Sonntag, September 11, 2005

The writing was on the wall...

There was this sign along Orchard Road, during the recent Singapore Writers' Festival. And a certain Wendy Cheng was obviously thrilled to it on the walls along the underpass, as she gloated on her blog:

"Promotion pics for my participation in the Singapore Writers' Festival! Who was the fucker who said people like Nick Liu are "real writers" and I am not? Huh? Again? What do you say? STOP WHIMPERING! Oh yes, I got invited to the festival, and sorry to say ... the "real writers" are not...

Maybe boring, serious writing does not necessarily equal to good writing afterall. =)"

Then, less than a month later, this happens:

"Sometimes I wonder, why am I taking this shit? I think I will be much happier without blogging - except, of course, I won't have an income. Ha.

For all these, I am going to take a hiatus from blogging."

SO, is this the end of the illustrious "writing" career of Wendy Cheng (aka Xiaxue)? Well, not if you believe in the legend of hydras and such, but we'll just leave it at that. But how did it come down to this--Singapore's supposedly most "famous and popular" female blogger (with her awards to prove it, no doubt) now the nation's most hated cyber-personality?

I know Wendy's fans will cry foul for me making this remark, but ask around the online community here--especially older, more mature individuals--and you realise she isn't going to win a popularity contest, not by a mile.

Of course, Wendy Cheng the person may be all sugar, spice, and everything nice, but her online alter-ego doesn't seem that nice a person, to be honest.

"Petulant" would be a more apropriate word for her.

Wendy can gloat all she wants, that the "real writers" weren't invited to the Writers' Festival while she was. She doesn't seem to realise, though, that it wasn't her writing that got her this far, but the sort of popularity she's gained--it's pretty much like why Xu Chun Mei gets to show her face and talents (or the lackof) on talkshows and even concerts. And of course, this being Singapore, tangible credentials (like meaningless weblog awards, press coverage etc) can get you a long way too.

Real writers win literal awards, I suppose; celebrity bloggers contend themselves with their few minutes of fame. And Wendy no doubt got hers at the workshop. One only wonders how much she's learnt from it, but if this is anything to go by, not much:

"Cory Doctorow, founder of the top blog, really ridiculously smart and knowledgable, except I can't give any examples because half the time he was talking about tech/political stuff I didn't fully comprehend... I chose to hide behind my facade of dyed hair and unnatural lashes while pretending to not understand and therefore was spared the embarrassment of giving my unsubstantial opinions. Sometimes, it is good to be female. Don't know politics? Never mind that, I can cook."

Ouch! Now THAT hurts...

Why did Ms. Wendy "I was at the Writers' Festival, where were you?" Cheng end up throwing in the towel (allegedly) just weeks after the high point of her blogging career? Well, it's very much about what "serious writers" do and Wendy Chengs don't.

You see, one's experience in life (or 'worldliness', I guess) matters when he or she writes. Someone once remarked that the best teenage literature is written by adults, and that's not an overstatement. Good writing requires not just linguistic skills but also a maturity in mind--more so when its personal writings aimed at a mass audience. You know, memoirs, autobiographies, and the like.

If you have a lot of things to say about life, make sure you know enough about it before you start writing. More importantly, make sure you're humble enough too to recognise that your views don't necessarily equate to others--so when you write, write tactfully. It's okay to be funny. It's even okay to be cynical and sarcastic. But there's a fine line between been witty and downright obnoxious.

Unfortunately, Wendy crossed that line with her blog, and coupled with her new air of arrogance and hunger for publicity, it was only a matter of time before things backfired on her.

And they did. Her recent article on her trip to Kuala Lumpur broke the camel's back. Irate readers bombarded her with nasty comments (some of which, I've to admit are rather uncalled for) and Wendy--who has a nasty habit of deleting unflattering comments--simply caved in under the amount of criticism she got.

Wendy and her fans didn't think it was fair for others to criticise her just for blogging her bad experience in Kuala Lumpur, and I agree. But if Wendy had meant no malice, her wordings certain came across otherwise.

I've read a number of travel literature. My favourite is still "Looking for the Lost", by the late author Alan Booth. It was his own travel memoirs across the backwaters of Japan--a very insightful look into the land and its people, as well as a very personal work for the author himself.

In the chapter "Local Heroes", the author had a rather bad experience with the locals at a village liquor store. He had just walked in having braved the typhoon, and was miffed with the sort of brusque service he got from the lady owner. While he didn't hide his displeasure in the book, he wasn't downright condescending either. He didn't have to get nasty, and never did once insult the lady or his readers' intelligence by getting personal. Moreoever, Booth was mindful enough to explain why Japanese behave the way they do whenever he encountered behaviour that wasn't compatible with cultures outside Japan.

Wendy, this is what "real writers" do. It's less in-your-face, maybe slightly more boring writing, but it's an art of communication.

