Interview with Blogger Michelle Yoon

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Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
Well, my name’s Michelle, Malaysian, but currently residing overseas in New Zealand. But I blog about things happening back in Malaysia, hence the name of my blog being “I Am Malaysian“. I’m not new to blogging, but I started this blog only after the most recent general elections, mostly because I started to really get frustrated about what was happening in the political scene.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?
Yes, actually I have realised that the more I write, the more I get to know about myself and my ideals, and what are the most important things to me. Because this blog started off as something about Malaysian politics, I became more aware of what was happening. And the more I found out, the more I wanted to do something to change it. Maybe that’s why I have also started to concentrate a lot on social and human rights issues.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
Because I’m new in socio-political blogging, I would say that getting comments made my day, even when those comments were rather harsh and didn’t agree with me. I also found engaging in constructive discussions on other blogs very good as well.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
There are a few blogs that I tend to visit and leave comments on frequently. But I hardly know any of them personally.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
The Internet is playing a huge part in the political arena in Malaysia, especially more so now after the last general elections. There are plenty of socio-political blogs mushrooming now (like mine!), but there are also a lot of politicians who are starting to take the Internet more seriously.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?
I definitely think so, in both good and bad ways. Because the Internet allows anonymosity, sometimes there are very irresponsible responses. But still, I think the Internet has started to get people talking, and more and more of these people are starting to let their voices be heard.

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
I don’t know if there’s anything special about my site, but I do write with passion, and I hope that this gets through to my readers.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
I would probably say it is that I’m willing to learn. (But I’ve yet to reach anywhere near “success in life”, so I’ll keep this rather open..)

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
This is a rather tough one to answer. I mostly tend to forget the gloomy parts of life, and I try to keep my moments in life happy. Difficult to answer, seeing as I’ve only got about 20-odd years to my life so far. =)

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?
I’d love to go to Italy, France, Japan. Culture-rich places. But those are only my top 3 choices..

What is your favorite book and why?
I read a lot, and I don’t really have a favourite book. But I tend to prefer reading non-fiction, or at least fiction with some sort of real-life information. Maybe the encyclopaedia?

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
Their eyes. I think it’s true that “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Some eyes truly sparkle.

Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?
Not that I remember. I’ve always been in love with writing, no matter short stories, essays or non-fiction writing. And I’ve been blessed enough to have met people who have never discouraged me.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
I personally don’t know much about how to benefit financially from blogging. I’ve always wanted to find out, and I think it’s actually possible to get a decent earning from blogging, but I’ve not gotten anywhere near there yet.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?
I don’t think so. But I do think that there has to be some consistency in writing the blog. You don’t just start a blog, write only when you feel like it, and expect the readers to keep coming back. But other than that, I guess substance is also important. It doesn’t mean anything even if you write a dozen posts everyday, but no one is interested enough to read them.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
I think bloggers have started to engage with each other, even coming from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. Bloggers United, Bloggers For Human Rights are just two examples where bloggers from all over the world get to share their views on how things can be changed in a civilised manner.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
Haris Ibrahim – The People’s Parliament
Kenny Mah – Life for Beginners
Lim Kit Siang
Manderson’s Bubble
Zorro Unmasked

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
So far it always depends on what the latest news is, or what is the most controversial news out there. The more bombastic an issue, the more hits it generates.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
I have so far only met one Pakistani, he’s a fellow student here where I study. And from what I know, Pakistanis seem like friendly people. Not so sure about how the country is though.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
I’ve been stunned by quite a number of bloggers who write exceptionally well, but unique is a subjective thing. I find everyone different.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
The “consensus” seems to be that developed countries are countries that have strong human rights, whereas developing countries are still subject to dictatorship, censorship, suppression and all that. But that to me is hypocritical, because human rights is an issue everywhere. Perhaps the biggest difference for me is the standard of living, and the “perception” of peace and harmony within the society.

What is the future of blogging?
I think there is a lot of future in blogging, especially in Malaysia. It seems to me as something that will not exhaust itself.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I think it has enriched my life in leaps and bounds, perhaps because I think I’ve found my calling (cliched as it sounds…). I’ve found out that there is a lot more to life than self.

What are your future plans?
First, I’ll have to finish my studies, and then I plan to return to Malaysian, probably become a social activist or journalist. That’s what I plan, but I’ll take it as it comes.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Emm.. “Behold the power of knowledge“? Haha.. well, just that to keep in touch with news not only where you come from, but also elsewhere in the world. Abd be prepared to be surprised by the diversity of thoughts out there.

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