Monday, June 7, 2010

OMY Media Interview (and the 'Unpublished' Written Interview)

Last week I attended the SPH News Centre for a couple of interviews (stay tuned for the Razor TV one). In preparation for the interview with OMY, I used the 'email questionnaire to organise my thoughts.

So to accompany the following actual video footage, I've also included the full written answers to the questionnaire (this might help elaborate on some of the points that are unclear in the video).

My one regret? I shouldn't have leaned forward so much during the interview - my wife said that it looks like I've got no neck!! :(

Of course don't forget to vote for me in the 2010 OMY Singapore Blog Awards - WTH category!!!

Here's the Video (which can be found at the OMY awards site):


Date: June 2 (Wed)
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: omy.sg, Podium Block, Level 4
News Centre
1000 Toa Payoh North
Singapore 318994

1. Tell us about yourself in 50 words.

A dedicated family man and vice president of one of the world’s largest international banks. A global traveler, I grew up in Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Studied and worked in Brisbane. Then lived in Melbourne, spent much time in the USA, lived in Shanghai where I met and married my then colleague, now wife. Now am a permanent resident of Singapore, living in the HDB heartlands and working in the financial district downtown. Have living in Singapore now, coming on four years.

2. How long have you been blogging and why did you start blogging?

Started keeping an online diary of my life travels back in 2006, and then started ‘serious’ blogging at the beginning of 2008. I have a very close mate in Shanghai, Mr Wang Jian Shuo, who is a very successful entrepreneur and one of the ‘original’ bloggers. He has been running his highly-trafficked site for in excess of a decade. He has more than one million visitors to his blog every month and is one of the most recognized sources for local information in Shanghai. His great work and networking in cyberspace inspired me to utilize some online tools to develop the ‘legacy’ version of the Aussie Pete blog, mainly at that stage just to keep our close family and friends (in China, the US and Australia) up to date with our lives. It can be very difficult living so far from your loved ones.

Following on from that, I developed an interest (or almost a passion, perhaps even an obsession) in SEO and was getting a real buzz from seeing my website listed in search engines. I therefore took it a little further, expanded my scope of writing to everyday observations and sometimes the highly unusual news and events going on around us and across the globe. As readership and subscriptions grew along with quality backlinks to the site, I realized I could feed my passion (or obsession) just by continuing writing about things that really sparked my interest.

2. How do you feel as one of the finalists in the Singapore Blog Awards? What do you think is your chance of winning?

Just as I did last year, I was very humbled to be among the selected finalists. I don’t blog to win awards, rather I do it to feed my own interests and to enlarge my online networks. To get included in the Top 10 of the Singapore Blog Awards helps satisfy my longer term and deeper desire to ‘fit in’ to our new country, our new home and our new community. Integration is so very important to me, which is why we spend a lot of our time mixing and befriending our neighbours, participating in local events and gatherings like RC block parties and generally getting out there as much as we possibly can – I’m even known to have a beer or kopi at the local kopitiam with the old uncles.

I really think my chance of winning are much greater this year. Not only have I given the website a ‘make over’ to make navigation easier and increase stickiness, which has resulted in some huge traffic increases, along with recently developing a mobile version of the site designed for iPhone users, I think that where I sand out from the competitors in my category, is where it’s important – the substance and quality of my articles. It’s the design and quality aspects that I think will have the judges tipping their hat (and 70% scoring points) completely in my favour.

4. Who do you think are the strongest bloggers in the category you are nominated for and why?

This is a tough question – I guess it depends on one’s definition of ‘strongest’… there are definitely some bloggers who are trying for the ‘shock and awe’ aspect to try and win the race, but I don’t think that a life size image of yourself splattered across your website or cursing and carrying about not so significant subjects, for example, is the right way to go about winning in an awards competition that really is more about quality and substance. WTH is designed to make readers literally go ‘wow!! WTH!! That’s interesting’, not for them to go ‘huh? WTH is that blogger even talking about?’

Therefore, in terms of quality and substance, I wish IZ Reloaded and Calvin Lai all the best – but then again, I also think that Yong Wei is a pretty funny guy.

5. What would you like to say to your blog readers and those who voted and supported you?

Of course a huge thank you to all who have voted and supported me – both this year and last year. The best reward for me is having dedicated and loyal readers and subscribers who come back and then write to me, sms or call me to offer their advice and thoughts on particular articles that I write. The Aussie Pete blog would not be as successful as it is today without the support of all of these people, in and out of the blog awards window. Also, I know that there are number of friends and family who are busily trying to rally votes right now, even if they don’t use the internet a lot themselves – there are truly some great people out there.

6. What is your most controversial blog post and why?

That question is easy!! Some time ago, I wrote a article ‘Are Ang Moh’s Welcome to Live in Singapore’. It was more of an observation of some of the things I’d read at certain online forums and the settling in process of getting used to the local ways of life, and also a comparison to the wonderful, open, caring and welcoming friends that I’d already made in the short time that I’d been living here.

It was written with a bit of ‘tongue in cheek’, because I knew that I was probably baiting a few people with the topic and I also knew that there would be some very passionate discussion.

I am a very firm believer in free speech, however I have had to put moderation on my comments as a result of this article. I think there are currently around 45 comments, but if I had published all of them, there would be in excess of a couple of hundred. I cannot and will not allow deep seeded racist or abusive comments on my blog… I wouldn’t feel comfortable, and I also think that I could be personally liable for any breach of the sedition act within my own blog website – whether the views were mine or not. I still get a few comments a week on this article that need moderating.

7. Have you ever gotten into trouble or got rewarded for blogging? Elaborate.

I’m proud to say that I’ve never been in trouble for anything I’ve written – criticized? Yeh sure, but never been in trouble. I’m actually very careful to try and not offend or write in appropriate or offensive material. Although I did have an emedded YouTube video once that my friend’s young daughters watched and listened to – I didn’t realize that there were so many swear words in that particular video – the result was that the Aussie Pete blog is now banned in the home of one of my best friends.

Like I said, the biggest reward for me is to see the exposure and visibility of the blog grow online and in search engines. But I have also been rewarded in other ways – I partnered with MICA when they relaunched their website www.sg and then later again as a guest participant on their Live@SG portal. This among other freelance writing opportunities have been forthcoming and I regularly have to knock back offers due to time constraints. But every time I’m approached for a partnership such as these, I feel very rewarded and also flattered that some people see the worth in what it is that I’m doing.

Of course, I was also Top 10 finalist in the OMY 2009 blog awards as well – and the activities and events I attended were a real buzz indeed!!

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Anonymous said...

My God! U r so cute!

Jo said...

Ha cute but married