Welcoming 2016: a brief reflection about this blog in 2015

welcoming 2016

 

I am not writing here to make a reflection of what happened around the world in 2015 – it’s too broad, worldwide, and by the time I finish what I want to write about things occurring in 2015, it’s already the first day of 2016. Anyway, I’ll just create a ‘self-assessment report’ of my own blog throughout this year, precisely on its last day.

I could call 2015 a year of courage; from previously very actively updating my blog with posts (or I could call ‘spamming social media’ with my posts?), this year I muster up my courage to reduce the intensity. It’s not simply a slight drop; from publishing over 300 blog posts in 2014, I only managed to release a little above 20 in 2015. That’s a more than 93% in decline! If you notice a bit carefully, you can even see I didn’t put anything online in November. However, it did not exactly correspond with a massive drop in my blog views. By 2014, there were over 8,400 views the whole period. This time, nearing the end of 2015, the WordPress statistics revealed to me slightly above 7,200 views, or ‘only’ 14% decrease. Well, that’s not too bad.

Afterwards, someone asks me this: am I going to gradually put an end to my blog? It’s too early to speculate. Although countless Youtube videos outside have attracted views in days more than what my blog does in 5 years and a half, I would still do my best to continue managing this blog in 2016. Truth be told, publishing 300 blog posts in 2014 was a deeply exasperating – and also frustrating – experience. Even though I mostly ‘reblogged’ other people’s posts and content, I would still have to ‘wreck my brain’ to comment on their stuff, and post them here. I called it quit, and began to shift from only quantity-based posting to quality one. Wasn’t that enough recipe for your consternation when one blog post you really wished to attract a lot of views, gained attention only countable by the number of fingers in the end?

I began pushing for ‘quality posts’ by early January, as well as ending my years-long hiatus of writing thousand-word articles by my own. The last time I did so was in mid-2013, and even then I did it on Facebook Notes feature (it used to be popular in 2010; for 2015 kids, it’s okay you have no goddamn idea about that). Writer’s block was common in the middle of the process, and indeed, I had to tell you, there were 3-4 long-read posts on very serious topics I planned to publish, but didn’t manage to do so in the end as writer’s block – and lack of time for in-depth material research – ended my attempts. Still, despite repeatedly wrecking my own brain, I did manage to release over 20 (one was written by my close friend), and the views per blog were significantly larger than previous one. Total blog views might drop slightly, but I was glad the ‘transition’ fairly succeeded.

By 2016 (or tomorrow), I may try my best to keep the similar target of 20-30 posts, but I can hardly guarantee if I’m going to do so. Given that more new projects (other than this blog) are coming in, I may have to carefully manage my time in updating this blog. I suppose it would be acceptable, gradually, that I don’t publish stuff on a monthly basis. You may expect to see ‘holes’ in some months next year, and I really expect you understand my reasoning. Again, referring to my previous argument, I would now only opt for ‘quality-based’ posting, so that means I may take extra time to review my future posts more deliberately than ‘generic previews’ I did back in 2014.

Originally planning to only put a cap of 300 words on this post, it now exceeds 600. I need to stop adding more crap right now. I wish everyone out there a better 2016, and in the ideas of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a more anti-fragile version of all of us.

I won’t stop my blog, my promise.

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Comeback: rethinking myself as a blogger

Calvin and Hobbes

 

It’s been three-and-a-half uneasy years managing this blog. Not about finding the right vocabulary itself makes blogging sometimes a formidable task (well, at some aspect finding the right expression ain’t an easy job); neither it is about being lackadaisical of topics – I have a lot, and to some extent, just too much, to cover in this blog; nor is it about authoring a lengthy post, which many friends of mine used to complain about.

I’ve just been too strict towards myself in doing the blog, while stat view remains infinitesimal. For many times I have contemplated to end this blog, citing its lack of coverage, that make-a-post-once-in-two-days disciplinary conundrum, and (sigh) its seemingly too-idiosyncratic-to-know content. Well, after a breath, sometimes you just think you can’t always win the fight with this world. People mostly do bother to know the real truth, and will pretty much get themselves entertained with ‘partial truth’. Again, somewhat, we can’t always win. My 3.5-year-old blog is infinitely smaller than most Youtube videos about cats, babies, webcam-singing brouhaha and conspiracy theories. But surrendering it will not sound wiser, though. Something inside me reminds me of an ideal blog – focus on people, not the number of people viewing this blog. Whenever I look at some fellow friends of mine, having posted on their blogs for years – regardless of its small stat views – they just don’t stop. We blog (ideally) because we don’t crave for people’s attention; we want people to think, of what we express, in another perspective. I think that’s where we shouldn’t stop reminding ourselves as bloggers.

We can’t always win. If someone is destined for divine intervention, let them be.

 

May 1998 in Jakarta: a personal account

protests

 

A British expat blogger, under the pseudonym of ‘Jakartass’, recounted his haunting personal experiences – in a rather cynical, dark humor – of surviving in Indonesia’s capital during the May riots, from the beginning of Trisakti shootings, until the resignation of Suharto more than a week after.

Download his full story, a PDF file, in his blog.

 

Excerpt:

 

Thursday May 14th 9 am
By the time you get this, you’ll know whether Suharto and his cronies have gone or whether they’ve shot a few more students. A mass people march is planned for the 20th and all the signs are that this revolution is now unstoppable.

Suharto has spoken from Cairo: “If I’m no longer trusted (to lead the country), I will become pandito (sage) and endeavor to get closer to God. I will spend my time to guide my children so they become good people … I will do tut wuri handayani (guide from behind).”

Is this enough?

I was in the middle of writing the last bit when I was rung by the office ~ we’re shut for today at least. The British Embassy’s advice is to take it day by day. And the news (almost) live on TV is that north and west Jakarta is burning. Are they attacking the Chinese? Fools if they are!

NB. They were.

Slightly later: they’ve attacked a cash ‘n’ carry, Goro, owned by Tommy Suharto which is just down the road from my office.

The Curious Day of Mr Jam: guide to an absurd world

nury vittachi

 

 

Why you should visit this website: at first sight, you’re gonna assume it’s just like another kinda ‘that-another-weird-news-blog’ you always see on Google, with formal (very formal, indeed) wordings covering up a surreal content. Until it turns out the blog belongs to Nury Vittachi.

Nury Vittachi, a Sri Lankan-born journalist now based in Hong Kong, has an exceptional knack on things weird, surreal, and abnormal – and moreover, his distinction in creating ‘not-your-ordinary-weird-news-blog’ with his conversational and approachable tone, as though he were somewhere out there, anytime ready to tell you a very long story. Last but not least, he keeps his language simple, and practically easy to understand.

Linkhttp://mrjam.typepad.com/

Everything about Everything: a Spike Jonze blog

spike jonze blog

 

 

Why you should visit this website: Because the creator is Spike Jonze.

You know (even if you don’t know, I’ll tell you briefly), one of very few guys, who, in such times when we are slowly getting sick of remakes, reboots, CGI-heavy flicks, adaptations, or anything like the quadruple aside, has astonished Hollywood with his unconventional films. He has had ‘only’ four films in his hand, but each of them possesses its own unorthodox values. In Being John Malkovich, he surprised us by severely exploiting the actor himself (and unfortunately, he’s willing to be involved) as part of a ‘plot’ by which individuals, in a secret, mysterious portal, could access his mind and control him as they wish. Another one was Adaptation, by which he took the next turns on his long-time partner, Charlie Kaufman, and even introduced us his ‘procreated’ twin, Donald (he even didn’t have to be born, literally, to win an Oscar). And, he was also said to have ‘disappointed’ many of the children with his Where the Wild Things Are, a children’s film with a somewhat darker, and slightly depressing, tone (as the ‘monsters’ have displayed). His ‘love’ story, Her, one between a real human being and a non-real ‘human’ being, shook our foundation about the true definition of romance itself, particularly in modern times (or I should say post-modern?) when most of us are so increasingly entrenched in our own technological advances that we gradually become disenchanted with genuine human connection. And he made Joaquin Phoenix weep.

Because this is how Spike Jonze is all about.

His blog, posted in Her’s promotional website, is also similarly unconventional, in that many of the fundamental notions he posts here give credence to the inspiration behind his story (his personal divorce story aside). A hodgepodge of transhumanist art, post-modern designs, philosophical concepts, and sophisticated progress in technology, this is one you should pay a visit for.

Linkhttp://www.herthemovie.com/#/everything-about-everything

Good News From Indonesia (GNFI): restoring confidence

gnfi

 

 

Why you should visit this website: dear my Indonesian fellows, are you getting exhausted with nearly all the ‘bad news’ coming in to our minds, as always broadcast by much of our mass media recently? (answer yes!) We can’t deny that our country is imperfect. It has a huge mess of corruption cases, of poor bureaucracy, of dilapidated infrastructure, of our oftentimes incompetent government, or of our government’s farcical policies, wrong perception of culture, our fallacious mindsets, and indeed, it is inevitable to admit these facts. Despite all the shortcomings, though, we have beautiful islands, great natural scenery, rich traditional customs, a highly multicultural heterogeneity (imagine nearly 800 ethnic groups inhabit our country) to be proud of, plentiful natural resources yet to be explored, and, after you visit this website, way too many good things to be optimistic about Indonesia. Kudos to Akhyari Hananto! (founder of this website)

Linkhttp://www.goodnewsfromindonesia.org/

Note: not all the articles in this website are written in English.

Hong Wrong: debunking Hong Kong’s black and white

hong wrong

 

 

Why you should visit this website: it’s naughty, it’s sassy, it’s (pretty much) brass, it cracks open, deep down the spines, of all the faults, all the misdeeds, all the painful historical memories, or even all the wrong sensation (mostly political) taking place in this so-called ‘Asia’s World City’. Nevertheless, deep inside, it also exposes to us all the wonders, the genius, the creativity, and last but not least, it’s not superficial. It truly opens to the world outside the real spirit of Hong Kong, of all its flaws and accomplishments, its awes and its ingenuity, and in short, it makes us even love this metropolis down deeper. Thank you, Tom Grundy! (founder of this awesome website)

Link: hongwrong.com