Niki Cheong is blogging

Getting my writing groove on again

In this month’s edition of Esquire Malaysia, I share my take on the theme – Big Brother – for the magazine’s One Thousand Words About My Culture Column.

In it, I take on the issue of the impact of digital culture on our private lives – looking at it from a macro perspective (NSA, surveillance etc) to the micro (social media). I wrote:

We’ve chosen, on a daily basis, to share portions of our life with masses of people, most of whom we don’t even know and would probably never encounter in person. It’s not easy resisting such behaviour in this increasingly digitised world.

I’m not able to share the whole article with you here (you still have a few days to purchase the issue – look for Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover) but this post isn’t really about that article either.


I am writing this post to kind of give myself a kick in the ass to take writing seriously again. Why? The answer is simple: I miss it.

The fact is that since I returned to Malaysia from London, I haven’t done much writing at all. There were several reasons. Firstly, I didn’t have the luxury of owning a column like I used to (i.e. no deadlines to send me into panic mode). Then, there was also getting busy with life settling in back home and exploring other work opportunities. Finally, I think that my head was all over the place over the past year that I really didn’t have any focus in terms of penning my thoughts down.

Sure, I did do a bit of writing. There were two other A Thousand Word pieces in Esquire (in July’s The Meaning of Life issue, I wrote about the Malaysian way of negotiating time and space; in December’s The Gifted Issue, I wrote about how we no longer know how to give in and give way) which I did only because editors Sam Coleman and Eugene Phuah were so kind to offer me the space (and chase me for the stories!).

Then I discovered Medium (amazing platform, by the way), and wrote a few pieces there, some more popular than others (my piece on Rape was the most popular and have been viewed almost 20,ooo times, while another on Equal Marriage and Overworking were significantly less popular). Writing these were driven by passion (and I think I had some free time).

That’s pretty much everything I’ve done (other than some small freelance writing jobs). Even here – if you’ve been a follower of my blog (really, still?), you’d notice that there has been hardly any updates since my return.

Which brings me to my next point – it’s been more than a year. I think it’s time I stop talking about “since my return”, especially when it comes to my writing. A couple of weeks ago, I made a pledge to myself to find more writing opportunities this year. Writing is part of my DNA and I think not paying so much attention to it has also affected my mental and emotional state over the past year. The thing is, I know I enjoy writing. I thrive on it. Writing those stories I linked to above gave me a particular kind of rush that was all too familiar but distant for me.

The text in the picture at the top of this post was my description for Esquire July 2013’s featured contributor section – I remember the excitement I had writing that. It was like I was a writer again. But still, I’ve mostly abandoned it.

The truth is, I’ve lacked focus.

So, I wanted to kick start my blog again – notice the new look? – with a post about writing. It’s pretty meta but I hope it will give me the boost I need to get myself going again.

After all, I’m already at the end of this post and it was relatively painless. I can’t imagine why I don’t do this more often.

11.02pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are bold.

Please copy the string 06v5QK to the field below: