As one of the most seasoned food bloggers in Malaysia I am used to receiving requests from individuals, companies and the media for advice and recommendations on local food.
I won’t say that I am an expert in this field but I believe I have sufficient knowledge in it. I have also always practised to be a low key blogger. But to be over humble is an insult to myself, my hundreds of thousands of readers monthly and the people who have engaged me for various international assignments.
Before Anthony Bourdain came to Malaysia to film his “Parts Unknown” series, I was approached by his team to provide some food suggestions, and if possible even appear on air with him.
I gladly said yes not because they offered money (which they didn’t), not because I wanted fame or the recognition. I was just being a true blue Malaysian who is proud of his country’s food and just wanted to be a supportive host.
So when they bailed out on me in the last minute without even informing me (after I have given them so much info) I was not mad but just merely disappointed. You’d feel the same too, right?
After that came Luke Nguyen. His team wanted my help to show them around KL for hawker food, I still said yes despite the previous experience. I was already half-expecting them to FFK me in the last minute but the entire thing progressed well and we even met personally in Renaissance Hotel KL.
Then a few days ago, they cancelled on me as well just by saying this: “Hello Mr Lum, It seems our schedule is quite full and no longer need more material while filming in KL. Thank you very much for your time. Cheers Michael”
I gave your team advice on your itinerary. I followed up with all your requests. I braced a 3 hour traffic just to meet you in Renaissance Hotel. I even made a purpose trip to Kampung Baru to check your grill fish stall would be open when you’re there. And this is the treatment I get after your team has utilized my ideas?
Without me, your team would be at Jalan Alor, Mont Kiara’s rich man night market and even Lot 10 Hutong. I think enough is enough. Bloggers are human too and it’s bad enough that our hard worked content gets stolen and reposted everywhere without being credited, while the thieves earn advertising money with our sweat and blood.
All I am asking for is basic human respect – and I think that is a fair request. If you never intended for me to be part of the show, just say so right from the start and don’t abuse my hospitality. I DON’T DO FREE WORK. My time is just as precious as yours!
Lastly, here are the email exchanges, it’s a long read but it proves that I have tried my best to accommodate them. And what do I get in return? Not even an apology.