My interview on CNBC

I got a call last week from CNBC reporter Cris Prystay, wanting to interview me for a story on

It was nice. We spent about 20 minutes chatting about my blogging career.

I feel quite lucky that, so far, all my interviews have been quite positive. I mean, I haven’t gotten any reporters trying to wrangle nasty stories from me or purposely misquoting me just to make me look bad.

(Okay, except for that little thing in Maxim, but that was probably my fault for reading the question wrongly, and partly their fault for phrasing it badly. But it wasn’t like a deliberate sabotage.)

This CNBC interview was for a business story, anyway, so I wasn’t expecting anything nasty, although I didn’t know the angle of the story when we were chatting.

Turns out I’m a case study for a bigger story on how blogs are today a dominant influence in consumer markets. I feel quite amused. And somewhat flattered, I suppose.

Anyway, what the report didn’t mention is how thankful I am to have supportive readers who enjoy reading what I write. That’s what keeps me happy and inspired.


Click here to read the full report on

CNBC report


So, I just wanna take this opportunity to once again thank my readers for reading. You’re the reason for my existence!

And thanks for the mention, CNBC!

My Mandarin is worse than Ris Low’s English

My Mandarin has never been as bad as it is now. I mean, it has always been bad — I was a chronic F9 case in school — but it’s really bad now, if you can imagine anything worse than F9.

I can do very basic conversations like, say, discussing a shopping trip with the girls, if I’m allowed to pepper my speech with English words.

But ask me to be interviewed in Mandarin, on national TV no less, and I am suddenly struck dumb. I mean that quite literally.

POCC Interview - Channel 8

That was actually what happened last week.

I received a call from my manager:

“Channel 8 news wants to do a segment on POCC (Power Over Cervical Cancer) and they’ve requested to interview you in your capacity as POCC ambassador.”

“Um… um… in Mandarin??”


“My Mandarin is very bad. I can’t do it.”

POCC Interview - Channel 8

In the end, I was talked into doing it. I would be given the questions and a list of key terms I would need to use in Manadrin.

On the night before the interview, I received a list of six questions. I typed my answers out in English and attempted to translate it.

It took me an hour to translate just the first two lines because I couldn’t figure out how to structure my sentences correctly. I had about 35 lines to translate.

POCC Interview - Channel 8

First: “Cervical cancer kills one to two women every five days.”

The only way I knew how to say it was: “每五天,子宫颈癌杀死一到两个妇女。”

Well, at least my Mandarin is good enough for me to know that THIS IS VERY BAD MANDARIN.

For my non-Chinese readers: What I did was a literal translation almost word for word. But what results in Mandarin raises an imagery more like: “Cervical cancer picks up a chopper and hacks one to two women to death every five days.”

Simply put, very crude.

POCC Interview - Channel 8

Here’s another example of my butchery of the Chinese language:

“The earlier people know about this, the more lives we can save.”

My translation: “如果大家越早知道这个消息,就会越少人死。”

If you can read that, you now understand why I rejected the interview right off the bat.

Actually, I wasn’t even aware that my Mandarin had degenerated to this degree. I had eventually agreed to do the interview because I believed if I could prepare my answers beforehand, I would be able to do it.

It was only when I was attempting to translate my answers that I realised my Mandarin is now effectively 87 keys short of a piano.

POCC Interview - Channel 8

I finally sent out an SOS on Plurk, Twitter, Facebook. I received lots of good translations for the two sentences above. But no one offered to help me translate all 35 lines of my answers.

Thankfully, I managed to get a friend to help me. By the time I received the two pages of translated answers, it was midnight. The interview was the next day. And I’d only had two hours of sleep the night before so I was rather exhausted by then.

But I had two pages of Chinese to memorise. It wasn’t simply a matter of remembering the points. I had to memorise everything word for word because, if I were to answer in my own words, I would come out with something embarrassingly rubbish like: “POCC 希望会有两万个人去他们的网站支持他们和子宫颈癌打架。”

POCC Interview - Channel 8

I didn’t have enough time to memorise everything so I had to wing it and hope I didn’t look too bad.

If you happen to watch Channel 8 news this Sunday, and you see me stuttering on TV and looking quite bimbotic, you know why.

To compound matters, my laryngitis had not totally recovered, so I was still sounding rather hoarse.

Maybe with clever editing, Channel 8 will manage to make me look halfway decent, but I’m not too hopeful about that.

