I am being me and I don’t need to feel validated by the number of followers or likes anymore.

Speaking of going private, this blog is public so people who did not follow me can still read whatever I had posted. How does this not bother me? That’s because in WordPress, you can choose to have your blog posts locked and only those who have the password get to read your post. Also, anything I posted in this blog is for the General Public or Readers. Meaning, I can share reviews or general thoughts about something so that people without social media accounts can read about it. I haven’t had any locked post as of this writing. I don’t know if I will because anything that is for me to keep is only for me and I won’t share to any soul.

I would like to think that this is just the first step I take to detoxify my ‘digital life’. I want to be able to identify the reasons why I did this or that. I want to be able to say, “I post whatever I want because I am being me. People may still judge me for who I am but whatever, life is too short to spend my energy on them.

With that all said, I might one day delete all my social media profiles or further limit the number of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’. I won’t be surprised if I did this at all because my overthinking take the best of me or I am even wiser to choose who enters my life.

Should you visit the farmer’s market (‘tamu’) or the supermarket when buying fruits and vegetables?

Last Sunday when I was dragged to become a ‘driver’ early morning, I reluctantly woke up and did the errand. Passing by me as I drove to do my errand was the early morning market, or we call it ‘tamu’ locally. These market operates very early around 7 in the morning and ends by noon, at least the one in KB does. I have been wanting to visit the local tamu and I guess last Sunday was the opportunity to do so.

I think of the ‘tamu’ as our farmers’ market. In other countries, the farmers’ market is the place where you can buy and support local vendors. Similarly, a lot of vendors are selling their produce of fruits and vegetables here. I was in for a shock when I noticed the differences between the ‘tamu’ and the supermarket that I frequent.

If you have been buying your groceries from the supermarket (like I do, guilty as charged!), perhaps a visit to the ‘tamu’ would change your perspective of things? Here’s what I think after I visited the market:

  1. Some produce is cheaper here.

Never underestimate the prices sold at the tamu. As I was a first timer, I walked around the vicinity and survey the prices of the things I wanted to buy. Almost everyone sells at the same price. 1 kilogramme of tomatoes for $2, red onions at $1 per kilo, 3 cucumbers for $1 and so on. I bought half a kilo of tomatoes for $1 and there were about 5 tomatoes. I think the same 5 tomatoes in the supermarket would cost me more than a dollar. And the best part? Next point!

  1. Free to choose which produce you want.

I get to choose which tomatoes I wanted. I have the tendency of choosing the ‘prettier’ ones over the ones that have dents or spot. I know, it’s a bad habit. Maybe I just want my tomatoes to be visually pleasing. A lot of produce in the market are yours to choose so you could always choose the not rotten or ugly ones out, or the bigger fruits over the smaller ones. A lot of the fruits and vegetables in supermarkets are prepacked so you don’t have the option to choose them freely.

  1. Competitive market.

Almost every vendor have the same selling price point so you’re not losing out. 1 notable feature is when they advertised in the open air such as “1 kilo $1!” It’s a way to attract you to see what they are selling and I also think it’s the charm of visiting this place. I mean, you won’t hear people calling out their prices in the open, right? With the exception of an auction place maybe.

The other 2 minor points would be the freshness and the variety of the fruits and vegetables. I think there is more variety in the market than the supermarket in a way that you have more options to buy from these vendors. For example, 2 vendors may sell the exact same onion at the exact same price and you may choose to buy 1 kilo from vendor A and another from vendor B. Furthermore, the freshness of the fruits and vegetables between the vendors aren’t very apparent, unless if you know how to tell the differences between a fresh one and the not so fresh vegetable. From my observation, every vendor seemed to be selling at the same quality.

Of course, not every fruits or vegetable can be found in ‘tamu’, so to speak. I didn’t see any vendors selling lemons, avocados, strawberries and only 1 vendor was selling grapes. These fruits are imported and I don’t think it’s worth for the vendors to sell these at the market. So while these ‘premium’ ingredients aren’t sold in the local ‘tamu’, a lot of the common fruits and vegetables are being sold, such as long beans (sayur kacang), leafy vegetables (sayur sawi, sayur kangkung, etc).

So the next time you want to buy your fruits or vegetables, how about stop by your local farmers’ market and compare the different prices and qualities the open market has to offer? A lot of these vendors are run by individuals with family members to feed and not run by mega corporations. By buying from them, you help the families directly. Personally, I feel good that my money spent in these markets are helping the families in their living.

Blogs that I (try to) read daily

As I graduated and earned a college degree, I realised that my reading skills slowly plummeted. I think it has to do with the absence of every day reading while I was pursuing my degree and now, reading can sometimes be a chore. And to think that before I had to read something almost every other day to complete my assignment! However, like a habit, it has to start slow and gradually you will get the hang of it.

There are 2 blogs that I wanted to introduce today: The Financial Diet and Spills Spot. Both are blogs that discusses about money in general and tips on managing our finances. I think that as I am slowly getting used to the working adult life, money is ever so important than it was. Having too little or too much isn’t good either.

Both blogs gave me a pleasure in understanding how I come to terms with money. It’s a hard-hit reality when I read some of the posts such as ‘Frugal Living is a New Mindset‘ and ‘35 Money Questions You Should Be Able To Answer By 35‘ but I believe that posts like these will help me grow as a person, hopefully equip with more money-sense.

