The Free Dorje Campaign: A Timeline

15 05 2013

Free Dorje Gurung

Dorje Gurung , a chemistry teacher from Nepal who had been teaching at an international school in Qatar, was jailed on 1 May, 2013 on charges of insulting Islam.

When news of this broke on Thursday, 9 May, Dorje’s friends and contacts quickly came to his support.

What ensued was four days of frantic, energised, round-the-clock campaigning.

Then, on Monday, 13 May, Dorje was released from jail.

How was international pressure built up so quickly and effectively? How did the campaign evolve? What was done, at what time and to what effect?

Piecing together bits and pieces all over the social media trail — Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Change.Org and news reports —  this timeline attempts to tell the story of the international Free Dorje campaign.

Read the timeline HERE

You can also click on each of the photo below, then enlarge and scroll along.

The International Free Dorje Campaign

Note: There was a lot of equally important ‘behind the scenes’ action that is not documented here. Many people worked tirelessly, tapping into Dorje’s different networks, working around the clock to follow news from Doha and Nepal, contacting international organisations and media outlets, pulling together updates and ideas from people on different platforms, sifting through ideas, pursuing credible sources and venues of appeal, and constantly communicating with each other to avoid the duplication of efforts. 



The Search for Music

18 02 2012

XXX Gallery - venue of 'PitchYrCulture', a Social Media Week HK event.

It’s a Friday night and I’m walking down a quiet street in Sheung Wan. Most of the shops are closed now. I’m looking for the XXX Gallery, supposedly on 212 Wing Lok Street, but I don’t see anything half resembling a gallery. I’m pretty convinced that I’m lost.

I spot a metal door, tucked discreetly away on the side of the pavement. XXX, the door cries in bold black letters  emblazoned across a slick white background. Here? I look around and, luckily, see the big ‘Social Media Week HK’ standup sign. So this is it. I push open the door. I walk down the stairs. I push open another door, into some kind of basement. A funky ambience greets me. Aha. I’ve finally found the place.

The PitchYrCulture Crowd. Funky, energetic and lovable.

This is PitchYrCulture, an event presenting various speakers who will tell their personal stories under the theme of ‘Social Media and the Search for Music’ and then share a song for our collective indulgence. As I sit there listening to the speakers, live-tweeting, and enjoying the music, I begin to grasp the importance and significance of music to our world.

Music isn’t just a series of notes, a nice tune thrown together with a catchy beat. Each and every piece of music, as the speakers will show, has its own story: not only the musician’s story, but the listener’s story of how they came to discover and fall in love with the song.

Music isn’t linear either. With the exponential growth of Internet technology and social media, it often appears as if the world of music is moving relentlessly in one single direction: forwards and into the future. We download the newest singles, watch the latest music videos, share the freshest albums. But to assume that social media is only pushing us forwards would be a gross misconception. As the speakers told their stories, it occurred to me that as much as it pushes us forward, social media also allows us to reach back into time and savour again the obscure, lost corners of the historic music world. Each piece of music has its story, be it old or new, futuristic or nostalgic.

Such is the complexity, vivacity and profundity of music.

As the event drew to an end, I feel a giddy, happy sensation. For far too long I’ve been frustrated by not knowing where to look for good music. My overly ‘mainstream’ music collection has been a source of endless iritation (and I must admit, a self-conscious embarrassment). I was tired of only listening to songs on the top charts, or songs with the same chords over and over again. But where was I supposed to start looking?

Tonight, I think I’ve found the perfect solution: PitchYrCulture!

Hong Kong Gets Social!

14 02 2012

Yes, Social Media Week HK is here.

This is perhaps one of the most exciting conferences I’ve seen in Hong Kong: a week long event, running simultaneously together with 12 other cities around the world, bringing together innovative minds, fresh ideas and a collective passion for all things social…all with the intention of Empowering Change Through Collaboration.

