When I wrote the last blog post of 2017, I did ponder a lot about what my 2018 new year resolutions would be. It turned out that most of them are the same as the previous years – that I want to cook better, maintain a healthier lifestyle, travel Japan more… etc. Mostly family-related. Basically I want to be a better mom and wife and myself!!
And then I thought, what about work? What about this blog? Does it still matter in my life? Yes I want to make effort to keep it alive, but what’s the future? … bleak. So bleak I want to offer it a blanket, some pizza and a hug.
Honestly, I was at a loss, because I thought I had lost my vision as “Cheesie the blogger” (social media influencer, whatever. I still cringe at this title until today). 10 years ago, I wanted to be more famous. I wanted more job opportunities. I wanted to earn more money from blogging. I wanted to win award titles.
But now at 2018, what do I want? Actually, what can I want?
Blogging/social media is not what it was anymore. While most of us here still spend a copious amount of time on our smartphones, social media fatigue is real. Both marketers are audience are getting too overwhelmed with too many things happening. It’s also wearing me out so much. I feel that I don’t have the energy to catch up in this competitive game anymore.
Frankly I am really impressed with the new generation on social media with their meticulously curated feed, mesmerising travel shots, every-changing gorgeous fashion, perfect lighting and angle, flawless everything… I always wonder, exactly how much time they spend to get that perfect shot?? (I barely have time to breathe) Where did they get their pretty clothes from? (My entire spending goes to the kitchen, not my wardrobe) Who takes those shots for them?? 😮 (Tripod and timer does mine, by the way. Not that you are really interested hahahah.)
And very very frankly, I don’t think I can ever reach their level even if I try. I will just look like I’m trying too hard haha. I’m not even capable of taking selfies nowadays HAHAHHAA I’m not even joking. It just looks… wrong. And awkward. 😳 Then I thought, when it comes to popularity, this is then really true: 长江后浪推前浪，前浪死在沙滩上. (Back wave push front wave, front wave die on beach lolol. Basically new talents superseding the old la.)
I, as this very old wave, should probably just chillax on the forsaken beach, slowly let myself seep under the lonely sand until I evaporate from this world haha.
Feeling powerless at the thought of my impending demise, it got me thinking about the meaning of “influencer”. What exactly do these people do, “Influencers”? Yes they are people who have the power to influence others. But to influence what? To get people to buy products? To drive sales for brands? Is that all?
Of course not. Influencers do a lot more. When I watched what Logan Paul did during his trip to Japan (I don’t even want to talk about the suicide forest incident here), I thought that social media is becoming quite sad and hopeless. I mean, many people had to resort to something as obnoxious as this to make it somewhere these days. If doing this means you stand a better chance at becoming the next millionaire superstar with crazy fans echoing every word you say and worshipping every step you take, then I really have lost faith in the internet and maybe the new generation of human. I’ll retire to a farm in Japan to plant daikon.
I had no idea where this social media thing is going anymore. To prank or scandalize people is the last century of blogging. But I did not like the new social media that I am seeing very much. So self-entitled, lack of gratitude and common sense even. Suddenly I feel like a grandmother in the 90s who shook her head at the magazine shot of Christina Aguilera’s ultra low-waisted, side-slit skirt and belly tattoo lol. (I loved it so much she was my 女神 ok lol. “Come On Over baby” is still my all-time fav MTV) Ah. So that’s how it felt like.😂
I gave a long, hard thought about this. What do I want, and what can I do?
The only thing I do know is that I want to do something where I could pour my heart into, be sincere and passionate about it, and enjoy it at the same time. How do I carry on doing this for the years to come?
And then I finally had my answer.
The only way to move forward, is to be of use for someone.
誰かのためにやる. That’s the key to success. As the danna would always say.
One loses his vision if he’s not doing it for someone else. As he would always say.
If you are only doing it for yourself, it will never bring you far. As he would always say.
Which is why my husband is always my bodhi tree. When in doubt, I just need to go sit next to him to be enlightened lolol.
That’s how I had a new resolution for year 2018 regarding my ebbing social media life.
I am going to make myself useful.
(Like, before you die, you give all you have to redeem yourself haha.)
How do I do that? By sharing what I find useful for myself.
It may not be life-impacting ideas or knowledge, but in many many small little ways, I believe I can influence for the better instead of showing people how you are able to throw an octopus on a taxi. To be of help for someone. Even just one person. It could be you. It could be anyone.
Which is why as a starter, I created #CheesieApproved on my Instagram Highlight, a feed where I recommend my personal favorite items (which are mostly also approved by some of you who have tried it before! Double approval! Haha).
