Blogfest.asia gathers Asian bloggers

Blogfest.asia: Change and Responsibility (Photo by Charles Mok on Flickr)
Blogfest.asia: Change and Responsibility (Photo by Charles Mok on Flickr)

Scores of bloggers and social media users, joined by vendors and various organizations, gathered from Nov. 5-8 in Hong Kong’s Henry Leong Community Center for Blogfest.asia, arguably the first gathering of bloggers from across Asia.

Participants came from a good number of countries and territories: Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

DotAsia, the group that manages the .asia domain, spearheaded Blogfest.asia and the Hong Kong BloggerCon which coincided with the Asia-wide gathering.

DotAsias Ching Chao stands outside the Blogfest.asia venue (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)
DotAsia's Ching Chao stands outside the Blogfest.asia venue (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)

The conference-type Blogfest.asia provided participants with talks on various topics, including a look into pan-Asian blogger initiatives courtesy of our colleagues at Global Voices, business and blogging, blogging about disaster relief aid and climate change, and security issues for those living under repressive governments.

Global Voices editors share their experiences in aggregating and translating the great blogs of Asia (Photo by melocularck on Flickr)
Global Voices editors share their experiences in aggregating and translating the great blogs of Asia (Photo by melocularck on Flickr)

Filipinos Blogie Robillo, Juned Sonido and this blogger joined two plenary panel discussions.  A fourth Filipino,  Atty. Jimmy Soriano, shared his insights on Creative Commons for bloggers as spokesman for Creative Commons-Asia Pacific.

Blogie Robillo (second from right) and Juned Sonido spoke on their experiences in organizing bloggers events, among others
Blogie Robillo (second from right) and Juned Sonido (right) spoke on their experiences in organizing bloggers' events, among others (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)

My turn to share about Filipinos admirable use of blogs and social media to provide disaster relief for typhoon victims. Other panelists include new friends from Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan. (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)
My turn to share about Filipinos admirable use of blogs and social media to provide disaster relief for typhoon victims. Other panelists include new friends from Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan. (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)

Blogfest.asia participants later plunged into discussions on security issues, organizing and how to sustain the Hong Kong gathering. It was resolved that Blogfest.asia would continue its good work through a variety of means like links exchange, networking, publishing or sharing best practices, etc.

The Hong Kong BloggerCon unfortunately was not bilingual and only used Cantonese. But we can be sure they had fun: Organizers handed out prizes to the winners of the Asia Bloggers Choice Awards and had a video conference with participants of CNBloggerCon in China.

The One Laptop Per Child Project had a table during Blogfest.asia and they showed to us how the OLPC netbooks work. The colorful, Linux-powered netbooks can withstand falls and the OLPC people playfully dropped them — to our total surprise — just to drive home that point. (Unfortunately, only a few countries have adopted the OLPC. Most of the millions of OLPCs have been distributed in Latin America where countries are more receptive to the idea.)

The child-friendly OLPCs which exhibitors dropped for fun (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)
The child-friendly OLPCs which exhibitors dropped for fun (Photo by Ripmilla on Flickr)

A team from the Tor Project shared their project with Blogfest.asia participants, to enable them to work online anonymously and without fears of being put under surveillance.

More stories and other good stuff from Blogfest.asia soon!

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