What is impressed about my trip to Chile is about the first ever experience for everything:
Firstly, it is about the travel itself. it is my first trip to South America where i have never experienced such a long travel. Yet, I would not complaint about it since other few members took longer flights than mine. It took me about 35 hours to reach Santiago by transferring through a various channels: From Niigata to Seoul of Korea, then from Vancouver to Toronto, and finally i safely arrived Chile where I first meet John Kennedy, Chinese Language Editor for Global Voices Online, originated from Canada but currently living in China. Only one indirectly mail correspondence, I and John managed to meet up at main entrance of Santiago Airport and we took taxi together to the hotel. My first meet-up with John help me to feel released for not getting lost alone in Chile. Thank John!!! |his name recalled me a joke by Tarek Amr, GV author from Egypt, who wrote in our mail correspondence:
Dear Mr. President – John Kennedy – would you please allow me to take a photo with you.
Secondly, it is about first meet-up of Global Voice team. Exposing to a global environment within 2 years at my school, International University of Japan, where students from about 50 countries living in dormitories and studying together, it should be not surprised for me to meet global team. However, what is striking me about Global Voice team is the diversity of the members who are apparently migrating around the world. Nearly all members I met mentioned at least two countries when we introduced each other. Similar to John Kennedy and my case that I am Cambodian currently studying in Japan, an outgoing GV friend,? Simon Maghakyan, a native Armenia who is currently pursuing his study in US, jokingly introduced himself as Amernian. If the team would allow, I would call GV members as GV Immigrants.
It has been 7 months of my volunteerism as Contributing Author for GV that I have first met all the team who just communicated online. Asking myself how do I feel about this meet-up, it reminded me about my advise to a friend who asked what I am thinking if a Facebook friend want to meet her offline. My advise is that “Online networking is great, but when it comes to offline, there is associated risks.” During the summit, the organizers introduced a survey game which is perfectly matched my story. Questions are “does your parents know if you write for GV?” Some said Yes and some said No, but when it come to question “are they supporting your writing for GV?” An interesting GV member said “Yes, my mum supported it. But when i told her that I will meet the team in Chile, she quickly reacted that online friends are dangerous.”
I now believe that there are associated risks by meeting people offline. The risks here is the inspiration of many people from different countries who have been actively using online network to reach their vision and their communities. I have been inspired by a number of bloggers/authors/translators and especially I am impressed about how Global Voice is functioning and attracting not only contributors, but readers, followers, and donors.
Thirdly, my participation in this summit is not only in the name of GV author, but as regional researcher for Technology for Transparency Project aiming at mapping and evaluating technology projects that promote transparency, accountability, and civic engagement around the world. It is my first independent research tasks and I am obliged to give a keynote speech of the research result on “Southeast Asia: Good Governance Advocacy via Technology”. My meeting with all research team and donors give me more insight on how we should improve our research as well as to engage the project initiators together for more impact and project feasibility.
Last but not least, the Chile trip is my first experience to have Hamburger as my everyday meal instead of rice. Beside food, I love the view of this country since I took a glance from the plane where i could see a range of peaceful mountains. I enjoyed the view of Santiago from San Cristobal Hill (Vista de la ciudad desde el Cerro San Cristobal) and the people who eagerly and friendly asking me “Where are you coming from”! then “Hola, welcome to Chile.”