Half a million each month ─ that’s the number of views Maureen Ow’s nine-year-old food blog gets. A former newspaper journalist and Mediacorp Channel 8 TV producer, the 30-year-old self-professed “full-time foodie” now chronicles her food and travel journey, does food styling and photography for clients, and helps restaurants with social media management.
For sure, her loyal following rely on her recommendations ─ and take them very seriously. She reveals, “Once, I frequented a bak chor mee stall in the Bishan area, enjoyed the noodles and uploaded a video about it. This happened around 3pm. By evening, the noodles were sold out. And that weekend, people queued two hours to eat it.” Now that’s clout.
What’s an average day for you like?
I chronicle my food and travel journey through the website, do food styling & photography for clients, and help restaurants with social media management. So I consider myself a full time foodie!
When it comes to social media, there are haters and fans. Who do you love more?
While I enjoy a compliment, I appreciate the naysayers also because they help me grow and learn. Because my work is mostly digital, I do receive nasty remarks from keyboard warriors. I am still learning how to weed out the negativity and remain zen. I cannot completely avoid them but I don’t need to listen to them. I just smile, and let them talk. Their words cannot stop me, and have no effect on me if I choose to ignore them.
What do you love about your work?
To many, bloggers are just slaves to advertisers and they have the perception that all our content are paid. I can't speak for all, but it's definitely not true for my case. Especially for hawker food, something I am passionate about, I take effort to find hidden gems, sit down and talk to the owners before running a story with my own unbiased views. So the proudest moment is when my efforts are recognised by my followers and they truly enjoy the meal.
Share a heartwarming story from your blogging adventures.
Once, I was introduced to a stall that served excellent orh luak (fried oyster omelette). It has been under the radar for many years, business was gloomy and the old couple nearly wanted to give up. After I wrote about it, the business soared and it gave them hope. It made me feel really good!
What have you learnt about yourself, through social media?
I never knew what I can achieve as an average person with a website. It was then I realized how I can help people in so many ways and of course, affect people's thoughts and their actions. It's not about me. It's about them - the food heroes who have dedicated their entire life in this trade. I am just a platform to help them build their dreams and give them the credit they deserve.
What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers?
Listen to yourself. There are many situations that don’t work for us. There are always critics who put us down. There are always plans which fail. We just need to follow our heart and listen to our inner voice. It doesn’t matter where or how things manifest - just trust that it will happen.
Photo: Kelvin Chia