Freitag, August 19, 2005

Photoshop Beauty: Some thoughts on Xia Xue

Xia Xue is Wendy Cheng, a 21-year-old event coordinator who runs the blog The blog won the Best Asian Weblog Award for 2004 and 2005. Her weblog attracts up to 2,000 readers daily and she is one of the editors for She is currently Singapore's youngest columnist on The New Paper as well as the men's magazine Maxim.

That's the profile for a certain Wendy Cheng--better known as Xia Xue--on the Singapore Writers' Festival 2005 website.

At first glance, this female blogger seems to be what this nation, eager to showcase its young talents to the world, needs.

Unfortunately, Singapore also happens to be a country that equates "talent" to the tangibles--that is, the things you can boast about on your resume. Xia Xue is an award winner blogger, she has thousands of adoring fans, and she's marketable. She's already appeared on magazines and radio, and is even made one of the ambassadors of an anti-smoking campaign.

In short, she's a celebrity. So what if her writing is as inspiring and interesting as the graffiti you read in toilet cubicles? Right?

Meet what is possibly Singapore's most famous/infamous female blogger. On her own admission, she's short, plumb, and small-breasted, but that's not the Xia Xue you'll normally see on her own blog because, on her own admission again, she doctors her pictures to make herself more glamourous.

The wonders that Photoshop can do for your image.


Simply put, we're talking about this:

Wendy Cheng, or Xia Xue, has been blogging since April 2003, and is, to quote her, "the one winning several blogging awards". General opinion is that her frank entries about her life as a typical young Singaporean girl initially won her a following, which then led to her receiving the Asian Weblog Awards. But alas, fame soon got to her head, and as she began to sound more conceited on her blog, the number of her haters grew.

The fact that there are now Xia Xue hate blogs (like Xialanxue, for instance) is proof of her new-found infamy.


Trite, self-indulgent writing is bad enough; having them smeared with profanities--English or Hokkien--is worse. Yes, she is very liberal with her use of expletives.

An irate Wendy on readers criticising her writing:

"SO MANY FUCKING STUPID PEOPLE READING MY BLOG AH? I cannot take it - if you are the serious sort who gets angry over STUPID THINGS, then please fuck off. Now stupid and serious people, please fuck off. Go on. Don't add to my readership now, for that will only make me more arrogant, no?"

In one of her entries about jogging to lose weight:

"I saw a bus ad, AND IT IS MOCKING ME! It is bioessence's SLIMMING GEL AND AILEEN TAN SHOWING ME HER FAB BODY! Kaninahia! Limpeh jogging like a pig you tell me to take shortcut, how can?! As if these are not enough reasons for me to stop jogging, every five minutes a taxi drives pass REALLY SLOWLY, BECKONING ME TO HOP IN. LAO NIANG IS FAT, LET ME JOG IN PEACE CAN?! But cannot. These taxi drivers and cheebye slimming ads have to do this to me."

And on the competence of our army personnel:

"Another army guy said it is only five minutes to the MRT if we WALK SLOWLY.

It was a FORTY MINUTES WALK AT BEST OK! AND MY FEET HAD ON HEELS AND BLISTERS (had to go to Zouk later)! !! How DARE that fucker lie to us to make us leave the bus stop? At least 15 minutes is not that bad a lie, but 5 minutes? HE GOT SPEEDBOOTS AH, or is he SONIC?"

Even some bengs and lians I know have reservations about speaking like that. It reflects badly on one's upbringing.

Personally, I've got nothing against expletives--they give one's writing the emotional intensity that polite language lacks. But there's only so much you can use before it amounts to abuse. SO, please, Wendy, please, stop abusing the abusive language....

And to think our Prime Minister fretted over Singaporeans learning Singlish from Phua Chu Kang. =)

Besides language, Wendy also complements her atrocious writing style with appalling insensitivity:

From her "thoughts" for National Day:

"Sang Nila Utama saw a singa and named us Singapura. If he saw a pig, then we are babipura? Ba bi po!"

First of all, Sang Nila Utama thought he saw a lion, but it was actually a tiger. In any case, whether Sang Nila Utama was Muslim or not is beside the point (history is hardly my forte). There's no denying that the country's history is very much linked to the Malays, the national anthem is in Malay, and as a multicultural soceity, a sizeable percentage of Singaporeans are Malays. And most people know what Malays/Muslims think of pigs--most, except for Wendy, of course. She had a go at Christianity too, but I'm not going to quote from that particular entry because the above pales in comparison to it.

And here, on news of her blog being hacked, in The Straits Times:

"Alas. London got bombed, so the article got pushed to page 16 instead of cover. My condolences to those affected, but that's another entry altogether."

She's as thick as her make-up... Nice try at being funny, Wendy, but humour can often backfire you know.

