Saturday, 13 August 2011

Seven Of The Best

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.

10 comments:

justrecently said...

I think you'll have to check your link on China's relationship with Libya - it seems to lead to no post.

Thanks for nominating my blog!

FOARP said...

Links fixed, thanks for the pointer!

Anonymous said...

I think the Chris thing is overblown, and quite possibly libelous on your part. He's still there, his business is booming, and that surely wouldn't be the case given all the exposure over the issues - which seemed to be more about misquoting a government official than anything really naughty. I'm not sure you've really called that particular matter 100% correctly, even though it may be your most popular post. Your rhetoric about him is not entirely unbiased either. I'd guess that's probably more about him being high profile than the subject matter getting you that high ranking thread. That's a shame, as otherwise you write rather well but I think that incident colored your judgment.

FOARP said...

Chris, piss off and get a life.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Chris. But your comment is par for your standards. There are folk out there who hold him in high regard. For example, he has responsibilities, staff, offices, suppliers to pay and so on. You on the other hand do not. Before you start attacking people online it may be wise for you to consider your own position. Because as I said above, you come across as deliberately vindictive, almost obsessed with him. It's not level or unbiased at all - it's online flaming of someone. Your reputation is all about that one obsession with this guy. That's a shame, as you can write well. I'd recommend you try and get your obsession out of your mind and move on to something constructive and new. Just some advice, no need to tell me to "piss off"

FOARP said...

Ok, Chris. Thanks for IP address.

Anonymous said...

Gilman, Chris in fact does seem to have a life: http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2011/08/16/dezan-shira-opens-new-offices-in-suzhou-and-tianjin.html

You however seem caught in a rather manic repetitive cycle of vindictive obsession against the fella. Surely it's time for you to move on and do something useful. Really. But no doubt you'll want to suggest I'm him or have the final word in this dull saga. Again.

FOARP said...

Yes, Chris has a life, this is why he repeatedly searches on the internet for people who mention his name, and then comments on their website from IP addresses which have already been reported to anti-spam services for spamming.

OK, folks, I'm going to call a wrap on this. Chris, no more of your comments are going to appear on this website again. Ever.

justrecently said...

I think your blog has great merits in standing by the story and not allowing anyone to bully it off. And if it's your final decision, I can only respect your ban on any further comments of the kind appearing here - not to mention previous ones.

That said, I believe that you have shed a lot of light on the issue. If someone else wants to add even further clues, I would suggest to let him or her do so, if no legal reasons speak against that. The commenter hasn't even changed his style - in my view, the source is the same as before, CDE or a proxy.

FOARP said...

@JR - I understand what you're saying JR, but the basic fact is that I've had enough of CDE posting anonymous comments on this blog praising himself. After I switched to moderated comments I received a slew of comments containing personal insults, and accusing me of being in the pay of the Dan Harris of the China law Blog (someone who CDE sees as a rival of his). This blog may not be fancy, but that's not the kind of garbage I want on this blog.