My first ever interview

Oh my…My first ever interview has been published. Thank God, they did find it worth publishing 😉 Anyways, here is the link to the same.

Also, do visit the website PakSpectator. There are quite a lot of good articles out there. On second thoughts, i think i will post my full interview here too just for memory sake 😉

Interview with Blogger Liju Philip

By The Pakistani Spectator • Jan 17th, 2008 • Category: Interviews • (16 views)

Q: Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
A: I was born in Kerala, bought up in Hyderabad (India) and am currently working in Singapore for the past 8 years. My website is a personal expression outlet for me. There is no restriction on the content or subject that i choose. I am very much passionate about the political issues within India and the world in general, business, movies (all kinds of cinema), music, places, travel etc. But i make sure that i don’t blog anything about my job as it could lead to conflict of interests and i intend to keep it that way.

Q: I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
A: Blogging has helped me listen to what people actually think of the things that happen around us. In many instances people have disagreed with what i say and it has been an eye opener listening to alternate points of view. Also blogging has helped me understand people better and i have met some great people who have become my friends.

Q: What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
A: Blogging and the internet has revolutionalised politics. Much before the papers print the daily news and much before you switch on the TV, issues are being discussed on the internet in various forums and news websites. Even if the government wants, it cannot block off any kind of news. Prime examples being the news and pictures of the junta’s crackdown on protesters in Myanmar and what has been happening in Pakistan recently too are now easily available on the net.

Q: Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?
A: There are always pros and cons to every new discovery or invention. On one hand, technology has put information in our fingertips. On the other hand technology is also being used by vested interests to further their cause. So, it cuts both ways.

Q: What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
A: I dont think there is any USP for my blog. I dont restrict myself to any topic. Anything and everything that interests me is put up for discussion. Looking that way, my site is similar to almost every one.

Q: If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success, what would it be?
A: I am quite stubborn and when i set my mind on something, i will do everything possible to achieve it. No matter the cost.

Q: What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
A: There are many. I cant possibly point each one of them. I believe Happiness is soon followed by sadness and vice versa. And so, i dont give much importance to either. Its just a transient phase.

Q: Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what?
A: Politicians are people from the society itself. So, its not surprising if they take to blogging, social networking sites etc to spread their message. With most of the youth today connected to the internet, the politician feels that its the easiest way to reach out to the younger generation.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?

1. Eastern Europe
2. Anywhere in India
3. USA

Q: What is your favorite book and why?
A: Its not about the bike by Lance Amstrong. Its the story of the 7 time Tour de France cyling championship winner Lance Amstrong’s fight against cancer and the triumph in the toughest sport in the world.

Q: What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
A: Their eyes

Q: Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?
A: Oh, quite a lot of people. Not that i care much about other people’s opinions anyway.

Q: How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
A: Google allows for monetising the blog by putting up advertisements on one’s blogs. Or if the blog is pretty famous, one could be approached by someone to endorse their product / services. There are quite a lot of bloggers who make enough money from their blogs to have it as their primary source of income.

Q: Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?
A: Not really. I simply believe they are very good at “time management”.

Q: What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are?
A: Its a trend that is being actively followed by the corporates too these days. Advantages being the image of the company to the outside world that its an open organisation when it comes to expressing views. Disadvantages could mean knowingly or unknowingly leaking trade secrets.

Q: What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
A: Accepting that the other person can have an alternate point of view on every subject and respecting that opinion.

Q: Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
A: www.indiauncut.com
www.ultrabrown.com
www.prempanicker.com
Tim Harford’s “Dear Economist”
www.mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com

Q: Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
A: It was post about the cricket match in Mumbai between Australia and India. Some sections of the crowd chanted monkey chants at the Aussie player Andrew Symonds. That post provoked some heated exchange between some aussies and some Indian guys. But all’s well as a truce was called after some heated exchanges. 😉

Q: What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
A: Like Atal Bihari Vajpayee said that we can change friends but not our neighbors. I do realise that no matter what happens, India and Pakistan need to learn to live together. There is no wishing away of each other. I believe the general Pakistani wants peace and happiness with India. He/She would like to have a good economic relationship with India where both the countries prosper. A few radical elements on both sides of the border have highjacked the whole issue and kept it burning. Am sure just like a normal Indian, a Pakistani would also like to go about with his life and not have to bother about a moronic terrorist blowing up his country and his loved ones.

Q: Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
A: I would say that i have been pleasently suprised by the quality of articles written by some bloggers, the choice of their words, the topics they take on and the effectiveness with which they are able to put forth their point of view.

Q: How the animosity between India and Pakistan could come to an end?
A: Both countries would need democratic governments on both sides of the border to talk to each other and over a period of time increase the economic relationship between the two to prosper. As the economic dependence increases between the two, naturally the hostility would also decrease. Its time for the army to go back to the barracks in Pakistan and for the civilian leadership to take charge. And also for Pakistan to realise that no matter what happens, they are not gonna get Kashmir either by hook or by crook from India. So, they better look at living peacefully with India economically.

Q: Isn’t it more good for Pakistan, India and Iran to make an economic triangle rather than towing the line of West and working against each other?
A: How much of business can Pakistan or Iran give to India? India can buy oil, gas from Iran and do normal trade with Pakistan. But there is a lot of other business that India can do with the US, Europe, China, SE Asia etc. Similarly for Iran and Pakistan too. So, i believe instead of isolating ourselves, we need to engage the world. Compete with the world and do business. To look at the west as some sort of a monster is simply to fool ourselves. The world is more dependent on each other today than at any point of time in history. So, its best that we realise that and work towards a global market.

Q: What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
A: Literacy, poverty, human rights, the status of women in the society, infrastructure etc. These are the things that developing countries like India, Pakistan etc should be working towards instead of fighting over non issues like Kashmir, fostering terrorism in each other’s countries, religion etc.

Q: What is the future of blogging?
A: Text based blogging is already giving way to video and audio blogs. Technology changes faster than man can handle. So maybe a few years down the line, there would be tools that serve our needs better than blogs.

Q: You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I dont blog anything about my job or work in particular and i like to maintain it that way as i dont want any conflict of interest. As for personal life, i have managed to make some great friends over my 4 years of blogging. I have met up with some of them personally too. So, yeah i do have lots of positives when it comes to personal experience due to my blogging.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: I plan to keep blogging. Would love to travel the world more and blog about that. Put up some videos of my travels. I plan to finish my MBA this year and also write a few exams on the capital and financial markets. Some day in my life i would like to be a full time stock investor.

Q: Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
A: I hope both India and Pakistan will forget its bloody history and work towards a better future for their future generations. Hope one day, we would have no barriers between our countries and people can freely move between the two countries. Hope India and Pakistan become each other’s biggest trading partners. Hope we break the shackles of poverty, fundamentalism and have a great future as developed nations.

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