It all started when I was so delightfully amazed by my new Hitachi Washer+Dryer that I purchased for our home in Kuala Lumpur. I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was too good not to share. I was sighing at how high-tech, convenient and life-saving it is for a busy mom like me, but at the same time I thought nobody was gonna care what this 黄脸婆 is yapping about. It was a shiok sendiri moment.
But I was so wrong!!! Many many many people (like over a hundred!!!) responded to ask me what the model was and where they could get one. Omg you guys are no less aunty than me hor HAHAHAHHAA. At first I answered one by one but it was getting too much. Once the story expires someone would ask me to re-post again. Every other day I get new messages about it.
That was when I thought, I am too, influencing many many people’s lives in ways I did not know. I realized a sense of responsibility as a “social media influencer”.
I started to think about how many products I have promoted in the past that my followers have excitedly purchased because of my recommendation, and whether they found it truly useful, or utterly disappointed?
I am not going to lie, when I was attached with agencies years ago, it wasn’t a norm to reject projects that you are given. I accepted whatever I am offered. On hindsight, I have indeed promoted many, many products that I did not even personally use, or know much about. I was given a posting guideline, took selfies with the product, rephrased the pointers and published it on my blog, then get paid for it. I saw nothing wrong about it because there were just an “ad”. Just like commercials you see on TV and editorials you flipped through on newspapers. Nobody will sue the TV for promoting a fizzy drink that tastes like crap.
However these few years I found myself more and more careful with sponsored postings. One of the reason is that a few times I spotted many individual online resellers using my photos from previous engagement with other clients to promote the products they were selling, using captions like “Cheesie也爱用我家的产品哦”, or even misleading titles like “Fairer skin in 1 week!! which was untrue. It’s a bit of an exploitation already. Now that they made it look completely like a dubious beauty product, I felt a little ashamed that I did not filter my choice of products properly. And to be honest it is really, really hard to promote beauty products because the results are often very subjective and you may not see any effects for weeks. And then there were also angry customers who left comments on my blog about the bad service of certain online stores. While I felt bad for them, I still thought it was not really my daiji because it was out of my control?
I was ignorant. I realized how immensely heavy my responsibility is in being more selective of what I promote. It could make or spoil someone’s day.
So, this year, I am making myself a promise: I will only recommend something that I genuinely like. Be it paid, sponsored, or not.
I used to think that if I am not paid for something, I will never give it “free publicity”. A fellow blogger once told me that she will never promote her favorite restaurants because she worries that it will get so popular that she will never be able to reserve seats for herself anymore. And that I should also not do so because I would be “spoiling the market”. I naively believed that it was the way to uphold my value as a blogger. Because once you start promoting for free people will never pay you anymore. Now that I think of it, it was seriously a “lu xiong lu jin dua kih ah” (who the hell do you think you are) moment haha. Also at one point I was one of those influencers who tend not to share their “secrets”, like cameras or editing tools they use, fashion or accessories etc, so that they could always remain mysterious and unique.
But it is 2018. The world is an open book. People are voluntarily uploading fantastic recipes to share with the rest of the world. Because that’s the only way to move forward – to share what you love. And as cheesy as it sounds, because sharing is caring.
#CheesieApproved Highlight has all the things I love and proven loved by many, and FAQ Highlight has all the answers to questions I always get asked but got tired answering one by one. And Lazymama Highlight has all my very amateurly filmed cooking clips/recipe. It is all open-sauce.☺️ Feel free to make use of them however you like. I’ll be adding more in time to come!
You know, when I receive feedbacks from my readers telling me that something I have written or shared have helped them in some way, it is really the highest happiness I could get from this whole blogging experience.
But anyway I still have to put disclaimer here that all things I recommend is only approved by my very humble brain and heart. You see sometimes I may find a rice cooker so amazeballs but there might also be someone who totally wanna hurl it at the wall (although I highly doubt so HAHAHA). But if that really happens, please forgive me, I think we will just have to agree to disagree, and that maybe we really are 吃不同的米长大的 (grow up eating different rice) LOLOL.
That’s all for today. So since I have created #CheesieApproved, perhaps it’s your turn to share which of it that you love/find useful, so that in return we could share it with even more people? Let’s create a happy sharing loop!!
Did a rough calculation and discovered that about 70% of my household stuff/brands and lifestyle choices are influenced by yuuuuuu….
can compile list already…
I think you have a great attitude going forward, Cheesie! I look forward to seeing products that you approve of. Keep doing you, super mama! ❤️
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I bought the cleansui water filter because of you! Hehe please tell me u are still using it now! Hehe and if not do u have a better recommendation?
