what happened to monsterblog (3)

If I remember correctly, it was during Brendan Pereira’s time when the front-page stories on Monsterblog thing was implemented. The idea was for us to blog a newsworthy story taken from NST every working day, and a link would be made available on the said story on NST online edition. This move improved Monsterblog’s hits by leaps and bounds, and along the way we managed to score a Google Page Rank of 6. Yay.

Fast-forward to the demise of Monsterblog: I blogged about the BERSIH and HINDRAF rallies. I don’t recall my blog postings to be particularly negative, or that I wrote anything out of line. One could call my postings on Monsterblog to be almost tame ;)

In early December 2007, we found Monsterblog to be inaccessible. At first we thought that there was some problems with the server, as we have had this problem before (something about MySQL couldn’t handle bla bla bla). Left it at that. But the next day or so, I was told by someone to call a number; the company that registered Monsterblog’s URL. The guy on the other line was a tad worried (and rightfully so), because according to him, the police visited either the company or the company’s head, asking about Monsterblog, if they owned it etc. Turned out that a police report had been lodged on Monsterblog, presumably related to the BERSIH or HINDRAF postings or comments. The domain guys freaked out and removed the pointers to the DNS, and that was the last of Monsterblog.

We asked around, and someone told us that there was no police report lodged against Monsterblog. But two days later, the person called to say, yes the police report just got in. Apparently or allegedly or supposedly, ZAM was the one who lodged it, and Monsterblog was only one of the few blogs that kena-ed. Until today, we’ve not seen the police report so we do not know what it was really about.

I discussed with a couple of people, and we unanimously decided to let go of Monsterblog. Not because we were afraid, but mostly because we have other shit going on. The fun was over, thanks for the ride ;) A couple of weeks later, Mr. Little Birds told me that he heard that the operation (operasi, a.k.a. mass-tangkap) was canceled. So, that was that.

But it was no fun living each day waiting for someone to turn up at your door, okay. More respect to those who face it everyday and have it worse.

So again, that was that. And again, the ride was fun; sometimes tedious (it’s not that fun to have to crack your head every morning thinking what to write, especially during the slow days when the news weren’t that happening) but overall it was good. I learnt hell of a lot during this time, and I got to know a lot more people, and made some good friends along the way. But there you go, that was the story. Not very spicy right? Now you all can go to Peter’s blog and whack him for deluding you all that this would be akin to a Korean drama.

To end this, here are some random recollections/ notes:

- At one time we had the brilliant idea (heheh) to showcase bloggers. So I rounded up some people I know, got in touch with Joan Lau (ex-editor of NST Life & Times) and she kindly loaned us a photographer, May for the shoot. Borrowed some lovely clothes and accessories from Cats Whiskers and Sharizal hooked us up with his friend, Suzanne @ galleriizu for the venue. For reasons that I don’t remember, the posts never went up. But the photos were lovely, and here’s a group photo:

Photoshoot for Monsterblog.com.my
L-R: Raksha, Fireangel, Reta, Erna and Val

Of course there are other photos, some of which are really awesome IMHO but you’ll have to ask the respective bloggers for them.

- NST loaned us their auditorium to host MOSSA‘s first roundtable to address the growing interest in open standards, open source software (OSS) and the Malaysian government’s announcement on adopting a neutral technology platform policy. It was moderated Dato’ Lee Ow Kim, Chairman of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) ICT and Multimedia Committee, and the turnout included some major OSS advocates heavyweights. Even Uncle Jeff made it, though he didn’t blog about it (for valid reasons that he told me later). So, I was quite happy lah.

Florian Reuter
Florian Reuter at the roundtable. FR is a software engineer at Novell Inc., currently focused on OpenOffice.org. Photo by ST — I cropped and compressed image quality

- Random e-mails from random people asking me random questions, such as “Please tell me the timetable for SPM exam.” Wtf?

- Mack Zulkifli is no longer with OSB.

- Trolls, a couple in particular who threatened me harm et al. I kept all, ALL your emails and print screen of your comments including timestamp and IP addresses before I deleted them, okay?

- E-mail from a lawyer’s office in Singapore, demanding that we take down a couple of comments by one individual, claiming that the comments were defamatory to their client. So I had to print the whole damn thing, took it to NST’s legal counsel (who is btw IMHO a gorgeous male specimen, heheh) and he provided some free advise. But I think the whole thing also caused the editorial team to think twice about the relationship between Monsterblog and NST.

oO time for lunch. That’s all I can remember for now. If I suddenly remember anything else, I might include in the comments, or not. Anything else anyone wants to ask, feel free to e-mail me. Kthxbai.

