Of course I am delighted to have been selected as “pinoy blog of the week" (talagang pinoy na ako) and with the generous and beautifully written summary of torn and frayed that came with the nomination. Mark Twain once said he was always embarrassed by compliments because he felt they had never said enough, but the reverse is true in my case. Thanks Connie!
The only part of the description to set off a slight trembling in my hands was when she compared me to "an alcoholic who would tip the bottle upside down to catch the last drop" —you know, I could have sworn there was no-one else in the kitchen on Friday night, but you never can tell these days.
While on the subject of blogs, and before everyone has forgotten about it, let me make a few comments about the Asia Blog Awards, which finished last week.
I was quite happy with my own showing, a rather poor fourth behind the Sassy Lawyer, Pinoy Blog and Manuel Quezon. My only slight quibble would be whether “Pinoy Blog” is really a blog, being a compendium of comments from other Philippine weblogs, but that’s OK, it’s good that’s the main thing. The Sassy Lawyer in Philippine Suburbia is obviously the best blog here and Manolo Quezon has the authority and historical perspective that some of the rest of us lack, so it was an honour be defeated by them. And of course they are both Filipinos which is as it should be for the winners of the Philippine category.
However, I did have a problem with the omission of some blogs from the Philippines, notably Caffeine Sparks. It would have been nice if the awards could have given some recognition to the many excellent young Filipino bloggers, rather than to worn-out ex pat hacks like me. The same applies to the nominations from India, which left out my favourite “Under the fire star”.
I was amused to see how the ferocity of the competition mirrored certain national characteristics. In Korea, for example, the bitchiness reflected the fierce competitiveness of the Korean personality and the slightly uneasy relations between locals and ex pats (I don’t know whether it is still true, but there have been several recorded instances of Korean girls being attacked merely for going out with a foreigner).
I was amazed to hear that some supporters of certain Hong Kong blogs had taken the competition so seriously that they had left derogatory comments on competing blogs. Then I remembered that I lived on planet earth and that is how some people here like to do things.
In the Philippines, on the other hand, the competition was, to my knowledge, very collegial. The best woman won and I haven’t heard any complaints. Come to think of it, the fact that a blog obviously kept by a foreigner would be selected as “Pinoy blog of the week” says a lot about why it is so pleasant to live here — so far as I can tell, that would be very unlikely to happen in, say, Korea.
Are such competitions a good thing? I don’t find it easy to answer that. On the one hand, anything that gives blogs some publicity is valuable, and I certainly discovered some fantastic blogs I’d never heard of (including “Simon World”, the blog that ran the competition). On the other hand, blogs are so dissimilar that the competition did end up being apples and oranges in many cases. Perhaps it’s just the old hippy in me, but I do have some unease about making such a contemplative activity competitive. Take my friend Gigi’s site, just added to the list on the right. Can her voyages of self-discovery really be compared with, say, Sassy’s sharp political analysis?
Having a "blog of the week" seems as good at promoting blogs as awards, without getting the competitive juices flowing quite as strongly. I think the blog of the week is a splendid thing and I'm going to have a drink to celebrate. Cheers!