Category: Re-discovering Myself

Kuching Vs Perth Dilemma

Few weeks ago I received a short, but sweet text message from my ex-boss in Perth.

My jaw fell to the ground. I struggled to pick it up.
It is a very huge sum, something I could only dream earning of at the moment. I was offered a salary that only people who have worked their arses off for ten, fifteen years would be getting. And right now it’s sitting right in front of me within reaching distance. The figure is more than double of what I am earning in Kuching right now. That means I could buy my own house, drive my own car, fill up my savings account and reach my financial goals twice as fast.
If I wanted to.

About two years ago, I left my former job as a software engineer for a radio base station manufacturer in Australia to return home to be with my father. It was a difficult decision at the time, but one that I made without any regrets. We packed our bags, sold off 8 years worth of everything and moved back to Kuching.
A chapter was closed. A new page begun.
Fast forward 18 months later, I have more of less settled down in my new job, kickstarted a few projects and even managed to get the ball rolling. Thanks to the popularity of this blog, my social circle within Malaysia and around the region expanded considerably.

Within a few short months, I went from a nobody to a somebody. No longer do I feel lonely and without friends like I did initially. After all the drama and major changes endured last year, at least now there’s some calmness and serenity in my life.
At first, I didn’t plan to stay in Kuching for too long. I only thought of staying back temporarily just to make sure everything is alright before moving elsewhere.
It’s not that I don’t like it here. I do. But working here and living here, I just feel that there are too much restrictions in place that I had to obey, and I felt that stifle my creativity process. I love Kuching, but I feel it is not exactly the place where I could take full advantage of my youthful energy and hunger for knowledge.

Part of the reason I started is to have it serve as a personal creative outlet for myself. It has been extremely theurepatic for me writing here. I thought to myself “Hey, eventhough I cannot take control of my own life, at least I still have my blog which is the one thing I have 100% complete control over.”
But since I started writing here, I had been called into “the room” many times with “the powers that be” for “a discussion” because of all the “concerns” that my blog has brought about to them. Words were exchanged, tears flowed, but I was as stubborn as a brick wall. They think that I am troubled because I don’t tell them things that I do on this blog.
Well, actually I had, but no one was listening.
They asked me again what I wanted, and I told them exactly what I wanted in life. Their replies were exactly what I anticipated – that there’s nothing much I can do. They even tried to console me by explaining that “sometimes there are paths that you don’t want to walk, but because of certain events, you have to walk down that path.” After a while, I was told to stop dreaming about moving out of Kuching and just concentrate on what I have here.
Time has passed. By and large, I have mostly forgotten about Perth, although I still think about it every now and again.

The arrival of the unexpected SMS sent me into a tailspin for the rest of the day.
Suddenly, my inner desire was re-awakened. I find myself in a dilemma once again, choosing between doing the irresponsible thing of leaving home for a better life, or stay back and (try to) be happy with what I have.
Technically, I could go back to Perth if I wanted to. After all, my Australian permanent residency is still valid. I did think of giving up my PR a while back, but this conversation with Wingz made me think twice.
Wingz: “actually hor .. since u got ozzie PR better chow la. stay here play lampar only.”
Kenny: “heh. i think i have to give up my aussie pr already.”
Wingz: “WTF weiii. u sure anot? kanneh not easy to get ledi u know?”
So I sat down and wrote to myself the pros and cons of going back to work in Perth.

