Wayne Liew Interview: Peek Into This Free Travel Guides and Trending Attractions Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017 0 Comments

Brilliant as it may sound, the cool concept of meeting a fellow travel blogger is not only a nice perk when it comes to this blogging community, but also, it’s an intensely fantastic learning experience – because you get to know more about their travel hacks and histories. Such is the case for this fellow travel blogger, who I am quite fortunate to have met here because of the one of the posts I had about his homeland, Malaysia.

kuaby [kwa-bee] verb. The act of researching, understanding or finding out more about an attraction, city or a country for an upcoming trip, journey, holiday or adventure. Wayne Liew created a travel blog, mostly as an outlet to apply what he enjoys doing. Nevertheless, he’s an online advertising specialist at an education technology company. So cool, right?

Quite undeniable that his travel blog is way cooler and more comprehensive than mine, which I really find awesome. Kuaby, is Wayne’s blog baby. He’s background is quite similar to mine, except that he’s Chinese, and I, on the other hand, am Chinese Looking. He has a full-time job in one of the coolest capitals in South East Asia, home of the twin of twins – Petronas. Yes, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It’s time to pick his brain farts over here and get to know more about a life of a travel blogger in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here you go! A shout out to Wayne for doing an excellent job in having this Q&A.

Bowdy: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

Wayne: Hi, Bowdy. I am Wayne. I was born in Penang, Malaysia, but I now live and work in Kuala Lumpur, which is the capital of the country.

Right now, I work as an online advertising specialist at an education technology company while running kuaby, a travel website of mine on the side. I launched kuaby about a year ago because I saw how it could become the ideal project where my expertise in online marketing, my passion for traveling, and my desire to learn photography come together.

My career and my life, in general, has always revolved around the Internet. When I was still in high school, I started a phpBB forum for my schoolmates. It became the go-to place for gossips and discussions among them.

Right after that, I launched a personal blog. I faced design issues with a free template that I was using. While Googling for solutions, I came across blogging forums, and they quickly became my favorite sites to visit. I was learning so much about online marketing, content writing, basic coding, and how to monetize websites.

From there, I set up hundreds of niche sites, and they were earning me extra pocket money through affiliate marketing when I was in college. At the same time, I was actively blogging and posting on social media about everything I learned.

Even though I was studying accountancy back in college, my career in that field didn't last for long. Two years after I joined an audit firm, Rocket Internet entered the Southeast Asia region with both Zalora and Lazada. They discovered me through my blog and the content that I was putting up. Long story short, I was bought out from my audit firm to work with Lazada Malaysia on search engine optimization (SEO).

As a person, I have the INTJ personality according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. My first encounter with people is always awkward because I am bad at small talks. However, if we share common interests and get along well, our conversations can last for days.

Bowdy: What are the three things that people would be surprised to know about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and why they should come visit?

Wayne: First of all, most street vendors at touristy places like Petaling Street, as well as waiters and waitresses working at restaurants, are not Malaysians. Younger Malaysians prefer desk jobs in offices. As a result, businesses had to hire foreign workers to fill these vacancies.

Secondly, the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has a lot of nature to offer. You can find many villas with pools in the jungle, an elephant sanctuary, glamping spots, highlands and more where locals usually go for weekend getaways. The only downside is that you'll need to spend one to three hours in a car, but it is usually worth the drive.

Last but not least, Kuala Lumpur has many highly-rated speakeasy bars despite the fact that the majority of people living here are Muslims. If you are interested, look for PS150, Omakase + Appreciate, Suzie Wong and The Attic to get started.

KL offers a broad range of attractions, but the real charm of the city is the diversity and friendliness of the people living here. Strike up conversations with them. It doesn't matter if they are a local, an expat or a foreign worker, their story and perspective on Kuala Lumpur as a city will fascinate you. Ask them for food recommendations too. Everyone living in Kuala Lumpur is a self-proclaimed foodie in some way.

Bowdy: What is it like working in a blogger in Malaysia? The Good, The Bad, The Funny

Wayne: Blogging is a very common part-time profession here. Over the years, there are at least five local blogs that evolved from part-time passion projects to large digital businesses.

It is very easy to find free Wi-Fi hotspots in Kuala Lumpur, so most restaurants or cafés here are blogger-friendly.

The bad thing about working as a blogger in Malaysia is our currency, ringgit that is plummeting in value over time. Most blogging or social media apps out there charge in US Dollars, so as ringgit as a currency becomes weaker, these apps become more expensive for us.

The funny thing about Malaysian bloggers is that we go all out just to take the photos or videos that we need. I've seen bloggers and social media influencers stand on chairs at restaurants just to take the perfect "aerial view" of their food. There was also once when I saw bloggers put their food on the floor for photos simply because the restaurant has beautiful tiles that make a good background.

Bowdy: Tell us your day job and typical day at work.

Wayne: As mentioned in the intro, I work as an online advertising specialist at an education technology company.

On a day-to-day basis, I optimize advertising campaigns on Google AdWords and Facebook, so they are consistently generating leads and delivering positive returns.

Aside from managing the campaigns, I am also involved in brainstorming sessions around marketing strategies and funnels that we use to sell our products. 

This is how a typical work day looks like:

10:00 am: Arrives at the office, goes through my inbox and start planning for the day ahead.
11:00 am: Team meetings to kick start the day.
12:30 pm: Goes through and optimize advertising campaigns.
3:30 pm: Complete other tasks or attend brainstorming sessions.
4:30 pm: Launch new campaigns, targeting ideas and ads depending on the results and the needs of the business.
6:00 pm: Leave work.

I love my full-time job because it syncs perfectly with the work that I am doing with kuaby. At the same time, I can transfer the knowledge and experience that I gather from my full-time job to kuaby or vice versa.

Bowdy: Apart from your day job, do you have other passion projects you are currently involved in?

Wayne: Not at the moment, but I am tinkering with a few ideas that are going to be extensions of the kuaby brand.

I always wanted to have my digital product, so I am actively working on that. At the same time, I also want to start a marketing agency because I want to bring more of what I am good at to my side hustles.

Bowdy: Any advice for people who would like to travel around Malaysia?

Wayne: Don't just come to Kuala Lumpur, and assume that you've seen Malaysia. The country is very diverse. What's on the West coast is different from the East coast, and the differences will even be starker when you look at the Borneo side of Malaysia.

Traveling Malaysia overland (by car, bike, bus or train) is a good idea too. Most parts of Malaysia are still untouched by urbanization. Visiting and exploring these areas will present you with unique experiences that the usual tourists don't get.

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 51 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the limits of after-office hours and vacation leaves.

For invites, reviews, or collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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