Category: Personalities

On The Air, In The Air

Meet Johan Farid Khairuddin.

Otherwise known as JFK.

You may have heard him on the radio, giving out Justin Bieber concert tickets and such. Whether it’s talking on the air, producing albums or hosting TV shows on Astro, being a media personality is really what defines JFK for the past ten years.

What most people probably don’t realise is that being a radio host is only his part-time job. Like me, what we do part-time for fun has somehow eclipsed what we do full-time for a living.

JFK’s actual full-time job… is a TAXI DRIVER.

No lah!

Not the ones you see hanging around KLCC charging RM30 for a 3-minute journey because "bradderrrr, road very jam woh."

No no no. The cab that JFK drives will never encounter traffic jam at any hour of the day. Because the vehicle JFK drives is…

… an airplane.

*cue Hayley Williams and B.o.B.*

Just like how blogging is and will always remain a hobby for me, flying is a hobby that JFK takes very seriously. So serious in fact, that instead of flying commercially for Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia, he saved up whatever money he has to purchase his very own aeroplane.

And now that JFK is a pilot-for-hire, his job is to take people on trips across the Peninsular, or on private sky tours around KL for as little as RM500 – just enough to cover his fuel and maintenance of his flight.

During one of my trips to KL recently, JFK took me for a whirl up in the air to see what KL City is like from the skies above.

We met at Subang SkyPark around 7:30am.

The airport isn’t the same since the main international airport was moved to KLIA. The huge terminal is now virtually empty with mostly private jets owned by billionaires.


Or wannabe billionaires.

I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad. 🙁

Subang Airport has no queues, no annoying kids, no noisy announcers blaring over the speakers. Security was such a breeze that for the first time in my life, I saw airport security actually have the capability to smile.

After some gibberish back-and-forth between JFK and the air traffic control, we’re off!


Most of us are used to sitting in the backseat of a passenger plane. But to take the front seat of a Cessna with a radio personality next to you piloting the flight, pointing out different points of interests into your earphones – man, that’s a completely different experience altogether.

With the bumper-to-bumper traffic along Federal Highway snaking beneath us, an indescribable feeling washed over me. I think it’s called… freedom. 😉

At one point, JFK allowed me to take over the co-pilot’s control.

A lot of people have irrational fear when it comes to flying, let alone piloting an airplane. As scary as it sounds, I actually felt extremely safe manoeuvring the Cessna. The tiny aircraft is extremely responsive, and without any obstacles in the way, I need not worry about traffic lights, knocking into a divider and scratching my bumper.

In fact, it felt exactly like driving a car. Except there was no brakes. You don’t need brakes when you’re flying in the air.

Just like that, we went from Subang to KLCC Twin Towers in less than 10 minutes.

And that’s the closest I have ever been to Twin Tower on an airplane without being labelled a terrorist.

It’s easy to write KL off as an overly-congested metropolis when you view it from the ground. From the sky though, the view of the silhouette of the bustling city being enveloped by the morning mist is hopelessly romantic.

Made me wish I was next to my loved ones when I was up in the air.

Yeah. That’s the only downside with JFK’s private sky tour.  He may not look like
Amber Chia, but there isn’t a better valued private airplane pilot in the county.

If you wanna book a flight with JFK as your taxi-driver-in-the-sky, just e-mail him at

I promise he won’t say, "Cannot use meter lah bradder. Traffic jam!"

ADV: JJ And Ean Are Like Santa

The morning crew has gone through quite a bit of changes lately.

First, they replaced Rudy with Tengku Ean.

Then they replaced Hollywood Hookup Richard Reid with this chick.

As much as Richard Reid is entertaining, I’m kinda glad to see his over-the-top high-pitched voice gone. Although with a body like that, I reckon Fay Hokulani deserves to be on magazines more than she does on radio.

Two things haven’t changed about the Morning Crew though.

First, the two radio announcers are still botak.

Second, although they don’t have much hair on their head, those two clowns have tons of freebies to give away.

Like tickets to Bruno Mars concert live in KL!

Like exclusive tickets to Justin Bieber’s movie premiere!

Like RM60,000 cash for playing "Who Are JJ and Ean talking to"?

Best thing is, this is a ridiculously easy game to play. Basically, you just gotta listen to the Morning Crew from 6am to 10am every weekday morning. When they cue to call, you call up, choose how much money you wanna win, then guess which celebrity’s voice they played.