Pros Cons
The pay there is more than double of what I get right now. And 1 AUD = 2.77 MYR. I have to give up travelling because Perth is too isolated and airfares are too expensive.
My job will be more relevant to what I did at University. I can fully realise my potential and not be bound down by conservative rules. I have to give up the management position I have here, which I kinda enjoy.
I can do anything I want here because nobody knows me, and there’s no case of small town mentality and rumour-mongering. In Malaysia, I am a somebody. In Perth, I am a nobody.
There is zero stress, no deadlines in my work. And I don’t even have to work on Saturdays. I don’t have much friends to go out with in Perth.
I can go back to tutoring high school students and earn RM150 an hour per student. I can’t do advertorials on my blog anymore because no way would any company send their products to Australia.
I am considered "fit", not "fat", by Australian standards. This blog is not even gonna be as interesting because it will slowly lose its Malaysian flavour and popularity over time.
If I’m not happy with certain politicians or government policies, I can criticise them all I want without being abused. It’s not going to be the same anyway because I don’t feel the same connection for Australia the way I feel for Kuching.
Aussies are genuinely friendly people and they ask about your day even if you’re a total stranger. Over here, people are friendly to you only if they work in Starbucks. My surname is "Sia", which is pronounced "see-ya" but Aussies always call it "sai-ah". My Chinese name is "Tze Foo Sia" but they like to call me "Tze Sia" because they think "Foo" is my middle name and decided to drop it off.
It’s easier to stay healthy in Australia because the weather there is more conducive to exercise in and healthy food are more readily available. Kolo Mee in Perth costs RM20 a bowl and tastes like dog poo drenched in shit oil.

At the end of it all, I still don’t know what I should do. 🙁

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About Me

My name is Kenny Sia.

All studio photos courtesy of Alvin Leong Photography

I was born on the 27th November 1982. That makes me 24 this year, and a Sagittarius. I’m the youngest in my family. Also the most rebellious.
My field of work is in IT management. Apart from my full-time day-to-day job, I spend a good deal of time on this website, which is starting to give me pretty good side income. I also pen a regular column with KLue Magazine titled Blogroll, where I showcase the best of Malaysian blogs.

I am a health-conscious person eventhough I may not look the part. I’m not one of those lucky enough to be blessed with good genetics or a high metabolism rate, which is why I go for a workout almost everyday and watch my diet very carefully.
I like a nice skinny latte and I still drink alcohol socially, but I don’t smoke.
I enjoy travelling immensely and one of my favourite cities to visit is Singapore. My aim is to visit at least two new cities overseas every year.

I live in Kuching, Sarawak. It’s a humble small city located in East Malaysia, about 2 hours by plane from the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Kuching is one of the hidden treasures of Malaysia, a wonderful place that strikes a perfect balance between the fast-paced lifestyle of a big city, and the intimacy of a laid-back rural kampung. Everything you see in travel brochures about Sarawak is true. We really do live on trees and wear red loincloths around town.

Previously I lived Perth, Australia, where I spent a good 8 years of my youth growing up. Perth remains a place very close to my heart. It’s been almost 2 years since I left Perth and I still speak with a distinct Aussie accent, a nagging habit I’m struggling to shake off.

I’m a graduate of Curtin University, where I hold a Bachelors degree in Physics and an Honours degree in Electronic & Communication Engineering. None of my two degrees have any relevance whatsoever to my field of work right now. I haven’t yet found the need to use complex Calculus to solve a really bad business decision.
The moral of the story is: get a commerce degree instead. You’ll live longer.

Before I landed at my current job, I used to work as an EMC test engineer, a software engineer and a home tutor. Out of those three, I enjoyed being a home tutor best.
For several years, I charged an equivalent of RM140 an hour regurgitating high school science and maths to anyone who’s willing to pay. My students included many people from a wide range of backgrounds: from local Australians to overseas students, overachieving 16-year-olds to late 40-plus-year-old moms, filthy rich Indonesians to dirt poor Somalians, and of course plenty of Malaysians rushing to do their last-minute cramp before the exams.

My father was diagnosed with advanced stage kidney cancer in late 2004. That was a very sad and difficult period in my life. In March 2005, I left my many friends in Perth and a handsomely-paid job to move back to Kuching to be by my father’s side. He passed away peacefully in May 2005.

I started this website because I wanted to chronicle the drastic changes over that tumulous period in my life. My blog began from when I was still living in Perth, to when I decided to move back to Kuching, to when my father left for a better place, to me experiencing reverse culture shock settling down here, and finally to me becoming the person that I am today.
This is my website.

And this is me. I am Kenny.

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Autograph Books

Do you have an autograph book?

A rare occassion happened today. I was cleaning up my room and I came across my autograph books from ages ago.
These autograph books are from my late primary school years, back when writing pointless well-wishing messages for your classmates were still considered cool.

