Reasons For Being Away…

Surprised to see this blog post? I cannot believe it myself! How long has it been since I last posted an entry on this domain? A quick check stated that it was way back on 28 March 2019, more than half a year of non-activity, to the point certain quarters have started labeling me “Pujangga Malap“, a reference to indicate the burning embers dying out of my long involvement in the local Malay entertainment scene, which probably hold some truths if I were to reflect back on the past seven months. Technically I am semi-retired. Officially, I am not, which is why you are reading this latest offering. But who reads blogs nowadays? Is there still a “market” or interest in reading blogs, with content producers now pulling all the stops in creating visual content to attract viewers? A short chat I had with my Malaysian counterpart Budiey Isma of Sensasi Selebriti fame when we attended the final of Gegar Vaganza back in 2017, had him explaining how he was into creating more vlogs and video posts, rather than traditional blog posts, as viewers now prefer these kind of content. Two years on, you can see how one is able to earn a living through just creating content on YouTube or podcasts and it is catching up amongst the tech and social-media savvy in our community. Which makes my blog feel even more obsolete and passe.

I can easily follow this route, but I have dabbled with doing video highlights of events I attended before circa 2010-2012, and I realised that I simply have no patience for video editing, what more have the creativity to shoot my footage. My photo editing already takes ages to complete and half the time, I ended up not even sharing them here. Honestly if you ask me, I have lost the zest to go on doing this. You know when you have done something for so long, there comes a time when you just feel jaded and want to give it all up, a combination of factors in my life contributing to it – priorities, responsibilities, commitments, personal interests, the age factor, as well as politics going on in the scene which make me feel detached and distant to the point I seldom listen to local radio stations nor watch locally-produced television programmes nowadays. No this is not boycott on my part, neither am I angry with any individuals nor companies in particular. It’s just that sometimes changes in our surroundings can make one change their personal interests as well. But previously I had actually planned on retiring when I turned 40 last December. Why I stayed on beyond my planned date was because I felt I could still contribute to the community, as my blog has helped production houses and even other media outlets know who’s who in our local Malay entertainment scene.

Speaking of changes, circumstances happening around us can also make one feel detached and distant. I just found out earlier today that I can no longer provide / snap photographs of events I attend at a certain venue due to recent changes implemented which disallow non-traditional media like my blog domain to feature photographs / video snippets of live shows I attend there. If I were to feature any photos, then I would have to use those provided by them. I believe this was probably why I was not invited to cover the recently-concluded singing competition event. This newly-enforced ruling reminds me so much of Esplanade and also those set by certain organisers of concerts and showcases I attended in the past, where photography / video snippets are limited solely for traditional media coverage or coverage allowed up till three songs performed by the artistes on stage. I initially found it hard to digest when I got to know about it. To say I felt extremely disappointed and mortified upon knowing, was an understatement. It felt like my wings were clipped and pushing me to retire from doing entertainment blogging indefinitely. I have however, had the time to think through the whole thing and tried to find positives from it, no matter how small. But really in this age of social media, shouldn’t any coverage from any form of media be welcomed as it creates awareness and outreach?

I’m actually fine with this new arrangement to a certain extent. At one end, I can now sit back and enjoy the show transpiring in front of me without worrying about the hundreds or thousands of shots I snap and how they will turn out. On the flipside, it kills me not being able to feature photographs of pre and post-event happenings which I know quite a number of personalities look forward to, judging by how some, in their excitement to share with their social media followers, pester me to upload them as soon as possible. These are the kind of photographs that I prefer to snap just seeing the many happy faces meeting their friends in the scene, some meeting for the first time in ages. Personally I will feel incomplete if I do not share photographs snapped by me or having my own personal touch and trademark framing. Even if I am not a photography enthusiast and know zilch about its technicalities, seeing my framed subjects happily sharing my photographs with their followers give me a sense of contentment and fulfillment. Little things like these make me happy and I feel that my joy has been taken away as a result. It definitely will feel weird attending such events in future without lugging my camera, not coming early to get good photography spots and not being one of the last to leave the venue waiting for the last few guests to leave knowing I’ve snapped their photographs.

You know, I was actually so looking forward to the coming year ahead, with quite a number of big events coming up – Mediacorp Suria celebrating its 20th anniversary with a certain number one singer from Malaysia rumoured to be performing, my much-beloved awards show, Anugerah Planet Muzik, making its long-awaited return after a year of hiatus and StereoFest Asia organised by Adi Media Pte Ltd, the good people who brought to you events like CelebFest and Twilight: Flea & Feast under the banner of Rosevalley SG, just to name a few. Unforeseen circumstances such as these kinda derail my plans on making a good comeback. I dunno if I had done something wrong in the past which might have contributed to this new rulings to be introduced and enforced, but I know I have always abide by whatever rules there were previously and apologised if I had in any way gone against them unknowingly. I just hope that the new rules will be uniformed and not just against me / other local non-traditional media outlets. I do not wish to discover the possibility of foreign non-traditional media outlets being allowed to do what we are not allowed to at shows involving regional acts and foreign coverage. That would be terribly unfair on us who also support an event by our own people.

I know too that I owe my readers photographs of Dato’ Sri Siti Nurhaliza‘s concert back in March and Pesta Perdana, just to name two major events that had happened over the past seven months. And then there were a few other events in between and some other showcases which I attended out of my own personal enjoyment, rather than “working” my role as an entertainment blogger. Should I be apologetic about my non-activity? In the past, I tend to apologise for any late entries or no-show at my end partly due to guilt, partly also having that certain affinity with my long-time readers and not wanting to disappoint them for waiting so long. Upon reflection, I do not see the need to apologise for my hiatus these past few months, because at the end of the day, this is a voluntary hobby done during my free time. I may eventually call it a day when I feel I have no more value to contribute to our local Malay entertainment scene or I will let it end just like that and walk away. I have actually been leaning towards it for a good part of the last seven months. How soon? It’s anybody’s guess…