JB, my old China from my Taiwan days, author of The Writing Baron, has nominated me to do seven links for Tripbase's My Seven Links project.
Before I begin, though, I guess I should say a few words about why exactly (other than sheer inertia) it is that I've kept this blog going. When I started it back in 2007 my main purpose was to use it as a way of keeping in both Chinese affairs whilst keeping up with Chinese. Since then, however, I have also found it a great way in which to crystallise my own thoughts by writing them down, whilst subjecting them to the criticism of those outside my immediate family and social group. It serves, I think, as record of my very much unfinished journey away from easy answers (toppling the CCP etc.) towards better solutions.
Anyway, enough with my pomposity, on with the links -
1. My Most Beautiful Post
Since the main themes of this blog have been totalitarianism, propaganda, strife, and political unrest, I don't think there has been much in the way of beauty in any of the things I have written. That said, I'd go for "The Taiwanese Green Union" - that poem described perfectly everything that's great about Taiwan in simple, moving details.
I guess I'll have to try harder not to be so gloomy in future.
2. My Most Popular Post
Believe me, I wish it wasn't, but whilst there are other posts that have been up much less time and have got almost as many hits, my original post exposing Chris Devonshire-Ellis's less than entirely truthful description of his qualifications and experience ("Chris Devonshire-Ellis is NOT a lawyer") is my most popular post both in terms of comments and visitors. Even now this post still gets a good number of hits per day, and the reasons why are obvious. Pretty much everyone else who had tried to discuss this topic up to that point had been scared off by CDE's bogus threats against the jobs and livelihood of the poster, so there are few other sources where people can get this information.
I still occasionally get threatening emails from this most unsavoury man asking me to take this post down - sorry Chris, it's staying.
3. My Most Controversial Post
Definitely in terms of disagreement against the post, and disagreement amongst the posters, my post comparing certain features of Japanese and Chinese culture ("Japan and China - a culture clash waiting to happen") was the most controversial. The thing is, though, it wasn't meant to be. Indeed, in terms of actual criticism of the situation in Japan I have written other posts which went much further, but the fact that Japan's popular Searchina website, as well as other websites, guaranteed that some people would see who were not in total agreement with it.
4. My Most Helpful Post
It's not often you get to explain to people how things are in what is a highly secretive and not well understood organisation, but I'm glad I was able to do so in my post describing my experiences during my time at Foxconn ("Trouble In Foxconn's Forbidden City"). Even now I get asked a lot of questions about my time there, many of them along the lines of how I could have worked for such a company - this post is about as good an answer as I can muster.
5. The Post Whose Success Most Surprised Me
I could say my post on cat-fighting Thai air-hostesses, but thinking about it, that's not all that surprising. Instead, I'll go with this post on China's somewhat uneasy relations with Gaddafi's Libya, which got a lot of traffic from people wanting to find out more about this complex issue at a time when there were less posts on this than there are now.
6. The Post Which I felt Didn't Get The Attention It Deserved
This post on Cuba following China's path - essentially I was trying to do the same thing I had done with China and Libya, but the reading public just didn't want to know. A pity, since, once I had had a look at the stats it seemed that the general meme of Cuba as a failing economy compared to China was not the entire picture - for starters, Cuba is richer in per-capita terms than China by about 50%. Ah well, can't win 'em all.
7. The Post That I am Most Proud Of
That would have to be this 2009 post on the situation in Xinjiang which I wrote whilst I was covering for Matt Steinglass on his old blog whilst he was on holiday. It's not that I think there's anything particularly fantastic about this post, but it, and a few of the other pieces I wrote back then, were quoted on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Since Sully was and is something of a role-model to myself and many other bloggers, this was a bit of a proud moment for me.
And now my five nominees:
1. Just Recently, big supporter of this blog, and a fellow ex-expat China-watcher.
2. Qing-era historian Jeremiah Jenne of Jottings From The Granite Studio. At least when he gets back from his summer holidays (bloody academics!).
3. Former Nanjinger and nowadays poetry/arts writer David Horton, of Union Herald.
4. Wukailong and Steve of Pacific Rim Shots. I know it's a bit early, but since there's two of you I'm sure you can come up with something. If I have any complaint about your blog, it's that you're both far, far too nice and reasonable!
5. And, in a vain effort to prevent this list turning into a total sausage-fest, I'd like to nominate travel-writer and Hong-Konger Joyce Lau of Joyceyland.
Obviously no pressure on any of you, it's all voluntary, but I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.