Looking through them brought back a lot of nostalgic memories. Not sure if kids these days still keep something like that. I suppose with Friendster or Multiply these days, it’s a lot easier to keep in touch with your old schoolmates. There’s no point keeping an autograph book now.
But before all these online social-networking sites were invented, this was what we do. Each one of us kept these fancy little notebooks with fancy little covers, and we passed them around among our classmates and wrote messages in them.

My autograph book has a Little Bobdog cover on it.
If I carry something around like that with me today, someone would report me for commiting a crime against humanity.
Having a Little Bobdog notebook is about as bad as me wearing Hello Kitty underpants to go out. Litte Bobdog! Can you believe it? What the hell was I smoking?

Normally on the first page of our autograph books, we would write some sentimental crap about how we’re all leaving school soon and how we should treasure our friendship together.

It’s very ironic, because I don’t even remember half the people who left messages. in my autograph book. Who the heck is Tan Yen Yeu? I don’t remember knowing anyone called Tan Yen Yeu!

You gotta cut my cheesiness some slack because these were written WAY back in 1991.
Thank goodness I don’t write like that now. FRANCE no longer stands for Friendship Remains And Never Can End. France in 2006 stands for Our Football Captain Likes To Headbutt Foulmouthed Italians And Gets Himself Sent Off.

In 1991, I was a young and stupid 9-year-old who doesn’t know how to spell “friends” and wrote “souvenir” as “sasnival”. What kinda word is “sasnival”? I must be writing in German.
It felt a bit strange to see people referring to me by my Chinese name. Most of my friends call me Kenny. I’m still not used to people calling me Tze Foo.

A friend of mine suggested that I might as well drop the “Tze Foo” and replace it with “Dot Com”. That way my full name will become “Kenny Sia Dot Com”

By this point, you must be wondering how much vocabulary a 9-year-old has to be able to fill up the pages of an autograph book. The answer is: not much.

Almost all the well-wishing messages written were tacky poems copied from somewhere, like this one.

Sometimes, I don’t even know if what they’ve written were meant to be well wishes. If it’s a joke it’s not funny at all.

In fact, I was so disappointed with the quality of messages left for me, that I myself wrote in my own autograph book.

I know, how pathetic right.
At least some of the poems still have potential give me a chuckle after so many years.

My favourite poem in my whole two books though, was this one. I saw this poem repeated several times. Seems like my classmates seem to have a penchant of wanting to marry me with a giant hairy ape.

Coincidentally I just came back from Hong Kong. But it’s 2006 now, so I’ve taken the liberty to “update” the poem a little bit.
Here’s how it should go:

Go To Hong Kong
Eat Until Song Song
Come Back Hong Kong
Become King Kong

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I Am Hairy

My last entry, I posted this very normal-looking picture up.

And look at the comments flowing in.
“who’s hand is that..the hairy one with the tag? *hair phobia*” — Bean
“Kenny, u got hairy hand ya?!?!?!” — Natasha
“kenny… u r so hairy… eee…” — KeL
“Wah Lao, your hand sibeh hairy lah. Wanna try waxing? Makes me wonder if other parts of your body is as hairy as that~ Hahaha” — Nonnie
Hello? It was just a photo of a WRISTBAND. How come all these people talking about my bodily hair.

Yalah I know I have a lot of body hair. Maybe a little bit more so than the average Chinese guy, but hey that’s just the way I am.
I’ve got hair on my legs. I’ve got hair on my chest. I’ve got hair on my stomach leading down to my *ahem*.
I’ve got leg hair so thick and curly, it looks like it’s got the whole eco-system going on down there.

Back when I was doing Form 3, my school uniform was still the kind with white shirt and tight short pants. I have started growing hair on my legs already. By the end of the first semester my leg hair has become so thick and black and curly, it made me look really bad in schoolboy shorts. No other boys in my class have the same problems. Just me.
I carried the nickname ë¸ç (hairy bro).
It is said if you don’t know who Kenny Sia is back then, all you gotta do is go to the Form 3 classes and look for the guy with the longest leg hair. That would be me.

