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People are getting connected through social media.First published in R.AGE, StarTwo, The Star. March 10, 2010.

Text of Sarawak Links

  • Wednesday10 MARCH

    2010thestar.com.my/lifestyle

    CHILDWISEEnjoy shopping with your toddler >15

    R.AGELife after divorce >7 Paramore >8

    . > 2-3

    R.AGE

  • T2 R.AGE STARTWO, WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH 2010

    R.AGE

    Dramatic designsOn the works of fashion and design students in the Klang Valley. >6

    HEALTHJust laughHappiness may be more than a state of mind. >11

    Saving sightHaving blurry vision? Better have your eyes checked as glaucoma does not just afflict the elderly. >12

    MIND OUR ENGLISHHoppity-hopIts amazing how a three-letter word like hop yields heaps of interesting meanings. >18

    MOVIES

    Sparks readyto flyNtv7s new drama series Glowing Embers revolves around Taipings charcoal industry. >22

    EDITOR: LIM CHENG HOECONTACTe-mail: [email protected]: 03-7967 1388fax: 03-7955 4039ADVERTISING:Peter Hoe [email protected](03) 7966-8236Pearly [email protected](03) 7966-8272

    StarTwo

    EDITOR: IVY SOONCONTACTe-mail: [email protected]: 03-7967 1693fax: 03-7955 4039ADVERTISING:James Lam [email protected](03) 7966-8226Mandy [email protected](03) 7966-8263

    Anna Bella Wong blogs at www.annna.net.

    A bigger audienceBy NIKI [email protected]

    IN MID-2005, young blogger Kenny Sia (pictured, right) attended the Project Petaling Street 2nd Anniversary Bash in Kuala Lumpur. The moment he stepped into the bar where the party was held, Kenny was mobbed by the other guests.

    Kennys blog(www.kennysia.com) was popular by then, and his fans included many of Malaysias top bloggers including Minishorts, Suanie and FireAngel (all not their real names). That night, he even took home the PPS Blog of the Year award, arguably the first blogger awards of its kind in Malaysia.

    This was only six months afterKenny started blogging, but hispopularity has not waned. As blogging became a more mainstream activity, and social media became part of our lives, Kennys popularity continued to grow. In fact, Kenny draws between 350,000 and almost 500,000 visitors a month, according to the counter on his blog, untillate last year when he got busy setting uphis business venture and focused onblogging.

    At the recent Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2009, Kenny took home the Best Entertainment Blog award, beatingcompetitiors from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

    Today, you would be hard pressed to meet anyone who frequents the local blogsphere who have not heard of Kenny Sia.

    The thing is, Malaysias most recognisable blogger is not based in KL, the hive of Malaysias social media community. Instead, he lives in his hometown of Kuching, Sarawak. Despite living far from the mad crowds of KL, Kenny still manages to attract fans who faithfully visit his blog.

    I am recognised more in KL than here, Kenny said during a recent phone interview from Kuching.

    Considering the period in which Kenny has reigned as one of Malaysias top bloggers, and the fact that Sarawaks broadband penetra-tion is still below 20%, it is a rather significant fact that he comes from a city where the social media scene is still in its infancy.

    Imagine the blogosphere about five years ago in Malaysia. Its like that here now, Kenny shared, describing the social media scene in Sarawak.

    Yet, some of Malaysias most recognisable names in the blogosphere are Sarawakians, including Rowena Tan, the author of food blog Mum-mum (www.mum-mum.info) which peaked in popularity about five years ago, and Poh Huai Bin(www.sixthseal.net), whocurrently lives in KL.

    Media planner Huai Bin, 29, was featured last year in the first season of Project Alpha (www.projectalpha.com.my), an online reality show which aims to uncover the lives of Malaysias top bloggers. Last month, he joined other bloggers from Peninsular Malaysia who were also featured in the show, on a visit to

    Kennys new fitness centre in Kuching. They were there to shoot an episode for the reality shows second season.

    A lot of people are blog-ging nowadays, much more than back then. There are a lot of people on Twitter too,

    Huai Bin said.During the shoot, Kenny had invited several

    local bloggers to join in.One of them was Anna Bella Wong, a 24-

    year-old financial analyst. Anna has been blogging since 2004, and started twittering in 2007.

    The social media scene in Kuching is dominated mostly by bloggers and Facebook users. Before the blogging era, people were active via sites like Friendster and such,

    but they seldom meet up in person, Anna shared.