If you got it right, you win a slice of the RM60,000 moolah.

This is JJ himself "eloquently" explaining how the contest works.

Hint: there’s a list of celebrities JJ and Ean has interviewed on the website.

If you win money, share with me!

But if you (very unfortunately) win tickets to Justin Bieber’s movie premiere instead please don’t share with me!

I don’t wanna sit on some cinema seats filled with some teenage girl’s soaking wet stains.

Tear stains lah. What you thinking?

Ivan and Hilda from The Amazing Race Asia

Once in a while, you know someone in your life who went from ordinary to extra-ordinary.

38-year-old Ivan Evetovics is a University researcher. He is also a freelance instructor at my fitness centre, teaching Parkour every Wednesday at 7:30pm.

Parkour is French for "the art of moving". It is a type of physical activity that involves the participants climbing, landing and jumping over obstacles in the most efficient and graceful manner. In his 1 hour class, Ivan coaches participants to improve agility and react quickly.

We are proud to have him teaching for us because we are the only gym in Kuching where people can learn Parkour in a safe and controlled environment.

But one day, Ivan called in to say he wanted to take a whole month off. According to him, he wanted to return to his home-country of Hungary for a holiday. My Group Exercise Coordinator and I went into panic mode. There’s already a shortage of quality instructors in Kuching, and we’d be struggling to fill up the void left in his timeslot.

When Ivan returned after a month, naturally I went to him and asked, "Hey Ivan, how was your holiday?"

He winked and cheekily replied, "It was good… I think you’re gonna like it."

"Huh? Whaddya mean I’m gonna like it?"

Fast forward to 24th August 2010.

I was in Singapore to attend the press conference of the original AXN production, The Amazing Race Asia Season 4. As I descended from the lifts of the new Marina Bay Sands hotel, who did I bump into?

Ivan Evetovics and his wife, Tengku Hilda – the first couple from my small town of Kuching, Sarawak to ever compete in the Amazing Race Asia.

It was the most unusual and indescribable feeling.

In Kuching, our relationship is that of an employer and employee. Suddenly, we are seeing each other as blogger and media personality. Instead of me speaking to him about his class, I was sitting down for an interview with him and his wife about their experience in the race of a lifetime.

I spoke to the executive producer Michael McKay, the host Allan Wu and the other contestants in the race. All of them have nothing but good things to say about Ivan and Hilda.

The race was dominated by big media personalities from big cities around Asia

Among them, an ex-strip club manager from the Philippines

Testosterone-filled alpha males from India and the Philippines.

Two dating actors from Hong Kong.

And a model/musician team from Singapore.

Even against such formidable opponents who must have tons of TV experiences before, Ivan and Hilda, who never participated in any reality shows before this, left a big impression on the show.

I sat down for an interview with them.

Kenny: So, physical preparation going into the race?

Hilda: Oh no, not me. I don’t have any preparation. I didn’t know I was even going to make it into the race. If I knew, I would have gone back to the gym and drop 10 kilos.

Ivan: You know Kenny, for me, I’m always ready mannnn. I was born ready. I do my judo, my jiujitsu, my Parkour and keep in shape.

Kenny: Was it a spur of the moment decision that you guys join?

Hilda: No, we didn’t even want to join the race. Our daughter was the biggest reason why we joined. We didn’t even know about the auditions until our daughter told us about it. If you had seen in one of our earlier photoshoots, our face was like this. *shows pouty lips*

Ivan: It was Saturday afternoon, and I had jiujitsu training, so I was like, "Yo let’s get this thing over and done with, I want to go back to training!"

Hilda: I don’t even watch Amazing Race. We were in The Spring and my daughter was like, "Ma! You see there’s lots of people talking there? Allan Wu is there!" And I was like, "Who the heck is Allan Wu? Who is Vanessa and Pamela Chong?"

Kenny: What did they ask you to do during the auditions?

Ivan: They asked us to fill out the form and make 2 videos. But we did the live auditions at The Spring, so we just improvise.

Kenny: I think that’s what they wanted.

Ivan: I think one of the reasons we were chosen was because we were just ourselves. That’s what I
would advise would-be participants to do. Don’t over-think the questions. Just be yourself.

Kenny: Hilda, do you find yourself overly-reliant on Ivan?

Hilda: Yes… *nods sheepishly*

Ivan: But that’s how our relationship is. We don’t mind helping each other. There are things she is good at, there are things I am good at. But this race is difficult, so I have to do quite a lot of physical stuff. I enjoy it.