** Click here to read Part 1, click here to read Part 2.

what happened to monsterblog (2)

Okaylah, maybe I was not being entirely honest. In actuality, not *all* of us were bloody excited about the project. There were queries, apprehension and doubt; the main uncertainty was remuneration. Who the eff writes for free, right? We have our own blogs for that purpose. Before I make it sound like we were on a mission to save the world as opposed to contributing to a group blog (the uncertainty and doubt, whoa), Joyce for example makes a living writing and… erm, stuff :P (okay, I know she takes photographs as well). She could easily use the time blogging on Monsterblog to write pieces that guarantee payment upon publishing. But somehow me and maybe a couple of other people managed to convince her that this could and would really work, and it would be a really awesome project etc etc. I guess most of us thought that way; we were convinced or we convinced ourselves that Monsterblog would shake it like a Polaroid picture, and hopefully with that comes the monetary compensation.

It was decided that there would be two or three blog posts everyday. Each day of the week was assigned to a couple of sections: e.g. Monday would be entertainment and news, Thursday would be sports and food, etc. I think the first posts that introduced ourselves went up on 13th July 2006. Shannon Teoh was (last minute-ly) assigned to write something about Monsterblog on NST, which he did, which came out two days later. There were a few reactions on the blogosphere; some of them positive, some of them negative, most of them negative. Well, honestly speaking, NST wasn’t (isn’t?) the most loved newspapers around. So I guess a lot of people had fairly good reasons to form their own conspiracy theories. Although there were no legal papers to link NST/ eMedia/ JARING to Monsterblog, the fact that it’s widely seen to be hosted under the NST umbrella is more than enough to make people suspicious. Of course we all knew that lah. But I guess I was unprepared for misunderstandings that till this day has yet to heal. Don’t want to elaborate here, you can ask me privately if you want.

Fact #1: From its birth till its demise, there has never been any directives from NST to take down any blog posts on Monsterblog.

Fact #2: From its birth till its demise, no one has ever told us not to write about anything, with the understanding that common sense prevails.

Fact #3: Comments were moderated, but from its birth till its demise, I think about 80% of the comments got through. Most of the comments that we deleted were due to trolling, and a couple were due to possible legal matters. And some were really, really lost in cyberspace.

The initial focus was to get the hits up, which would then justify inserting any form of advertisement (err, I know it’s duh :P ). There was also a lot of waiting around, mainly for the big Monster portal which would be handled by NST/ eMedia to be launched. Which would make Monsterblog part of the Monster project, and more things could be done, bla bla bla bla bla. The team continued to update Monsterblog, but the waiting got a bit tiring and naturally the team became smaller.

In September I joined my present company, OLSB, brought in by Mack Zulkifli who had been working there a few months before me. Since the Monsterblog project was spearheaded by Mack, I got more involved in it, updating on a more regular basis since I was allowed to do so at work. In between that, there were a few meet-ups at NST to discuss the ‘progress’ of Monsterblog. Then Brendan Pereira left NST, and everything was put on hold for a bit because everything was discussed with BP. Then Syed Nadzri took over, and understandably had more important things on his plate than Monsterblog.

Sometime in mid-2007, I met up with Zainul Ariffin, who impressed upon me that neither NSTP nor eMedia would continue any relationships with Monsterblog. The impression that I got was that there was no place for Monsterblog anywhere within NSTP or eMedia at that time, and it would be better for us if we’d go off and do our own thing, without us having any ties to NSTP/ eMedia and vice versa. Another impression was that the editorial did not know how to, or had no time to layan Monsterblog because some things were out of their control, e.g. comments. And my impression was that they’d rather not risk it at that time. Maybe in the future, they could and would have something like Monsterblog, who knows, but that time was not the time for it.

Now, Zainul had been nothing but nice and kind to me, and I wrote all the above without malice or [insert negativity here]. It was just what happened, or the way I saw it happened. But that was not the reason for the demise of Monsterblog.

End of Part 2, because it is 1 a.m. and I need to sleep

** Click here to read Part 1, click here to read Part 3.

what happened to monsterblog (1)

In conjunction with the new cabinet line-up, I thought I’d finally plonk my arse down to write this post for those curious as to what was Monsterblog (monsterblog.com.my) and what happened to it. I personally don’t think it’s that big a revelation, but I understand that people deserve to know, for some of them have been faithfully visiting Monsterblog, leaving constructive and valuable comments while at it. Bear in mind that I reminisce based on my involvement and my point of view, which may or may not differ from other people’s experiences. For their sides of the story, go ask them lah. Also, by writing this, I’ll have to talk a bit about my current company. Which is a bit blah, because ideally I’d like to keep work and blog separate. Happily my boss is a cool cat.