    Back in 2004, Huai Bin, Rowena and a few other bloggers got together for Kuchings first ever bloggers gathering at a restaurant called Hot Seat.

    That was the first meet-up ever done in Sarawak and it started as a casual invite among bloggers we already knew, and itthen progressed to an open invite, Huai Bin said.

    According to Anna, formal gatherings for bloggers have dwindled over the years. However, the friendships made back then are as strong as ever.

    Now, the blogger gatherings are mostly meet-ups of those who still hang out togeth-er, she said.

    Anna was very excited to have been invited

    [email protected]

    Kenny (left) and Huai Bin (second from right) at the PPS 2nd Birthday Bash in 2005.

  • STARTWO, WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH 2010 T3

    You(ths) have a lot to say, and you say it in your blogs. Every week, R.AGE high-lights three young Malaysian bloggers.

    Our picks this week:

    Grey Anghttp://caramelz.my

    Grey is a fairly new blogger, having only started penning his thoughts online in October last year. He says that he blogs to share, inspire and moti-vate and that is why his blog focusses more on his observations about life, rela-tionships, people, and living in general.

    Eugene Leehttp://foodfromthoughts.blogspot.com

    The young blogger considers himself part chef, part artist. In his early 20s, Eugene works as a chef at a local hotel, and blogs about his findings and culinary adventures. He believes

    that cooking is more than just making food edible and eating is more than just putting food into the mouth.

    Serge Norguardhttp://dustyhawk.com

    If youre often at blogger gatherings, you might recognise this young gentle-man who introduces himself as Serge. Having been blogging since 2002, Serge chronicles his life and the world around him. You can also read his reviews on everything and anything from Japanese anime and music to international movies and sometimes even food!

    Drop us an e-mail at [email protected] with your blog URL and a shortdescription for a chance to be featured in R.AGE!

    Rowena Tan is the blogger behind mum-mum.info.

    Featured bloggers

    to meet the visiting bloggers, and thought that the trip was good for Sarawaks social media scene.

    Its great, more exposure for Sarawak, she said enthusiastically. She then relates an incident she encountered at the Botanical Gardens in Putrajaya.

    The person who welcomed me asked me where I was from. I told her I was from Kuching. She asked, Is this your first time in Malaysia?.

    It is stories like these that has motivat-ed Wena to come up with a new blogging project.

    Im planning to start a blog about living in Sarawak. We (Wena and an old friend) wanted to do something that shows what Sarawakians are like outside of politics, and that we dont all still live in trees, Wena explained.

    Sarawakian blogs, said Wena, are focused either on political rants or on private lives. She would like to see Sarawakian bloggers take on a broader interest in public issues.

    They seldom talk about things that go on behind all that. They dont always see or hear what goes on in the lives of lower income groups or people in the rural areas,she explained.

    Bong Chan Siong aka Bongkersz, 28, was born and bred in Sarawak but left the state to further his studies. He only returned to Sarawak about a year ago (he was born in Kuching but raised in Miri) when he joined a new company based in Kuching.

    Bongkersz has developed quite a public

    profile for his twittering; his tweets are often on issues affecting the country, including politics.

    Even when he was based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, where he worked as a civil and strutural engineer, he shared Sarawakian things like state politics and big happenings like Rainforest World Music Festival, Miri Jazz Festival, cultures, food or drinks that I missed.

    Now that he is back in his home state, he writes more about its people, food, places and happenings.

    I am a proud Sarawakian. Sarawak has so much to share with the people out there and I feel obliged to share all the good and bad things about this place so people can learn, gain or make something out of it, he said.

    Due to Sarawaks diverse culturalbackground, many were also quick to adopt social media as a tool to unite people, and to educate others about their ways of life.

    Lolly Raja, from Bario and is now based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, started the Kelabit Wiki Project (www.bario.info) in 2007 for the simple reason that I dont want my language to die.

    The idea was borne out of discussions we had in a Kelabit forum back in July 2007. A news report with the headline: A language dies every two weeks, research-ers say in September the same year provided additional impetus, Lolly

    explained.There are to date only two published

    Kelabit-English dictionaries, both by non-Kelabit scholars who acknolwedge these to be incomplete works.

    To date, the Kelabit Wiki Project consists of around 3,600 pages.

    There are also several other groups on Facebook, which focuses on Sarawak and its people. One is the Iban Facebook group which has over 2,500 members to date.

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