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Travel guides with a touch of love
By GABEY GOH 
October 03, 2008   Source: Malay mail; Blogspot

The passions shared with family are usually the ones which remain the strongest constants in one’s life. And for 53-year-old Lim Bee Chin, her love for travel can be easily traced back to her father.

This published author and seasoned traveller is the dedicated host of MyMalaysiabooks (www.mymalaysiabooks.com), begun in 2005 as an online counterpart to her book, My Penang, an insider’s guide to the food capital of Malaysia.

"It is dedicated to our father Lim Cheng See for his profound love of travel, appreciation of art, culture and everything he sees," reads the short introduction on the site. Lim Cheng See passed away in 2006 and the family maintains a blog (myfather-papa.blogspot.com) dedicated to his loving memory.

For over 20 years, her work as a senior research officer at the Mineral Research Centre, Department of Minerals and Geosciences in Ipoh, Perak allowed her to travel extensively throughout Malaysia, collecting nuggets of insights into our fair country’s treasures – both well known and hidden. After leaving the Malaysian civil service in 2000 and a short stint in the private sector, Bee Chin is now based in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

From her childhood home, Bee Chin continues to blog and share with the wider world, a comprehensive and meticulously researched guide to the many facets of Malaysia as both a nation and tourist destination. Inspired no less by her own love for travel and the memory of her father’s own passion for the pursuit of discovery.

How and when did you start your website/ blog?

The website www.mymalaysiabooks.com was started in 2005 to promote my book My Penang. It started with about 10 pages and only on Penang. For My Penang, the website has helped popularise the book. My Penang has even been catalogued is some foreign libraries – though it is sold only in Malaysia and Singapore. Today it has over 80 pages.

It’s a wonder to me, that visitors to the website come from all over the world! Traffic is directed mainly through the search engines (Google and Yahoo search).

The whole revamped website in looks and content is dedicated to my father who passed away in 2006 – who loved to travel.

What were your reasons?

My Penang travel guideInitially mymalaysiabooks.com had only information on the book and about Penang – for some time. Then, since I was at home looking after my parents most of the time, I could not travel much so I started to add on information about Malaysia and things Malaysian, such as cultural celebrations, food and transport.

I am now putting info on my website like my travelogue. The top landing page these days is Malaysia news! – which basically links my readers to the papers and blogs in Malaysia and Singapore.

I think it is the photos, contents and links to other websites that drives the traffic. I put whatever links I have come across, in my search for travel information such as links to airlines, bus companies, newspapers, blogs, tourism website, etc.

It is a hobby as well as something I enjoy doing – maintaining this website. It is a way of documenting and sharing information I have for fellow travellers.

I have also started sub-domains, such as myFood (food.mymalaysiabooks.com) which has many of my home recipes posted there. Its also because myHomerecipe page at myMalaysiabooks (http://www.mymalaysiabooks.com/recipe/myHomerecipe.htm) seems to be so popular. As for the myEducation page (education.mymalaysiabooks.com), I am hoping my sisters can add to it.

It took a while before my website became self-supporting. Today the few ads posted help me maintain the website.

Has your Internet webbing/blogging changed your life?

I have certainly spent a lot time on the web. It’s now a routine thing for me to update my webpage. Going into cyberspace also gets me connected to the outside world.

I used to sometime shop from the web but now am moving to internet commerce as well – to try selling on the web.

Any regrets over this?

NO! I actually love to surf the net as well as post info on my web pages. As a former researcher, the search for information is something that is always in me – and documenting it.

I believe that every web surfer should ‘give as much as they take’ from cyberspace. It’s what Internet is about – sharing of information and ideas. It also keeps my mind active. Cyberspace is how I got connected to friends and where I source for news and information. It's now part of my life – would not want to change it.

Foremost feature in the "Cybersphere" that amazes/irritates you?

The most wonderful thing about the Cybersphere? You can find all you want to know about cyberspace in cyberspace! You can learn to design and manage a website just by looking into the web! No need for books – that’s how I started.

What amazes me about my website is that people from all over the world gets directed to some of the pages just through the search engines.

It’s irritating to find websites that put an email to ‘contact us’ but do not respond – this is very common with a number of Malaysian Government websites! Many do not respond (except for the income tax dept. and the SPR in my experience). Even Malaysia’s tourism website has email addresses posted but they do not respond!

It's better not to put an email address if they cannot respond. If you had to really choose one website to interact with, which would it be?

There are a few websites that I find most useful such as Malaysia’s Online News websites, including including Malaysiakini (www.malaysiakini.com), Malaysia Today (mt.m2day.org) which are the best option for keeping up with what’s happening around you. I head to Joomla (www.joomla.org) for tips on website creation. It’s the best place to go to and you can get a lot of support at the help pages or forum. Then there’s Videojug (www.videojug.com) for recipes, and You Tube (www.onesmallhome.com) I actually learnt from Christopher many technical details about hosting, where to look for software, such as Joomla, etc.

Additional thoughts?

I believe more members of my generation should get themselves connected to the net. Many retirees and housewives can share their many experiences and ideas through blogs/web which will certainly benefit someone out there.

Important for all the governing bodies out there: The Cyberspace should always remain a free place for people to express themselves and share information freely. WE SHOULD HAVE FUN IN CYBERSPACE!

Source:

http://www.mmail.com.my/Travel_guides_with_a_touch_of_love.aspx

 

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