In July 2005, she dropped the bomb--her blog's been hacked! Well, websites around the world get hacked on a regular basis; even mine's been hacked before. When it happens, you usually let the hosting company know, and if you're lucky enough to trace the culprit, you send him a nasty email (if it makes you feel better). You then dig out your backup, reinstall your site, and get on with life. The same goes for blogs.

Of course, being Wendy, that wouldn't suffice. Not only did she--according to her entry--kick up a huge fuss by contacting Blogger's administrators, she even went down to the local police station to make a police report. And then, the story of the hacking appeared in the papers, but Xia Xue wasn't satisfied with the way The Straits Times covered her news:

"I think ST is out to sabo me. Throughout the article, I don't see the link to my webpage. I don't know if this is delibrate, but WHAT IS THE POINT OF TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT A SITE IF YOU DON'T LINK THE SITE? A bit stupid right?"

Then, she has a go at the none-too-flattering photo of her and the flab around her waist:

"A bit of photoshop would have salvaged the photo, but did they bother? NO. Jerks!"

Wendy claims to have gotten help from Biz Stone (Gmail / Blogger admin) two hours after she emailed him; she also claims to have received hundreds of fan mails in support of her. Her critics insist that she made the whole thing up because her popularity was wanning. What's the real story behind this, we'll never know.

The only thing that's certain is that her bloated ego had just gotten even bigger.

Wendy has also created her very own Xia Xue Fan Site, and got a friend to set up an "official" Xia Xue hate site. And like every decent publicity-hungry blogger, she's taken on other female "celebrity" bloggers like SPG and China's Furong Jie Jie--whom she referred to as a fat auntie and then proceeded to give a photo of the Chinese blogger a makeover. It was only later, after her critics had pointed out, that Wendy acknowledged that the English Furong Jie Jie blog may have been a fake...


In the presence of greatness (or, in this case, public figures), Wendy is all humble and nice:

"EUNICE OLSON AND JAMIE YEO COULDN'T COME, but there, standing beside my seat making small talk with someone, is MISS CLAIRE CHIANG! People is the founder and Executive Director of Banyan Tree! I am not worthy to sit beside her!!!!"

In the presence of her critics, she sings a different tune:

"I used to always convince myself that...guys in forums who diss me, are FUCKING LOSERS THEMSELVES. Fat, smelly, pimply teens who do gaming all day long. They know a girl like me will never like them, they will never be able to get a girl like me, and thus, to "save face", they first claim they will never date me.

Smart huh? Who are you, losers? It it like me saying I will never date someone like George Clooney. Hello, he wants to date me first then I have the right to sprout such atrocity, ok? You won't want to date me? BET YOU WILL, IF I AGREE TO IT. But of course, I won't. =D I don't date LOSERS."

And while she gleefully diss her unadoring readers, the latter won't get to defend themselves since--like so many other "celebrity" bloggers--Wendy routinely removes the comments they leave on her blog, especially the ones that make too much sense. It's a PR thing, I suppose.

So what do we make of this egocentric blogger? A "talent"? A "goddess of text"? Or just a girl who happened to get lucky, and then got too big-headed for her own good?

Forget the so-called Weblog awards she won. I won't debate over how they're awarded, but I'm sure it wasn't for her writing. Indeed, Wendy typifies a worrying trend of online "spontaneous writing" that is shallow, self-serving, and crass, and which relies more on cheap "gimmicks" to sell.

More worrying still is the kind of attention the media, her sponsors, and even local organisations give her. What message are we sending to impressionable teenagers by endorsing her bumptious behaviour? That Wendy is a prime example of being young, trendy, and outspoken?

Forget about sounding intelligent; it pays better to be a snotty, obnoxious bimbo. After all, vainty sells.

If this is the "talent" Singapore needs, then God help us all....


  • At Freitag, August 19, 2005 7:38:00 PM, Blogger mooiness said…

    Wah thoroughly researched piece you got here. Came back here by chance after I saw your piece on Sandralicious a while back. Anyway keep it up - makes for interesting reading.

    And yes I have a XiaXue link on my blog but that's because I like "light" entertainment. ;)

  • At Freitag, August 19, 2005 11:00:00 PM, Blogger ichigo said…

    Wonderful Post!!

    Awesomely true!! I wish SIngaporean bloggers could start showcasing better language!! A little singlish here and there shows the distinct flavour. However, a whole blog based on a large deal of singlish only leave foreigners wondering what the heck we are writing!!

    And in short, Xiaxue can get really hypocritical and too full of herself at times. But given the fast pace of life in singapore, I guess most readers like the 'light" and easy entertainment she offers.

  • At Samstag, August 20, 2005 2:21:00 AM, Blogger brennan said…

    This is gonna' get fucking interesing.

