Sunday, July 30, 2006

Celebrity Blogger? No lah. But please feel free to come up and say Hi

Hot and humid Sunday morning. Walked the dog. Arrived home. Received two SMS in quick succession.

"Read the Sunday Times article*. Nice piece. But you look very serious."
"... Proud of you. Celebrity blogger."

To the first message, I replied, "Thanks. But that's me. Mr. Serious." To the second, I replied, "Celebrity? Ah, no. If more people use the library more often after reading the article they, I'd be contented".

Yesterday evening, I told my wife that my picture could appear in the paper (which I've yet to read). She said -- in what I think/ hope was mock horror -- that now people would know that we're that couple living in the block.

I think it's typical of city dwellers to be protective of their privacy (or should I say, anonymity). I'm no exception. Having my picture appear in the paper is a little discomforting, but the more I thought about it, I asked, "So what?"

I figured people will be quick to forget. Or they might just have a double-take, stare a little more out of recognition that anything else. In fact, it would be a good thing if people used the article as a conversation starter. I think that'll be nice.
"Hi, weren't you in the paper the other day?"
"Yes, I was."
"I didn't know you were a librarian."
"So now you know. And you can come look for me if you need any information on using the library. So, have you read anything good lately...?"

But wait, why can't I be the one to start a conversation, right? I know I could but it's not easy. In Singapore, people tend to think you're weird or up to no good if you suddenly start a conversation with a stranger. I do talk to my immediate neighbours but as a norm, most people are just strangers in the same block.

I'm also aware that I look intimidating. With my height, my close-cropped hair, the bland facial expression I always carry, basically I don't look approachable. Maybe that's why I blog -- to be approachable from that sense. What I find difficult to do face-to-face, I find it easy to do online.

So it's definitely not about fame and getting that celebrity status as a blogger. It's about the conversations and exchange of ideas.

If you've found your way to my blog from the 30 Jul 2006 Sunday Times article, feel free to leave a comment. Feel free to say "Hi", or email/ leave a comment if you have a question about the library and materials.

Oh, here's a plug for my employer -- check out these NLB blogs:

* The Straits Times, July 30, 2006. "I thought it was just verbal diarrhoea - THINKING MEN WHO BLOG"

Related post: The Straits Times interviews this liblogarian (26 Jul 06)

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  1. Nice one, Ivan :) I just went and looked at the article (via Factiva). Will have to go and look at the print version of the Straits Times next time I am in the library :)

    I like the point you made about dismissing blogs while not knowing what they are all about - I find that those who are most disparaging about them tend not to know anything about them at all. It's a bit frustrating!

  2. hi! i'm one of those who got to know your blog through the sunday times!

    i'm interested in the career of a librarian; how do i prepare myself for that career? i'm currently studying in the science stream in jc (first year).

  3. wow! you're getting invited to conduct sessions for your library association (not to mention south africa) AND getting featured in the straits times!

    the next time i get to visit singapore, you probably won't even have time to meet because you'll have so many interviews to attend to =)

    but remember, your photo was on my blog before the straits times got hold of you LOL!

  4. Hi Ivan

    Read the article on the papers today. Am now feeling honoured to have a celeb librarian visiting our online bookclub - The Bookish Clubbers!

    Are you still interested to join us? You can recommend some really great novels - those that we would miss out since we actually don't have time to browse at the library - and it'll be wonderful to have you on the wagon!

  5. Thanks for the comments : )

    Cheryl, thanks also for your interest in librarianship. My *personal* answer is that you complete your A-levels first, and then get a degree (need not be library science strictly). However, this is just in terms of qualifications. In terms of "preparing oneself for a career", then it can be a bit more complicated. Try volunteering at the library first to get a feel of what is done. Of cos I may be over-reading your question. Anyway, let me mull it over and I might post a longer reply. Or you can contact me via email ( and I can put you in touch with a colleague for an informal chat.

    Hi Syl, aiyo please where got Celeb? :) Sure, I'd like to join. Sign me up!

  6. Teapot (of the 3 pots)2:21 pm

    Well, the article certainly did create conversation between the vainpot and me. We agree that you look better in person :))

  7. Wow.. a celeb blogger visited my site. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    I am flattered.. hehe..

    So.. has the five minutes of fame change anything??

  8. Dear Ms Teapot (yeah, I know who you and Vain Pot are!), thanks for the compliment... I think.

    Hi Robin, only thing that's changed is that people now keep adding the darn word "celeb" in front of the word blogger when they write to me. *sigh* ah but I know you all mean well :)

  9. It was great reading about you in The Sunday Times. It's really good the National Library has someone so keen on the Internet as you.


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