Hilda: I am good at crying!

Kenny: Does any of the jiujitsu or the Parkour help you in any way?

Ivan: Of course, overall physical conditioning is very helpful. Also, in terms of mental preparation – there is so much pressure and you have to keep on going and going. In fact, Parkour is all about minimum effort and  maximum efficiency. And that principle fits very well into the race.

Kenny: What would you say to people who want to be a finalist and really want to excel in the Amazing Race?

Ivan: First thing is, don’t panic, stay calm and use your mind. In the end, the race is all about making the right decisions. To me, that’s the most important thing because everything is all about rushing, rushing, rushing. You make the stupidest mistakes because you are rushing. If you can stay calm that’s the key to doing well.

Kenny: Lastly, what do you want to say to the members back at Level Up Fitness?


The Amazing Race Asia screens every Thursday 9pm on AXN, and Episode 1 is also online at!

Janet Hsieh

Just spent the entire day today with a film crew from Taiwan.

The crew was in Kuching to film a travel show called Fun Asia, and I was there to be their tour guide.

Apparently, it is a very popular show broadcasted on Discovery Travel & Living. The biggest reason people watch the show is because of this fun-loving girl called Janet Hsieh.

Having never watched the show before, I must admit that I had no idea how big she is – until random people approached her during our shoot to request her photographs.

But she is very popular alright, and rightfully so.

I had such a great time filming with them that it didn’t even felt like work at all. Janet is the most bubbly and down-to-Earth TV personalities I have ever met.

One incident shall forever stick up in my mind.

Before she came to Kuching, Janet caught a bad case of stomach pain and kept having to go to the toilets. But while we were watching the Japan-Paraguay match, she refused to miss a single minute of it.

She didn’t know the match would drag on for so long that she ended up clutching her stomach like this for nearly 3 hours

Janet is born in Texas, has a degree from MIT, speaks 5 different languages, possesses a black belt in Taekwondo, and most recently even appeared in a music video of Wang LeeHom.

One thing I never expected from her.

She was once worked as… A CIRCUS CLOWN.

True story!

Stephanie Chai & Wedding Guide Asia

It’s been a while since featured an inspirational well-known personality, so today I’d like to introduce to everyone Kuching’s very own Stephanie Chai!

If you think she looks familiar, then you must’ve seen her in one of your KLIA Express train rides where she’s constantly on the TV screen singing praises about Starhill Gallery. Steph is obviously doing very well now in KL hosting TV shows, acting in movies (Fair Game with Naomi Watts!), emceeing events and gracing front covers of various magazines.

One thing that Steph isn’t doing is sitting with half her tits out waiting to be a tai tai and perm her hair like a poodle. Stephanie Chai is an enterprising businesswoman in her own right, with wits to match even the toughest entrepreneurs in this country.

My first encounter with Steph was way back in 2008 at La Bodega. That was before either of us started our own businesses. What we had was nothing more than a bit of imagination in our heads.

Over coffee, she shared with me how she wanted to start an online magazine; and I shared with her how I wanted to start a fitness centre. Till today, I am thankful she didn’t laugh at this fat boy who wants to build a gym and reported me to the mental hospital.

I shared with Steph all I know about blogging. Thinking back, I’m not sure if I even gave her any valuable insights. What I do remember was gaining some fresh ideas on how to go about setting up what would later become Level Up Fitness.

Fast forward 2 years later.

Level Up Fitness finally opened for business. As a gesture of friendship, Stephanie Chai was gracious enough to be the emcee for my grand opening ceremony.

During this time Stephanie also laid the foundation to create what would become Asia’s definitive online wedding portal –

I managed to catch up with Steph again outside both our hectic schedule, and she shared with me more about her little web project.

Kenny: Let’s start from the top. We often hear of models setting up modeling agencies or fashion lines. You must be the only model in the world to start a wedding portal! Why o why?

Steph: Haha, well Kenny – originally I was going to start a fashion and beauty site, but when my best friend Elaine appointed me as one of her maids of honour, I realised there was a huge opportunity and gap in the wedding market. So, perhaps being the most overzealous maid of honour in the world – I started a wedding portal! Or if you want the whole story, simply check out our ‘about’ section (woohoo more traffic, yes please!).

Steph: Why a wedding portal? Well, if you think about it, there are so many of us Asians who live abroad, but naturally will return home to celebrate their wedding. If you’re living in Melbourne, you can’t quite ask MPH to post you the latest bridal book or magazine! And the same goes for local Malaysians, the easiest way to start planning your wedding is to jump on the internet and google away!

