Review of a review magazine

So there I was, sitting in the guest area of the workshop, having my horn changed (Hella Supertones this time) and having the filthy 3 year old air-con filter replaced.

On the coffee table a copy of what appeared to be an upmarket magazine. Thick paper cover, spot UV printing… Simple name – Black. The tag line: Tuning | Insights | Motorsports.

I flip the page. The 3rd page is an advert. Skim forward some more. An advertorial; and this greets me.

Who is Wolkswagen? Was the copy written by the advertiser, or by the publisher? In either case, even if that is the correct German spelling, why do it?

I skim/read through several articles. While there were no glaring grammatical faux pas, the prose was simple, factual, humorless and generally uninteresting.

Perhaps I have been spoiled by the likes of Top Gear, but If this is the quality we have come to accept from a “made in Singapore” production, then we as a country and identity cannot cry and moan about foreigners coming to take our jobs. Yes, I know that the publisher’s from Hong Kong, and that there’s at least one Caucasian in the team.

Come on! Up the level of writing, dial back on the pretentious thingamajigs like the fancy printing, cut back on the ads – subscribers buy the mag for an opinion, not to have ads shoved in their faces.

3 thoughts on “Review of a review magazine

  1. Hong

    Hi Ed,

    Sincere apologies for not having replied earlier! If you have been following us on our Facebook and Twitter (or even the magazines), you might already thus know that we have been swamped till the brim!

    Thank you for replying too! Knowing that we have someone standing with us ‘egging us on’ is good news to us! Truth be told, you are spot on pertaining to high costs and the struggle in the search for survival. We are a team dedicated by passion, but unfortunately, business matters do dictate along the way.

    I will be the first to admit ourselves as being far from perfect, and far from ‘good enough’, but that is also what drives us on. Personally, I am a believer in ‘doing our own’. Why should we constantly go out in support of all things foreign, and forsake our own abilities?


    Alright, enough of my crap! hahaha!
    Hope the year of the Dragon to be a good and fruitful one for you Ed! And if we ever have a chance for a cuppa coffee, please do share more with me, on what you think could help us improve ourselves to be more competitive!


  2. Hong

    Hi Ed,

    As the name suggests, Hong here from ‘9tro Magazine’ and ‘BLACK Magazine’. Chanced upon your blog a few days back during one of my “search ourselves online” activities, and I must say, it certainly caught my eye.

    Let me be brutally honest, we are far from perfect. No doubt there are publications out there with less mistakes as compared to us, but do not be deceived to believe that there are publications with 100% accuracy consistently.

    Having said that, while the team and publications are young (both age of team-members, and thus experience), we are most certainly trying every waking moment to improve along the way.

    Furthermore, as local as we are, Singapore is but a small nation-state with a small population, and it is truly hard to compete against the likes of Top Gear. Not to mention the varying ‘people/companies’ backing such a TV-show/publication. (Jokingly, if we had the BBC behind us, our pace of improvements would certainly be quicker). Again, let us look back at the history of Top Gear (originally from 1977), and we will be reminded of the insane amount of sacrifices, perseverance and ‘trial-and-errors’ they had to endure before they got to where they are today.

    With all that said, while this is not a plea for forgiving errors and mistakes, it is most certainly a reaffirmation of what my team and myself are striving to be, as good a publication as we can produce.

    The magazine you saw, was a few issues back, and while this is not to say we have the best publications today (January 2012 saw our Issue 16), again, be certain that we do take into consideration all forms of feedback and constructive criticism so as to improve.

    While I am certain your time is precious, and that you may have better things to do, I would love to squeeze out time to meet you for a cup of coffee!


    We will continue to work hard, but can only do so with a strong and supportive domestic market!


    1. Ed Post author


      I give you points for finding this alone ;-) If my post came across as being negative or derogatory, forgive me – it was not my intention. its just my brand of “egg-em-on”.

      With the sky-high cost of vehicle ownership here, I applaud you for coming into this seemingly saturated market. It seems to me that (at least) you are doing it for the passion, and not (all) for the money.

      I do look forward to seeing this shine. Take it as a compliment – you’re being compared with the best (in my opinion).

      Good luck, and Gong Hei Fatt Choy to you, your team and your family!


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