Sometime in 2006 (don’t remember if it’s the first or second quarter), I was invited to join a blogging project. The concept was to be something like a community thing, which would eventually evolve into an all-in-one on-line magazine; with sections for news, societal issues, entertainment, food, IT… a very common sectioning decision. I don’t know the exact details, but Mack Zulkifli (one-time owner of brandmalaysia.com) who was either friends or acquainted with some top people at New Straits Times (NST) brought this blogging project over to NST, with the reasoning that NST would have the resources (such as archived news, talent such as photogs etc) to help out the project.

As far as I know, ShaolinTiger, Sultan Muzaffar, minishorts, Kimberlycun and Peter Tan were roped into the project before I went into it. I think Paul Tan and KY too, but I can’t be sure. The truth is that it has been a couple of years since, and no one remembers exactly exactly exactly what happened. After a while, kinkybluefairy and tigerjoe were brought in, and the bloggers line-up was complete (at that time).

My first meeting/ discussion on the project was at NST, where i found out that the blog would be called ‘monsterblog’. At first I was like, huh wtf… then I found out that NST already has a ‘moNSTer’ project, hence if we wanted to go with them, the blog would have to be monsterblog lah. My first thought was of the Monster recruitment thingy, which is big in Singapore and US (and now making its way to Malaysia), but whatever lah.

I won’t bore you with the details on how monsterblog was set up; domain and all. JARING was involved in the project to provide infrastructure, so the hosting part was settled. How to make money leh? I think the idea was to capitalise on on-line advertising at that time, with grandiose plans of cross-advertising between eMedia’s assets, NSTP group printed material etc etc. More points: 1) there was no black and white involved; 2) the bloggers involved will not receive money until ads are up, running and making money; 3) we were bloody excited about the project.

End of Part 1 because I have work to do.

** Click here to read Part 2, click here to read Part 3.

nuffnang’s 1st birthday bash a.k.a i heart nuffnang!

Last Saturday (15.03.08) was Nuffnang‘s 1st birthday bash. If you’d remember, it was actually supposed to be held the Saturday before. Then Badawi felt confident enough to hold the general election that weekend, and bloggers not in KL such as 5xMom would not be able to make it. So NN had to postpone the bash lah. But tak nampak bayang Chan Lilian pun…

As I had a late night on Friday (me and KY attended a Sunburst party at the Ritz Carlton, more on that later), I woke up late and decided to consume the rest of the food that Mom had prepared for me. The freezer is a wonderful thing indeed. Then I got caught up with MTV’s top 100 tunes from the 90′s and sat through that. Unfortunately they did not go through the whole 100 tunes, so I guess I’d have to check out part 2 and maybe even 3 soon.

Because ‘Ice Ice Baby’ was so hot (and the most important part of the song was stolen from Queen/Bowie), Vanilla Ice was part of the panel of 90s tunes experts. Fucking retard made me nearly barf. Then they had a slew of comedians and artists etc offering their takes on each tune. They should really quit with the comedian bit; every time they get some screen time, they’d try to be funny with one-liners, but they should really consider another day job…

Nevertheless I was extremely happy that Marcy’s Playground’s Sex and Candy made it to the list.

Then it started raining elephants and hippopotamuses and Astro went blank. So I had to will myself to get changed, pick up KY and head for the NN party @ Borneo Baruk Club. I stood in front of the mirror for a bit, wondering if I should wear the V-neck black T-shirt or the round-neck black T-shirt, then realised that no one including myself actually gives a shit.

Picked up KY, and he told me that David Lian was emoing on whether or not he should wear the Chipster pajamas (that eventually won him a Nintendo Wii). During our journey to KL (took the SMART tunnel and all, felt very smart that we both knew the true purpose of the tunnel) David called again and KY dispensed valuable advise in form of “DON’T BE A NUB, WEAR IT!”

Nuffnang party - Kid Chan, David Lian and Suanie
Kid, David and me… photo by Rojaks

Reached BBC at about 7 p.m. Ya damn bloggers, never on time, who the heck do we think we are! :P Michelle of Nuffnang helped us with our registration, and we received a goodie bag containing a booklet, some flyers, a small bag of Chipster and a ‘I <3 Nuffnang' badge which I pinned to my bag. Saw Simon, Serge and Ming, and Xaviera who was at the bar with a Guinness in hand, and Budiey who was with a friend. Eyeris and FA arrived shortly after, and we ordered a Kilkenny each. That was before we found out that free beer was available. Bargh! No regrets though because Kilkenny is always awesome, and thanks Nuffnang for the free-flow of Heineken. Mwah.

Kid Chan was there with his posse Frederick and as usual, Kid was wearing his shades. Der fuck, too cool for school is it?! :P Ah Wingz arrived, then Liang (who’s a real good emcee IMHO, who also hosted the Kung Fu Dunk Fest) got the party started. Speeches by Tim (who is always emo) and Ming, a few thank-yous to the sponsors (Chipster, Panasonic, Tune Hotel: sekian, terima kasih), then… I forgot what happened because we went upstairs to curi makan first.

