Zheng-ing the Ming
Blogging about China isn’t dead, but it sure has changed. When I began my own blog six years ago, I joined an already crowded field. Most of those sites were personal, with stories or posts about people’s lives and interests or were focused on a particular area of expertise. Some were good. A few were great. Many are now gone or slowly going dormant.
This year marks my tenth in Beijing. Why stay so long? Because every morning I wake up knowing that I’m going to see something I’ve never seen before. Something which will make me stop and say, “You know in any other country…that might seem strange.”
And I’m not the only one with a few tales left to tell.
So it is with great pleasure I introduce a new blog about China. And no, “Like a Hole in the Head” was not one of our working titles.
What I think will make this space special is that it will be a collaboration of writers, bloggers, hutong rats, and academics, many of whom are already pretty well-known in the small pond of Beijing expat social media.
Will Moss, the Imagethief, is the rare writer who can make a failed trip to the bank into a 1500-word side-splitting meditation on frustration and perseverance. Dave Lyons is a long-time China resident who has blogged from Xinjiang, Fujian, as well as Beijing, and can be found on Twitter as @Davesgonechina. Brendan O’Kane has the arguable distinction of being one of the very first Beijing-based bloggers, and is a founding member of the translation guild known as Paper Republic. YJ, who previously worked for the Beijing bureau of a major American newspaper based in Boston, keeps the boys honest and adds her own perspective on current events and the way the media covers her home country. I have written the history blog Jottings from the Granite Studio since 2006, and will continue to do so, but I’m excited about being part of this larger community of writers. We’ve also invited many of our friends, colleagues, and the occasional enemy, to join us.
正名 (zheng ming) means “to rectify the name,” or as one of Confucius’ students said (although the little kiss-ass gave the credit to his teacher): “If the names are not correct, then language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.”
One of the things on which all our collaborators seem to concur is the appalling amount of ‘truthiness’ when it comes to talking about China. While we cannot presume to rectify all that is imperfect, making sure that what is said is in accordance with the truth of things seems a worthy place to start.
We hope you agree.