In Europe, car boot sales are fun, social outings where you can buy everything and anything, including food and surprising vintage finds. In Kuala Lumpur, however, it was blistering hot! And in typical tropical fashion, the vendors got rained on in the afternoon and everybody packed up super fast.
It was my first car boot sales, and I totally get what pasar malam (night market) traders have to go through. I didn’t make all that much, just enough to cover my cost and some change for lunch and coffee, I reckon.
But it was good fun mingling with other sellers, learning how to set up a stall to attract buyers, and you get such a rush when somebody buys something.
What was nice about the whole event was that it was wholly organic, organised by a couple of enterprising women who wanted to do something for the community and encourage upcycling. Publicity was done via Facebook, email and word of mouth. With the organisers being pumped up by the positive results, there will probably be more of such projects.
Note to self: Next time, make sure there’s shade or it’s held indoors! I’ve held garage sales before. My son asked me how I managed to get the news out there and get people to come as that was pre-Facebook days.
Frankly, I had to stop and think for a bit. It was probably just by word of mouth, putting up notices on public boards in 7-Eleven outlets and posting a signboard on my gate.
Amazing how we still got by, isn’t it? These days, however, without the Internet and social media, we all feel a little lost. In fact, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Ministry is proposing that the Internet be listed as a utility, in other words, something just as essential as water and electricity.
Conversely, one British company has taken a brave step by bucking the trend and shutting down its Instagram account. According to www.thecut.com, the British branch of the bath bomb and cosmetics brand Lush announced an end to some of its social channels to “open up conversation between it and you instead”.
Its Instagram post said: “We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.” So now, if customers want to talk to Lush, they have to call, email, or go on a live chat on its website.
“This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new,” the post continued.
Given how influencers and sponsored content are the way to go in the beauty industry, it would be interesting to see how Lush intends to distinguish itself by going down this path.
Personally, I applaud this small move if it means bringing back more heart to the brands, and getting people to interact and actually converse, rather than just spouting opinions or venting with the keyboard. Lush is still connected, but just with some minor adjustments.
In the wake of the horror that took place in Sri Lanka which left more than 300 people dead and hundreds more injured, the government has shut down a number of social media platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp in efforts to stop the spread of misinformation or inciting further violence.
The social media blackout is seen as curbing free expression and dissemination of information, but then, it’s also a challenge to keep tabs on false and abusive content and stop it from going viral.
Indeed, this is something I grapple with constantly. While I’m grateful the Internet connects me with friends and family near and far, it has also disconnected relationships as everyone in the family has gadgets, and some would rather play games and interact digitally rather than with someone in front of them.
Information and latest news is available at a swipe of our fingertips, yet there’s so much to sieve through that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s really useful or real, not to mention the disconcerting negativity and trash talk spewing from some irresponsible people.
Connectivity has made shopping, working from home and paying bills so much easier, but surely living life’s experiences extends beyond this.
In the Western world, some have consciously opted out of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as they feel these channels invade their privacy and pose personal security issues, and as such, use only the barest connectivity to get by.
In an opinion piece by Danial Rahman in The Star recently, he says his 60-something tech-savvy mum feels “over-connected, heading for digital dementia”. Part of me shares her sentiment, and sometimes, I wish I could just switch everything off. I confess I’m not there yet.