Gone for a while: time out for bloggers

July 2, 2010

Hurray, since today, folks, I am on holidays. I do not know when I will write the next blog entry. I will be in Europe for a while, traveling to Germany, Italy and France. I will catch up with old friends, indulge in good food, fine wine and superb culture.

I do not know what internet access we will have but bear with me and do not abandon me. I will write again and let you share my European experience. Cheers folks and thanks for visiting:

The Man from Mosel River


My life as a “food and wine” blogger

December 19, 2009

When a couple of weeks ago I read on Wannabe Wino that she (Sonadora, but she does not provide her real name) had completed her third year as a blogger, I was reminded that my own three-year-anniversary was approaching fast (at the end of December).

Sonadora has completed her third anniversary with a record of 1076 posts in 1096 days, I thought how wonderful. But it made me also think about my own up-coming three year anniversary.

I then also counted. At that time I thought that even if I were very industrious for the rest of the month, I will not surpass 400 blog entries. Now I am only nine more entries to go. This (the 400 in 1096 days) makes an average of 2.6 days for one entry. I think that’s not bad for someone who has a demanding day job, lots of travel to do, a family, and consequently only evenings for preparing his entries.

However, when I read through my various entries I somehow feel that my life seems to be rather repetitive. So far I did not run out of stories but the stories are very much shaped by the way I live, whom I know, whom I meet and where I go, my habits so to say. How can that be interesting for a stranger.

My statistics look good, the general trend is still pointing upwards. But I am contemplating about stopping my blog altogether. I ask myself why I am still doing it? What are my motives? Should I not spend my precious time doing something else, engage in some physical exercise for instance instead of sitting behind a laptop at night (after I sat behind a desk top for 8-10 hours at work).

So why do I blog? Well, it provides a framework for storytelling. After all we humans love the narrative. Moreover, I disciplines myself. I have to write and keep writing, writing and collecting, and researching of course. I usually make some sort of “investigation”, check out websites and thereby learn a great deal about food and wine and the people who’s passion this is. Yeah, I learn a lot.

Another benefit is “staying in touch”. Living in foreign lands makes it difficult to stay in touch with family and friends. By updating my blog, people can learn about my movements, my thoughts and my life. And I do not to have write letter.

So do I want to miss this? I don’t know. Have to embark on some more introspection, I guess.
Have a good weekend folks. Cheers


Blogging from a blogger’s desert

August 24, 2009

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The conference banner outside the BICC

Another week without a blog entry from me. There is a simple explanation for it. I attended an international conference in Beijing, China, which was a great success also for the host, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS).

But whereas blogging from rural Australia was just an infrastructural challenge, this time the great firewall of China prevented me from communicating and reaching my blogging platform: wordpress.com.

It prevented me also from accessing my facebook and twitter accounts and various other sites of interest, for instance the Open Wine Consortium (which uses a NING platform format). Needless to say that youtube was also down.

I am not a political blogger, just a wine and food enthusiast, and by training an agricultural economist which was the main reason why I attended the 27th International Conference of the Association of Agricultural Economists (16-22 August 2009) titled: “The new landscape of global agriculture”.

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Experts on the dais

To say it from the outset, the conference was a full success. It was just great. I cannot but praise our Chinese host and the organizing committee as well as the Chinese agricultural organizations involved in its preparation and conduct.

The highest level of the Chinese government gave full support to the event and thereby to a field in public policy which had been largely neglected by the global financial institutions and many national governments alike during the last two decades. Vice premier Hui Lianyu, a native of Jilin province and a Chinese Muslim (Hui nationality), officially opened the event.

The great firewall of China, however, prevented me from publicly heaping praise on the Chinese government and the organizers, because I could not access the internet. Well, to be precise I could access some sites of the internet. We also had wlan-wifi connections during the duration of the event but the censorship exercised by the Chinese government did not allow for life reporting. A shame, good things could not enter the bloggosshere. There is a cost to such kind of censorship policy. China misses a chance to improve its public image.

Moreover, I wonder how many of the world’s top creative people would bother coming to a place where they are cut off from the world, their creative batteries, their inspiration and their audience for so long and from where the results of creative processes could not immediately find their way into the world wide web. This is another part of the costs incurred by the censorship policy.

We all know that the control of the internet by governments is a rat’s race. The whiz-kids, digital natives and techno freaks of this world, the Davids, to speak in biblical terms, are magically drawn to places like China in order to show and test their skills in beating Goliath: the Communist government. And therefore it is no surprise that there is ample support out there for trapped bloggers and others to circumvent the censors and jump over the great firewall of China by using proxy servers, and software designed to avert control. Alas, we are not alone in this tech-world of the 21st century.

Congratulations again to our Chinese partners for hosting such an important international event. May your government realize that it has more to gain than to fear from co-operation, sharing and the reciprocity through the inter connectivity of the world community and finally give up the censorship of the internet.

And then there is the saying of Mahatma Gandhi:

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always triumphed. There have been tyrants and autocrats, and for a time they seem to be invincible but in the end they always fail.”

It’s better to change when there is time for it. The communist party of China has shown wisdom in the past when it came to points of no return, for instance when they tolerated that farmers dissolved communes on their own accord and without prior sanctioning of the party. Let us hope they can draw on this wisdom also when considering the censorship policy.