Hong Kong Gets Social

Hong Kong has so much potential to become an international social media hub. Us Hongkies aren’t typically known as a social center – but in this day and age, it’s not enough to simply be an international financial center. If Hong Kong wants to stay ahead of the game, to attract the most brilliant minds from around the world, social media is a prime focus point.

Here’s a cool statistic that may take you by surprise: over 52% of the HK population are on Facebook. That places it 13th highest in the world in terms of Facebook penetration rate.This is big stuff. And it just goes on to show how much untapped potential is out there in Hong Kong.

My First Dabble At Journalism

To add to my excitement, I’ve signed up to be an Official Contributing Blogger for Social Media Week HK. This would be my first hands-on experience at ‘officially’ covering an event, and I’m thrilled to be able to get some hands-on  journalistic experience.

Social media, writing, journalism, photography, music…all thrown together in a week of exciting events. Can it get any better than this?

The Zuper Generation: Generation Z

27 07 2011

Generation Z: Zuperman! photo from

There’s been a lot said about  Generation X and Generation Y.

But what about my generation – Generation Z? We’re quietly lurking in the background, growing, maturing, absorbing.

Who are the Generation Z-ers? In general, it includes people born as early as 1991 to as late as 2001. I myself am born in 1994 – kind of smack bang in the middle.

What defines us? What do we do? What does the future hold for Generation Z?

Here are some of my observations…

Gen Z are growing up with the products produced by the genius of Gen Y. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube…you name it. Generation Y programming geniuses cooked up these services, and us Generation Z are growing up with it. We live by their technology – we’re not quite yet old enough to come up with our own, so at the moment, I like to think of my generation as ‘absorbing’ the brain juice of Gen Y.

Learning to brand ourselves on the web. Most of us are still too young to think about our ‘web image’, ‘web presence’ and ‘personal brand’ as yet, but I don’t think it’s ever too early to start. We’re born into a digital era,  into globalisation and a technological revolution. Every one of our peers is on the web – so how best to stand out? Stake your own claim to the web, I’d say.

I’m working as an intern at the moment, currently involved in helping to organise TEDxWanChai. At a meeting yesterday to sort out personnel, I was struck by how important it is to have a strong web presence. A lot of it went like this:

“OK, we need a photographer.”

“I know a photographer called Mr. XYZ”

“Google him”.

Quick Google search. Website looks good? Strong web image? Professional personal brand? Hired.

So that’s how important it is. The Web is going to be where people find us now. Not the yellow pages or what not, but Google and Twitter and Facebook and your website. So our web presence needs to look good, because it’s like our second CV. And I believe that if I want to get ahead of my fellow Generation Z-ers, then I need to take full advantage of this fact.

Ask a fish to describe what water feels like – they can’t. In the same way, because Generation Z have grown up surrounded by all this new technology, we can’t really describe how it feels like either. It’s in us. It’s part of us. But herein lies the danger.

As much as online social networking, communicating and the like are all the hype, I think it’s important that we remind ourselves of our pre-Internet roots. Physical social contact. Actually talking to someone face to face. Physical, literal word of mouth. Using social media to leverage our web image is important, but I also believe that Generation Z cannot afford to forget the physical side of things.

We’ve got the power. We can do things for ourselves because we have the power to. We can start our own Twitter campaign, launch our own initiative and garner support on Facebook. The story’s the same on YouTube. Teenagers like iTr3vor and meganheartsmakeup have tens of thousands of people watching their videos. They grow up with a voice in a way that our predecessors never have.

We’re growing up with the power and we will learn to harness that power.

To wrap up: working micro, thinking macro.

It might be true that Generation Z’s attention spans are notoriously short. Yes, we do read and write and consume in micro chunks: 140 character tweets, short status updates, quick and snappy videos. We’re working on a micro scale. 

At the same time though, we’re thinking on a macro scale. Because of the convenience of it all, we can develop a real voice on the Web and really expand beyond just our own circle of friends. There’s the possibility – in fact, it is already a reality for many – to connect with the rest of the world and really promote our own initiatives.

Generation Z ? Generation Zuper.