Does Having a Career Mattered?

This is something I never thought of during my studies in university. I remembered a friend of mine was deciding between a chartered accountant or a financial analyst as she likes both of them. At that time, I was only looking forward to the end of exam.

You see, my academic life has always been on a constant change. I studied the 3 sciences (Physics, Biology and Chemistry) in high school only because of peer-pressure. I knew my passion was in History but that would place me under the ‘loser’ class. Then, when I entered college, I took a different route and this time it was all humanities subjects, subjects that I never studied but took the plunge anyways because I gave up in the 3 Sciences, and also I don’t see myself being a Scientist doing research or laboratory works. The classes I took were English Literature, Economics and History.

A-level History modules are very interesting to me. World politics and history, European revolutions, Asian colonization, etc. Unfortunately, my History teacher is 1 of the educators who does not fulfill her role as an educator. Til this date, I still blame my History teacher for her lousy teaching methods as she does not provide us real guidance on how to answer A-level questions. I was lost despite the number of articles I googled on how to score for History. At the end of A levels, I scored grade ‘E’ which devastated me.

In university, despite the interesting History modules that were up to offer, I didn’t take any. I was already in a dilemma with that ‘E’ grade I received and then decided that History is something that I fascinates about. I majored in Communications simply because I didn’t know which major to pick from my faculty. Thinking back, I wished I had taken History despite the dilemma.

The many changes of my academic life suggests to me that career works the same. I never stuck myself to just one subject core. And here I am, working on a 8 – 5 cubicle job. I know I might change my job to something completely new but does it matter if my future job has little relation to my previous job? I know my character and I do not wish to have my future job being dictated by a few piece of academic qualification. I won’t be surprised if someone works in an entirely different field from what they had studied. This is the job market nowadays.

Keeping Up With the Instant Updates!

This post may be a rant and please read with caution.

Let’s admit this: social media is taking over our lives. From Snapchat’s stories to Instagram Stories to Watsapp Status (I miss the old status update where it is just 1 at a time!) and now Facebook’s My Day, there are just so many of these ‘stories’ that you can view the moment you are on any of the social media app mentioned above. What do all these ‘stories’ have in common aside from the copy-cat version from Snapchat? Whenever someone you follow on social media is posting a story, you get to view them for 24 hours from the moment they post them.

Considering that Watsapp Status and Facebook My Day is fairly new, I think that in Brunei, Instagram Stories is a more popular medium to update about our lives. What do we update about? Literally anything and everything: Promotional products, pets, nieces or nephews, gatherings, personal lives, etc. The updates are endless and listless.

Which beg me to this question: how fast do we want to live our lives on the Internet? People used to frown upon posting food pictures on IG (#foodie #lovefoodhatewaste) and now, we can telecast our own ‘live’ on the Internet for the world to see what we are doing. 15 seconds video is no longer popular. We story about what we eat, who we hang out with, how cute our niece or nephew is, the places we visit. Don’t get me wrong though, as far as I know, you can instagram story the hell out of everything you want.

Few more questions that comes to my mind is: What do we want out of this? Do we want self-validation from people? Do we want to showcase our social media marketing skills?  Or are we just doing this for fun? All these quick updates about our lives can give us our own 15 seconds of Youtuber fame. I mean, if a Youtuber posts 20 minute videos about what they do, we are posting just 20 seconds of our own lives in the social media space.

I can’t help thinking about all these instant updates anytime I click on a story. Problem is, I don’t just have 1, I have an average of 30 to 50 story updates should I decide to view EVERY single one of them. Of course, I don’t view every one of them because it is time consuming (and data consuming too. Like, what day and age are we living that we have monthly Internet quota?). Call me old fashion but sometimes I prefer to talk to the person and ask how are they doing, than to mindlessly submerge myself into this stream of updates. It’s not like I have a very good memory and remembered every single details that I just watched. Maybe sometimes I remembered but I know most of the time, I don’t.

There really is nothing wrong with us wanting to update our lives on the public sphere. We do it for our own reasons. It is a good tool to show to our family and friends what we are up to nowadays, especially if your family and friends live abroad and what better way to communicate with them if not with the updates?

A Guest at UBD Toastmasters Club- 29th August 2016

On 29th August, I attended the Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) Toastmaster session that was held at UBD Multi Purpose Hall (MPH) next to the Student Affair’s Section/Student Central. It has been almost 9 months since my last attendance as guest to the UBD Toastmaster session. To be honest, it hadn’t felt very long either.

I volunteered to do a Table Topic Speech and was given the question, “Would you rather stay as a kid or an adult?” I almost forgot how to do an impromptu speech! My speech was all over the place but I nailed at least a minute and a half out of the two allocated minutes so maybe I still have it in me.

Even though as a guest, I felt slightly intimidated by how well and smooth the event runs throughout. Of course there are rooms for improvement, but as a guest, when you see the event runs flawlessly, you can’t help but to wonder if you would be able to do as such if you are given a role.

There was a guest speaker from the US and her name is Laura Allen. She gave a speech on “Choose Yourself”. It made me realize I can do better at what I do if I allow myself to. The session ended at 9:30pm and I was glad I attended this session.

Check out UBD Toastmasters Club WordPress by clicking here. Once again, I thanked all UBD TMC committee for giving us guest a great experience.