"Entertaining numerous partners simultaneously earned her a reputation as a text goddess"

Not so much a "text goddess" but the "enfant terrible" of the local blogsphere, but all isn't lost: while Wendy goes into a hiatus, and retreats into her world of shopping and dining (despite being "without an income"), the rest of the local blogging world can now turn their attention to what they've been neglecting for so long--real writing. =)


  • At Sonntag, September 11, 2005 10:26:00 PM, Blogger king of tears said…


  • At Sonntag, September 11, 2005 11:53:00 PM, Blogger AG said…

    omfg. you're dedicating your blog to her too?!?

    anyways, to echo the previous comment, well said! I wish people would blog responsibly - if not, then at least take responsibility for the things that they say.

    but i suppose with this being the cyberspace, people hiding under the cloak of anonymity are more vicious. those that don't relish the fact that what they say gets "beamed" around the world uncensored.

    anyways. what i was trying to say was


    off i go. :P

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 12:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    Gosh. what happened Sandra??
    I read you sometimes, you have nice things to say about things u experience in you own life..

    But since when did you start spending your blogtime on xiaxue?

    I must clarify i am absolutely not a fan of any blogger, but im just a little disappointed that even someone so special like you is spending some of ur time writing all about her.

    Why waste the time and effort?
    Is there something so horrible inside you about her that you gotta vent out on?

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 1:49:00 AM, Anonymous dulanxue said…

    i got damn irritated by this post. totally a fake post from what i know abt u.
    in way, what u complained abt her is what u hv been doing, bloody bitch.

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 6:38:00 AM, Anonymous RPTY said…

    First of all, I must say you are an attention seeker as well. IF not, why do you keep writing about XX?

    I had read some your previous blog entries. The ones on you being interviewed by some newspaper, the one on you seeking a date & some scanty pictures of you wearing very little. ALl I can say its that you are a very contradicting person.

    And why do people always assume people who use vulgarities on their blogs are uncouth & that their parents don't teach them well? What's bloody wrong with using vulgarities? Don't try to act holy by dissing people who uses them. So what do you scold when you get angry?

    People nowadays are getting too narrow minded & complain about every single little thing.

    One advice: if you don't like, don't read. Nobody ever force you to.

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said…

    A thoughtful piece. Finally, someone (like you) pointed that the emperor is wearing no clothes in a reasonable way. ie without the hysteria.

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 12:42:00 PM, Blogger simplesandra said…

    First of all, let me clarify that I am not THAT Sandra (heaven forbids!); I don't even have a good opinion of celebrity bloggers--Sandralicious included (read first entry).

    Any similarities to Sandralicious' blog is purely parody. =)

    There's nothing wrong with using profanities. Modern writers and poets use them too; heck, even a poisonous piece of work such as Ducasse's "Les Chants de Maldoror" is considered as surrealist literature.

    It's how you use them that counts, and as I've written in my entries, Xiaxue doesn't just use them in her blog, she abuses the "abusive" language to the point of sounding tasteless and offending.

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 9:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    eew. i tot this was the same blogspot account that the sandra i know. what the hell.

    the navi, the index banner. everything's so similar.
    YUCKS! You suck!

  • At Montag, September 12, 2005 11:05:00 PM, Blogger feelgoodcitizen said…


    well said about xiaxue but aiyah, just say some stuff about her and just fuck her. She's jst ruinning her own life by being obnoxious. we shouldn't stoop down to HER level.

    you left a msg at my blog :)

  • At Dienstag, September 13, 2005 1:51:00 PM, Anonymous Cherubic Super Star said…

    hey this account is almost similar.

    sandra-powDer-puff instead of the original sandra-power-puff.

    OH mine. You're goddamn cheap.

  • At Dienstag, September 13, 2005 3:04:00 PM, Anonymous ~twinkles~ said…

    She did it on purpose, as some sort of parody, methinks.

  • At Mittwoch, September 14, 2005 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Barffie said…

    She'd never said she was THAT Sandra. And the real Sandra didn't turn her blog into an anti-XX one, so get your facts straight.

    And why is a parody cheap? I love parodies, personally.

    Even Sandralicious featured this blog on her own, so you silly people who got here please double triple quadruple check the URL before you start flaming.

  • At Mittwoch, September 14, 2005 3:10:00 PM, Blogger king of tears said…

    you guys dissing scandalious are priceless. retards.

  • At Mittwoch, September 28, 2005 7:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonym said…

    she is more of a text whore than goddess ;)

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

    Hie, i find that your blog not only makes a lot of sense but it gives me good advice...

    "make sure you're humble enough too to recognise that your views don't necessarily equate to others--so when you write, write tactfully. It's okay to be funny. It's even okay to be cynical and sarcastic. But there's a fine line between been witty and downright obnoxious."



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