Look, I think my Mandarin is even worse than Ris Low’s English. So that’s why I never laughed at or criticised her. We can’t all be good at everything!

POCC Interview - Channel 8

In any case, I think I’d better not accept anymore interviews in Mandarin. Or I’d better go back to Chinese school.

Now I hope I won’t set POCC’s efforts to reach out and save lives back by a millennium because of my disastrous Mandarin.

I mean, I hope people won’t see me on TV and say, “She sucks,” and then not watch the rest of the segment. Lives could be lost because of that!

Seriously. I’d feel really bad!

Anyway, it’s this Sunday (July 11), 10 pm, on Channel 8. I don’t know what time the POCC bit will be aired but it’ll be a short segment. Around five to 10 minutes.

I don’t think I’ll dare to watch myself.

POCC Interview - Channel 8

Exposé on Sheylara

This was the hardest topic ever I had to write for Star Blog.

Star Blog

The deadline was Monday morning and I didn’t start writing it until Monday morning (that is, I did it after midnight before going to bed). =D

We were supposed to pretend to be a writer doing a profile on ourselves for a publication, highlighting our strengths and weaknesses and achievements.

I sweated over it all weekend and lamented to my friends. It brought back memories of when I had to write my first resumes. I could never do it right.


I would show it to someone and he would say, “What kind of lousy resume is this!! Who wants to employ you like this! You must blow your own trumpet!”

I would wail, “I cannot lah! It’s against my nature!”

And he would insist, “You MUST if you ever want to get a job.”

It was the hardest thing for me to do and I wanted to quit job hunting forever. I might have if Singapore had welfare.


I was lucky in that many of my first few day jobs were gotten through friend recommendations (mostly writing and web design jobs, which didn’t require mind-blowing resumes as much as spiffy portfolios).

I’m quite comfortable at writing decent resumes now, after years of practice at breaking the stubborn shell of humility off myself, but writing an interview article about myself is something else.

I waited until I was about to collapse from exhaustion before writing it so that I would be somewhat numbed to the horror of the job.


I’ve done many profiles on celebrities during my times as a journalist, so writing profiles is chicken feed for me. But I used to always praise my subjects to the skies and make them sound really good. (It’s also against my nature to make someone sound bad.)

So, it was really, really tricky. How to do a good job at this assignment and yet avoid being totally shameless?

In the end, I still managed to get it done. I’m a stickler for meeting deadlines, if nothing else.

If you’re curious to see what kind of work I can produce while sleep-deprived, CLICK HERE TO READ IT.


Thoughts on Female Games

I want to talk a bit about my movie, Female Games, today.

Here’s my Sinema interview:

Click to read.

Female Games is now showing at Sinema Old School, and will run till end August. Showtimes here.

After finally seeing it, I suppose I should warn you that it’s not for everyone. But then I was prepared for that. Kan (our director) told us from the start that his films have always been polarising. You either love them or hate them.


His films are the kind that win prestigious art film awards but the man in the street hates.

It’s a little different for Female Games. I think the word is: confusing. Confusion clouded my head the first time I saw it because the final edit changed everything I knew about the film when we were filming it.

I had trouble answering questions at the Q&A after the show because I was as shocked (and possibly dismayed) at the outcome of the film as the audience.

Photo from JayWalk’s blog.

There still is, of course, the expected love and hate reactions. But I get the impression that, on the whole, people don’t know whether to love or hate it.

Whatever the case, I don’t regret being in the film. Experience is priceless.

Sheylara’s LIVE interview (video)

The video is up! In fact, it went up last night, shortly after I published GGF. Very efficient!

To recap, this is an interview session by Xbox Life, conducted over Xbox LIVE video chat.

I had the pleasure of chatting with two very friendly and humorous Taiwanese guys, Toshi and Darker. (They removed their faces from the screen and replaced them with subtitles!! *lol*)

The interview was conducted in English and subtitled in Mandarin for Taiwanese viewers.

There’s also an accompanying writeup.

The interview was very enjoyable because my hosts were very charming!


從Xbox Life到此的台灣朋友… 很感謝你們的支持! 我們在Xbox LIVE上見面吧!也希望有一天能到台灣與大家會面!

Sorry if my Mandarin reads weird. I had a tough time coming up with that little chunk. *lol*

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By the way, I’m going to Kuching tomorrow on a press trip and won’t be back till Wednesday.

Will attempt to blog from there, but if you don’t see any updates over the next few days, it’ll mean that I can’t get connected for some reason or other.

In any case, have a great weekend!