It’s not easy having a pair of hairy legs.
I can’t shorts when I go out. On occassions that I have to wear shorts (like during an extremely hot afternoon), I risk having my leg hair yanked out by people. Especially girls.
I don’t understand the fascination girls have with my leg hair. Why do they have to yank my leg hair out as hard as they can, at every opportunity they could get?
It’s like, when I joke with them.
“Hahahahaha” *YANK*
When I help them out.
“Eh, thanks ah!” *YANK*
When I ignore them.
Please. Hairy men have feelings too.

I got hair growing at weird places. This one’s on my big toe.

If you put an ant on my leg, he’s gonna have trouble finding his way out of the maze of hair.
One time, I swear I saw a poor tiny little ant crawling around my leg frantically with his miniature-sized torch light and miniature-sized film camera.
When I found that fella stopped moving 3 days later, I took his miniature-sized tape out of his miniature-sized film camera and put it inside my miniature-sized VCR. And it showed this.

It’s true.
Trust me, I tried waxing it off before. Paid a lot of money, hurts like hell and it grew back in like a month. I wonder why I did it in the first place.
Yeah, I am hairy. But my body hair has never been a problem for me. No one ever complains about it.

The reason why hair grow on my body in the first place is because of testosterones. I have lots of ’em. Testosterones come from the testicles. And I have two. HUGE ones. That’s why I’ve got so much hair.
Why would I wanna wax my hair off? It’s a symbol of my manhood manliness. Testosterones are what make men men.
Personally, I would be damn worried if I haven’t got hair on my body, because that would mean I’m still a boy and not a man.
If you’re one of those pansy skinny little boys with not a single strand of hair on your chest, maybe you should be worried instead. Please check if your testicles are still working, thank you.

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Chung Hua Middle School No.1

Chung Hua Middle School No.1 was the secondary school I used to go.

It wasn’t meant to be that way actually.
When I was about to finish primary school, my parents thought it’d be a good idea to send me off to Lodge School. Lodge is a private English school where all the elites, expats and other atas people send their kids to. If that were to happen, I’d probably have classmates whose parents are Datuks and Tan Sris and the like.

I come from a humble family that emphasises heavily on the value of thrift.
After I got through the Lodge School admission test, my mother told me before I start at my new school not to be envious of my classmates. I didn’t know why she said that to me then. She knew we aren’t as well-off compared to my future classmates, and materialism is something my parents try their best to provide, not something they could afford continuously.

Alas, with my father’s deep-rooted Confucian beliefs, he feared that I would turn into an English-speaking only ‘banana’ and ordered me a humble Chinese school instead at the last minute.
And this is where I spent three short but memorable years of my life.

This is where I used to sit in class

Chung Hua Middle School No.1 (CHMS No.1 for short) is every parent’s dream and every student’s worst nightmare.
In short, this school is like a giant pressure cooker spreaded over 18 acres of land. Come to think of it, I had more pressure studying here than I had for 5 years studying at University.

In an environment where academic performance is of upmost importance and everything else takes second place, I was under a lot of scrutiny to do my very best. The teachers here (or at least the ones I had) seem to derive some sort sadistic pleasure forcing students to memorise and rote learn huge amount of information, then expecting them to regurgitate it all out during tests and exams.
Fun factor = zero.

This was the last classroom I was in

The syllabus was very unforgiving. Once, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown because I was faced with two final exam papers on the same day: History and Science. The Science paper is Physics, Chemistry and Biology 3-in-1. So that’s four books I gotta memorise within just ONE day before the exam.
For a 14 year old then, it was pure torture. I remember studying till 6am, sleeping just an hour and bombed both papers big time the next day. That’s how bad it was.

Discpline was even more harsh. Being taught discpline at school was like being subjected to drill officers at an army camp. One discipline teacher I had was nicknamed ‘The Great White Shark’, and she was notorious for speaking in one volume only : EXTRA LOUD.
No explanation needed as to why the photos of our discipline heads in the year book were always tampered with.