It’s okay mama cheese! We still love you regardless ❤🙏
*cheesie (sorry autocorrect lol)
I love love love your #lazymamacooking hack, pls post more, it really helps me as a student on a budget who is burning mid night oil hehe. Although not a mom but they are so useful!!
for me it is the cling wrap and dish washing liquid! In europe we only have the usual ones and for all my life i’ve been using those thinking they are normal. The japanese inventions are really life changing!!! Every time I go back Japan i’d stock up!! thank you for your recommendation!
Agree! More lazymama hack plz ^^
I love your daikon recipe. My husband and kids loved it. Gotta try your cheat one scallop next. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I think uve matured more and more everyday. And Ive matured with u along the way. Thank you for everything u share. Uve changed my life. As a busy woman I couldnt keep up with everything I love (Japan) but what U love is almost the same with what I love (except negi LOL). So watching you is like an update to what I love and now my life too!!!
Appreciate and enjoy all that you’ve shared with us. Still amazed at how you churn out all those meals (even with your hacks, I don’t think I can do them!) and continue levelling up as PokeMom (crazy mom moments aside, haha). Thank you so much for taking time to share your life with us. 加油！
Cheesie, thank you for always sharing tips and recommendations! Even though I won’t be a mom anytime soon, I love how I can surprise my parents with my “new” cooking ideas from your #lazymamacookinghack, and also show my mom housekeeping tips that you have shared. 🙂
dear cheesie, this is my first time dropping a comment although I have followed you for years. just want to let you know that i am very amazed at how you are able to juggle your family and work so well. and that you indeed have influenced and helped me in so many ways even you did not realise!
Where are you from? I am wondering how you can speak CN, EN and JP as while as looking after 2 children and manage your blogger! That’s a lot to do!
Cheesie, thank you for your sincere blogpost. I always enjoy reading your japan blogpost and monthly update for junya and sakura. Everyday I always watch your instastory and drool over your amazing meals.
Thanks for sharing eith us and I hope you will keep on sharing for a long long time.
Enjoyed all your posts and looking forward to more! 😀
May I ask if the hitachi washer-dryer really drys all the clothes well enough to just collect and place in wardrobe?
Looking to buy one but salesmen keep warning that most washer-dryer can only dry up to 70% meaning still have to hang the clothes out afterall 🙁
I’m actually WEEPING at “senti-emmental” haha I love u
I have been reading your blog for 5+ years and have never commented, but just want to say I really appreciate your blog and how real and down to earth you keep it. I have used your recommendation before (like when I went to a Tokyo and specifically got haircut at 76) and really thankful that you are dedicated and consistent with quality of your posting. I want to try lazymama cooking next!
You are my inspiration!!! I am a follower of your Japanese-lover cult! I love reading your blog because you are always genuine and share so honestly and openly about your life. Really helps me know that I’m not the only one having a hard time some days.. recently I’m moved to a new house and have been religiously (and shamelessly) referring to your insta and blog for recommendations on kitchen products and cleaning supplies 😍 I think it’s amazing how you find the time to mother your two beautiful children, manage your home, cook delicious meals, and document all of it on social media all at the same time! 頑張ってね~
I am your silent reader for many years. I love you because you are very genuine and a super mama. I learn so much from you. You make me love Japan too. Continue writing for us
That’s what I love about you! Your sincerity and authenticity are rare to find nowadays. Thank you for always being open and honest with your followers, I hope you’ll always feel encouraged to share! 🙂 I’m sure your life experiences even as a 60 year old grandma one day will still be relatable. :p
Tho Im reeeaalllyyy late, Im just gonna say Wow cheesie..Just wow…I have been reading your post on and off since I started blogging years ago like…10+years ago? 😱 I also have the same thought as yours and participated in “the same agency’s ” events and activities for that purpose…But then, just like you, I got tired of doing such,and of course the nature of it…eventually,I don’t blog anymore although many different sentences just keep appearing in my mind like every second? I salute you for writing these out ,really…Your posts always have such good aura ,humour and give me inspirations in life (not exaggerating)..Never regret reading your posts… * Thumbs up * *hugs*
Oh my god.. I was so years behind. I was so busy-but-dunno-what-I-was-busy- about that i just read this entry today. And that’s because, I read your latest entry before that about Hitachi washer and I want to know more about that. And then I realize that I never know that you have IG, and of course I would never know about #CheesieApproved highlight. HAHAA. I’m sorry, like you said, socmed is too overwhelming that I seem can’t to figure out what to follow and what not. And now they also introduce concept of detox from socmed so that’s why I am what I am now (OMG I’m talking crap :P).
Anyway, I already follow your IG and also the #CheesieApproved highlight. So much to comment about this entry and your insight, but sure no body will (I mean you hehehe) read a comment of Feb 2018 entry. HAHAHA. It was too behind. We already gonna face 2020. So happy becoming new year (is it too early?). Whatever it is, stay beautiful insight and out.
Your long lost fan. 😉