There’s a blogging meme circling called “My 7 Links”. The premise, conceived by TripBase, is simple: get nominated, select seven links from your archives that fit into the group writing project’s seven categories, and then nominate up to five others.
I was nominated by Charlie at Chengdu Living, and am happy to oblige. I think most bloggers would agree that we tend to post it and forget it, and it’s nice to have the opportunity to stop and take a look back at things we’ve produced (warts and all). Charlie nominated “Ryan at Lost Laowai”.
As a good deal of my blogging (some 900+ posts) resides at my personal blog, and a large share of the approximately 600 posts here at Lost Laowai are not mine at all, I was not sure how best to tackle the selection. Ultimately, I decided to limit my choices to all posts here at Lost Laowai, mine or not (and most below are not).
Most Beautiful Post
I think “beautiful” is meant to have me picking a post that is visually beautiful, but I’m going to go with a post from a couple years ago called Itadakimasu! Quincy, did a fantastic job of melding a tale about his family, Sino-Japanese relations, an ambitious sushi vendor, a music-shop meal with friends, and sticking it to “the man” all with coherency and beautiful prose.
Most Popular Post
Back in the early days of 2009 the internet was abuzz with paparazzi pics capturing Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi topless on a beach in St. Barts’. Averaging about 3,000 page views a day, by far the most popular post on the site is “Zhang Ziyi nude on a beach“, and it’s not hard to figure out why. There’s virtually no substance to the post, as it was really only a quick little note about the frenzy. And much to the disappointment of visitors from search, it doesn’t actually contain any images of Zhang Ziyi nude on a beach.
Most Controversial Post
Unfortunately the most controversial post on the site had to be harmonized due to legal threats. As a runner-up, for sheer number of divisive comments (131 at last count), it would have to be “So some people in China are racist against blacks – should you come to China?” The post, written by Jeremy way back in 2007, still routinely gets a new bout of discussion regarding racism in China. For all the split opinions in the comments, there is a great collection of personal experiences and perspectives that gives the post much more value than the original text by itself.
Most Helpful Post
This is a tough one, as five years, 34 contributors and 600+ posts has produced a solid number of what I would like to consider “helpful” pieces; many of which were topical at the time, but are not as relevant now (here and here for two examples). In my opinion though one of the trickiest things in China is knowing where good places to travel are, and so I personally found this two-parter (with a year between them), by Glen, the most helpful: 10 Slightly Off the Beaten Path Locations in China and 7 More Slightly Off the Beaten Path Locations in China. The posts gives 17 places that might not be immediately thought of when considering good travel spots in China, and the comments contain a number more.
Surprise Success Post
I guess it depends on how we define “success” as it relates to a post, but the amount of (largely search, but also referral) traffic my post on the aPad, an Apple iPad shanzhai clone, has received is a surprise to me. If the recent BirdAbroad post has taught us anything though, it’s stick “Apple” and “China” in the same chunk of text on the Internet and they’re bound to come.
Under Appreciated Post
I have to say, despite blogging for nearly a decade, I’m still amazed anyone visits any of my sites. As such, an under-appreciated post is tough for me to choose. I post complete bollocks on this blog most of the time, and it gets far more attention than I imagine it deserves. I don’t want to leave this section linkless though, and so if I have to choose I would say I’m surprised that Travis‘ excellent series of fiction (but all too true) called the “The 7-Year Laowai” didn’t get more attention. It received quite a few reads, but I had expected it to garner a few more comments.
It’s impossible to be living in and blogging about China for the length of time that I have and not change as a person. Most personal growth and expansion of perspectives develops so incrementally that it’s tough to really “see”, but with a blog it has a semi-permanence that can be referred back to with a simple visit to an archive page. Sometimes it fills me with nostalgia visiting posts I wrote 4-5 years ago, but many times it cringingly shows me how little I knew, and reminds me how that is still true. Because of this, my proudest link isn’t really a “link” but two posts that show the duality of living in China — the first ranting against China’s childishness and the second ranting against expat arrogance. Written only a couple months apart, the contrary nature may have some thinking that I just enjoy a good rant and don’t really know where to stand. That’s probably true, but on a personal level revisiting those posts does well in reminding me that no matter how we as bloggers tend to phrase things, there really are no “sides”, no “us” or “them” — those terms just make things easier to write down.
I really enjoyed the other posts I’ve seen in this series, and it’s hard to narrow down who to nominate as there are so many bloggers in the sinosphere that I’d like to see do the same. However, the sadist in me settled on the following bloggers, mostly because I would love to see their selections, but also because I know their archives are much, much deeper than my own and I can be cruel like that:
- John Pasden @ Sinosplice
- Richard Burger @ The Peking Duck
- Dan Harris @ China Law Blog
- Will Moss @ Imagethief
- Jeremiah Jenne @ Jottings from the Granite Studio