My First Magazine Article

I was doing some spring cleaning over the weekend and found this article I wrote for Parenthood magazine in 2002. It was my first ever article printed in a glossy magazine about the challenges growing up as a left hander.

Left Handed in a Right Handed World

Smart Kids 2011: Festival Fiesta – Celebrating the World

Smart Kids recently organised its annual education fair at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). This year’s celebration was special because it’s also Smart Kids’ 10th Anniversary.
 
I was hired to write the Smart Kids book (again!) which is given free to all visitors throughout the 3-day fair. 
 

I love the colourful cover!

Aptly named “Festival Fiesta – Celebrating the World” which is similar to the theme of the fair, the book contains 46 festivals from around the world. Each festival was carefully selected based on its interesting history and significance for the people who celebrates it. I certainly had a blast writing this book! 
 

The layout artists did a great job in selecting the right photos and graphics to complement the articles. Everyone loved the book and i’m glad to be part of it! 

The festivals chosen were from all over the world.

The layout artists did a great job with the graphics and colour.

4 Blogging Habits That Will Turn Readers Away



1) Use music in your blog. There were many a times whilst surfing blogs late in the night when suddenly some god damn song from some god damn blog breaks the pin-drop silence of the night.

I get irritated when that happens and will immediately close the blog. It’s difficult when I’ve got a few blogs or websites opened at the same time.

And the biggest idiots are those who put applications like Mixpod as a permanent feature in their blogs. And then they post YouTube video clips. So there will be 2 songs blasting at the same time. And the only thing you wanna do is close the blog and send the blog owner a nasty email pointing out their utter stupidity.

Mixpod

2) Write the entire entry in one paragraph. I don’t know why some bloggers do this. Don’t they understand that it’s difficult for the human eye to read small text all in one long para? For Pete’s sake, break your sentences into paragraphs! One blogging rule is to have maximum 3 sentences only in a para. The other alternative is to insert photos between paragraphs to break up the monotonity of reading lines and lines of words.

See what I mean … ?

3) Write rubbish. I notice the biggest pepetrators of this are mostly college students who use their blog to lament incessantly about their mundane college live.

Well, what do you expect? You’re just a college kid. Wait till you enter the working world then there’ll be lots more to share, and more ideas to enrich the knowledge pool of the universe.

But meanwhile, spare the rest of us the pain of looking at your blog. The only people who wants to read and see pics of your friends are the people in the photos themselves. The rest of us don’t give a damn, unless you’re a celebrity then there may be an inkling of interest.

Here’s a tip: If you want to splash photos unashamedly of your friends and yourself on your blog, use Facebook.

4) Incorrect or incomplete facts. I was reading this food blog the other day and the blogger posted a Strawberry Crumble recipe prepared by his wife. Unfortunately there was no amount of ingredients given for the batter and no instructions on how to prepare it. He only wrote: “For the batter: Flour, sugar, milk, baking powder”. 

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m no Jamie, Gordon or Nigella who can prepare meals with recipes at the top of my head. I need to know exactly how much is needed for each ingredient and exactly how to prepare the dish.

If you want to blog, make sure your facts are accurate and complete. Do proper research and check the facts before clicking on the “Publish” button. We all need to be responsible and credible for the information we post up.

New Articles on My CSB Page

I love holidays!  Holidays are a good time to do so many things we wish we had time for, e.g. reading, blogging, writing, travelling, etc.

Since today is the Eid Ad Har public holiday in Malaysia, I took the opportunity to update my travel blog. It’s an entry about my recent trip to Syria called Getting Naked in Damascus – My Experience at Hammam Ammoonah. I read somewhere that the words, “naked” and “sex” usually catches the eye of readers.

Since my freelance stint with Cosmetic Surgery & Beauty has progressed from writing advertorials to tackling feature articles and personality profiles, I seized the extra time I had today to update samples of my work on the Cosmetic Surgery & Beauty page of this blog. Click here to read the new articles.

Brighter, Whiter Eyes

We’ve all heard of aesthetic eye surgeries like double eyelid surgery and eyelift to remove sagging and excess skin and muscle from the eye area.

But have you heard of an eye whitening surgery? Well, it’s now in the market and I had the privilege of interviewing the doctor who discovered this technique – Dr Bong-Hyun Kim. This article was published in Issue 2, 2010 of Cosmetic Surgery & Beauty magazine.

 

Shelter Home Article

There comes a time when everyone must do their bit for charity. I did mine recently by contributing an article for the Shelter Home newsletter.

Shelter Article on the Rights of Children

6 Important Tips for a Telephone Interview

1) Email interview questions in advance. Interviewees are generally willing to help you get the information you want. Otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview in the first place. So if you send the questions earlier, they would know what sort of information you’re looking for and assist you accordingly.

2) Use a landline. Let’s face it, not all mobile lines are crystal clear despite the advancement in technology these days. 

Bad coverage could leave you and your interviewee irritated and frustrated because you can’t hear each other clearly. Worst still if the mobile phone battery dies halfway through the interview. Remember to always use a landline.

3) Keep reference materials nearby. All brochures, articles and information pertaining to the interview has to be within reach. If the interview leads to a point where the interviewee makes reference to previous articles, or if you need to reconfirm something, then it would be easy to just reach out and check your facts.

4) Turn off all music and television. Television, radio and even mobile phones can be a distraction expecially when you are relying on a phone for important information. If possible, you need to be in a place with pin drop silence while conducting the interview.

If you have a baby or toddler around, ensure they do not cause any distraction during the interview. You could lock yourself in a room, but please ensure your other half is around or hire a babysitter.

The other alternative is to wait for your kid to sleep. But what if they start crying while you’re half way through the interview? Excusing yourself to attend to your kid won’t give a good impression to the interviewee, who most probably would think you’re incapable of dividing your work and your personal life. The best is to get someone around in case your kid decides to throw a tantrum.

5) No food and drinks. Eating and drinking is a big no-no in any interview, but more so for a phone interview. This is because the interviewee can’t see you physically. So if there’s a pause in the conversation because you’re taking a sip of iced lemon tea, or you’re busy wiping up spilled coffee, the interviewee might think there’s a lull or you’re not interested in the conversation. And it could kill the flow of the interview.

6) Call on time. The interviewee would have set aside time in their busy schedules to answer your questions. So the least you could do is to respect that and call on time.

If the interviewee is in another time zone, it is extremely important to ensure you’re calling at the right time, which is usually the local time where the interviewee is. If you’re unsure of the time difference, websites like The World Clock can be extremely useful.