Interview with Ngee Khiong

Ngee Khiong, a senior bloggers who blog on a daily basis on Toys news since 2006 and with a big readership all around the world. I have the pleasure to meet him up in person while he was visiting Singapore.

If you have met him in person, you will be surprise to know he is a humble, gentle and reserved in nature guy unlike those flashy celebrities bloggers. As he doesn't blog much about himself much even thought he have a successful blog, I felt it is fitting to do an interview with him for all to know him better as a person. Actually he run two blogs Ngee Khiong (Toy News) and Ngee Khiong Ex (His personal collection of toys blog).

* The camera shy Ngee Khiong.

Upon my request, Ngee Khiong happy accepted the exclusive interview via email since we can both do it on our time. :)

So for those who have been following Ngee Khiong blog for toy topic for all this while, here's the interview with Ngee Khiong on Openthetoy. :)

Hi Ngee Khiong, I noticed you have not been updating your profile on your blog for sometime, so what are you doing now as a living? 
Right now I'm a lecturer teaching Programming and multimedia subjects in my local university - computing stuff with some degree of relevance to the my blogging.

I haven't updated my profile information because I haven't really come up with any interesting self introductory since the first time I wrote about myself when I first started the blog. I've completed my MA of Multimedia years ago actually. I suppose the lack of a decent self portrait at the moment is also a reason why I haven't updated the profile. XD

Do you consider yourself a full time blogger?
I don't consider myself as a full time blogger. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to stay away from becoming one. Even though I update my blog several times a day, I do it out of interest really. Spend a bit of time before work, during break time at work, at home, in between other activities, before sleep and all that to slip in one or two postings is really not a problem for me. I'm used to the workload, but it's still something I do out of interest. I don't want to turn it into an commitment for commercial purpose, and lose the interest for the hobby for that.

How did your blog come about and was there any objective initially?
My blog started off as a place for me to talk about my hobby of Gunpla-ing, and that includes not just assembling my own Gunplas, but my opinion about some of the latest news and upcoming releases as well. The reason for having a blog to do so is the sad fact that there are so few people who share the same interest as me in where I live back then. ^^; So I say it online, in my own blog. The initial objective was to share about that hobby of mine. I would still say that the objective remains the same today, even though the blog is mainly about news and product info now. I only provide info on the stuff I like and know of, mainly sci-fi model kits, which can still be considered as my topic of interest.

When do you notice your blog became a popular source for information over the internet?
I think the popularity of my blog went up after Gunota Headlines closes down. People were looking for another website that provides similar content - Gundam and Gunpla news and they find that on my blog. There weren't many similar websites during that time, so I suppose that's a factor as well. The stat on my web advertising account allows me to see the number of visitor to my blog, and through checking on it from time to time, I get to see how the popularity increases over time, something I'm very grateful of.

Did it ever crossed your mind that your blog has so much influence around other parts of the world?
Never really, the idea of "sharing my own interest with whoever interested" turning into a website people get the latest information about Gunpla and influencing their purchasing decision has never crossed my mind before. I never thought that the blog would get so big before.

What are your future direction that you are heading?
None really. ^^; Maintain current course perhaps XD

What are the challenges you face when you are writing up for blog?
The major challenge is to find time for blogging I suppose. Sometime there is just too much work waiting to be done, meetings to attend, so there's really no time to write up any posting for my blog. Currently I find writing up for Ngee Khiong Ex increasingly hard. The time needed to write up a proper review, or part of the review is really a luxury hard for me to get. I would definitely like to enjoy the process of writing up a posting, so I don't rush out one just to meet a certain number of posting per day or per week, but that will take time. It's really hard to find such leisure time nowadays. This isn't a serious problem on my main blog however, since I can get a posting on the latest news update done and published fairly fast now through so much experience doing this all these years.

Keeping the blog alive when there's no particular news about Gundam and Gunplas is quite a challenge as well. Sometimes there are periods of time when such updates are totally void. Coming up with topics to write up, yet maintaining the same level of credibility and interesting-ness is an issue as well.