  • At Samstag, August 20, 2005 4:06:00 AM, Blogger not indie enough said…

    what makes you so sure that sang nila utama was a muslim? do you have real evidence, or did you just assumed he was a muslim because you assumed most indonesians/malays would be?

    according to these articles, islam wasn't even that established when sang nila utama apparently founded singapore.

    please correct me if i am wrong.

  • At Samstag, August 20, 2005 1:55:00 PM, Blogger simplesandra said…

    not indie enough:

    Point taken, I may not be the most knowledgable where history's concerned.

    Still, here's something from the Sejarah Melayu, verse 56, during which Sang Utama Sri Tri Buana made a covenant with Demang Lebar Daun, to which the latter said, "the descendants of your humble servants shall be the subjects of your majesty's throne, but they must be well-treated by your descendants. If they offend, they shall not, however grave their offence, be disgraced or reviled with evil words: if their offence is grave, let them be put to death, if that is in accordance with Muslim law... but if your descendants depart from the terms of the pact, then so will mine.. subjects shall never be disloyal or treacherous to their rulers, even if their rulers behave cruelly and immorally ... And if any ruler puts a single one of his subjects to shame, that shall be a sign that his kingdom shall be destroyed by Almighty God."

    And if I'm right, Muslim influence arrived around as early as the 13th century. Also, some argue that it was Parameswara, a rebel Palembang prince who fled to Singapore, who briefly instated himself regent before being chased out by the Siamese, I think. In any case, Parameswara converted to Islam.

    Like I said, this is not a site for historical discourses, and I'm not qualified for this topic.

    BUT, that doesn't change the fact that much of Singapore's history is linked to the Malays, so it's utterly tasteless for Wendy to choose a pig (of all things) for her lame joke.

    In any case, I've updated the entry to remove any discrepancies. Thanks! =)

  • At Samstag, August 20, 2005 5:59:00 PM, Blogger Cold Lion said…

    We are not Americans. We are Singaporeans. So we don't care what other people think about us. We love our language :)

  • At Dienstag, August 23, 2005 6:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    Were you writing an essay for your English Debate Class? Hahaha... It's no surprise that other blogs like Xiaxue's and Daphne's get more readers compared to yours.
    Theirs are more for entertainment purposes, for fun, while yours is more for school.


  • At Dienstag, August 23, 2005 1:11:00 PM, Blogger simplesandra said…

    "Theirs are more for entertainment purposes, for fun, while yours is more for school."

    Good, I'm glad you got the point. =)

  • At Mittwoch, August 24, 2005 7:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    Hi Simple Sandra. I left this comment on Xialanxue but thought I'd share it with you too. Keep up the good work, I like the comments that you have left on various blogs, I agree with all of your points. Here's my take on it:

    I'm totally disgusted with all these people like XX, kenny sia, sandralicious, pinkshoefetish... Who the hell are these people anyway? From which dark crevices of earth did they crawl out from?? It's obvious why they're all making themselves seem all so important and indispensible on their blogs, simply because they will never make it elsewhere in the real world.
    Can u imagine XX going to castings and auditions and making it to the big screen or print ads merely based on her looks and talent? Not in this life because the truth is, she's ugly. (same applies to the rest) and talent... what talent? She COULD make it as a comedian-like tv personality like patricia mok or abigail.
    Do u think mr kenny xia will ever succeed in life or reality and prove himself as a person who's worth to be a little more than just plain ordinary? Well no. He writes well but what gives him an edge over other writers? Nothing. He's just good at creating controversy to draw attention to himself. (this also applies to the rest)
    If sandralicious were to walk past you on the street, would you give her a second look? No. She IS very plain-looking. Maybe even a little underaverage. But she makes herself out to be so desired and sought-after. (BTW that was really unnecessary- putting up the pic of the guy for all to see in order to make people think that people would actually bother to do that for her)
    in the real world, especially s'pore where all these middle & upperclass kids can afford many nice things, would people actually be THAT shocked by how 'rich' pinkshoefetish is? not at all. it's obvious that the whole facade of her being 'filthy rich' is just an act. compared to the other genuine upperclass , she's nothing. Well brought up classy girls don't act the way she does.
    these people are just living a lie. most of them, in poor defence, claim that their personas on the blogasphere are exaggerated versions of themselves and sometimes, even totally disjointed from their 'real' selves. but that is just an excuse. a really weak excuse to live their lies. the bottomline is- they are lying to themselves. it's time they wake up and realize that people are not that stupid to be fed with that kind of shit.
    But of course, they'll turn around and say, 'If you don't like it, don't read my blog then!' Well, as much as you can't help making up lies, we can't help going back to be entertained and to laugh at all your pathetic try-hard ways. So I guess there's a good use for such people after all.

  • At Freitag, August 26, 2005 1:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    You are my new hero! What an eloquent way of saying what I think about Xiaxue (which can be summed up as thus - boring, ugly, can't write).

