禀报《MAGistrate™ 杂志大人》!你们被专访了呢!Y(our) honour, you are being reported…

「禀报大人!我有美食要推荐!我刚去了一家超美的民宿!」 这是大内密探们常会电子飞鸽咱们的日常对白。当然大人们并非食遍各地的超级美食家,口味各异在所难免,会设立此平台乃希望看官们能更深入地了解在地美食与文化😄 。

Going after the latest craze over real taste, or generally picking popularity over credibility? We have been presented with this dilemma ever since we started writing about things we like. Our “blogging” journey was full of its ups and downs, but the past 10 months have taken us to places we thought we would never go. There’s a lot more to our media life than what we earn, or don’t earn. After all, it’s not our possessions or paychecks that make for a fulfilled life, but those moments we choose to step into the unknown and unexpected, that our stories begin to be interesting.


若您是脸书官网粉丝,想必已获知於今年10月,在本地驰名发展商 UMLand 的热情赞助下,杂志大人与新马知名的美食部落客 Tony Johor Kaki 共同以传承传统美食的角度出版了新山道地美食指南《一传食传百 Find Dining with Tony Johor Kaki》,两岸群众反应之热烈还真出乎大人们意料之外!每一回的现场签书会上,大人瞧见赴会者语带感恩地与 Tony Johor Kaki 真切交流合影,那一刻大人明白了一件事,真心支持的朋友并不一定显现於社交平台上的粉丝人数,正是他那份锲而不舍的真诚分享,才能拥有如此公正与可信度高的好内容,千金难买啊!

Finally, after nearly a year of preparation, the Find Dining with Johor Kaki guide to Johor’s heritage and street food is ready. This is far more than a guide book, but a collective mission and passion for digging deep into the food scene that is a huge part of our culture and heritage. We have teamed up with an equally passionate Tony Johor Kaki and UMLand to bring a very special touch to this publication. It is not just the quality of the writing and photography that makes this work excel, but our way to help preserve, document and promote our unique and rich street food heritage. It is through their generous support that we now have Johor’s very own foodie guide in our hands, a hundred and fifty full-colour pages celebrating 100 Johor hawkers and heritage food.

The response on both sides of the causeway was overwhelming, way beyond our wildest imagination. Many braved the elements and patiently took their place in the queue from Jalan Tan Hiok Nee to Bandar Seri Alam, Seri Austin and finally Sutera Mall to offer kind words of encouragement and appreciation for Tony. In fact, we ran out of books before the scheduled closing time during the last book signing at UMLand Gallery (Anson House) in Singapore two weeks ago, and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused for those who came especially for the occasion. As promised, UMLand is supporting another book signing event this coming Sunday (20 November) in Singapore. Not forgetting our home fans, plans are also underway to make more copies available later this month. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything!



「文章落落长,在万事求快的时代里真的有人看吗?」 乐观的咱们认为就算只有0.001%的读者喜爱,就已足矣。嘿嘿命运其实还蛮眷顾拥有阿Q精神的一群人!这一回杂志大人团队难得有幸被这0.001%的机缘相中,「原来我们也有机会被采访呢!」感激 Iskarnival 2016 Sama-Sama 将杂志大人的访问以6大页精美呈现!请受大人一拜 😄 !专访如下,大人好害羞呀 😳

Amidst the euphoria, we could still vividly recall the scenes during the Write; Post; Share.  As part curtain raiser to the JB Writers & Readers Festival back in May 2016, some of JB’s authors and personalities (including yours truly) were invited to share and explore ways of navigating and adapting to an age where information surrounds us everywhere we go. Sadly, in this era where word of mouth can go viral at the speed of thought by simply clicking the LIKE and SHARE button, many self-proclaimed Johor or JB-inspired media are more interested in competing for the attention-grabbing headlines, or the bragging rights of being the first or the most-shared post in an already crowded online space nowadays. Every so often, as more and more such sites churning out torrents of viral “top 5 or top 10 xxx” lists come on the scene, we will stumble upon these FB fan pages or websites using our photos and text without our knowledge and no credit was given to the source in any way, whatsoever. It was posted as if they were the original content creator without ever stepping into these establishments, let alone tried and tested. If you have encountered similar, there is a formal process to lodge an Intellectual Property Notification Complaint with Facebook, and karma will do the rest.

dsc02454As a group of passionate “local officials” that advocates a more ethical social media culture, MAGistrate will continue to serve up the sights and sounds JB has to offer, even if we would only appeal to 0.001% of the entire Johor population. It is heartening to know that our perseverance had paid off when we received an email request by the organiser of Iskarnival 2016 to hear our side of the story. Here’s our brief interview with Sama-Sama magazine in conjunction with their year-end festivity held at Puteri Harbour from 12-13 November 2016.


When did MAGistrate start, and is it an independent media company?

《杂志大人》成立于2015年12月,是 Interesthink™ 创意设计公司独资成立的分享平台,4名土生土长的本地人坚持亲自体验筛选内容后再以轻松有趣的文言白话混搭方式将新山介绍给各地看官们。会称之为《杂志大人》其实缘於英语中的 MAGistrate 其实就有「法官」「大人」之意,而 MAG 又具杂志含义,在中英皆通之下《杂志大人》就此诞生啦!