Wedding Guide Asia has posts about everything and anything wedding every Monday to Friday. We cover things like ideas for wedding themes, real weddings and most importantly, our wedding directory – the Little White Book. We’re starting to grow this intensively from May onwards now that our traffic is on par.

Today, I get emails from brides as far as San Francisco even! Our traffic is mainly from Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, UK & the USA – I still think it’s simply amazing to think you can reach people all over the globe at the click of the mouse. Look at the trouble we had with Iceland’s ‘dusty cloud’ – can you imagine if there was no internet?! Alamak.

Kenny: I know you probably get a lot of questions about this, but what would Stephanie Chai’s dream wedding be? Are you gonna have one of those super huge weddings where everyone and their uncles come to attend?

Steph: For sure!! You can bring your uncle too Kenny. I’m quite a traditional LEO and would love nothing more than a huge party to celebrate with all the family and friends I’ve made over time. I think ideally it’d be great to have a small beach wedding with the people you’re closest too and then a larger one for everyone. Weddings are about celebrations after all, and I do have the chinese side of my family to keep happy!

Kenny: You interviewed quite a lot of well-known personalities about their weddings. Which one is your favourite?

Steph: Did you see my interview with Daniel Henney?! He was oh my goodness bla bla bla… *proceeds to gush about how gorgeous Daniel Henney is for the next 10 minutes*

Kenny: What makes a good wedding?

Steph: Without a doubt, the most important
component of a wedding, are the people. I once went to a wedding full of guests who weren’t close to the bride and groom, and thus the atmosphere was a bit odd. I mean if people don’t really know you, how can they react or be interested in the speeches etc.

So though we have a lot big weddings in Asia, make sure the bulk of guests do care! Also, try to be a different from the norm, sometimes I feel like people are just waiting to eat and run. Make it more of a fun, relaxed affair with good entertainment!

Steph: But overall I’m still learning about weddings – obviously I don’t have a lifetime of experience! However, I believe if you want to run a great website, half the job is understanding how online marketing and the internet functions as a whole.
If you ask me, should you start a new magazine or an online portal tomorrow – without a doubt I would advise the latter.

Ask yourself how much time you spend online?

At the end of the day, where the consumer goes, the advertiser will eventually follow. I think as an entrepreneur you should always bank on future trends rather than compete in a market which has already been ‘done’. It has been busy running weddingguideasia, but no doubt fulfilling! I am a bit of a nerd at heart and my big dream was always to be an entrepreneur…


Kenny: Now, for the question every one of your aunties out there will no doubt ask – when are you going to get married? And if so, will shut down after?

Steph: Very funny Kenny! Strangely, a few people have asked me that. Last year, dating took a back seat as I was super busy running two careers, one in the entertainment industry and then with WeddingGuidesAsia.

I remember a guy asking me on a date and I had to say ‘Err… maybe in December!’ Who knows about love Kenny! I’ve always planned my career and goals since young. But never love. Because you simply cannot control or will love, it just ‘happens’.

Steph: I take marriage quite seriously (my Italian side is no doubt Catholic!), so would definitely never rush into it. However, I do feel that society puts pressure on women to ‘tie the knot’ before a certain age. Which is bad, because you should never settle for a Tom, Dick or Harry! 😉

Honestly speaking, I think I grew up a bit too fast and spent the bulk of my 20s in a few serious relationships. So nowadays I’m quite happy to chill, and would definitely date the person for awhile before taking the next step. Also, it’s true that you really have to be happy with yourself before you can be with another.

Steph: To be completely frank, I was only at peace with myself when I started WGA late last year. Perhaps deep down there was a part of me that was scared to turn up to my high school reunion and be seen as the typical ‘model turned tai tai’ (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not me).

I suppose, when its meant to be – you will meet the right person, at the right time, at the right place… and it will feel ‘RIGHT’. Haha, right Kenny?? 😉

Steph: Marriage is forever so choose wisely boys and girls!

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Listen To Dennis Lau

As a boy growing up, I always wished I could play a musical instrument.

Not so much for the love of music. More so because of the well-accepted fact that men who play musical instruments are able to pick up more chicks.

Fast forward to many years later, and the closest I ever got to becoming a musician is playing Guitar Hero on Sony Playstation.

