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Going On Air with Linora Low on Red FM

On 11 May, I was invited to be on air as a travel blogger on Red FM, made possible when Donovan Chan introduced me to a very cool babe who’s a DJ for the show. Linora Low is a fitness devotee & her hair colour suggests the bubbly personality that goes with her show! It’s red! You can find her on FB.

We got on to a great start talking about the myriad of gadgets that I take on trips & what they were for. Our video camera recorded even instances of an alarm ringing in the background, something she picked up while I was totally oblivious to it. In the studios where the acoustics absorb sound & exude silence, Linora was probably more acute to buzzes & rings than I would have been. So we got on chatting. Then we went on air & did things behind the camera where no one could see. We were Facebook-ing & Tweeting!!! Muahahahahah! And swapping seats!

We talked about everything under the sun & where the moon can’t shine given that we had attended the same launch of the Vibrance Kegel Device. This is what girls get up to when they meet. Of course, we covered food topics, how can we not? We are Malaysians where we are predominantly filled with thoughts & suggestions of what to eat & how to eat it. The one hour on the show was really short considering how much we talked when the mic was off. Wait for the recording to be posted!

Here’s a shot of me behind the console!

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Her own mic cover!

And then the super fit DJ herself in her red tresses & Macbook Pro!

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Redhead!

Then a shot of the two of us!

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Note:- Uploading the video now & will embed once done! I’ve been filled with assignments all month & that takes precedence over blogging but do know that I tweet in between. Will post more once I settle my work!

Day 1 – Setting The Mood for My Selangor Story 2011 Tour

The anticipation didn’t wear off on the day of the launch. It magnified the moment I managed to shut my luggage. Packing for a ”˜blind trip’ was a mixture of anxiety & angst with a dash of ingenuity generated by the fear of not being equipped for the journey. What the 5 days beheld, we weren’t told but bringing a pair of sneakers was compulsory. So I brought everything. Setting my GPS for Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie Resort, I arrived at the hotel at 3:30pm.

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Map of Holiday Inn Glenmarie from my Garmin Roadtrip.

All thanks to our generous sponsors, the press conference to kick off the event was held at The Mix restaurant & bar, within the property of Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie Resort. The chefs were on hand to ensure the layout of the trays of canapés would look as appetising as they were. The beautiful Marketing Communications Manager, Sagina Manandhar, greeted us with all smiles & welcome, making me feel that my holiday has just started from that point on! It’s amazing how the hospitality of one person can set the mood for the rest of one’s stay but we were not to stay there yet.

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Raw Salmon with Caviar Canapés & Turkey with Tomato & Diced Mango Canapés!

The General Manager, Mr. Anil Pathak, arrived to usher in & welcome YB Elizabeth Wong, the EXCO for Tourism, Environment & Consumer Affairs for Selangor. An introduction speech was made by Amelia Tan, the Organiser of My Selangor Story 2011 from Horizon Communications, who was the brainchild behind the event since the first inception in 2010. She called on Dian Azura, who was last year’s grand prize winner, to give her take on what My Selangor Story had been for her. Immediately after winning the title, she was offered the position of a Social Media Specialist for Tourism Selangor, a 1-year contract in which she tweets & updates the organisation’s Facebook page with her resourcefulness in bringing events come to life. Her engagement with social media had proven to be successful by the number of followers Tourism Selangor had acquired. In a span of a few short months, the number had grown to 3,177 to date, inspired a lot more people to explore & experience Selangor no matter what time of year it is! She detailed how one’s passion for travel should not be quenched & that everyone should follow their dream & attain to get somewhere, wherever that may be. She reiterated that winning last year’s contest was just the start of her adventure.

And aptly so, when YB Elizabeth Wong took to the rostrum, she echoed the same sentiments telling us how she used to blog ever so often before taking office as an EXCO. Being extremely pleased to see a great number of our neighbours from Indonesia & Singapore flown in specially for this occasion with VIP treatment by Firefly, she extended a warm welcome to them & told them to make use of the 5 days to experience as much as they could. How I wished Firefly could fly me from the Sg Besi old airport to Subang Skypark just so that I can experience the VIP service from them! It’s always a pleasure to fly a different class! Setting the event for the 2nd year running, she thanked Amelia for her team’s monumental effort in bringing people together, Tourism Selangor, our tourism board, for extending logistic support & all the sponsors who had graciously given to the event.

