Friday 16 March 2012

‘Isaw-isphy’ is a sphytty name for a blog

Dear Ms Saw Phaik Hwa,

Congratulations on starting a blog. That’s so 2004, but hey, better late than never.

Not that I'm an expert on such matters, although as a journalist, I've been writing about the web since 1993 and witnessed the rise and fall of Netscape, Sembawang Media and that screechy noise you hear when you connect to the Internet using dial-up.

I'm still relying on antediluvian Blogger for my own blog, whereas I noticed you're using WordPress. That alone makes you cooler than me (not that it takes a lot to be cooler than me).

Have you tried Tumblr? Apparently, it's more popular than WordPress now. To me, Tumblr is just the picture book version of WordPress for people who are afraid of words.

LiveJournal? TypePad? Meh.

I'm also exploring this other blogging platform called Posterous since Twitter just bought over the company. I'll keep you posted. (Ha! Posterous, posted - get it?)

By the way, since you're leaving SMRT next month, have you considered e-mailing your CV to The Online Citizen (TOC)?

I recently read that TOC website is looking for an editor with "some experience" in writing and blogging. I would've applied, but TOC also wants someone "familiar with Wordpress", which I’m not - but you are.

You should apply since it's advertised as a "paid position". I'm sure TOC can offer you a salary that's close to what you're getting at your current job.

And don't worry about getting lawyer's letters from the Prime Minister and his brother. That's Temasek Review Emeritus, which is a different website.

I’m also impressed that you have your own domain name,, instead of a subdomain name like

That said, what kind of stupid name is “isaw-isphy” for a blog? It’s unpronounceable and so easy to misspell.

I assume it’s a play on your name to mean a philosophy based on what you’ve seen. I think you’re trying too hard.

How about something simple like Or

If you want to play on your name, how about No, that’s also trying too hard.

I know! How about something short and sweet like I just checked - the domain name is still available!

But having a blog is only the beginning. Nowadays, you also need to create a whole social media ecosystem, including a Facebook page and Twitter feed.

If Angelina Jolie’s right leg can have its own Twitter account, you with all your four limbs (unlike one unlucky Thai girl I can mention) should have at least one.

Next, you can join Flickr, where you can upload photos of yourself as Cleopatra at the company dinner.

You can even create your own YouTube channel, where you can post videos of yourself as Cleopatra at the company dinner.

There’s a lot of hype about Pinterest now, but to me, the picture-focused upstart is just for people who find Tumblr too literate. (Most Pinterest users are women.)

That said, it wouldn't hurt to add a picture or two to your blog to liven it up a little.

But you know what’s the most important thing about blogging? You mustn’t quit.

Because that’s what most people do. The web is littered with abandoned blogs.

I mean you’ve already quit one thing recently (being CEO of SMRT). You don’t want it to become a habit, do you?

Yes, I understand that you may be discouraged by the negative comments on your blog, but haters gonna hate.

I particularly like this one, which I shall quote verbatim: “You may look pity, but u cant decline the facts of MRT break down that cause so many problems. U also force PM Lee to cancel his leave, come back to sg and claimed his people down.”

And this one: “why cannot eat sweets in the train and on the platform? why smrt staff stopped me??? eat sweets also cannot???”

Judging by the number of question marks, I'm guessing the last person must have been on a sugar high when he or she commented on your blog.

The best blogging advice I’ve read is that to be a successful blogger, you must have very thick skin. Just look at Xiaxue.

And after the public criticism following the MRT disruption last year, I believe your skin must be thicker than a cable tie by now.

So keep posting! I’m sure Singaporeans are curious to know your reaction to last Thursday's North-East Line disruption.

I’m wondering whether it’s “Wah, lucky I’m not CEO of SBS Transit” or “I think there may be a job opening for me at SBS Transit soon”.

TOC can wait.

S M Ong

UPDATE: She was not Cleopatra

UPDATE UPDATE: She did not apply for TOC

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Has she quit her blog?

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: She has quit her blog