An example of how rigid the discipline system at school happened when I was in Form 2. I knew a girl who got into trouble with the discipline teacher because she was seen putting her hand on a boy’s shoulder while talking to him.
Even until today, I still don’t understand what’s there to be upset over that incident. Hello? She was just putting her hand on his shoulder, not giving him a live strip show in the middle of the hallway.

Kids these days so lucky use fancy plastic chairs. In our days, our asses have to kiss the cold hard wooden chairs instead.

The school rules sound like something the Taliban would implement. No mobile phones. No liquid paper. No girly accessories. No boys and girls canoodling in the classroom alone.
Apart from the usual, students are not allowed to have coloured hair, permed hair, coloured shoes or socks, long hair for boys, short skirts for girls, etc. Girls with long hair must tie them up, or face the consequences during the dreaded weekly Hair and Fingernail Inspection.

CHMS NO.1 being a Chinese school, 99% of students there are Chinese. It’s bad in a way, but because I don’t remember having a non-Chinese friend until after I left school. The teachers here have the arrogant tendency to look down on Chinese who can’t speak Chinese, such as those grew up in government-sponsored Malay schools.

We’re constantly reminded of how great our school is compared to others. In return we Chinese school students were often stereotyped by Malay and English school students as close-minded recluse who are hardcore in Maths and Science, but hopeless when stringing together a proper English sentence.

This was… me

Sadly, I left Kuching after Form 3. When I returned 8 years later, my personal philosophy and take on education changed so much I was unable to accept the way things work in this school.
Studying at CHMS No.1 was the very definition of “Tough Love” no doubt about that. As much as I hated the academic pressure and the school’s close-minded philosophy, I do believe I turned out a better person in the end. And that’s something I am grateful for.

During my time in secondary school, I did cross path with a young Kuching boy whose face is now on almost every single teenage magazine you could think of.

Before he became the international superstar and Malaysia’s hottest Chinese music artist that he is right now, Nicholas Teo was actually my schoolmate. Till today, I still could not believe how big he’s made it. Looking at the yearbook, it’s amazing to see the transformation he’s gone through.

But I shouldn’t really laugh at people. I myself looked much worse when I was young.

OMG I look like a priest!

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It’s Been A Year Since You’re Gone

Dear Papa,

It’s been a year since you left us. How are you holding up? Hope you’re enjoying your holidays. I wonder what you are doing right now. Most probably relaxing on your rocking chair, smoking your favourite cigarette, sipping on black coffee. Just like before.
You always liked my coffee. Been a while since I made coffee for you isn’t it? How’s the coffee like over there? Are they any better than Starbucks?
Things sure felt a little different since you left. For one, we had a really quiet Chinese New Year this year. Mom, Bro and Sis were all overseas at the time. I was the only one who stayed back home.
It certainly felt strange visiting friends and families on my own for the first time. I missed the times when we would wake up really early, eat ‘long-life noodles’ and do our visiting as a family. There’s even one year when we all donned traditional Chinese costumes for CNY, remember? We all look really cute and funny. That was one of the fondest memories I had of Chinese New Year when you’re around.
On CNY eve, I had my Reunion Dinner with the cousins instead. Before the dinner, I still called out “Pa, chi. Mi, chi” out of habit. How silly of me! I forgot this year you’re not on the table with us.
Hey, our house is gonna going through renovations soon. I saw the drawings and it looks great. Mom has been real stressed out because she doesn’t have you around to discuss things. It upsets me sometimes to see her in the state she’s in. You know how much Mom misses you. It’s been a year and Mom still thinks of you every single day. Well, Mother’s Day is coming and I plan to do something special for her.

Sister is moving to New Zealand later this month. Her two beautiful kids are growing up quick. Jayden is really smart and inquisitive, always pestering his mother to teach him new words. Her 17-month-old Kirsten is still learning how to walk. That clumsy little girl is always falling down all over the place, then she’ll start crying non-stop. Haha. Sis really has her hands full taking care of those two little monkeys. Poor sis.
As for me, work is going ok. There’s a lot of travelling. It’s a little stressful at first but I find myself getting into the thick of things already. I just need to manage my time better to take care of many things at once. Don’t worry, I’ll try my best.
Business is doing well. In fact, it’s growing strong and better than ever. But you know how it’s like. When you’re on top there’s always people out there wanting to bring you down. Last week my friend told me he heard people spreading false rumours about you having sold off your business. Haha. What a foolish joke. I can imagine you bent over laughing with us if you’re still around. Please forgive them though. It’s the small town mentality. They don’t know better.
To be honest, we didn’t quite feel like you’re gone sometimes. Your office is still the same as when you left it. The lights are still switched on, your desk still wiped and cleaned everyday. At times, it feel like you’re only gone for a few days travelling and that one day you might come back.