Once upstairs, I recognised Holly Jean, a Singaporean blogger. According to teh Buck, she had invited him to the party, but he could not make it, and he said to say hi to her. And so I did. She was pleasant and friendly, but I felt like a stalker. Buck owes me beer. Well, more beer than usual.

Nuffnang party - TBG, Kid Chan and Suanie
ThaiBoxinGirl, Kid and me… photo by Kid Chan Studio

Then there were games, and I think Su Ann and the organising team did a great job in implementing them games, as they force you to interact with other people whether you like it or not… if you want to win prizes lah. Me being the semi anti-social, semi crowd-shy, semi-introvert of course did not get my arse down to doing anything. So lansi right… hahaha bleh.

But we did scream out quite a bit, particularly during the video presentation. Ah Yatz is teh femes! :D I wanted to pull down his kain pelikat but he managed to dodge my sneaky maneuvers. Got to meet some new faces: Julian, a Ph.D candidate @ Monash who is doing research on Malaysian blogs and blogosphere. May Leng who is Nuffnang’s featured blogger of March ’08, Povege who was rather sweet, Alwyn Tay where I was like, “I READ YOUR BLOG DUDE” and he replied, “BUT I DON’T HAVE A BLOG”… sorry mate, must be your Facebook updates then. Nicholas introduced me to his mom, and I went, “SO AUNTY, HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOUR SON LEFT A GOOD POSITION AT [insert company name here] TO JOIN A START-UP?” Heheheh, luckily she has a good sense of humour.

Who else… oh yah, Samantha whom I think is very cute, Kelz who is going to be pimped by XX soon, Esther who wore a chilli red top with matching boxer shorts, Wenqi whom I laugh at whenever I see her because she is just so adorable :D, Amy who wore a caftan, Xes looking smart, Lydia who is now officially Mrs. Wii, Lisan who couldn’t locate the free beer, Emily who was in a very hot purple outfit, Yee Hou who was manning a registration booth and… others others others. I know a lot more friends/ acquaintances/ people were there, I can’t remember everyone because I am 26 going on 60, and if we took photos together, could you send them to me, please? Because I am a lazy arse who didn’t take photos of my own. And if you send them to me, someday somehow someone will reward you for your kindness and generosity, someway. Kam siah kam siah beribu-ribu terima kasih.

So I had great fun, after which me and KY rushed off to attend the Sunburst music festival. Thanks Nuffnang for hosting the event; I am proud and honoured to be part of the vibrant and growing Nuffnang community, and I wish you many, many more birthdays to come. Just add Kilkenny to the list of free-flow next time, can? Heheh.. mwah!

Nuffnang party - TBG, Suanie, Kid Chan, Fireangel, Eyeris, Wingz and Samantha
ThaiBoxinGirl, me, Kid, eyeris, FA, Wingz and Samantha… photo by Kid Chan Studio

By the way, the Nuffie in the policewoman outfit was too damn hot.

foodventures

Since I have nothing intelligent or stupid to contribute to the BN/BR blah, I’ll post photos of food, okay? Besides it is apt seeing that it’s lunch time.

Secret Recipe - carrot cake
Secret Recipe’s carrot cake

Actually I’d always thought it was damn weird for carrots to be present in Western-style cakes. I know the Chinese use lobak merah and lobak putih for various food, but the idea of a lobak merah with nuts and raisins and what-not in a sweet form… don’t know, I thought it was damn out of place. Needless to say I never bothered to try it. Until one day I got really hungry and the only instant thing I could eat in the fridge was a slice of carrot cake that my sister had baked. It was awesome :D And now I love carrot cakes, thanks.

William's seafood chowder close-up
William’s seafood chowder

As we all know, I am a semi-result of William’s evil plan for world domination by transforming PJ peps into baby elephants. The photo above explains the process.

William's seafood chowder
Suanie pwned by William

The bowl was bigger than my face.

Homst - seafood kuey teow soup
Seafood kuey teow soup @ Homst

Homst is a Chinese Muslim restaurant in Kota Damansara. The seafood kuey teow soup was peppery and rather normal. Well, as normal as a seafood kuey teow soup can get.

Homst - lontong
Lontong @ Homst

My colleague had the lontong. He liked it.

Kiku Zakura - temaki
Temaki @ Kiku Zakura

My auntie was in town, and she belanja-ed me and eldest sis to dinner yesterday @ Kiku Zakura. The soft-shell crab temaki was rather awesome — you could taste the crab’s flesh, as opposed to biting into skin and oil elsewhere.

Kiku Zakura - unagi sushi
Unagi something or the other @ Kiku Zakura

I don’t like unagi.