Cross-border collaboration in the East Asia group

East Asia dinner in GV2015

East Asia dinner in GV2015. This photo was taken by Thant Sin from Myanmar.

Since I attended the GV summit for the first time in 2008, I have joined discussions for cross-border collaboration from one summit to another. However, it is usually difficult to continue the discussions and to build up a strong tie for collaboration after we all came back home after the summits. In the GV summit in Cebu, the East Asia group had discussed offline about how to collaborate.

As you can see in the analysis I present below, the East Asia group has an appetite for technology. As a result, we started our discussion about what internet tools that we can use for cross-border collaboration.

(1)    Social media: google group, facebook, twitter, WhatsApp. For example, Oiwan set up a facebook group for the Newsroom in Chinese speaking regions. (Although the group name is ‘Chinese speaking regions,’ we use English in this page to communicate so that the East Asia group members who do not read Chinese can join the discussion.)

(2)    Project-oriented tools: wunderlist, slack, hackpad, google document. For example, Portnoy set up a wunderlist page for the East Asia group.

Another thing we did in GV summit in Cebu is that the East Asia group finally had our first group dinner. For some historical reasons in the formation of GV, the East Asia group is separated into two groups: the North East Asia group (including China, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Taiwan, in alphabetical order) and South East Asia group (including Australia, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, in alphabetical order). In my memory, these two groups did not hang out often although we are so closed to each other geographically, so I am very happy that we finally did it and had fun.

Based on our offline discussion, there are several reasons that we are more eager for cross-border collaboration in this summit than we had before. First, the expansion of China has given its neighbors pressure to react. Second, the environment issues, pollution and nature disasters are the common fate of the countries in East Asia due to industrial development and the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ and typhoons in our region. Third, we had more civil uprisings in our region in last year.

Based on our past experience in GV summits and personal experience, Oiwan reminded us that technology cannot work if we do not find a common base (i.e., common interests) for collaboration. As a result, I asked our group members to participate a survey to find what we are interested in when they read and/or write for GV. 12 authors and 13 translators participated in this survey (thank you!). About 7 of the translators are from the Chinese Lingua team, and two are from the Japanese lingua team.

The results for the questionnaire

The results for the questionnaire

In the results that you can see in the figure above in (the document), the top interests in the Newsroom are politics, activism, environment, culture, and international relationship. On the other hand, the top interests of the Lingua teams are international relationship, culture, and activism. (For more information for the processes of the data for the Newsroom, please check this document.)

Because what we say may not be represented by what we do, I did a quick count and categorization for the posts that were published in the past six months (by the authors who published more than three in this period) and translated in the past two months by the Chinese and Japanese Lingua teams.

The results for post counts

The results for post counts

In the results that you can see in the figure below in the document, the top interests in the Newsroom are activism/advocacy, politics, culture, and disaster. On the other hand, the top interests in the Lingua teams are activism/advocacy, environment, culture, and politics. (Please be aware that the Lingua teams can only choose what have been published to translate, so this data may not represent their interests very well.)

When we compared the two figures, there are consistencies across Newsroom and Lingua teams and across different analysis: GVers covering East Asia are interested in activism and culture, so we can start our collaboration from here. On the other hand, there are also inconsistencies here: we are interested in environment and international relationship, but we did not have comparable amount of posts for these two topics. One suggestion is that we can try to find whether there is a link between environmental issues and natural disasters (and how we deal with these problems) and between local politics and international relationship. Take Taiwan for example, the natural disasters we have after typhoons are landslides caused by insufficient protection of our forest in the mountains, and our civil uprisings are closely related to the influence of China. There is a caveat: Because of Ebola, there are strong interests for Health in the Lingua team. It is surprising that we did not pay much attention to the report of infectious diseases such as bird flu in our region after the devastating SARS outburst in 2003.

Last but not least, I would like to point out some posts in this region that represent good example for cross-border posts in GV. (I am sorry if I missed some great posts here because I did not spend enough time in the archives.)

Khun Somchai's story between Thailand and Hong Kong. This is a very good example for linking activisms across borders. You can find some posts in the same line:
I-Fan: Hong Kong-China, Hong Kong-Taiwan, and Taiwan-Hong Kong

Nevin's story between Japan and China. This is a very good example for cross-border environmental issues. You can find other posts in the same line:
I-Fan: East Asia environment and East Asia illegal bird trading

I-Fan's story between Taiwan and Indonesia. This is a good example for immigration and migrant.

The following articles are good examples for international relationship:
Nevin's story between Japan and Korea.
Mong's story between Singapore and Malaysia
Owen's stories about China and Japan (1) and (2).

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