Don’t Force Me to Write on Topics

From time to time, I saw frustrated readers commenting on this blog about less coverage of a “very important topic”. Here is one example:

yeah…what about China? Hmm….well let’s see. How about more than a 100 children with kidney stones from contaminated milk powder in yet ANOTHER contaminated food scandal? This doesn’t catch your attention, WJS? Let’s face it, there’s shady companies all over the world, but contaminating food for children seems to be something the Chinese particularly excel at. Assuming they’re able to eat anything from underneath the rubble of buildings that government safety inspectors didn’t bother checking, in an earthquake prone zone.

Think of this while you write the “Chinese economy just keeps expanding.”

So does the pile of bodies….

I always love reader’s feedback about what I should write about daily, but please don’t force me to write anything or claim that I am ignorant if I don’t write something. Let me take the chance about my phylosophy about topic choosing.

1. Writing on something means I care.

2. Not writing on something does not neccessarily mean I do not care.

There are many reasons I don’t write for something. Obviously, my blog is not a newspaper, in which lack of important news or attention itself is a mistake. I am not creating a newspaper.

They key reason I don’t write on something that I care is, I just don’t feel my value in writing about it.

If you look at the tag line of this blog, you will find this:

Events (in Shanghai) that affect my life (and others’)

This tag line is not well noticed, and didn’t change from 6 years ago, but it is an important guideline for me.

I want to write on something:

1. Around me (may not neccessily be in Shanghai – that is where the parath is all about, which means optional, but it has a strong Shanghai focus.

2. That it has affected my life directly, which means, I only try to write on something I have first hand personal experience. Sometimes I write about things that affect others (without first hand experience), but it is not I am good at.

For the Poison Milk problem, I do care, but there is not too much I can say about. Maybe not everyone agree, but I think there are enough “opinions” almost everywhere in this world, but there are too little “facts”. People are good at talking opinions before verifying facts. This blog is about the life of a real person – what he sees, what he does, what he hears… I am trying to use a completely different angle than a newspaper – the angle from the eyes of a normal person in Shanghai – to see and report this very small part of the world. (To be more clear, there are 5 billion definition of “world” by 5 billion people in this world. My world is just 1/5 billionth of it).

For the milk case, again, for example, I will write about it only when:

1. I know someone who are directly affected by it and I have talked with him/her.

2. I observed the untrust in food, milk, water, medicine, or anything that goes into people’s body spread out around me. It is happening, and that is the reason I MAY write about it.

3. Someone post a comment on this blog and ask me to write about it, and I am indirectly affected by it. That is how the article you are reading at comes from.

Meanwhile, please don’t feel bad about posting comment like Brian did. It is completely fine. Don’t worry. I am not offended at all. It is very fair to ask for that type of article. I just want to take the chance to clarify again how I choose topic, and clarify that “not writing does not mean not caring” and when “not writing” happens.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Force Me to Write on Topics

  1. stephen

    The Propaganda Bureau of China is now banning any form of discussion in associated with Sanlu milk product on the web in an attempt to control the damage on the image of Chinese food product.

    Any attempt to comment of the above subject will endanger the existence of this blog. GOT IT?

  2. Jian Shuo Wang

    Well. It should be OK to talk about it on this blog. I don’t think (at least what I think) that they really care about English content on the Internet. There are enough “harmful” content everywhere in English. My perception is, they don’t really care about what people outside China thinks about China (they care but not as care), but really care about what people in China thinks about China.

  3. RWM

    Actually, our company today sent out an email to all employees stating that the daily yogurt drink at lunch time will be switching from Mengniu and YiLi (I think) to GuangMing becuase of the problems.

    Just a cautious company ?

  4. waiguoren

    WJS, fully understand your philiophy and motivation behind this blog. You are doing a great job. Keep going…

  5. jqian

    Why do you think Chinese government care more about domestic people’s opinion toward their own country?

    Because the worst nighmare for Chinese leadership is an unhappy mass. Back in 1989, such unhappiness almost toppled the government. They are very sensitive about it right now. That’s understandable.

  6. lin

    for full read of this post, the opinion you express that only focusing on what happened to you and your personal experience. for which i can see too many people talk about “big thing” but leave the personal thing in mess. this is very revelatory.

  7. martin

    @RWM: Note that Guangming products (English name: Bright dairy) are also affected. It seems melamine has not been detected in Sanyuan or Nestle products yet. The melamine levels detected in milk are up to about 8.6mg/l. The Chinese government claims that even if you drink up to 2kg of affected milk per day you will be alright. You can see details on all this in Chinese at (全国液态奶三聚氰胺专项检查结果公布)

    It seems the product inspection people have done an incredibly bad job not to have noticed this issue before. How do things like this remain covered up until a foreign government blows the whistle?

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