My ex-boss who used to live in Hong Kong recommended a cupcake shop for us to check out but it slipped our minds so we landed up not going. On the last night, we passed by a cupcake shop and decided to give it a try. Sadly, it turned out to be a disappointment as the cake was kinda dry and the icing too sweet and flat (not typically fluffy). I am quite afraid of my high standards for cupcakes right now. Every cupcake that I eat is measured against Georgetown cupcakes which sucks because it's not a place that I can access easily. I mean, it's like thousands of miles away and I often crave for them! -_-
Anyway, not mentioning the place of the cupcakes (pictured above) because of the recent hoo-ha over the blogger that got sued for writing negatively about a restaurant (not mentioning any names but you should know what I'm referring to) and my folks have warned me to be careful when I'm writing about food places that I visit etc -_- Not going to comment on the case itself as it's hard to judge based on only what has been provided by the media but I also think that blogs are all about free expression of opinions and also the reason why many brands and companies are leaning towards using blogs as a credible form of media for product reviews and a form of advertising. Of course, bloggers also need to write fairly and be ethical in what they share and write.
For a short period of time, I did a few food reviews for an online site and working with the owners of the site were great. But sometimes, the restaurants being reviewed can be unfair in their tactics which I disagree on. For all the reviews that I have written, I have tried my best to give a fair and honest opinion. Fair to readers who use the reviews in their decision making and fair to the restaurant. I usually would state both positive and areas of improvement and wouldn't downright critique the establishment unless I was cheated or received really bad service from. My article was published but later had to be taken down as the restaurant requested that someone else re-reviewed them. I was naturally disappointed but left it as it is since I had done by due job, was paid for it and well, I guess you can always pay your way to a positive review right?
What is my approach on this blog?
1) I write my honest and fair opinions because I firmly believe that it isn't right and ethical to write with a biased opinion. It wouldn't be fair to people reading this space and that believe in what I write. I believe in staying credible.
2) Once in awhile, I do get approached to endorse a product or brand or write a review. Firstly, I would only review a product or brand that I believe in and would use it myself and I do make it clear to the advertiser. I have declined to review products that I don't believe in. If I have never used it before, I would be willing to test and try it out but under the condition that I am allowed to write a fair and honest opinion. This is the same approach that I take when I write about food places that I frequent etc. I know that opinions can be very subjective and a person that enjoys a particular say cupcake from a particular shop and think it's #1 might not think that the one I bench as #1 is worth that ranking. To each his own. But at the end of the day, I believe in being honest and fair.
3) Anything that has been given to me in exchange for a writeup or something that I endorse, I will be upfront and transparent about it. I think it is fair that readers know whether a post is paid whether in kind, products, cash whatever. So I will be transparent about it and still strive to be unbiased and honest in my opinion.
4) I don't keep it a secret on the company that I work for. I refrain from writing about work here on this space because it will be unfair to my company. Sometimes, I am asked by my colleagues to write about a product and I will do so in the shoes of a consumer and attach a disclaimer that my views are my personal views and do not represent my company. It is only fair to the ones that read it. I strongly believe in the brand of the company that I work for and that's the reason why I am working for them and the times when I do share a product, it is of my own will and I personally feel that it is a good product and want to share it with others. Due to the scope of my job, I am also unable to outright promote, compare, comment on other direct competing brands and products. I have also once declined to be film for product comparisons of running shoes for this very reason.
At the end of the day, this space primarily serves as an outlet for my to share my thoughts. I've always said this - I have verbal diarrhea and have a constant need to express myself. I am honored that people enjoy reading my mostly nonsensical writings and viewing life through my eyes. It is enjoyable being able to share opinions, travel stories, unprofessional food reviews and randoms here and I have to say that I myself have learned a lot from other fellow bloggers, garnered loads of valuable information by reading other spaces as well. I just hope that in years to come, people will still be able to write honestly about what they genuinely feel about places, products etc. I think that's what makes blogging special and different from magazines and news.
Kinda sombre to write about this on a lunar new year day but c'est la vie!