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.
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.
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.
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.)
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!