    Please turn your attention to the myriad of other untalented yet famewhorish bloggers out there too.

  • At Freitag, August 26, 2005 4:59:00 PM, Anonymous MarionR said…

    These bloggers have something to say. They become famous and u guys are just plainly jealous. I'm a Malaysian but i like XX's writing. SHe has the guts, she's funny, she's not pretending. Unlike some bloggers, all they do is writing shits. I don't like Scandalicious, Kenny Sia or those co-famous-bloggers but just XX. Her stories do attract us, and u guys hate her and still reading her blog. THis is so FUNNY.
    I'm amazed with her website. I don't understand why people hate her. I'm enjoying reading her Blog. If u guys still wanna screw her back, go ahead. Cause u know what? I guess she will capture more readers/fans. AND She is the charm. This is the plague. ENough SAID.

  • At Freitag, August 26, 2005 11:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    Marionr, wow! You write just as bad as Xiaxue does! No wonder you like her blog!

    Incidentally, how much of a loser did Xiaxue prove she was on her trip to KL? I am so cashed up because my daddy gave me money! Yet I have to take a coach, sleep in a crappy hotel, buy cheap shoes and complain about the price of food. Look at my shitty stripey socks that accentuate the extra stumpiness of my legs!

  • At Dienstag, August 30, 2005 4:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    XX is the plague indeed. But I thought the plague is something reeeaaaaally negative? Hmm.

    Scandalicious, I love your writing. KEEP IT UP!

  • At Donnerstag, September 01, 2005 8:35:00 PM, Blogger not indie enough said…

    ho-kai, point taken. thanks for clearing it up.

    frankly, i wouldn't be too bothered if i'm a knowledgeable muslim.

    according to the corruption theory, pork is only haram (prohibited) because the prophet mohammad wanted to get the jews in mecca to convert to islam (these included incorporating other jewish practices to islam - circumcision, fasting and many more). but then again, i suppose not many know that.

    btw, are you a powderfinger fan?

  • At Samstag, September 03, 2005 2:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    I believe Wendy Cheng isn't such a bad person. I admit that the part on her always saying vulgarities is not nice. But I can see that it is Xiaxue that many people criticise and do not like and not Wendy Cheng. Do you get what I mean? Xiaxue, to me, is just someone Wendy is trying to be but in actual fact she isn't.

  • At Sonntag, September 04, 2005 8:57:00 PM, Anonymous I b BaCk said…

    Sad but is a FACT,the way this girl poisoning the young reader.Just look at what happen now the so call "Blog War" between M'sia and Sg(IMHO is all started by her).Kind of worry

  • At Montag, September 05, 2005 3:25:00 AM, Blogger simplesandra said…

    Anon said: " Do you get what I mean? Xiaxue, to me, is just someone Wendy is trying to be but in actual fact she isn't."

    Unfortunately, an offline Dr.Jekyll and online Mr.Hyde still points to the same person. And our wired alter ego remains very much a reflection of ourselves. =)

    If Wendy wants to be a real 'public' figure, then she should start by writing responsibly. If she wants to be controversial, then she should at least defend herself more graciously than launching a tirade on her critics--after she's disabled/removed their comments.

    So yes, Wendy may be all smiles in real life. But to me, what she writes and does on her blog says as much about the sort of person she really is.

    Whether it's Wendy Cheng or Xiaxue people dislike is irrelevant.

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 1:53:00 AM, Anonymous i hate hypo said…

    pls dun go wala wala again, can?

    i would boycott the place if i see annoying two-face pple like u there....

  • At Dienstag, September 13, 2005 9:21:00 PM, Anonymous yawns said…

    fukker. please lah. ur blog u write your own stuff, if you run out of things to write, then shut up. so much comment. you itchy chicken backside!

  • At Mittwoch, September 14, 2005 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Barffie said…

    I hate Hypo ah: THIS IS NOT THAT SANDRA LAH! Read the URL!


  • At Freitag, Oktober 14, 2005 6:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    Wendy, you are really really xiaxue! Why ppl waste their time on reading your blog, i donno. Me? This stupid piece pops up from nowhere--and there I've wasted my time going thru that GARBAGE. Believe u me this is the first & last time that I'll be reading her blogs.

  • At Freitag, November 25, 2005 1:09:00 AM, Blogger sue lin said…

    Hie, just wanted to say that u've got a good blog here, saw u regularly comment well in xialanxue but never read your blog until now. Sorry! =)

  • At Sonntag, Juni 25, 2006 7:24:00 PM, Blogger Stephen Yeo said…

    Good piece of investigative journalism. Brunnen getan!

    I have a question for you though: What happens if XiaXue stops blogging? Your very existence seems dependent on her continuing to do what she's doing.

    Eventually, you will have to think of an identity for your own blog. Unless, of course, you intend to stop when she stops.


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