You know, I bump into your friends pretty often these days. They would always speak fondly of you, sharing with me precious memories of you they have. The few of us would chat and laugh happily as we recall the Chinese idioms and analogies you’ve taught us. I would chuckle and tell them that the first Malay sentence you taught me was “tiap tiap pagi, saya mengosok gigi.”
It never fails to amaze me how much detail your friends and colleagues can remember about you, right down to which laksa stall was your favourite and where you used to sit in the coffee shops. That’s how deeply you’ve touched their lives. Words you’ve said to them so long ago still stay fresh in their mind, as if they’ve only just talked to you last week.
Ahhh… memories. I remember when I was about 4 or 5, I fell asleep in the car once and you carried me to my bedroom and tucked me in to sleep. I liked that so much I would always pretend to fall asleep in the car, even on a bright sunny afternoon. It continued on for quite a while. Guess at some point I became too heavy, and you’d have to resort to tapping me on my shoulders to wake me up instead.
Anyway, I better stop here now else I might go on forever.
It’s been a year since you’re gone. Papa, you used to always call me when you’re away travelling, asking me if I missed you. I miss you now pa, why didn’t you call me? I want to tell you that I miss you a lot, and that you’re the best father a boy could ever dream of.
We have fate. And I’m so happy that at one point in our lives, our paths met as father and son.
Until we meet again, pa. 🙂 Take care.

Your youngest son Kenny

2006 New Years Resolution

In the year 2006, I plan to:

  • Stop guzzling alcohol like it’s water.
  • Put 40% to 50% of my salary into savings each month.
    (The above resolution is waived if I had to travel during that month.)
  • Ponder about my future a little bit more Scrap that, I have no control of my future after all. No point pondering.
  • Nabeh. Use less cuss words on KNNCCB.
  • Stop writing about politics, and never use the “A***h” word ever again. Aiseh.
  • Remember Kenny, alcohol is not water… alcohol is not water…
  • Lose 10kg off the spare tyre around my waist. As opposed to gaining 10kg like what I did this year.
    (The above resolution is waived if I’m really really hungry.)
  • Travel to Singapore once every few months. I can never get enough of Singapore. But can someone like, ask the hotels there to charge a little less?
  • Carefully read the MRT Station regulations before proceeding to take more photos inside the City Hall MRT station.
  • Alcohol bad. Kenny good. Kenny no drink alcohol!
  • Most importantly, avoid slacking off from January to November, then try to achieve all my new years resolutions in bloody December!

What is your new years resolution?

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23 Years

It’s my birthday today. I’m officially 23 years old.

When I was 22 years old, I…
– was working comfortably as a software engineer in Perth.

– welcomed my baby niece Kirsten into this world on Christmas Day.
– started in January.

tendered my resignation, just 2 months after receiving a nice payrise.

– sold everything and left Perth for good in March.
– left my girlfriend alone in Perth, just days after her Australian permanent residency was approved.

– returned to Kuching, and experienced culture shock.
started a brand new career.

– started that whole she-bang on coconuts.
Kuching Shuffle
– discovered the Kuching Shuffler.

– spent a lot of time in the hospital and at home caring for my father.

lost my father to cancer in May.
– was named Blogger of the Year at the PPS Anniversary Bash in June.

– was given an earful by my family after they found out that I kept a blog. Password-protected my more personal posts as a result. I still don’t like people discussing with my family members what I write in here, because I get into trouble everytime that happens.
– found out I have a desperate addict.