The Golden Palm Tree Resort & Spa located in Sepang Gold Goast, Bagan Lalang, is our official resort & spa whilst Resorts World Genting is our official resort. Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie Resort is our official hotel & The Mix is our official restaurant. Pentax is our prizes sponsor apart from being the official camera for the duration of the tour as they would be supplying us each with a camera to shoot with. The official airline is of course, Firefly, who will fly everyone home when the tour is over. We wouldn’t be complete without phone & data coverage kindly sponsored by The Cube, who provided us with pre-registered SIM cards.

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The officials, organisers & sponsors of the event.

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Travel bloggers roaring to go!

Soon after the YB Elizabeth launched the event, we had to board the coach for the journey to our first resort destination to begin our tour! What did I do in a 5 star resort? Find out in my next instalment, still on Day 1 – My Selangor Story 2011…..

 

Next,  see how I lived it up at Golden Palm Tree Resort!

And please remember to vote for me HERE! <— THANK YOU!

Our sponsors:-

Organiser Official Tourism Board Official Airline

Official Hotel Official Resort & Spa Official Resort

I'm on The Cube, are you? Official RestaurantOfficial Camera

How to Get Paid As A Writer – Start By Blogging Properly

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It won’t make you rich but it would enrich you to create masterpieces that editors will call you when they know you have what they want – articles that would astound your readers, selling the magazines & making their advertisers happy. So have you got what it takes to become a writer? Here are tips to make you one even if you don’t think you are cut out for it:-

  • You are deemed a writer the moment you document your thoughts in a readable manner but what sets you apart as a good writer is how well you engage your readers, making up what I call ”˜your audience,’ to keep them glued to read what you have to say. Capturing their attention means you have gotten their interest & you have only so much time to keep them attentive. Once you understand the basic principles of engagement, you are on your way to becoming a better writer & get paid for it.
  • Make blogging your tool. This is what I would encourage you to do to hone your skills if you are a budding journalist or a poetic-scribbles aspirant. A full-fledged writer is one who can sell the art of literary creation to media, publications or portals.

Be an author of your subject.
If you want your blog to count for anything, then be an author of your chosen subject. This subject matter does not cover politics so if your niche is in spinning propaganda, the information detailed below does not apply to you because you are probably paid as a ghostwriter for spinning already. Get your friends who aspires to get published, to read this article.

What is writing?
Writing is not scribbles on paper or random thoughts on your word processor. It is a process of fact-finding, collating, research, documenting & deciphering the information at hand to create your own expression of that work. Sure, it’s not easy but it should not be difficult if you have passion for the subject. Blogging is a good way to stay in practice. It’s also a showcase of your work & personality. It’s an extension of your opinion on the world wide web. It’s to let your audience understand what you represent, who you are & what you stand for. What you put in your blog will determine the impression people will form about you, be it good or bad. The instance they do, you would be branded immediately so be aware of what you put on your blog so that it wouldn’t create the wrong impression if you seriously want to be considered as a writer. When you write for a publication, you represent the image of that company or establishment. To be held in high regard, your work has got to reflect that you are worthy of carrying that regard too. Companies wouldn’t pay you to represent them if you possess a blog that spews out profane references to anatomical parts of anyone’s mother or make any carnal suggestions to send someone somewhere. You are what you create & you can only spew out what you are full of.

Developing character, not ABCs….
Do you have enough respect for yourself to remain honourable & presentable as a creator of your literature? A good tree produces good fruits but a bad tree can’t. Neither can a good tree produce bad fruits. In my experience of being a writer & eventually an editor & publisher, I find the most desirable trait of a writer is his/her passion. Other than that, the most important aspect a writer should develop is themselves. What can you write when all you do in real life is maliciously slander, curse, criticise & judge others? The true nature of a person is found in the mental & moral qualities that they exude. Everything else is secondary because writing communicates your thoughts & even emotions to your readers if you care to be creatively expressive enough. If you haven’t learnt qualities of others in articles & findings that you read, then you should really be questioning yourself if you have anything that others would like to read about your work. There are writers, however, who thrive on writing criticisms & cynicisms but if you want to paid as a serious writer in publications, forget about these exceptions because they are not the rule.

