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The International Chinese: “My” Speech at the Chinese Blogger Conference

It’s probably a bit odd for me to be writing about my own speech, as I somehow tend to see this as shameless self-promotion. Nevertheless, I’m doing my bit in telling those who want to be in the know the reason I did my International Chinese 2.0 speech.

We go back to April 2008. China was hit pretty badly time and again — Tibetan protests, coupled with a massive PR problem while the Olympic Flame was making its way across the world — got quite a number of Chinese united and going, quite simply, ENOUGH. “Love China” icons were all the rage, and it was at this time I started an article on this very site about whether or not we were ready for the “international Chinese”.

At first, I wanted the speech to be a display of “just” what locals and foreigners think, as well what sets us together and what unites us, plus a bit about my views of the year 2008 as an International Chinese. However, the first day of the Chinese Blogger Conference was quite enough for me to go right back to the drawing board and spend much of Day 2 redoing the entire prezo. (That was why you saw Zoe and Elliott, not me, at the blog helm on Day 2 here at CN Reviews.)

The redone version started on a much more personal touch: I’d describe a bit of me, my education in Switzerland, what I do, as well as a few of those classical @DavidFeng tweets before diving into what makes the Chinese or the foreigners tick (a la the original prezo). This was a good start as people would first get to know me before they got to know what I did or what I believed in.

For much more about the speech, I’ll let the rest of you take a drive around the prezo itself as I posted a (rather condensed) version of the speech on the Web.

Immediately after the speech, I felt quite a bit confused — even down at times. This was my first-ever speech at the Chinese Blogger Conference. Last year was my first-ever attendance at the event: did I jump the gun too soon? How could this near-silent guy last year become a “someone” this year? Are 14,000+ tweets your “admission ticket”? (I doubted that the moment I thought about that.)

Yes, I did get heckled online by about two people. One actually made more sense and said that it was stereotypical. But far more encouraging were the votes of confidence by virtually the entire Taiwanese delegation and Isaac Mao himself. More and more folks followed me on Twitter or befriended me on Facebook — and mentioned my speech.

I never wanted this speech to be something like a self-ad: I just wanted to make the audience aware that there are quite a number of people, Chinese by ancestry, who are doing their best to bridge the gap, however big or small, between China and the West. (This was pretty much what China 2.0 was all about.) And now that I’ve succeeded (somewhat) in doing this, I feel at least I’ve gotten something done.

Of course, there were also the constructive commentary on how the whole thing could have been better — more humor and more graphics were amongst the suggestions. These folks can rest assured that I’ve taken good note of their ideas and will be doing my best at improving future prezos.

I kind of felt bad myself that some people slept through the speech (as I wanted my bit to entertain people, not put them to sleep, although I had no problems with people actually dozing off), but hey, to all are granted the rights to listen, tune off, or even to doze off. The fact that Carol Lin really tuned in for this one, though, plus the added support I got after the speech, made it all the more worthwhile. Provided the audience and the organizers are OK with this, I’d love to do this again (of course, with a different title and a much-improved prezo) next year!

This post has been originally posted on CN Reviews.