Friday, March 6, 2009

"So, Tell Me, Why Do You Blog?!"

She crossed her arms and looked at me straight faced, and said like a discipline teacher to a bad student, "I look at your pictures (and this is where I was ready to be modest and say, no, my photos are not that good) and the effort you put in, and so (hand to head, like in frustration), tell me why do you blog and give away your recipes?!" And before I could even recover, she said, "Do you know how much danger you are exposing yourself to?!" Another friend piped in, "Yeah, and you reveal so many things!" And the conversation goes on about how young people are stupid to expose themselves online and blah blah blah. How about some nice words and encouragement, my friends?

I have been reading John Ortberg's Living The Life You've Always Wanted the last few days, and one sentence in Chapter 11 touched me, "Imagine if each time you saw another person your first thought was to pray for him or bless her." This is in special reference to people who offend you or, in Ortberg's words, " Imagine what it would be like if, any time you were challenged or anxious, your reflexive response would be to turn to God for strength." When N asked me in that tone, I tried to put what I read to work, and instead of shooting back with daggers and claws, as I would usually do, I mumbled something about having too much time with nothing better to do, that I enjoyed making friends with people of similar interest I've met online and that I've learnt many new recipes from others too. Later, at home, as I thought about it, I was upset at the way the person had put it, in that tone, like I am a looser to let everybody have my recipes for nothing and at the suggestion that I've been stupid by exposing myself to online dangers. This person informed us that her son is on Facebook, "but he makes sure his photos are not on it." I can safely say that if he does that, he has missed the point of joining Facebook, and he won't have many friends and acquaintences. It's like getting into a relationship and not giving your best shot because you are afraid of being hurt. The relationship won't go anywhere, so what's the point.

That doesn't mean I think it is wise to put up boudoir pictures of yourself on Facebook. I would be very upset if my children were careless on the net. I would still tell young people to be careful, very careful, with what they post, whether it is a photo of themselves half naked or a lamentation about their boss. Recently, I read an article about how prospective employers request information from headhunters regarding potential employees' online habits, personality and background as revealed in their blogs, Facebook and so on. So before you start dissing your boss in your blog, you better remember that that 3-second loss of insanity may cost you a future job, and that high from one romantic night as revealed on your blog may cost you a respectable spouse one day. Sometimes I do let my guard down, and start saying things that I shouldn't or post photos that I wouldn't have done so 2 years ago. Yes, it gets so comfy sometimes I forget my blog is open to the world. I was jolted when I went to a blog through another and read about how this guy found his 8-year old daughter's photo, which he had put up on his family blog, in a Japanese site that blogged about perverted sex. Although the pervert did not alter the photo, it was bad enough to have your child's photo put up in a paedophiles's blog. People can use your photos, remember that. That is why I have started to watermark my photos. Which also brings me to the issue of copyright.

Somebody emailed me that one of my articles was to be published in a magazine (not identified to me) in Feb and distributed to all the major bookstores like Borders and Times. I was pretty upset that the letter was more to inform me, and not to seek my permission. I refused, and they have replied that they won't publish it. If any of you notice my posts published anywhere but on my site, please tell me. I also think it is bad manners to copy in entirety anybody's posts and put it on other sites without asking, and not giving credit to the person who wrote it. I am told that many bloggers face this problem, especially in this country, and even mainstream newspapers are doing it. It is shameful, and nothing less than stealing other people's work especially if they are making money from it. Posts on websites are for all to read, but permission and credit must be given and the writer has the sole rights to his/her posts. This is especially so in the USA where copyright notices are not required for written work as long as you can prove it is yours, from what I've found out. I may be wrong on this, and would love some feed back if you know about this.

So, getting back to my point. Before I continue reading Ortberg, and a halo starts to hover over my head and hold me back from reacting, I want to reply this friend. Online, so I can say all I want. And that's the beauty of having a blog: I can express myself, my opinions and let out my grouses to nearly 1,000 readers per day and you can't stop me. This influence comes with readership growth although that was not what I was looking for when I first started blogging.

3 years ago, I couldn't restart the computer if Microsoft failed to start up properly. I couldn't attach a file to my email. My only knowledge of computer software was when I prepared spreadsheets. I knew nothing about blogging. I couldn't upload photos from my camera because I had my Hub and my son Ming to help me. I just needed to holler. Then one of my kids went through an emotional period, and I found out she had something called a blog. I began to check on her, and my days were dependent on if she was up or down. From there, I discovered the world of blogs, especially food blogs. Then one fateful night, I had a bad dinner at the just-opened Delifrance and I told my son Ming I wished I could tell people how bad the food was. He suggested that I start my own blog, since I've always loved to write, and with his help, the rest is history.

