Hotel Room Magazine

Be careful what you wish for 'cuz you just might get.

Not long ago I was talking to my friends about my secret wish to be a writer. We talked about expectations and reality, jobs and passion. I'm currently working as a research assistant in a biology laboratory. Honestly being a scientist is my goal... research fulfills my curiosity... but I felt it's not enough. There's something else I want to pursue. Something related to art, beauty and creativity.

I know science alone cannot make me very happy. I want to write.

Within a month, I received a message from Qiu Ying asking me to be their translator for a new magazine. Not knowing anything about it, I said yes. In fact I wasn't close with her,  we were acquaintances in the university.

Somehow we shared interest on traveling and writing. I invited her to share two articles on this blog before (My K Town Story, 我的K城故事). That's how the story began.

When she told me that they wanted to launch a travel magazine, a free travel magazine, I thought, 'These people are crazy!' And of course I want to join their insane team. Why would I say no?

But this is insane. To be honest, a brief look at the local publishing market is enough to send chills down one's spine. It is not common, not economically viable, practical, acceptable, wise, time and effort worthy to run a magazine in Malaysia, not to mention a magazine in print. The cost is too high, the response is uncertain, success is bleak. I mean, how often do you spend on magazines?

Qiu Ying, Skylar and me. Photo by SJ Tay.

Somehow there are people who want to support this seemingly crazy idea. Somehow we got together and things start to move. Somehow it became a reality.

Qiu Ying is the editor, Skylar is the photographer and graphic designer, and I translate Qiu Ying's beautiful words into English. I want to thank all the opportunities and coincidence that lead me to them.

Calling them my dream team would be an understatement.

I adore Qiu Ying's choice of words and writing skills. She can make the plainest things poetic and pretty. She can observe the slightest beauty and write lyrically about it. I love Skylar's minimalistic design and vision. The tones and layout of all her work are so consistent, cozy and adorable. It's magical how they match my expectation. I want to do something like this: lifestyle and travel-related content. If I were to work with people who are insistent on highly photoshopped images, messy layout, narcissistic... or want some naked women on the magazine... I don't like it. I might give up.

The girls turned out to be much more inspiring than I would have ever imagined. I always thought about what I want to do and whom I want to collaborate with. They are better than my expectation.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have this opportunity. I almost jumped when I looked at it for the first time. A stranger was flipping through it and said it was good!


In the first issue, we feature the interesting spots and hidden gems at Jonker Street, Melaka. I myself didn't know these places until I was translating them. What had I been doing during my previous countless visits to Melaka?

During the past weekend they brought me to explore the places mentioned in the magazine. I finally managed to see for myself the beauty Qiu Ying described in her text. Jonker Street has way more to offer besides the night market and the immense crowd.

Seriously, I highly recommend this magazine to everyone who wants to experience Melaka as a traveler, not a typical tourist or passerby. Melaka has so much to discover. You'd never know what you will find next.

The magazine is free, you can get it at some cafes, hotels or homestays. Or you can get from me. Hehehe.

The team launched a digital version of the magazine which can be viewed here. Check out the Facebook page too for daily dose of prettiness and life. The girls run it pretty well.

So... that's our first issue. More awesome things are coming. I am so grateful to be involved in this precious opportunity to learn, meet new people and see life from another perspective. It's challenging yet soothing. Ahhhhhh I better stop before I sound too emotional and cheesy.

Thank you, dream team.

Wish for it. Go for it. Do it. Good luck.

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