Obviously, it’s gonna be a very long time before I’d be able to get a girl. 🙁

One thing I’ve learnt for sure – it ain’t that easy to pick up playing a musical instrument. To do it right, one has to spend a lot of time practising, practising, practising. It’s not uncommon for those really dedicated ones to eat, sleep and shit music.

Not sure how many people poop music out from their anus.

But I do know one person who sleeps with a violin.

His name is Dennis Lau. This guy has been playing violin so much, he’s even playing it in his sleep.

Of course, it’s all worth it to him. as one of Malaysia’s most sought after violinists, he has been playing his violin at events both locally and abroad. Just a couple of months earlier, Dennis managed to clinch a deal with Sony Music to release his debut album – DiversiFy.

It also happens to be one of the most refreshing and enjoyable albums I have ever heard from a local artist.

When people think violins, in their heads they usually think either one of two things. Either it’s classical music that old farts listen to, or the hot fiery sounds the likes of Vanessa Mae.

But Dennis’s album is neither.

This is violin in a completely different flavour than the ones we’re used to.

DiversiFy has a bit of jazz, bit of R&B, even bits of rap and hip-hop thrown into the mix. It is full of fresh new sounds 100% composed and produced by the violinist himself. On the whole, Dennis’s music is very easy-listening, very relaxing, and something you’d love to hear while chilling in a nice cafe on a rainy day having a hot cup of latte.

But talk is cheap. Here’s a sample of what the violin sounds like on Dennis’s hands.

Disclaimer: Kenny Sia did not receive any form of bribe/cash/chicks from Dennis Lau for the writing this entry. All I got was his autographed CD, which you can easily get from CD Rama and Rock Corner record stores all over Malaysia.

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You Know You Are An 80s Baby When

You know you’re born in the 1980s when you grow up listening to songs like:

Aaron Kwok – “Dui Ni Ai Ai Ai Bu Wan.”

*moves hand around in circular motion*

New Kids On The Block – “Step by step. Ooh baby, gonna get to you girllll.”

And of course.

Michael Jackson – Just beat it! Beat it! No one wants to be defeated!

Of course at that time, I was too young to understand English so I always thought Michael Jackson was singing in Malay, “DAH PILIH! PILIH! No one wants to PILIH-PILIH!”

I honestly thought that time he was singing about voting in the General Elections.

Aaron Kwok, New Kids On The Block, Michael Jackson.

Those three icons not only produced the music I grew up listening to, they were the reason why I started listening to pop music. Of course, it may be a bit uncool these days to admit that I was once a fan of their music. But no matter what, these three will always be an integral part of my childhood. Even after NKOTB re-grouped and Aaron Kwok transformed his goodie-2-shoes look to this.

This morning, I woke up to the terrible news that the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson has passed away. He was 50 years old.

Unfortunately, unlike that news I heard about Megan Fox being a man, this one is actually real.


As I drove to work this morning, all the radio stations were paying tribute to Michael Jackson. For just one day only,, Mix FM and LiteFM have turned into MJ FM. The amazing thing is that even after 20 years, songs he wrote in the early 90s still sounded just as awesome as they do in 2009.

Regardless of what controversy he was embroiled in, there is no denial that Michael Jackson was a pop legend in the music industry. He was such a cool and fantastic performer. No matter how many Justin Timberlakes, Ne-Yos or will.i.ams there are today, the truth remains that nobody can sing and dance as well as Michael Jackson did.

Not even this Indian dude right here.


Michael Jackson was to us what Elvis Presley and Teresa Teng were to my parents generation. And I think that his music will continue to live on long after he had gone.

Maybe, just maybe, like Elvis Presley, “The King Of Pop” Michael Jackson will inspire a new breed of MJ impersonators.

It may even be happening already.


May the King of Pop finally rest in peace.

ADV: JoyceTheFairy

This entry is about someone I have admired and respected for a very long time.


I have been blogging for over four years now. Throughout this time, I have met many inspiring and talented people who have subconsciously influenced, shaped and changed the way I approach life.

I live in Kuching. My family and work are located here, but my blogging has brought me frequently to Kuala Lumpur.


The capital city can be a frighteningly competitive place.

It’s not unusual to encounter people who’d try to take shortcuts through life, or undercut you in their quest to get to the top. In such a fiercely aggressive environment, ethics and integrity have become secondary. Good guys often lose out. Yet, once in a while, it is encouraging to still come across people who are capable of making a name for themselves through sheer talent, hardwork and PASSION.