Now back to what my answer would've been if I didn't suppress myself. The overriding reason why I blog now is because I am a housewife with lots of time, and blogging has become a hobby. I am trying very hard not to blog at night. The first year of blogging, I stayed up until 3 am sometimes and my first white hairs appeared. As a hobby, blogging has pushed me to pick up photography, which I'm very much in need of honing. Blogging has also brought me many new and wonderful friends, some of whom I've met in person and am very comfortable with. I am naturally a people person, and I've kept in touch with a pen pal from Japan since I was 15 (although we've lost touch in the last three years or so). Many have written to me about their families, and how their expanded list of recipes and cooking have made meals more delightful, and their kids more interested in cooking. One person wrote me about coming to church (since I don't hide the fact that I'm Christian) and I hope she'll write me again and save me from sorting through my mail to get her. Letters like these lift my heart and make me feel good that in some way, my time and effort have not gone to waste. Through blogging also, a couple of readers have shared with me their struggle as parents and I appreciate it when people trust me enough to share their problems. I don't regret writing about my struggles as a parent. In fact, I want my kids to one day read those posts when they are parents themselves. I also hope that in my small way I can help people in similar situations see their problems from a more positive angle. And in turn, readers have been very supportive and encouraging when I am down. Lastly, I am the recipient too of many recipes tried and tested by other food bloggers who have generously given their cooking experiences and recipes for free. I have a list of food bloggers and reviewers whose recipes and opinions I trust and refer to. I belong to a community of food lovers, all of whom so far have been wonderful to know, even if it's online. I look forward to and appreciate readers' comments (but there are too few and I do get discouraged).

I also blog to record my cooking adventures so that my kids, friends and myself can have easy access to recipes that work. Not all cookbooks give accurate measurements, and experience and trusted recipes make the difference when it comes to cooking.

Many have asked me why I'm not doing this for money, and I've had a couple of enquiries on advertising costs on my blog now that readership is up. I do intend to put up more widgets for ads, so that when somebody asks why I blog, I can say "It's for money" and feel proud of myself that I'm not an idiot giving away recipes for free.

So now that I've given my reasons, I have a question for N: Why do you read blogs? Or even go on the internet which is mainly jammed with information put up not only by companies and authorities but also bloggers.

This is 2009, friend, and blogging is here to stay.


Johnathan Oh said...

Hi Terri, that's a good piece of personal info/experience to share. Let us not be accountable to EVERYONE albeit we should act responsibly. One can never please everyone, just make sure that the ppl you please are worth pleasing and your action does not cause undue distress or harm to others. Just because one is entitled to ask question on why you blog does not obliged you to give an answer to it. Cheers and keep the recipes and good photos coming! I'm heading Bali end of this month and hopefully can upload some nice photos. Cheers and God bless!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

I feel hurt if M question me that lehh, I would feel my freedom being guarded! I found more pros than cons from blogging ! I started to learn about taking photos via blogs. I get dad to borrow me his mini point & shoot camera, build up interest in photography, reading lots of blogs on how they take good photos without paying $ to buy photography books! Then venture into slr camera! Ha ha! This is So fun terri! Met up few very very good “aunties’ frens! Ha ah (punch me) via blogging, I appreciate our r/ship soo much! Really! I brush up my English from reading blogs too! Isn’t blogging so marvelous? And what’s more with sharing tips, ideas & recipe online? We enjoy that, M probably dunno what she is missing from not blogging! ;D

Luv & Hugges

Anonymous said...

Dear Terri

I love what you wrote here. We cannot protect our kids ALL the time - danger lurks everywhere, online, offline - we can only pray and tell our kids to be careful. Doesn't mean we can't enjoy life to the fullest and do the things that makes us happy - like blogging :-)

Keep on blogging, you rockin' mama!

Me Sincerely :-)

Plain Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plain Jane said...

Hey Terri!

Let me encourage you to keep on blogging as reading your blog encourages me! And yes, you should start blogging for money..soon! I did a small write up on my blog, 'Pemberley' about your post too; I hope you don't mind :-)

And I am coming to church this Sunday. I hope I 'see' you there :-)

Lily Anette said...

Keep up the great blog is all I can say! :)

cpcjoyce said...

Normally i just look up ur recipes as i found them very nice and intersting. But today, when i saw this article about reason's of blogging. My eyes were glue to it. However,in my opinion, sharing recipe with others like me whom lack of cooking skills has really help me find the passion and love for cooking. Its also has open up my world to discover than cooking isn;t that bad. I really really do appreciate that you and many other bloggers are sharing recipe and sharing knowledge of life. I wouldn't even think that its dangerous. I just think its a way of communication and a way of expressing how life can be sometimes.

Lastly, i would like to say, thank you very much for your lovely recips.. i'm looking forward to reading ur blog everyday.

Joyce, Queenstown, NZ

bryan said...

Bravo on your post. As I see it, anything interesting has some risk involved in it. It's all about being smart about and mitigating it. And what is life without risk? Heck even having an ambition is risky. Anytime you reach for the sky, you get noticed. So the only safe way is not to excel, and stay mundane. And that's not much of a life.

bryan said...

Oh and I learnt what boudoir means!

Agnes @ rB said...

