In a tragic case of mistaken identity, E@L was assumed to be someone whose opinion was worth a damn today at the blogger.sg conference in Singapore. People with large, important-looking cameras were keen to point them at him for some reason. Diminutive journalists with pens poised were keen to ask him delving questions.
Why? Because at a particularly low point in the proceedings when the scheduled speaker was upstairs breast-feeding, Mr Brown caught a view in the corner of his eye, clutched at a straw and said "What do you think about the Expat Blogger Community, Phil?"
Now Phil (aka E@L) had been for the past few minutes chortling over the comments from the various Barflies on the MSN chatline that were being projected over MrB's venerable head of hair and had no idea what had been going in the vocal/aural part of the proceedings. Suddenly there was a microphone thrust into his hand, and a sea of Singaporean faces staring expectantly at him... the token ang moh. Why, oh why had he come?
He certainly had no idea that there WAS an Expat Blogger Community and had even fewer useful ideas about it. After he mumbled something incoherently ex tempore about the World Becoming Flat, Globalization and the Resultant Culture Backlash as communities use technology to re-forge strong bonds to hold their identities fast against a rising sea of international blandness (he didn't actually say that but he wishes he had), Mr Miyagi waved from the podium and said, "What about our previous discussions about those certain contentious issues?"
Great, Mr Miyagi wants to hit me, he thought. He looks wiry and tough, compact and strong like a Thai boxer, to E@L's lumbering sumo wrestler physique. He'd kick E@L's arse! (E@L didn't really think all this, but his life is so much more interesting with such fantasies!) So he clumsily attempted to skirt the issues, at least he thinks he did, and hardly ever used the "R" word. (Didn't someone say that E@L gives in-house-corporate and customer training for a living? You wouldn't know it the way he stumbled over every word and confused every concept.)
"How do I get rid of this microphone?" he thought.
Idea! Stop rambling on!
STOP TALKING E@L!
It worked. He shut up... and eventually someone took the microphone from his sweaty palm, the crowd heaved a sigh of blessed relief and the topics moved on to things of infinitely more interest to your run-of-the-mill Singaporean bloggers than what other countries think of them - how to photo-blog their latest hairstyles and clothes acquisitions directly from their camera via Flickr.com and the like.
(E@L again lies thorough his teeth here. The next bit was about legal issues and it was very interesting... Apparantly one Blogger.sg organizer has 10 girlfriends and runs a male escort service in Changi... OK, this a parody, E@L is joking, though it would be justifiable if proven to be true, and it is a comment on public figure [he was on the stage wasn't he?] about an item of public interest, but such were the examples of defamation that the lawyers kept using and they all involved Mr M! Why, the overhead boards were wondering? Smoke, fire?)
One bit of success - he got Mr Brown to promise to correct his link to the E@L URL! No doubt the return of the accidental net-tourists should boost his stats again!
So, after being seen to be known by these Blogging El Supremos, E@L acquired a fleeting vicarious hint of notoriety. The photographers and journalists stampeded to him. They had already done their damnedest with MercerMachine (at least one more expat was there it seems) but they had studiously ignored the unphotogenic E@L until he was singled out by the moderators.
But those journalists' questions! Man, they were indeed delving, probing, insightful...
e.g. "How does it feel to be the oldest blogger here today, to be of a totally different generation to everyone else?"
"Old? Moi? But Mr Brown's old[-ish] too." (Is that defamatory?)
(Sorry, no chance to say goodbye to all those he met today, no chance to see the belly-dancer, or even partake of the free-flow of drinks courtesy of MSN; E@L had to leave early to pack his bags for a 2 week stint [working] in Thailand again.)
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Not just old... but oldEST. Heh. Have a gd trip!
It was nice to have you with us Phil, you were a good sport!
LA: good to see you all working so hard while I sat back with a nice glass or three of red wine.
WJ: Thanks for rubbing it in!
I saw your picture in the paper. Oldest blogger eh. Guess there are no Chinese aunties blogging? What up with that?
Chinese Aunties blog? Can or cannot?
Aw man, all this blogcon talk makes me wonder on what I missed out on...