One such person I know of, is Joyce Wong.


Some people may wonder what is it about Joyce that made me respect her so much. The thing is, most people online only knew her through her blog at I have the privilege of meeting her in real life and knowing what she’s like behind the computer screens.

Actually, Joyce and I are two vastly different people.

For example, I drink orange for breakfast. She drinks… Guinness.


Her hair style changes once every three months. My hair style remains the same since The Jurassic Era.

Joyce can go out wearing garbage bag and people think it’s fashion.

I go out wearing fashion and people would think I picked it from a garbage bag.

The one thing that we shared in common is that both of us blog, and it is through that that we come to know of each other.

For people who don’t know Joyce, it is very easy to make the mistake writing her off as nothing more than a party princess on first impression.


I was shamefully guilty of that too when I first met her at a bloggers’ gathering four years ago. The big tattoos, wild hair colour and crazy clubbing photos on her blog all seem to give people the false impression that Joyce is all party and no work.

Initially, I too thought the same.


Like most naive people assume, I thought hot chicks would just aspire to live off their rich boyfriends and not think about work. And since Joyce undeniably falls into the category of ‘hot’, I stupidly thought that she might be just like that.

But going out to parties is only a very small part of Joyce. Most of the time, she’s working during those parties but we don’t notice.

As I got to know her better over time, I realised that her fame and success is no fluke.


Joyce is 26 and works in the publishing circles.

She’s been very active in it since I first knew of her four years ago, when she did writing and photography freelance. Even way back then, her services were already heavily sought after by magazines throughout the nation.

I remembered flipping through the magazine sectio in a bookstore once, and almost every publication I picked up has her name or face on it.

The money from freelancing was good and she earned enough to even buy her own car. However, the income stream can be quite unstable. Soon afterwards, she left writing temporarily to take up a marketing job with British American Tobacco.

It’s an entirely different type of job and environment from what she’s used to. It is also something that sapped a lot of energy out of her, and often I see her worked till even later nights.

But one day, a giant light bulb popped over her head. It was the day Joyce decided to fuse together two of her greatest passion: writing and fashion.


Joyce left her former company and spoke to Adrian Yap, founder of KLue and Junk magazines. Being no stranger to blogs, she told Adrian that there is a void in the market with regards to fashion news.

With his publishing know-how and her passion in fashion, Joyce suggested they should combine their superpowers and harness the might of the Internet in order to bring fashion news from all over the South-East Asian region into one spot.

Adrian liked the idea, made her Managing Editor and Joyce went on to work tirelessly to create what is now known as Tongue in Chic.


That was a year ago. Today, TiC is now the undisputed fashion blog in South-East Asia, attracting readers and contributors from not just Malaysia, but Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and even Australia.

Although Tongue in Chic is geared towards girls, personally I can’t help but to check it out time to time. I find it such a great source to look out for sales and improve my hopeless sense of fashion.


The biggest influence Joyce has on me was when she asked if I wanted to shave my head bald for charity late last year.

At that time, I turned her down because the event was in a week’s time and I didn’t have time to think it through properly. Losing my hair is a very big deal!

But then Joyce told me she was gonna go through with it and sure enough, she did.

raised RM20,000 for the Malaysian Paediatric Foundation.

Joyce’s action had left such an effect on me that I actually felt embarrassed I was so protective over my hair. Here’s a girl, who manages a fashion blog, yet is able to shave her head bald when asked.

What more a guy like me, right?


That is the reason why, when Honda Motorsports asked me to nominate somebody who can live up to their challenging spirit of Passion and Dedication, I have no doubt Joyce would fit the bill.

Here’s an individual that works hard, plays hard and ultimately, instrumental in changing and improving KL’s art, fashion and entertainment scene.

For that, she has my full support.


If you also know of somebody who has inspired you through their spirit of passion and dedication, perhaps you too can nominate them.

Because it is time we recognize them for the impact they have made.

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In life, nobody ever goes through success alone.


Everyone of us achieved success did it with the help and support from the people around us.

Throughout my four years, I have met countless incredible people who are never selfish in lending me a helping hand. Two people among the top of my list, are Timothy and Ming of Nuffnang.


For those who don’t already know, Nuffnang is the largest blog advertising agency in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Australia.

A blog advertising agency functions much like a modelling agency. Except we do not model. That’s a good thing because we could probably make Nuffnang go bankrupt with our looks.