– attended Singapore’s first ever blog conference in July. Caused a ruckus in the VIP room.
– invented the word Bloglitics.
– snuck into the Miss Tourism Pageant.
– wrote the still very popular English-Benglish Translator in August.

– wanted to go back to Perth. Felt helpless that my girlfriend and I are drifting apart.
raised over RM5,000 for charity together with minishorts, suanie, Peter Tan and Shaolin Tiger.
– took a semi-hiatus from blogging in September as I embarked on a major project.
< - fell sick and developed strange rash.
– wrote a long-winded social commentary on patriotism, which turned out to be my most popular entry yet.

– revisited Perth in October.
– met Lena Fonseka and got my foot in mouth.
– tried the Detox Diet, and failed the very next day.
What an emotional rollercoaster ride my 23rd year has been. One thing for sure, I’m glad it’s all over. And now I wonder what’s in store for me in this coming year.
It’s my birthday and I’m sitting here in an Internet Cafe in KL. If you’ll excuse me, I need to party.

Continue reading In The Media And My So-Called “Fame”

I’ve been collecting newspaper and magazine articles that mentioned me for quite some time, but it is only until now that I decided to post them up.

September 2005, HardwareMag Malaysia. Also appeared in HardwareMag Singapore (scan thanks to Mr Miyagi).

Being on semi-hiatus can be quite therapeutic in a strange kinda way. It certainly is blissful to stay away from all the limelight, all the ugly bloglitics and return to blogging at its most basic level – updating whenever I want without putting in too much of an effort to think of a punchline or be entertaining. Admittedly, doing so has made this blog stale and it has lost me a couple of readers.
That’s ok, at least I hadn’t received a single negative comment against me since World Toilet College.
I remember it didn’t used to be that way.

15th June 2005, The Straits Times (Singapore). My virgin appearance on a national newspaper lost to Ms Melissa Lwee – the journalist who gets paid to read blogs.

There was a time when I was able to write whatever I want sincerely and honestly without having to see critics jumping and posting retaliating entries against me on their sites. There was a time when I noticed that almost every single day, minishortsand Wendy‘s blogs would be filled to the brim with entries of them responding to their critics. Secretly I’d be rejoicing inside knowing I don’t get attacked the same way they did.

4th July 2005, LianHe ZaoBao (Singapore). The day I was mistaken as a Singaporean. Click pic to read.
Translation on the caption: “Local [Singaporean] blogs are actually very funny! Kenny Sia ( quickly paid tribute to SPG, and took a photo in a similar but shocking pose.”

I was still writing as an asshole, but I still made people laugh and to my knowledge there wasn’t anyone out there openly declaring their hate against me. Comments by anonymous trolls are always present but they were mostly far and few in between and too easy to ignore. I considered myself very lucky I wasn’t involved in any bloglitics. I never wanted to be.
Things then started to go awfully wrong.

20 June 2005, StarTwo insert of The Star (Malaysia National). By Michael Cheang.

“Are you ready to handle fame?” Michael asked.
I scrunched my eyebrows quizzically, “Huh? Fame?”

At the dawn of the SPG controversy, Michael Cheang’s StarTwo feature on four Malaysian bloggers (the other three being minishorts, Peter Tan and Suanie) drew mostly praises for his attempt at “fixing up” the blogosphere. However, my decision to accept Michael’s request for an interview in turn, raised the ire of some bloggers and I subsequently received my first online spat from Su-Yin, Michelle and Tim.
At this point, I wish to urge readers who clicked on the links posted here to just read what they wrote for an ‘alternative point of view’ about me. But please, DO NOT attack the bloggers and DO NOT engage in meaningless online bitchfight. I’ve gotten over it a long time ago already and I do not wish to add fuel to an extinguished fire. Its not like I still bear any grudges against them. Besides, Su-Yin got into a car accident soon after that entry, so all’s fair. (I take that back. Sorry I stepped out of line.)

August 2005, KLue Magazine (Klang Valley, Malaysia). Click pic to read article.

For days, I sank into disillusionment . I simply could not fathom why people would so viciously attack me like that. Unlike anonymous trolls who disappeared as soon as they jabbed, these are actually real life flesh-and-blood people with their faces and real names attached to their blogs.

