Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 20 March 2013 • Abroad
Windy: Hey Indohoy, I’m supposed to be a speaker at this event in Malaysia about tourism blogging, but I can’t make it because I have another thing happening on the same date. I’d like to recommend you to them as my replacement. Are you interested?
Us: *dropping our jaws and speechless*
Me, to Mumun: did you read Windy’s DM on Twitter? Aaaakkk!! Do you think we can do it?
Mumun: *jaw still dropped* uuhh…yeah! Yeah! Oh my god! Oh my god, sure! Aaaakkk!!!
So that was how we got invited as a speaker at MITBCA2013 (Malaysia International Tourism Blogging Conference and Awards 2013). It’s the second MITBCA held by Malaysia’s tourism ministry, and it would be Indohoy’s first international gig as a speaker in front of a forum, live on stage. OMAGAAHH! We were nervous and never thought of ourselves as capable of doing such a thing, substituting Windy Ariestanty, a writer and editor at Gagas Media, one of the major book publishing in Indonesia, who’s been a speaker in a lot of international gigs on writing. But it would be stupid for us not to answer to the challenge. So yes, we took the chance.
Us: Okay, Windy, we’re interested. But we’re so nervous. Do you really think we’re qualified?
Windy: Don’t worry, you girls will be awesome 🙂
Although it was a nice thing to say, we surely didn’t believe it until it was over.
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So, off we went to Kuala Lumpur in less than a fortnight. We decided Mumun to represent Indohoy as the speaker because I’m a much more nervous cat, plus she could get off of work easier than I did. The only major problem was that she had to renew her passport in only a few days and she didn’t have her papers ready in Jakarta! Aaaarrghh! However, God was kind. A few chaotic days taking care of the papers in Bandung and Jakarta and yet paying the same IDR 225,000 for an express service, she was all set. Phew!
A Power Point presentation was in hand, Mumun left on D-1, mingling with the other speakers before the event. I joined her on the second day of the conference, feeling so good about Indohoy. If the blogging world was a high school, we were a shy average geek that got invited to a cool kid’s party. Honestly, I haven’t been too familiar with Malaysian travel blogs, but I’ve heard and seen how serious tourism is taken and supported by their government. Four years of travel blogging, I haven’t been aware an event this big ever held by our government. So however the event would turn out, I was sure there’s gonna be something I could learn from this event.
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Okay, enough of the wonderment, now about the conference itself. It was held in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), only a few meters walk from Impiana Hotel, our complementary accommodation. The conference centered on the topic on how to promote your country or region through blogging. The speakers were mostly bloggers and social media activists from Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Hanoi, and Manila. There were also a digital advertising practitioner from Johannesburg and the Deputy of Advertising – if I’m not mistaken – of the Malaysian Tourism Ministry. They talked about what their blogs were about, how they came into fruition and gave tips on how to make a successful blog or promotion.
Mumun was up on the panel session on Citizen Tourism Blogging: A New Platform for Citizens To Promote Tourism – The New Pathway. The theme is pretty self-explanatory. She was up there with moderator Shane Dallas, an Australian blogger residing in Kuala Lumpur who’s been all over the world, speakers Vanessa Workman, an American blogger slash Travelfish correspondent residing in Langkawi, and Pham Hoang Mien, a blogger from Hanoi. A major thing these 3 ladies have in common: they blog mostly about the country or region in which they live. I as a participant of the conference was pretty amused with their presentations. I’m happy to see that there are people with similar struggles like ours, and just like us, they seem to be passionate about it and having fun doing it! *can you see this big happy grin on my face? *
If I didn’t know better, I would say that Mumun was lying when she said she was nervous. She looked calm and delivered smoothly, I’m a proud partner! I’m very happy that we got this chance to tell at least the South East Asia part of the world about our 4 year-old baby, Indohoy.com, and share what we’re up to and a glimpse of what Indonesia could offer. I hope this is a step further for us to penetrate the international world 🙂
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Off stage, we were involved in some interesting conversations and discussions on blogging, tourism, and general topics like Tonyo’s t-shirt frenzy and the latest Samsung S4 that Mumun’s been eyeing for.
Sacrificing my initial plan to shop at IKEA (you’re not Indonesian if you don’t go to IKEA when you’re in KL or Singapore..hahaha..just kidding), I went to the gala dinner as Mumun’s plus 1. The minister came in the middle of the dinner, escorted by the marching band and all. Then the awarding and sing-and-dance performances followed, as we continued our fancy 4-course dinner.
All in all, I thought that was an amazing experience for us. We got connected to international travel blogging world and most importantly, we had good food for free we gathered some insightful information and tips on writing/blogging and on the tourism world. That, hopefully, will help us become better travel writers/bloggers and hence develop Indohoy to a better future.
Again, a big huge thanks for Windy Ariestanty for the opportunity. We hope we did you proud 🙂