My apologies for the long absence to the one or two Melon readers that might be out there. I've been concentrating my attention on writing and trying to get writers for MyShantou.net, a website all about our fair southern city here. (www.myshantou.net)
There's something attractive about the website, despite the fact that it runs on a system which can't even handle correct punctuation. I guess it's the fact that it has a genuine audience: the small foreign community here constitutes one part, and the Chinese English-speaking community here, (a bigger group than I would have expected) constitutes another. But the biggest group, as far as I can gather, is the expatriate Chinese who have roots here in the Chaoshan area and are now spread across the globe from Malaysia to Canada.
I've been confronted with ultimate Chinese dilemma in becoming involved in writing and recruiting writers for the site: How much of the content should reflect positively on the city, and how much negatively? In the States there would be no question -- publish what you want. But it's just different here. A student of mine, for example, has written a great piece on interning at a local newspaper over the summer. Along the way, she came face to face with official corruption and buffoonery. It's a great story, and I have no doubt about it's authenticity. But publishing it on the site might result in the site getting shut down. Hmmmm...if a tree falls in the forest, and officials deny that there was ever a tree, does it make a sound?