Hey Terri,

All I want to say is, keep your blog running! =)))~ I like reading your posts and never misses one as it give me motivation in learning to cook and bake more!!

You are one great KK food blogger I found through the web, seriously!!!!

God bless!! =)

ganache-ganache said...

Hey, u know when I found you on the internet while looking through ppl's blogs, I was so happy that there's someone in KK that loves to cook & bakes like I do, & from your blog I also found Denise & Jo. Your blog actually encouraged me to start blogging. I don't even know how to post a link, had to ask Denise for help, now I'm slowly picking up.....
I like your blog, you're always so straightforward, so humorous, keep it up !

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,finally you get to hear from me, M Goh. If sharing your recipes makes you happy, why not? If you want to share how you feel about your children, family, food or about our politicians, why not? Though I'm not a blogger yet, I love to read blogs, some encourages me and some I've learnt something new. I've learn some good tips & recipes from your blog, thats a blessing from you to me. Its your choice to give away recipes, who are we to stop you. If you bless others, you will be bless, Terri. Cheers to you because your blogs is a blessing to so many others, home & globally. Move on......

K said...

<3 take it easy!

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration and my family and I have eaten better meals because of you. Please don't be upset at somebody who obviously doesn't like cooking, or even understand about blogging. I am not a blogger, but I love to read your blog daily. It cheers me up!

Annie,a long time reader.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Some people will never understand because their mindset is still in 1977. It's okay, though, coz you know that what you're doing isn't wrong. It's a great hobby, introduces you to amazing people all over the world, and it brings you happiness. I know, because blogging gave me a new lease of life. :-)

Shan said...

Now Terri you've always known that I am a longtime reader of your blog, as well as being a massive supporter of yours. Keep up the damn fine work and stick to your guns lady. You must be doing something right if so many people respond to the things that you write and read you on a daily basis.

You are awesome and I'm proud to call you a blogging (and sometimes real life) friend!

Precious Pea said...

There is a reason for the increase of traffic to your blog. Cos your blog is fantastic! I enjoy reading your blog and I get to know you and your family so much better from it. I would definitely call out to Yi if i ever bump into her in Melbourne. ;)

Do continue with more great posts yah!

Starningblue said...

Hi Terri,

I have stumbled upon your blog and enjoy reading it very much.

Being a small small blogger myself, we don't have to justify why we do it. What matters is we enjoy it and understand much more what blogging has given to us.

I have bookmarked your page, so keep going :)


Ally ML said...

Hi Terri,
I can only say: You are the reason why I start blogging. I'd never been interested in blogs until I found yours. Keep on blogging!

All the best wishes from Germany,

Terri said...

What an interesting post!

I have my food blog because I just love sharing recipes and food related experiences. I have decided to post only when I really have something to share.

I write my personal blog because I HAVE to. It allows me to capture what's on my mind, put it in words and then let go. It's cathartic for me. When I started the blog, it really never occurred to me that anyone besides me and my husband would ever read it.

As far as risk is concerned, there's risk everywhere and in anything you do. Choose the risks you're willing to take and move on. Whatever your choice, I hope that it is to keep blogging. I enjoy what you share.

Anonymous said...

You are one of the very few truly generous persons I know. I have been blessed with your generosity, care and kindness. My family enjoys a better variety of food because of your blog. And I have learnt through your life experiences. Judging from all the comments here, your blog has been a blessing to many! Continue blogging, my dear. Proud to have you as a friend.

Anonymous said...

Why do I read blogs? "busybody" I guess,lolz.Anyway, you're a wonderful blogger and I will keep myself busy coming back visiting your blogs.
Happy blogging and may God richly bless the works of your hands.

Vic,a silent reader

GFAD said...

Well said! :)

I've been a silent reader for a while. Someone remarked that recipes found online are often unreliable. I guess he doesn't visit floggers much! :)

It is people like you who so willingly share their tried-n-tested recipes that I am eternally grateful for! Gives me confidence to make something totally new to me, esp now that I am far away from home.

I am sure that without the internet I would not have adapted so well to living overseas. With just a few taps on the keyboard, I am able to 'chat' with family and friends. And find an amazing wealth of information from so many like-minded individuals, whether it's how to make crispy siew yoke or which restaurant serves the best hokkien mee!

Do not be discouraged. Your readers think otherwise. And yes, I believe when you reach out and give something of yourself out, you get it back ten thousand fold! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,

I am delighted to have found you yesterday evening while I was scrambling to cook my chicken. Instead of driving downtown which is quite a way out to downtown I googled "Soya Sauce Chicken" and there you were. Viola! I tried it and boy, it's good! :) So after dinner I went back again and I saw your desserts and it brought back memories of long long time ago.. "Broken Glass" dessert which I had at one of my friend's house. I have since moved and have been living here for 30 years and what a treasure to have bloggers like yourself with talents and knowledge to share with the whole world. Thank you for sharing all your delicious recipes.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Wonderful post !!! Thank you for sharing this for all aspiring bloggers and for all the personal reasons you left in this post....

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