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Our readers must be wondering why the blog has not been updated for some time. After five years and hundreds of posts, we just had to go into dry dock and take stock of things. That the blog has lasted this long (we marked our anniversary last 25th August) is reason enough to rejoice. But we’re also glad to have gained a broad international readership, including a good number of avid fans. We’ve had our share of detractors, of course.

Marine Café Blog has been wont to call a spade a spade, of being irreverent even. Frankness has not endeared us to the maritime folks in Manila, who regard criticising one’s own as unpatriotic, or the bureaucrats at IMO London, who think the organisation they represent is a sacred cow. But we’ve never been after popularity, and we remember what the great novelist Joseph Conrad said: “A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.”

On the other hand, the blog has always adhered to the policy of dealing with issues, not personalities. Why focus on individuals unless you have a good word to say? People come and go, but the issues stay. Indeed, after five years of the blog, not much has changed. Seafarers continue to be treated as commodities; male chauvinism in shipping persists; the maritime press has not reversed its decline; maritime folks still care little about maritime art; and reforms in the Filipino seafarer factory remain elusive.

But precisely because many issues won’t go away, we will continue blogging. We are even branching out to book-writing. We know it won’t be a breeze, the voyage could be rough. Yet we draw inspiration from Reid Sprague, an American old salt and maritime executive who commented today on our Facebook timeline:

“I think you have the standing and focus to weather the storm, BU: battening down hatches and trimming sail with solid argument and a respectful tone – hating the sin, not the sinner! (It’s always easy to cheerlead from the sidelines, though… I know that whatever decision you make, however you carry it out, it will be done with class & truth.)”

What stronger reason to go on writing than the privilege of touching other souls? ~Barista Uno

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: We should like to thank all our readers as well as our advertisers. Without your support and encouragement, Marine Café Blog would not have endured.