Sunday 29 August 2010

I'd do anything for free food (but I won't do that)

I love free food, but come on, who doesn’t?

So why don’t we all just become food bloggers like Mr Brad Lau? Then we all can get invited to restaurants to eat for free.

Mr Lau was invited for a free “food-tasting session” at a restaurant with a guest, but the food blogger brought three guests. There was a misunderstanding and the meal turned out not to be so free after all.

And not just in terms of cash. News of the incident went viral and Mr Lau has been vilified as a freeloader.

Hey, I’m a freeloader and proud of it.

I also used to get invited for free food all the time when I wrote for a magazine and I didn’t even write about food at all.

Journalists are typically inundated with invitations to media events, big and small, almost everyday. I just tried to attend the ones that promised the best free food.

And the public relations people know this, so they wittingly use grub to lure the media to their events, hoping for coverage.

Did that compromise whatever leftover morsel of "journalistic integrity" I had left?

No, because l hardly ever intended to write about any media event that I attended. I was there only for the buffet and any other free stuff I could score.

It got to the point where I even stopped pretending to care what the event was about.

I became so bored that I started amusing myself by testing how boorish I could behave before someone asked me to leave, which shockingly, no one ever did.

But my editor did receive a number of complaints and threats the day after.

And yet, I was still being sent to events that I wasn’t expected to write about.

How many times did I have to tell Kenny G I hated him at a press conference before I get banned?

Ah, good times. That’s the power of the press for ya.

Then I realised the food wasn’t really free.

I was paying for it by sitting through all these tedious press conferences and enduring all those insufferably ingratiating PR people (although they were usually attractive young women in tight skirts and high heels).

I also hated that I kept seeing the same “journalists” again and again at these events because we were on to each other’s game.

No amount of free food was worth participating in the hypocrisy of the PR process (even with the attractive young women in tight skirts and high heels).

I no longer write for a magazine.

Nowadays, no one even sent me a free pizza when I recently wrote a column in The New Paper about Pizza Hut’s Goooal! Splitzza being the most exciting thing about the World Cup. So sad.

But then I’m not a food blogger. Yet.

I need a name for my new food blog. How about

- Published in The New Paper, 29 August 2010