When I comment on sites like The Peking Duck and The China Law Blog -- or occasionally, when Roland Soong at EastSouthWestNorth links back to me -- I sometimes get a few nasty comments from those who troll China-related blogs. This is no criticism of those three sites. (I know that Richard at Peking Duck struggles with containing his very popular comments page, while the ever-wise Roland doesn't allow any comments at all.)
Generally, trolls don't bother with Joyceyland, since it's mostly a personal blog, not a political one. As I work in the news media, I will sometimes write about current events, and not without humor. (I mean, come on. If an American official was accused of poisoning a millionaire with cat stew, we'd make fun of him, too).
Anyway, this morning, I wake up to find a lovely comment on my Happy New Year post about my "half-white child," which I deleted. Apparently, I shouldn't be "showing her off." (Though, I presume, a Chinese child can be shown? What is this? The Antebellum South?) This was followed by other nonsense about whites, half-races, Hong Kongers, overseas Chinese and -- I guess -- anyone who isn't a "pure Chinese," plus a bunch of stuff I'm not repeating here. A while back, I got a similarly disparaging comment about my "white husband." It was, of all things, on an apolitical post about Marc running the Hong Kong Marathon.
The comment was as outdated as someone telling a black woman with a white husband that she shouldn't show photos of her "mulatto" child. Apparently, the comment was copied from another blog. Who knows? I don't have time to go policing the whole Internet.
But, for now, I'm going to be moderating comments. There are political bloggers who spend all day arguing with these folk, policing the comment boards, and trying to figure out whom to block, whom not to block, which trolls come back via proxies, etc. I can't bother. As a new mom preparing to go back to full-time work, I don't have tons of free time. And I don't want upset and negativity taking up any extra space in my brain. This is a mostly positive, personal blog. The rules are clearly stated on the right.
I do still encourage comments -- and they are still open to everyone, including anonymous posters, some of whom are as funny, sweet and clever as my regular readers. It will just take a little more time for me to get to them. And I still encourage people to disagree with me. I'm not always right, and I like hearing the other side of arguments. Why most of the "pro-China" crowd can't make their arguments without personal attacks, I'll never understand. Many more people would listen to them if they could.
I could just keep the personal stuff on my Facebook page. But I like writing about the curiosity that is Hong Kong life, and Blogger allows me the length to do that. I'm particularly happy when I get visitors from overseas who may or may not know about Asian culture. And I think people enjoy the lighter parts of my blogs. Who doesn't want a cute baby or kitty photo?
On the other hand, I'm not going to self-censor my opinions on the news, or stop reposting the work I do for the I.H.T. or New York Times. There's no reason to do so. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, including moms!
But I also have to respect that I blog openly -- and that the child's loving father, grandparents, uncles and aunts come to this site. They don't deserve to read nastiness about someone in their family. I just can't believe that, in the 21st century, I still have to write a post like this.
Here is a Chinese New Year tradition my family follows: Before the New Year, you clean house. You do this physically -- you scrub the floors, you throw out the unused crap from your closet, you make sure everything is nice and tidy. But you also do so in less physical ways. You clean up your financial books and pay off debts or dues. You make peace with friends or family you may have been arguing for feuding with.
In the West, the New Year comes with resolutions -- promises for the future. The Chinese New Year is about starting with a clean slate. Really, those two ideas are not so different.
So let's say that I'm throwing out the trash -- the small minority of comments that add nothing to this site. They are going out the door, along with my old cardigan with a hole in it, the overflowing recycling bin and (hopefully) those extra few inches that somehow found themselves on my waist.
Here's to what I hope is another happy year of living and blogging.