But Nuffnang functions similar to a modelling agency in that they get approached by corporate clients seeking to advertise in blogs, and Nuffnang then assign these jobs to the most suitable bloggers under their network.


Today is Nuffnang’s second anniversary, and I thought I should write something here to pay tribute to this wonderful team of people whom I am very proud to be associated with since their inception.

I want to tell the story about how Nuffnang and I got started, because people do not know realise how much effort and drama went behind my signing with Nuffnang. Before I do, be warned that the story is a little long, and there is no punch line at the end of it. But even if you have no interests in blog advertising at all, I think this story have lessons in entrepreneurship, people and business skills that I am sure we can all benefit from.


Blog advertising, as I knew it, is not exactly a new industry.

It may be relatively new compared to traditional forms of advertising like newspapers, TV or billboard ads. But in actual fact, advertising on blogs has been practised long before Nuffnang was founded. In Malaysia, I was one of the few ones fortunate enough to consistently receive 1 or 2 jobs a month from various advertisers without the help of an agency, and those gave me a small but decent supplement income.

The problem back then was that blog advertising was only limited to few selected high-traffic bloggers. The industry was extremely inconsistent, unregulated and unrefined.

So although there were no shortages of companies out there wanting to invest in blog advertising, they did not know how to do it or who to go to.

Compounding the problem is that every blogger has different rules and policies when it comes to blog advertising. How one blogger does things is very different from how the others do.

For example, you will never see Kenny Sia doing an ad for a laptop posing like this.

I just wouldn’t give the same effect as Cindy doing it.

It’s kinda like how in modelling, some models will pose nude and some won’t. Some bloggers will not do certain things asked for by the advertiser no matter how much money was put on the table. Advertisers were also confused as they wondered how come bloggers do not function like in the print media where they can just plonk a full-page ad in for RM 12,000 a day.

It was precisely due to these confusion that a lot of investment were lost, investment that could have been injected into the blog advertising industry but abandoned because advertisers were confused. But in February 2007, this bleak scenario was set to change when Timothy and Ming decided to start Nuffnang – an agency that focuses exclusively on blogs.


Truth to be told, I was very sceptical when Timothy contacted me way back in January 2007, inviting me to join his “blog advertising network”. I was sceptical because plenty of other people had contacted me before to join in on their projects, and I always  turned them down either because I had no confidence in what they’re proposing or what they’re asking for seems to benefit them more than it benefits me or my readers. Why should I help them profit anyway?

Besides, I was comfortable with what I was already earning and I figured I could get by with the contacts I have in the industry. Apart from the convenience of having somebody representing me in Kuala Lumpur while I remain in Kuching, I simply could not see how I could benefit from joining Nuffnang at all.

I thought, why should I let an agency take a slice of my earnings as commission when I could do it all myself right?

Regardless, I stayed on and hear what Timothy had to say. My initial impression was that he was polite and humble, yet persistent in our correspondence. A couple of phone calls and e-mails later, I finally agreed to try out their service.

But that was only just the beginning of the drama.


Around the same time, I was actually approached another similar to Nuffnang. They too, invited me to join their network. They too, appeared to offer similar, if not bigger and better payouts compared to Nuffnang. Many bloggers, including those with less than 1% of my traffic were getting paid very high rates, and on the surface it seemed almost too good to be true.

So when Nuffnang’s competitor spoke to me, I told him that he’s welcome to use me to pitch for jobs as well. After all, I don’t have to be exclusive to one agency. Foolishly, I thought that there was no harm signing up to two different agencies if both could offer me advertorial jobs.


But what I never had expected, was that Nuffnang and the other agency were so fiercely competing with each other. In more than one occasion, both agencies were pitching the same job to the same advertisers, and both claimed to represent Advertisers were confused. It was very bad for me and worse for the industry in general.

On my part, it was like having two lovers going after you at the same time. Sounds good in theory, but very bad idea in practice.


Secretly though, I knew that because both agencies wanted my exclusivity badly, I was in the position to make ridiculous demands. 😉 But of course I never did that because I believe in business, good people should not be taken advantage of. And Timothy and Ming seems like two good-natured people.

The battle between Nuffnang and the competitor raged on for several months.


In the end, I wrote a long e-mail to the directors of both advertising agencies that I can only be committed to one.

The agency I choose shall be one that not only represents my best interests, but also shows potential in working hard for me and for Malaysian blogging community as a whole. In return, I pledged that once I make a business decision on which agency I award my exclusively to, I will do my very best to help them succeed and I will not let them down.

