This is something that I wanted to say for a long time.
But I’ve never sat down to write it, telling myself that it doesn’t matter. Besides, I’ve never had much trouble in my eight years of blogging.
Bloggers or influencers get so much hate nowadays. On the occasions I read or heard of degrading remarks about bloggers/influencers, I would feel dishearten, sometimes distressed but mostly resigned.
Personally, I have my principles and if I’ve committed no wrong intentionally, I will continue to write and enjoy my life as I please.
After all, I can’t control what other bloggers do intentionally or otherwise. But just because I am one too, I get the whiplash of it.
During a luncheon at Enfin a few weeks back, Chef James said a few things that triggered this post.
This is what I PERSONALLY have to say about the current (July 2017) blogging landscape and this is just be me – I’m sure there are many who agree/disagree. But this is what I hope PRs and chef understand of what it is like for ME.
While I can’t speak for other bloggers, it bothered me that Chef James seemed reluctant to host bloggers. He begin his speech by saying that he never did so before. I guess I should be honoured to be “one of the few firsts” but as his ‘welcome‘ speech went on, it seemed to me that perhaps, he lacked understanding of the whole ‘bloggers versus media’ landscape.
I would like to make it clear that I DO NOT speak on behalf of any other bloggers, but merely from my personal point of view.
I, like many others, started from the bottom. Similarly to many cooks and chefs.
It took years of effort (money, time, brains) to build a community, to obtain significant ranking on Google and to get people to take you seriously (credibility takes time doesn’t it?). Similarly to chefs.
I know some chefs think bloggers are BS, and I can commiserate, for I’ve personally stepped on some toes and accumulated my fair share of haters from the chefs/cooks community.
But I’m sure chefs realize that “food is subjective” and I’ve seen worse written reviews on TripAdvisors and Facebook from friends/acquaintances who slams a food outlet when they are dissatisfied. It is almost like cooks/chefs hate everyone who doesn’t think their food is great.
As for the “bloggers eat free, thus can’t be trusted OR paid ma, hence say good lor!” – I’m getting there.
While some bloggers may be to you – a freeloader, it is unfair to think of all bloggers as such.
Some of us hold well-paying jobs and would actually prefer to pay for our own food. Yes, there are those who live on invites, but there are also those who accepts invites on good faith and curiosity, like I did.
Growing up, I hold steadfast to the principle (in Hokkien) – boh chiak beh si – literally translating to “don’t eat won’t die one“. This means, if I can’t afford it, I just won’t eat/buy. No begging. Never.
I’ve liked Chef James during the 6th Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows dinner and had shamelessly raved about his poussin. It took me a while to decide if I wanted to accept this invite as I’ve stopped accepting invited tastings for a while, but I’ve had good memories of Chef James and his poussin so eventually I did.
Why do bloggers like to bring ‘plus one‘? Chef James had mused.
Let me try to explain and please note that I’m speaking for myself, not other bloggers.
The mainstream media attend tastings as part of their jobs. In essence, as they eat and enjoy the hospitality, they are paid to do so. Handily, the cost of petrol, toll, parking (no joke ok – do you realize the charges for parking in KL/PJ?) goes back to the company.
Bloggers, on the other hand, are doing this on their own time. Food outlets rarely have budgets. In Singapore, hotels pay bloggers/online sites allowances for images, write ups and videos. I know that for sure. Not all yes, but some do.
Not so in Malaysia. It is extremely rare though some large brands do allocate budgets for online campaigns that include influencers. But how much do they pay, do you know?
Some are merely a few hundreds RM and how far can you stretch a few hundreds today?
Personally for me, after so many years of tastings, it is nice to be able to have a selected friend or even spouse to join me.
** I won’t go into the whole “Say bring a photographer but he/she is not a photographer!”. Basically it is a “plus one” issue that I’ll like to focus on here, regardless of who the plus one is.
I earn a modest salary but if I really want to, I can afford any meal in KL. Then I would get to choose my own dishes and I won’t even be obligated to write about it.
One can argue of course; that a blogger should talk and mingle with the people at the event/tasting instead of sticking to a partner. Trust me, after years of attending events and tastings, you meet almost the same people and empty talk gets tedious after the first 15 minutes.
I understand that a “plus one” is a privilege, and personally I’ve always request politely if I could string one along. If the answer is no, I would understand.
But chefs and PR agencies shouldn’t have this notion that bloggers are trying to get free meals for two.
No, it is not that. Not for me anyways.
That’s all, for now.
Next, I have a few things to say about those who think bloggers are paid a lot of money and get free stuffs all the time. But when I have the time la. Or when something like this triggers me again.. Meanwhile, peace out.