It is never easy to pull out a camera and record a message while sitting alone in public. It is even harder when you’re alone, wastern, and tall, sitting in a park talking into a camera in your left hand. The following vlog entry is about my initial impressions after wandering slightly lost near the victory monument and chatachuk market areas of Bangkok.
There are few projects on the internet, that make me stand up and say — see.. this is what videoblogging is for! And while I’ve mentioned this particular one before, as I watched their latest video I was once again reminded of how great they are.
The project is called Swajana, a videoblog which started around the time of Jay and Ryanne’s visit to India. It is about people in India. More specifically, people and their jobs. What they do, why they do it, how much they make, how they manage their lives, their hopes for the future, their hopes for their children, their concerns in general. It is a fantastic collection of snapshots, video capsules of life in cities like Pune, India.
Watching the tailor and the tailor’s wife and the tailor’s son, I’m reminded of what life is like outside of this first world disneyland known as Amsterdam. I love living here, but the standard of living is so high, It makes me need to have reality checks, reminders, of how a majority of the world lives. That means poverty. That means jobs that many of us would not do. That means struggling for the bare essentials. While I often say I struggle, my struggle is nothing in comparison. And in my humble opinion, this is the true power, the true significance of what videoblogging and personal publishing could be used for when it comes to global understanding, reporting about reality, and learning from each other. So on this fine friday, I recommend you re-check out and subscribe to Swajana.
I’m a longtime subscriber to Minnesota Stories, one of those special video blogs out there that puts out regular and diverse content. Often I don’t have much to say about it, as it can be artistic, funny, or just food for thought.
But today I had to mention and recommend recent post featuring a confrontation with US Senator Norm Coleman, in front of his house. This particular video is an interesting look into a few minutes of the kind of confrontation that you don’t often get to experience: a group of people standing in front of a government official’s house debating issues with him and expressing their disapproval for his actions.
Among the other interesting aspects, is to see in that brief and tense moment, how people phrase their arguements; what words they choose to express themselves to the senator. At the same time, it seems as though his security stands back allowing people to stand directly in front of Norm and say what they want to say.
His reactions and statements are nothing special, the products of a trained and seasoned political figure. But that people are determined enough to go to his house, and that he is open enough to come outside and try to have a dialogue with them… it is an interesting example of a civic confrontation and debate, and how that can be amplified via a videoblog.
Yes it is that time again.. here I sit as Gabe and Gabe are speaking in the final talk-session of VlogEurope 2007. This year we’re here in Heidelberg, Germany, an extremely picturesque city south of Frankfurt. The group this year is the smallest its ever been since the first conference back in Amsterdam 2005. At the same time, we still manage to have lots of old friends meeting here to talk about this tool, this art, the vehicle that we believe so strongly in — video blogging.
If you wish to watch the live feed, it is probably too late, but the archived conference can be seen here. If you do watch you’ll see me speaking here and there, including a segment where I introduce and break down Euronews’s NO COMMENT video podcast. (pause as the panel discussion asks me a question)
Beyond the conference, the one thing I notice over and over again in Heidelberg is the presence of the American military. As I strolled through the old section of town, an amazingly beautiful oldfashioned city scape, I heard loud shouting.. at many points.. the familiar sounds of two booming American voices threatening each other. As I turned the corner there before me are two amazingly huge and muscular men, drunkenly yelling at each other while a barefoot girl lay half passed out on the ground. I kept walking due to my fear of muscular drunk people, only to pass the entrances of various flashy bars and night clubs.. again the familiar accents.
My wonderful hostess (thanks hospitality club) whom I’ve never met before but we’ve become fast friends, told me that there are various US military bases in the region.. including an important hospital nearby. For them its a completely normal thing and I found it fascinating as I strolled in the daytime, to see how they are in fact regular fixtures in the backdrop of daily life here. Come to think of it, I’m typing this from the great JoelArt’s house, he too has told me tons about the world of US military employees in Germany.
I bring it up because it is a fascinating world. It is also one that I’m not sure I like. To put it another way, it makes me uncomfortable as an American and as a European that US troops have a permanent prescence anywhere.. that is unless they’re there to actually help people and improve the quality of life.
Anyway, fireworks are starting here at the VLogEurope07 party, yes, it is a special night here in Heidelberg. (explosion… off I go to look out over the river)