Timothy and Ming replied resignedly saying that they will accept whatever decision I make. Nuffnang’s competitor replied with this.


I did not make my decision immediately. In fact, I spent the next three weeks evaluating which agency I wanted to represent me.

Nuffnang’s rival was quick to offer me a huge upfront payment for my exclusivity.

Nuffnang 0 – Competitor 1


But monetary compensation was actually the least of my concern.

The most important thing is that they need to show potential in representing my interests to the clients.


Before either of them ventured into blog advertising, the rival agency has already been in the internet industry for a while and the boss has himself built quite an impressive number of leads and contacts. Nuffnang’s competitor was already better known in the internet industry.

Timothy on the other hand was a fresh graduate whose previous internet business experience was one cute website called Tuition Hamster.


Nuffnang 0 – Competitor 2


Because I didn’t know Timothy nor his competitor all that well back then, but I seeked a lot of second opinion from those who knew them personally. Just like how schoolgirls often talked among themselves over which guy they should date, I did the same with my trusted circle of friends.

I don’t know what Timothy did, but that guy has got some seriously supportive friends. Out of 10 people I asked, 9 have nothing but good things to say about him.


Nuffnang 1 – Competitor 2


Nuffnang also shows a lot of respect, integrity and sincerity in their way of doing business, which I like.

I got the feeling that they meant every word they said, and not just making empty promises. In Nuffnang, a lot effort was put into improving their product and services. The two bosses were very focused and determined to do their best. Very rarely do you see Nuffnang waste time in slagging off competition.


Nuffnang 2 – Competitor 2


The last thing I did was run a search through all my e-mails, comments and their blogs to see if any of them had ever talked shit about me. 😉

I wasn’t expecting fanboy comments of course. I just wanted to check if they are one of those scumbags who would spend day and night belittling you, then suddenly turn around and act nice just because they wanted something from you. Too many of those leeches exist in the business world.

Turns out that Timothy had left comments on my blog every now and then since 2005. The competitor on the hand, had never even participated in my blog at all.


Nuffnang 3 – Competitor 2


Eventually I made my decision.

Although the competitor has a more experience and offered me more money, in the end it was Nuffnang’s sincerity that won me over. On the 15th May 2007, I gave Timothy the phone call to inform him of my decision.

Over the next several months, I passed on virtually all my leads and industry contacts for him to work on. I encouraged other bloggers to give them a chance to tryout their service. I gave them a small advertising space on my blog for free, which they must work hard to fill up. They did not disappoint.

On their side, they held several large-scale social events, discovered interesting bloggers no one heard of and most importantly – promoted to the commercial world that blogs are a legitimate and effective advertising avenue alongside television, newspapers, billboards and radio.


It would be an understatement to say that Nuffnang made an impact on the blogging community, because they virtually uprooted and completely revolutionized the way the media and advertising industry look at blogs.

For two 20+ year olds with no experience in advertising whatsoever, that is very impressive.

Nuffnang had not only fulfilled all their promises they made to me, but they did so much more. Many other bloggers two years ago who would never have the chance to earn any income and now doing well enough to even have it as their regular income.


My partnership with Nuffnang has been synergistic and fruitful to say the least. Yet even until today, Timothy and Ming never rested on their laurels and opened up branches in places as farflung as Australia.

As I embark on my journey to start my own b
usiness this year, I am sure I’ll find myself constantly drawing lessons I learnt from my experience with Tim and Ming.

Anyway, this might sound a bit gay but I am gonna say it anyhow.


Congratulations to the both of you on your second anniversary!

Continue reading Makes Normal Humans Do Stupid Things

This is my friend Anna-Rina.

Anna is a contestant in’s Living With Ika, Serena C and Pietro Contest.
As part of the contest, she have to go about her daily life with cardboard cutouts (!) of the radio DJs for three bloody weeks. The person who gets spotted most wins RM50,000, which is why if you walk around KL now, you might see a lot of these kiasu zombies walking around.

I’m giving her some free publicity here because Anna has always been massively supporting me without asking much in return. So must give her some back lah.
Anyway Pietro, I know you sometimes read this blog so if you happen to be seeing this right now, you know what to do. 😉

Hey, if Anna wins RM50,000, maybe she’ll share it equally among‘s 20,000 readers. THEN YOU WILL ALL GET A MINDBLOWING RM2.50 EACH!
Nice anot?

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