Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bearing Witness

Somehow the wrong URL went in to Grand Rounds this week and my post on air pollution appeared for a second time. Probably my mistake. I thought I was submitting the post on Mulu Caving and MCQs,which also fit with the theme of higher education. I was, in fact, hoping to keep a low profile about air quality in Sarawak.

The day after the original post, friends advised me that a couple of years ago someone working in the travel industry in Borneo who had mentioned that people might want to delay travel for a couple of days because of the haze at the time, came to work the next day and found he had been fired. There has been some easing up around the issue, but as I was a guest in the country, I certainly didn't want to upset anyone. My blog was more about how important numbers are in resolution of health issues and being grateful there were now numbers.

Then before I left Borneo, I got a call that my boss wanted to see me. Oh, I thought, he saw the blog.

My colleague, Aye, who has yet to view my blog, said, "Don't be silly, nobody is reading your blog."
I had to admit that she was, for all practical purposes right, after all, I am the one who checks the sitemeter.

But then a week or two later I discovered about links and was astounded to learn I had 44 of them. If you haven't noticed, I have only a few sites on my blogroll. It scares me to even think about going into my template to create links. This means I haven't really got into linking yet. So how had I managed to acquire so many links? When I checked to see who had linked to my blog, I noticed about thirty newspapers in Malaysia, India, Nepal, China, from all over South East Asia as well as airlines, banks, the military and automobile makers in Malaysia. And all these links dated to the time of my blog about air quality.

I used to think I had to debate, argue and convince people about health issues. I am more and more moving into a position of simply noticing and commenting, what the Quakers call, bearing witness. Blogs are good for this purpose. When everyone else is blissfully ignoring something, it can be useful just to state the fact. My blog about air quality acknowledges a situation and that for the time being is enough.

When I saw my boss, he wanted to thank me and ask me back next year and he was OK with the fact that my final report might be delayed. No mention was made about air quality.



Anonymous Moof said...

Unexpected links - especially to something you may have wanted to keep a bit low on the attention scale - are disconcerting. I've had the same sort of thing happen.

And - I'm glad that he didn't want to talk about your air quality post, but if he's not reading your blog, he's missing out! :o)

11:34 AM  
Blogger Daniel Yiek said...

I have linked your Rajang trip post in my post about Sarikei's 3rd hospital.

1:48 PM  

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