Is there any benefit so far about your blogging?
Enjoying the process is the best benefit for me. Getting to know people purely through my blog is very exciting as well.

You don't seems to interact with your reader much. Is there any reason why?
I think over the years, as my blog becomes a site providing news with traceable links, maintaining the objectiveness of my opinion has become important. I had a few experiences of giving my own opinion to people on what to buy or what to do for their hobby, but after a while, I thought maybe I shouldn't do that at all. You enjoy your own hobby and do not need anyone to tell you what you should like or dislike. If you're unsure, there are plenty of reviews here and there to help you to decide. I feel that the answer I give might "distort" one's interest because people are so used to getting the news - credible ones with links to check upon from me. Maybe some people will choose MG Acguy over MG Gundam RX-78-2 because I listed a lot of good things about it, even though they know nothing of the two models before that to make a valid comparison; maybe some people will indeed believe that a PG Unicorn Gundam will be out and start speculating the features when I said that it might.

Instructing people on what to do for their hobby is really something I forbid myself from doing on my blog and in real life, and rumor is one thing I hate very much. And so, I keep my distance from answering certain questions about what to get or whatnot, opinion on this and that and others. I prefer to remain objective in discussing hobby related stuff with others.

How did you find the time to blog since a day you have at least 3 posts or more?
Write up e a few before I go to sleep the day before, scheduling them to be released the next day helps to balance the blog and my work. I'll write up during daytime as well, when the news is too hot to be withheld. ^^ I used the HTML mode on Blogger with my own template to speed up the time used to put in the images and publishing the postings as well.

Due to the popularity of your blog, some people may have compare you with Danny choo, what do you think about that?
Danny Choo is a famous blogger with a large fanbase. He has good interaction with his fans through constant involvement in various events. The topic of interest is very different between his blog and mine, so I do believe the reader groups vary greatly because of that. I think there's not much comparison between the two of us. He's highly successful and popular with his blog, but I'm blogging in my own way because the objectives and motivation are not the same. Different bloggers, different styles,

Is Gundam your first love of toys? How did this love come about?
My real interest is assembling robot model kits really. It so happened that the first model I bought was a Gundam model - 1/144 scale Gundam Epyon back in 1997, so the interest builds up from then. 

I supposed if Kotobukiya were making model kits like the series they are into today back in 1997, and that the first kit I saw was from them, the story would be totally different today XD

Or maybe not, since Gunplas have much wider reach and are more common in the market.

And from the various emails I receive, just the interesting ones XD

Why do you like Zeon units better than Gundam? Gundam is more powerful right?
Zeon units with spikes look fierce to me, and I love fierce-looking robots very much. I think Zaku II, Kampfer, Sazabi, Sinanju, basically all the Zeon units are designed to impose a striking image in their enemies' mind. Be it the spikes, the color, or just the mono-eye camera hiding inside the head. I think they look a lot more fearsome than Gundam-type MSs, which, even though always play the winners by the end of the series, are more humanoid and easy to understand. The fierce-looking factor isn't there for these machine.

And what do the Americans call it? Oh yes, "bad-ass"

Why do you like Miyuki so much?
Meganekko wa daisuki (!) XD

Why don't you host your own blog and have your own domain name?
I never bother myself with the technical issues of blogging really. Part of that is due to the fact that it was merely interest that got me into blogging in the first place, and it's still the main driving force right now. The content matters more to me. I suppose I'm too used to the features on Blogger, its strengths and limitations at the same time and I never really bother to look for alternatives to that for my blog.

How many model kits you have today? Which one is your favorite?
Almost 300 now, many yet to be assembled. 

MG Acguy is my favorite.

Are you shifting your interest from building Gunplas to collecting action figures?
I do have quite a number of action figures right now, but assembling model kits is still my main interest. I'm the type who enjoy the process of making a model instead of playing with the finished work, so action figures don't offer me the same level of excitement as Gunplas do. I collect those (action figures) of my favorite characters.

So that wrapped up my interview with Ngee Khiong.

Once again thank you for Ngee Khiong to allow me to have this exclusive interview with him. For a blogger who is committed for 5 long years daily on toys and toy news, my respect to him. :)

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