Running FOOD is a four letter word challenged my capabilities in so many ways over the past year. Even though my first post being about my favourite place at that very time was a bliss to write, somehow more thoughts needed to be planted in the idea of addressing people in a virtual world existing from every corner of the World Wide Web who may come across my blog, whether intentionally or not. I believe no blogger is a stranger to proof-reading their posts numerous times from different perspectives before publishing to the extent where we end up memorizing the entire article. The amount of time put into writing and reading can be tedious especially when one desperately wants to get the words out there before procrastinating further, resulting to burning the midnight oil every so often.
However, these are challenges faced once you have done the usual: discover places to visit and actually visit them, dine in, chat with the bosses/founders, criticize (or rather complain), then return home and begin torturing your keyboard typing out your rants. So what are the challenges in the process of "collecting the data"?
The number of times I have been misread when I approach someone and address myself as a food blogger are too many to count as I usually receive two types of reactions: firstly, an absurdly positive change in the person's facial expression. He/she may possibly turn suspiciously friendly and delightful and treats you as if you are a celebrity. Secondly, the judgmental look reveals itself, most of the time not out of will. Trust me, it's relatively easy to tell if the person is trying to not judge but deep inside, there's probably burning fire of how much they wish to tell you, "you bloggers are bloody annoying."
In addressing the latter, just the other day, I had a chat with the founder (let's call him Jared) of a cafe in which its name and location I shall not disclose because I am very aware of how the revealing of this will be beyond inconsiderate of me in a public space. So, Jared doesn't particularly like bloggers and we had probably a solid half-an-hour talk exchanging opinions with regards to the blogging culture in Malaysia. For starters, he mentioned bloggers coming into his cafe without prior notice and asking for free meals and drinks for only one reason: because they were going to write about his cafe. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all up for free food. Who isn't? But put yourself in the shoes of the people behind the counter for a moment. What do they have to lose for every blogger who comes in and having to offer them free meals and drinks? You'd be surprised how much of a toll it can take on various aspects especially on founders who use money out of their own pockets to fund the building of their own restaurants and cafes.
I, or rather my parents most of the time, pay for every meal and drink consumed unless offered for free, not that I asked for it just because I blog about food (discounts come and go depending on the place) as I respect the fact that any work done within a workplace must be paid for - even if friends of mine are the employees. At the end of the day, unless you are working as an advertiser, writer, or any other job of that sort, you and I are still customers to them.
[End of rant. Cue the comments of disagreement (agreements are fantastic too).]
There are so many more things I have experienced from this journey of exploring my passion but I shan't lead you further astray by my rants. As you can tell from the title, my blog is 365 days old today and I wish to dedicate this post to the following parties:
1) My parents who willingly sponsor my adventures since day one (of my blog and my life) and not forcing me to work for all of them because they know well that I will owe it to them when I'm older and employed. Also for their endless support towards this passion of mine and being dragged along to various cafes and restaurants just because...
2) Founders of the places I've visited, whether by invitation or not, for your dine-in experiences. In addition to that, for your warm hospitality as you take time out from your busy day to have a chat with me especially if it is impromptu.
3) Friends and extended family members who have personally given me support and encouragement to continue writing and informing them of new places to eat as I slowly attempt to wipe off the whole "where to eat?" occurrence. To those who have approached me personally to introduce me to new places, you are indeed gems and if you would so kindly allow me to promote your websites/blogs in the respective posts as a token of appreciation, I would be my pleasure to do so.
4) Finally, you dear readers who put a smile on my face as I view my blog hits and comments every day. Please know that you are truly appreciated and that I cannot thank you enough.
Happy 1st birthday, FOOD is a four letter word!
p.s. I'd like to emphasize one thing: I do NOT address myself as a flogger (food + blogger). I am against endorsing myself with that title at all costs. Good lord, why does that term even exist in this context? If you're a food blogger and have been proudly addressing yourself so, I beg of you upon my only two knees to do yourself a favor for the sake of your sanity by looking up the definition of the term "flogger" on our friendly neighborhood Google which will hopefully knock some sense into your ignorance.