Starting in December 2015 with a bold vision to re-inject fresh life into a long-stagnant mediascape, MAGistrate began as an online media dedicated to the wonderful people of Johor. We pride ourselves to be “local officials” who pay personal visits to every happening scene before delivering unbiased verdicts to what’s hot and what’s not in town, in a fun and interesting way. MAGistrate is the brainchild of Interesthink, an independent homegrown creative company made up of four “Anak Johor”!


Can you give us an idea of the profile of your readers? Who do you reach out to, and how many people do you reach?


《杂志大人》倾向以亲身现场摄影、体验分享,而非凭网络照片传达讯息,因此得到不少读者的垂青。我们的网站 magistrate.my 每个月约有五万名来自世界不同区域的读者;社交面子书方面,我们拥有逾三万名实名粉丝,主要来自柔佛和新加坡。

MAGistrate is a community of consumers who look for the best experiences, products and services to complement their lives and who turn to us as a trusted guide. We offer articles of depth and substance written from first-hand experiences. Together with modern, stylish design and stunning photography, our bilingual and content-rich website at magistrate.my now reaches over 50,000 unique visitors monthly. In addition, our Facebook page has over 30,000 followers, the majority of whom resides in Johor, including Singaporeans.


Your stories are written in both English and Chinese. What made you decide on this format instead of having separate language pages?



The best way to learn about JB is not just by visiting our landmarks. To really feel and get to know our city, you must meet our people, see how we live, speak with us, try our traditional food, go where we locals hang out. In tune with a new generation of Johoreans and visitors educated in both English and Chinese and who are culturally at ease with both Western and Oriental values, MAGistrate made it possible for people to connect with us, to interact and to share what we like about our city. As you can see, MAGIstrate is not just about bringing the world to JB – it is also about bringing JB to the world.


Looking at your website – there is a strong pride in local Chinese culture in Johor, but most outsiders may not be as aware. What should outsiders look forward to when they come to Johor? How can they get a real introduction to all the people and culture that the city has to offer?



For the past 10 months, MAGIstrate has not only been part of our readers’ life but also represents the voice which encapsulates the new-age Johoreans, constantly strives in moving forward with the trend, while bringing our readers on a journey of self-improvement. We maintain our formula of sharing practical lifestyle advice and informative features covering every aspect of leading a “balanced” life, ranging from fine dining to fine arts. However, we also keep them in touch with JB’s rich history and cultural heritage, reaching the affluent, educated and culturally active who are interested in our historic architecture, preservation, decorative arts and our age-old customs.


We have seen a lot of renewed interest in towns like George Town and Ipoh. Do you think JB has been overlooked? Do young people find a lot of opportunities in JB or do many of them tend to move to KL/SG.



The lure of a strong Singapore Dollar and the convenience of being easily connected to Singapore by the Causeway and Second Link are driving many people (including Singaporeans) to work in Singapore and sleep in JB. The situation might worsen with the completion of the JB-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) and Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR). If we look on the bright side, JB would have actually benefited from this rapid urbanisation and population growth, with a rising number of Malaysians and Singaporeans now calling JB home, as well as tourists from China and more industries setting up operations here. There is also a growing number of returning talents and expats who have gained experience from overseas to help contribute to the success of our city. The time has come for us living and working in JB to lead aesthetic tastes and design trends rather than cater to the whims of the market, and to develop something unique that not many people can have the chance to do, like MAGIstrate LOL!


There has been a lot of interest in Johor with the mega investments and developments in Iskandar. Do you see this as a positive step in developing more lifestyle and culture for locals?

© Hanks Lai
© Hanks Lai


As one of the five ‘economic zones’ of Iskandar Malaysia, JB is in for more than a makeover and the mega projects will radically change southern Malaysia over the next decade. After years of being criticised as a chaotic border town, JB is suddenly a lively, appealing place to hang out. There’s a real urban buzz and some surprisingly cosmopolitan corners to explore, with bustling food hawkers, impressive old architecture and landscaped sidewalks. Through MAGistrate, we hope everyone can develop awareness and affections, and gradually fall in love with our city, our people and our culture too.


Tell us a bit more about what MAGistrate does, and some plans for the future.



其中,我们觉得最有意义的是透过一些跨界合作,成为本地商家与社区文化之间的桥梁。譬如近期,《杂志大人》、新马美食部落客 Tony Johor Kaki 和 本地驰名发展商 UMLAND 就携手合作出版了道地美食指南《一传食传百 Find Dining with Tony Johor Kaki》与现场签书会活动。我们将持续努力不懈为《杂志大人》的看官们带来本地精彩的文化艺术、有趣好玩的去处及各种体验等!若您也是其一,不妨与大人们联络哦!

Rethinking MAGistrate as a unified “idea bank” of value is a nice starting point for brainstorming new ways for us to create pleasure and value for Johoreans across different media. In the hands of a strong design and editorial team, we are in the process of building multiple platforms to offer more ways of packing that idea bank with endless goodies.

One of the best parts of our job is when we help local businesses and organisations embrace change for meaningful outcomes, both commercial and social. We also work across all industries and the formats and channels in which we deliver our work are unlimited. Expect more crossover collaboration such as our latest “Find Dining with Johor Kaki” and UMLAND, as we team up with organisations to tailor-made events and campaigns that reach out to our readers in unique and memorable ways, and we will continue to support local arts and culture, social enterprise, entrepreneurship and more.


MAGistrate 杂志大人

Corporate Trainer & Speaker

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