I have been making think pieces for some time now, even though I may not have been consciously doing it. In the mid ’90s, I participated in various e-groups (e.g. Palaris) and some of my e-mails could be classified as “think pieces”. One of these is (Proud to be Filipino) which was an e-mail that was forwarded rather widely. In 1999, I wrote the framework for the present Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) law. Even though I may not necessarily have been the first to think of the “winning” formula for OAV – that Overseas Filipinos vote for national candidates only, and that the registration, voting and counting of votes be done by the embassies – I was the first to put it on paper.
In ensuing years, I continued to write “think pieces” for myself. They were a way for me to focus my thoughts (and I have a very active mind). They helped me to think more objectively, and to remain optimistic most of the time. It was a nice exercise to develop an idea, and see how it develops – sometimes it would bloom, sometimes it just blows over. I got into the habit of writing some of these down, just for the heck of it.
When blogs came into style, I decided to try my hand at it. I just called my blog Carlo Butalid’s Blog in the beginning. I wrote about things that I used to talk about with people, and I didn’t really care if anyone would read my posts. I changed the name of the blog to Carlo’s Think Pieces when my blog was nominated to the PEBA (Philippine Expat/OFW Blog Awards) in 2009. My blog was judged to have gotten the 16th place, but only the first 10 were considered winners.
Even though I haven’t lived in the Philippines since 1983, I keep myself updated on everything Philippine – from barangay developments in Cebu (where I come from), to showbiz news and chismis, to the latest slang terms, and big political issues. Many people who read the blog assume that I am based in the Philippines.
Carlo’s Think Pieces is the product of my mind, which in its turn is the fruit of my various experiences: of being born and having lived in the Philippines; of having lived in the Netherlands since 1983; of being a father to two smart, well-behaved and beautiful daughters (proud father, huh); of having been a member of the CPP/NDF, and then rebelling against Joma Sison (in 1992); of being editor of Tinig, a Filipino community paper; of being director of Pasali Padala, a remittance company; of being an Overseas Filipino activist.
I don’t really write for an audience, although at times I wish that some of my posts are read by more people, in the hope that they could influence change. I don’t think I have a significant following, in terms of people who regularly read my blog. Rather, most people read specific posts after having searched for certain topics. Some posts have surprisingly become “popular” (Charter Change Debate); while other posts I have written because I thought the topic was “cute” e.g. (Name Your Child After a Star) or (Freak Snowstorm Hits Manila). Some posts that I have worked hard on have proved popular (On the Philippines Claim to Sabah). And some other posts are based on my Dutch experiences e.g. (Where are all the Fat Guys) and (The Dutch People and Water).
I have been posting since 2007. I hope to continue doing so for some time.