How to write?
Since I’ve substituted the pen with the computer, I can hardly write singlehandedly with it. I use a magnificent journalling application called MacJournal. For today only, you get a 50% discount if you click on the banner on the right to purchase it at US$19.99. I got mine when it was US$39.99. Plan your article. Write your ideas down. Collate information. Build your plot. Stick to facts & accurate information. Accredit the right people with correct spelling of their names. Read & re-read your article many times & make sure it makes sense to you. Learn to edit yourself. Editors are anal. It takes one to know one. If you have to read tons of manuscripts each day & you catch grammatical mistakes in 9 out of 10 of them, you would be anal too!

The body of your article would have to be the meat that your audience have to chew on. How tasty it is in their mouths would depend on how creatively you put it. The stroke of the pen (keyboard, in my case) should wave electrical synapses to zap them with emotions & give them a reaction that you want. Otherwise, why would you spend your time writing if you are not going to have fun with them???

Develop Your Own Style
Your flair would come as you put your thoughts down naturally. This is why blogging will help you set the stage for it. How you express yourself, describe situations & define your characters will be indicative of the kind of writing that you have passion for. Be creative with words. I coin terms off the cuff to describe things not-yet-found in the dictionary, which I term, Pummkinology. My aim is to wowify (pummkinology) my audience with humour as I lead them through a voyage as if they were living it themselves. Develop substance. Keep your audience entertained. Even dumb blondes have an interesting perspective of life worthy to be told in their blogs.

Connect with your readers. Write as if you are writing to ONE person, irregardless of how many are reading it at the same time. Am I addressing you as a crowd? Or do I speak to you as if you are the only one here? You lose connection the moment you start your article/blog with ”˜Hi Everybody!” unless you are writing an email addressed to several people at once.

How to get published.
There’s nothing wrong with blogging as long as you keep your profession separate. Blogging tends to be informal & lighthearted, sort of like an insight to one’s life & thoughts through personal logs. To a writer, blogging cripples the use of Queen’s English, unless you choose to use it all the time, which means, strict adherence to proper grammar, punctuation, spelling & define all colloquial & slang. You would want your article to be understood across genres, generations & cultures of an English-speaking audience not just a select few. Notice I seldom write informally because I have audience from the world over stopping by to see what I’m up to & what marine creatures I’ve managed to haul up in my camera. Be remembered for something in your life.

Send your articles with a caveat to editors. Include pictures. There are dozens of writers who produce articles but what would make yours standout would be what I had described in paragraph one. The attention-grabber. And lots of pretty pictures. You skip that & you would have lost your pitch.

Mainstream media have editors who are twice your age, have worked through thousands of articles in their decades of experience & will not tolerate improper usage of the language. If you don’t capture their attention in the first 30 seconds, you are as good as gone. What is mainstream media? Not just the daily newspapers but the magazines that have been around from your mother’s time. These are success stories in the publishing world so if you want to carve a niche in any area, start with writing what your audience want to read about & get to know your editor’s style. I have several editors who would call on me (whatever time of day & night) whenever they need a story on a given area of my expertise. Develop that relationship. It helps you get ahead as a freelancer later.

Identify & Select Your Publications

  • Determine the type of publication – cars, fashion, business trends, travel, men’s, women’s, lifestyle, entertainment, luxury etc.
  • Read through them before you decide on which one you want your articles to be published in. If it’s a magazine with lousy English, your association with them will bring you ill repute too.
  • Understanding your audience – look through the publication & identify the style & theme. Gauge your audience’s genre. Identify with their needs. Connect.
  • Plan your pitch.
  • Write to the editor & send teaser shots of the subject you would like to submit. When they reply, send your pitch & then follow up.

Points to keep in mind

Editors may or may not read your email. I received an average of 100 emails per day, half of those I needed to reply immediately, with manuscripts, plans & projects under my nose to read, edit & send back for rewrites, just to give you an idea of what goes on in a publication. There’s no guarantee what you had sent will be accepted so be prepared to send to other publications too.

There are copyright issues to note & what you submit may not entitle you to publish in other publications or media. That’s why a blog is important to establish yourself & to document the work that you do.

The rewards are not measured by how much or how little you make as a writer but by how others see your work in print & recognise you for it. No matter what you write, as long as you stick to the principles of staying noble & true, you will impact lives.

Footnote:- I am in the midst of pitching my travels to magazines & writing advertorials for my sponsors, which is great & this article breaks my monotony of writing on the same subject. It’s my way of staying relevant in the business. Next in the pipeline, is how to overcome writer’s block.