Monday, 16 April 2007

The reasons why?

I started to think about “Why did I want to write a blog?” People used to write about what they had done, whom they had met, how they felt and about their dreams and aspirations for the future in a diary. The diary was always seen as the most personal, of personal journals. They came with small padlocks just to emphasis the point that that no one but the writer was allowed to even open the cover. Now everyone wants to share his or her experiences with the rest of the world. No matter how small, minor, mundane or meaningless, people long to share it with everyone.
I guess we would need to study at a medical or psychological college for several years to fully understand why, I’m sure there are numerous reasons why people write blogs, and I am not nearly educated enough to go into them – I can also imagine that any search on Google will come up with a million and one links that will explain why. To add my ten pence to their research, my personal reasons are simple.
Late in life (although not too late) I found a love for writing. Some people like to write romantic thrillers, historic novels, instruction manuals and even god forbid - diaries. I have been fortunate to travel to many different countries, meet lots of interesting people, and experience a myriad of cultures, languages, delicacies and environments. I have been writing about all of this for a long time, and keeping it in private journals, scrapbooks and photo records – all for a personal record, that who knows? One day when I ‘m too senile to remember or my kids had long forgotten me, they could read about their old fathers travels. I figured that my family would be the only people who would be interested in the ramblings of someone who maybe hadn’t led the most interesting of lives.
Then I discovered an opportunity to combine my love of writing with my love for the country I had chosen to live in, and the company I had chosen to work for.
I have been writing about my experiences in China for over 2 years, and have documented the fall and rise of MG during that period, including many of the “real’ reasons why MG-Rover failed – including some untold “Secrets”. The story of how NAC managed to purchase the company! How NAC intends to turn the most British of Automotive icons, into an international company, with expansion plans beyond any that have been planed before, in the Brands long history. The influence of the communist party, the strange and sometimes bizarre Chinese business practices, the complex cultural differences between the East & West, and anything else I thought would make good reading for those that may be interested in MG, Rover, and/or China. All of this combined with numerous photos, letters and official documents would be put into a book for safe release sometime in the near future.
So why release a blog, and write articles for magazines here in the China and the UK. Several reasons really, maybe I’m just using up some of the articles as a prelude to the book, and I guess I’m using some of the story’s that won’t make the final cut!
I never intended the blog to be full of company secrets, or pre-releases of the company plans, new products, developments etc. (they are being saved for the book!). It was indented just to show a different side of working in Asia, giving people an insight into what life is like for someone living and working here, and to hopefully gauge some feedback from any passersby who stumbled across the blog.
So the blog will continue to cover some of the personal and professional things that happen here, sometimes about MG other times, simply about life in China. The difficulty is of course that whilst I want to correct all the wrongs reported, counter all the allegations, and put right the blatant lies that are being spread about MG / NAC, and whilst I want the stories to be juicier, full of background explanations of why, where, what and who, I know that I would probably do as much damage in the pursuit of the truth, as just sitting on my hands and keeping my mouth shut - something I have never found easy to do! It’s a difficult dilemma!


Jack Yan said...

Paul, I think in the 21st century, we’re ready to have an employee duke it out with rumour-mongers and have the record set straight. The trick is to discount all the nutters who post as ‘Anonymous’: those are the ones who cannot stand by anything they say and are, for want of a better term, f***wads. (Not my word: search for the Greater Internet F***wad Theory for a diagram explaining this phenomenon.)
   Secondly, Keith Adams, who runs the Unofficial Austin Rover Resource, is always keen to hear from insiders who wish to put things right. Keith’s interest is to tel the story correctly, from a historical point of view, and has always respected confidentiality when needed (such as a source’s identity). Keith’s site is at—an appropriate name given that Nanjing has the Austin name these days. (Personally, I think you should revive the Morris Minor name for a small, utilitarian car for the Chinese market.)
   In any case, Paul, I am glad to see you on the blogosphere (and said so on my blog today). I’ve been covering most of the NAC-MG developments, with a great deal more balance (if I say so myself) than many in the British media.

Russell said...

Fascinating stuff, I lived & worked in similar environments in Peking and Moscow (pre-perestroika) a few years ago & whilst the environment & controlled security and facilities were barbaric and basic, me and my family actually enjoyed a far higher standard of living (& income) than my contemporaries in the UK.