As I point out in my interview in the bi-lingual vodcast below, it was both quite humbling and exciting at the same time to have won the top prize in my category for a second year running.
Up against the most influential and respected bloggers in Singapore as well as across Asia, I was very surprised to be one of the only people to ever have won in back-to-back years in this prestigious competition that has been running for the past four years... it truly is the 'Academy Awards' of Asian Social Media.
Leading up to the event on Saturday, I was not feeling very confident given the high quality of competition this year. Having said that, the winners were determined via public voting (30%), as well as scores given by a panel of 13 professional judges.
According to AsiaOne news website, "Over a period of three months, more than 1000 blogs registered for the Awards and over 70,000 votes were cast to vote for the finalists".
The judges this year, were Mr Kelvin Tong, movie director; Ms Kuo Jian Hong, Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre Practice; Mr Keith Png, fashion designer; Radio 100.3 deejays, Ah Ken and Anna Lim; Ms. Violet Lim, Founding Director of Lunch Actually and Eteract.com; Mr U-Zyn Chua, CEO of Ping.sg; Mr Samuel Ng, CEO of Marine Parade Family Service Centre; Ms Xiao Han, Director and Lyricist of Funkie Monkies Productions; singers Ms. Tan Diya and Ms. Carrie Yeo; Mr Walter Lim, Director of Strategic Planning, Policy and Marketing Communications ,National Art Gallery; Mr Danny Yeo, theatre practitioner and Mr Low Sze Ping, award-winning photography blogger.
I'm not usually big on acceptance speeches and I know that I might start getting timed-out with music like at the Academy awards, but it would be completely remiss of me not to briefly thank some very special people - so, please allow me to digress for a moment...
Firstly, to Alvin, Janet and the team at OMY (way too many of you to name individually, but you know who you are) - you have out-done yourselves in an event that keeps getting bigger and better every year. The environment that OMY has created for bloggers to network, through these awards as well as numerous opportunities for aspiring writers and bloggers to participate in events and competitions is extremely unique. It is no wonder that OMY is the leader of the social networking scene in Asia.
Secondly, to all my readers, subscribers and those who voted for me... both locally and internationally - a large portion of the outcome of the Blog Awards is determined via online voting and I'm sure I could not have won without your support! In fact, it was not discussed much at the ceremony, but when I was with the organizers after the event, I was amazed to discover that I had also walked away with an extra award for achieving a place as one of the five finalists most voted by the public across all of the categories (I'm not sure where I placed - 1st or 5th - it would be interesting to try and find out though).
To the sponsors - WOW!!! Just like the awards ceremony, the prizes just keep getting more huge! The entire process is indebted to your full and ongoing support - as with any achievement recognition, although attaining a place as a winner is enough for many, the prizes and support offered by the sponsors ensure incentive enough for all of the most influential bloggers to participate.
The main sponsors for Singapore Blog Awards 2011 were HTC, Deal.com.sg, Asus, Asia Pacific Breweries' Get Your Sexy Back, Domino's Pizza, Tourism Victoria, Jetstar, Adonis and United International Pictures. Other sponsors included Fabrix, 1-Rochester Group, Get Singapore and Night Safari. Publicity partners are Stomp, ST701, Ping.sg, MyBloggerCon and Youth.sg. Venue partners were Shanghai Dolly and Tiger Beer.
Finally... my family! My wife, Sammi, always supports me in all of my endeavours - for this (among other reasons) I love her deeply. Not only is she the one who nominated me this year, she was my number one campaign coordinator... working with my readers and subscribers to rally for votes... communicating through the wide network that is Kaixin (China's version of Facebook), her efforts were tireless. This is not unique to the Blog Awards either - Sammi is so very tolerant. The hours I put in to my career and 'day job', along with the huge hours required by my Grassroots volunteer work and my obsession for everything online (I never have less than a half dozen 'side projects' going on at any one time) - these things always ensure that I do not sleep on any given week-night before around 4am. Then I get to 'sleep in' most Saturday mornings to catch up and recover.
For the Awards event itself, thanks to the GOH, Major-General (NS) Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Minister of State, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, for his extremely kind words of his opening speech, in acknowledgement of the work that I do to promote Singapore through my writing locally and abroad as a great place to work, study, live and play. Also for his encouragement for being an active Grassroots leader in my community.
I would like to finish up with a quick special mention of three other blogger finalists in my category. WTH (What The Hell) can be very broadly interpreted, and each of you has a unique and powerful way of writing - and each of you are truly WTH authors in your own right! I really did think one of you would win the main prize this year.
My other three favourite WTH Bloggers - and good friends!
There really is no need for a title.... / Goh Yong Wei
Yong Wei is a full-time student of ITE, loves eating, never had a girlfriend, hoping to find a rich tai tai
挑灯夜谈 / Lonely Teacher 寂寞老师
Yummy Chrispytine / Chrispytine
Curiosity like a kitten, Google is my best friend on lonely Friday nights. Writing on all things random, when your jaw drops when reading, i have achieved.
Anyway - Congratulations to all the winners on Saturday - it was well deserved!... and watch this space - there is much more WTH action coming your way on this as well as my OMY Star Blog!!
In case you missed it, I have been 'competing' with one of my sons this week for the media spotlight. A video I embedded here on this blog of him singing about his love for the National Flag had sparked the attention of journalists from the national Lianhe Wanbao chinese newspaper. This led to an article where they have labelled him as the "4-year old Mixed Kid Internet Superstar" (loosely translated). As you can see from the pictures below, he received more space in the same newspaper (in the same week that I won the blog awards) than I did.
Article about Jaime:
Article about Me:
A few other press releases and coverage of the Awards (and my back-to-back wins):
Oh - I forgot to mention that the theme of the awards was 'History Gets Social' - and prior to the event, I had agreed to take part in a phot shoot where I was representing Sir Stamford Raffles... when we arrived at Shanghai Dolly, we found a (almost) life size standee of me playing the part... although he was much shorter than me and appeared to be wearing a tonne of make-up, he seems very interested in my wife, don't you think?
Click here for mor photographs of the event