Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FarWestChina: My 7 Links Article

All across the web, many writers are taking part in a movement known as “My 7 Links” wherein bloggers share one of their articles for seven different categories and nominates 5 friends to do the same. Normally I don’t take part in these kinds of games, but this particular one caught my attention so I thought I’d give it a go.
I have been nominated twice, once by my friend Matt at the blog Waiguoren Critic of South China and also by Jonathan at Retrotraveller. If you’re somewhat new to this website you might find a few of my picks for these categories to be fascinating, so I invite you to click through and read.

1. FarWestChina’s Most Beautiful Article

K2 mountain in Xinjiang, the 2nd highest in the world 

5 Fantastic Mountain Scenes in Xinjiang, China
I’ve always felt people are misled by the idea that the Xinjiang province is just sand and camels. This article was my attempt to show that we have just as many mountains as we do sand dunes.
From K2 to Tian Shan to Muztag Ata along the Karakoram Highway, mountains almost completely border Xinjiang and in fact cut the province in half.

2. FarWestChina’s Most Popular Article

Kashgar's Old City under demolition by the Chinese government 

Kashgar’s Old City Bulldozed – Is Uyghur Culture in Danger?
Although it was written back in 2009, my most popular post continues to be my commentary on the demise of Kashgar’s Old City. It was by luck that I was able to obtain some of the first published photos of the destruction and it caused quite the stir in the China community.
In addition to these photos, I also look back with pride at the impartial way I was able to craft this article to show both sides of this interesting story.

3. FarWestChina’s Most Controversial Article

Muslim Uyghur pray on the last day of Ramadan 

Uyghur Christian in Muslim Xinjiang
Unlike many bloggers I know, being controversial hasn’t been very difficult for me thanks to my subject matter. I could insert several articles here, but instead I’ll just stick with this one.
Nothing breathes controversy like religion, and this article on the sentencing of a Uyghur Christian to jail was no exception. Read all 91 comments if you like…I gave up after a couple days. Some people are so filled with hate and prejudice, it’s unbelievable.

4. FarWestChina’s Most Helpful Article

My Chinese Drivers License 

How China Taught Me to Drive Better
Chinese people are horrible drivers, right? Not so fast. I had the privilege of obtaining a driver’s license while in Xinjiang (it wasn’t easy, believe me!) and I quickly took a crash course into dissecting a Chinese driver’s mind.
My conclusion was a bit surprising, even to me, and the success of this article prompted me to continue the “China Taught Me” series of posts which have been very well-received.

5. FarWestChina’s Surprise Success Post

Internet has finally been restored in Xinjiang 

The TRUTH About Xinjiang’s Internet Situation
What’s it like to live in an area where censorship is so big that you can’t even get on the internet for 10 months? Read this article to find out.
When I wrote this article I didn’t think much of it – I merely described what was happening in a province that was cut off from the rest of the world. It surprised me, then, to find out that nobody else knew what was going on within Xinjiang. I had broken news that even the BBC didn’t know (and because that was true, they actually contacted me to write an article for them…and I did!).

6. FarWestChina’s Least Appreciated Article

Chinese swimming pool from the outside 
Religion in the Xinjiang Desert: Worship of An Unlikely Object
I spent so much time putting this article together on a subject that has completely fascinated me since coming to Xinjiang. I published it thinking “Oh yea, wait until everybody on Facebook and Twitter get a hold of this!”
And then nothing. No comments, no tweets…nothing.
I still maintain that this is one of my favorite articles of all time, mixing pictures from the present and from history to describe a crazy desert phenomenon.

7. FarWestChina’s Most Proud Article

Uyghur people wander around a Friday market in Xinjiang 
Why it’s Good to Live (or Travel to) Xinjiang
I love looking back at early articles that I wrote during my first couple years in Xinjiang. This article, written in November of 2008, is a great reminder to me of how I got to Xinjiang in the first place and why I continue to fall in love with the province more and more.
If you’re on the fence wondering if you should make a trip out here or relocate yourself, read this series first. Hopefully it will convince you.
Which of these is your favorite? I’m just curious and I’d love to get your feedback. Maybe there’s one on here that you think should be on here and I’d like to know.