September 2005, KL Lifestyle Magazine (Klang Valley, Malaysia). Click pic to read article.

It hurts a lot more when attacks like that came unexpected. I did not write anything controversial, I did not insult their grandmother, and I most certainly am not fame-whoring. My only crime was that I politely accepted an interview when a journalist requested. What am I supposed to do? Turn him down?

29 June 2005, Today (Singapore). Reprint appeared on ChannelNewsAsia. Pimped by Mr Miyagi. Click pic to read full article.

I never think I’m famous, nor do I regard myself as a celebrity. For the record, it wasn’t me, but others who jumped in and described me as “Kenny Sia, famous blogger”. It’s not entirely true. I can always argue the accuracy of that description, but who am I to do that?

7 August 2005, Today (Singapore). Original blog entry here. Click pic to read full article.

The PPS 2nd Anniversary Bash marked a turning-point in my blogging “career”, if you could even call it that. came in as an underdog finalist for the Blog of the Year (only because Jeff Ooi pulled out) and stole the award. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not feel I deserve this award.

30 June 2005, Star InTech insert of The Star (Malaysia National). By Shom Teoh. Click pic to read full article.

No, I’m not being modest. I know I’m supposed to be proud and all that for winning. I know its common for bloggers to put up buttons on their sites flaunting their awards. But for months, I did not even want to see that button up on my blog proclaiming how is Malaysia’s Blog of the Year. The way I look at it, being Blogger of the Year is more like a weapon others use to attack me than an award I can truly be proud of.

21 July 2005, The Star (Malaysia National). Actually I took it down to protect the innocent parties from getting shit-slunged. It has nothing to do with the furore. But never mind. 🙂

Even my patriotism gets questioned. “He kept saying he wants to go back to Perth. So much for Malaysia’s best blogger.” said one commenter.
Things went downhill since that initial trip to KL and Singapore. I carried on blogging as usual, only this time I got a lot more critics nitpicking and scrutinising my every word. Links were pulled. Friendship lost. Strangers who once stood by my side during my toughest times, suddenly turned and stabbed me with a knife on my back.
I was lost. I didn’t even know what I did wrong. Once again I did not write anything controversial. All I did was writing about my trip to KL and Singapore, and I didn’t even say Singapore pretty much sucked.

21st July 2005, Star InTech insert of The Star (Malaysia National). By Associated Press. Reprints appeared in other Associated Press affiliates.

It got so bad that at one point, I couldn’t even post an entry without expecting someone to get upset over it. Bloodthirsty commenters on xlx roared to put me up for public execution. Even my work on charity got brushed off as a personal agenda to advance my so-called “career”. If my entry on Furong Jiejie or SPG rubbed people off the wrong way because I came across as being harsh or sleazy, I can understand. But I know I’m fucked when even a review on hair salon would make people angry.

4 August 2005, The Borneo Post (Sarawak, Malaysia). Click pic to read full article.
The BloggersAreMorons crew also appeared in 7th August edition of The Star.

The point of this entry isn’t to gain sympathy or what not, so with all due respect please save the “ignore them, we still love you” comments. Critics aren’t meant to be ignored. They’re meant to be proven wrong. And this is what I want to say to my critics:
I didn’t choose the attention, attention chose me.
I didn’t ask people out there to talk about, they just did.
I’m not famous, people just say I am. I never once said that I’m famous on my blog. Never. So spare me the “Fame has got to his head” comments EVERYTIME I wrote something you disagree with.
I didn’t choose fame. Fame came knocking on my door and I had no choice but to answer it. Unless I go on Malaysian Idol, I don’t think its even remotely possible for someone to choose fame.
If I can put fame for sale on eBay, I’d sell it off to people who can choose fame and make a handsome profit.
Strip me off the glitz and glamour, the vanilla and the icing, the awards and the connections with femes people. You’ll find that I’m just a plain and regular guy working 9-to-5 (sometimes 9-to-10) documenting his life much like what everyone else is doing. Why are you so upset at me?
There’s no “blogging career”. There’s nothing special about Kenny Sia. There never was.
I just write.