I have whittled about 1500 posts down into slightly over 100 for the best-of, but that’s still a lot for any normal person to wade through. Below are my twenty most essential posts, representing the most condensed possible digest of Imagethief since 2004 across all the categories but travelogue. These are chosen largely because they’re my personal favorites, but all were also popular. If you’re going to read just one or two, read one of these.
Humor, rants and memoirs
How to ensure your reincarnation as a frog: Imagethief reminds Buddhists that throwing small animals to their deaths is not a good way to earn merit. An all-time favorite. March, 2010.
Let me tell ya about Edison Chen’s dirty photos: Hong Kong movie star Edison Chen and his squad of girlfriends all deserved what they got. The most viewed post in the history of Imagethief, with over 100,000 page views. 99,999 of those were from people looking for the photos. I assume one was my mom. But a longtime favorite. February, 2008.
The devil wears Prada and won’t rent me an apartment: In which I and my cats are unworthy of an apartment owned by a woman who works for Vogue China. An all-time favorite from Imagethief’s Shanghai era. March, 2007.
The kid: An hour in the life of a child beggar in Beijing. One of my all-time favorites. August, 2006.
Haircut: In which we learn that I am way, way too old to get my hair cut in the fashion of a Korean pop star. January, 2006.
Dark table-tennis match of the soul: In which a girl who weighs 80 pounds soaking wet and leaves a trail of sparkles wherever she goes thoroughly kicks my ass. August, 2005.
Public relations, business and technology
So you want to work in PR in China… I often get e-mails from young, western PR pros or students asking how they can get into the PR industry in China. I like replying, but I got tired of writing variations on the same response, so here is my definitive guide. Your mileage may vary. April, 2010.
Google detonates the China corporate communications script: In a country where multinationals usually sprain limbs demonstrating their commitment to the market, Google suddenly, shockingly and publicly withdraws. I analyze the communications. January, 2010.
Melamine in Sanlu milk powder? Now that’s a crisis! People often refer to things as “crises” even when they aren’t. This was a real crisis. My definitive post on the great tainted milk powder scandal of 2008. One of the most amazing business episodes from my years in China. September, 2008.
Tibet and the trouble with unassailable national myths: Following the Tibet riots of 2008 this was my analysis of how the government’s propaganda efforts have painted China into a corner in resolving its ethnic tensions. One of my best pieces of analysis, it picked up a nice inbound link from Salon’s superb “How the World Works” blog. March, 2008.
What if Yahoo abandoned China? With Yahoo under severe pressure due to their missteps in China, I speculate about what might happen if they abandoned China altogether. Five years early, and I picked the wrong Internet company. June, 2006.
The Harbin water crisis: My extensive analysis of the coverup and communication surrounding the nasty Songhua river benzene spill of 2005. The post that established Imagethief as a “serious” China blog. Prompted by a request from Roland Soong. Long. November, 2005.
Are PR and MNCs corrupting Chinese business? My response to a fellow blogger’s post speculating about whether global PR practices are corrupting Chinese businesses. Short answer: We’re not the problem. One of the most discussed posts of 2005 (though original comments are lost). Long. November, 2005.
Propaganda, politics and public affairs
5/12, 9/11 and three minutes on Monday afternoon: One week after the catastrophic Sichuan earthquake of 2008, I went down to Tian’anmen Square for the memorial ceremony. This is what I saw, and what I thought about the glib comparisons with America’s 9/11. May, 2008.
Why the Yilishen ant-farming scandal was the perfect China story: If you live here a while, you get used to encountering events that could only happen in China. This story is the apotheosis of the “only in China” genre. And it’s all true. December, 2007.
Bang! China shoots its own Olympic PR in the foot: Almost exactly one year before the opening ceremony Chinese cops detain foreign correspondents covering a Reporters Sans Frontiers demonstration in front of the BOCOG headquarters in Beijing. Honestly, it’s like they were trying to make RSF’s protest more successful. August, 2007.
Did the “Genocide Olympics” campaign influence China? In retrospect it’s easy to see that the Olympics didn’t do much to sway China in the long term. But at the time, the NGO Save Darfur’s brilliant “Genocide Olympics” campaign looked to put real pressure on China. One of my favorite pieces of analysis. May, 2007.
Van Nguyen died for your sins: Executions as public communication: An analysis of the use of the death penalty as a communication tool by the Singapore government and others, inspired by the execution of Australian drug smuggler Van Nguyen despite pleas from Australia. December, 2005.
What to make of Edwin Maher? Following an LA Times profile of CCTV 9′s resident Western anchorman, Edwin Maher, a rash of heated comment erupts across the expat blogosphere and Chinese media. I look at the reaction and the “race traitor” phenomenon that seems to dog western performers in China. December, 2007.
Sanitized for my protection: Imagethief’s self-censorship policy explained: How and why do I filter myself as a blogger in China? Written when I was still relatively fresh to China and working in PR consultancy, but still relevant in some ways. June, 2005. (June 4th, no less.)