Spurred on by what happened, as described in my previous post, I revisited older versions of my site and read old blog posts, set in old design templates.
My domain was registered in 2000. I remember that actually in 1999 I harboured thoughts of registering it, but took a while to decide on a name. Also, my first choice name of vantan.com was taken by a Korean dotcom company which later closed down. I decided on dot org. Using money earned (while still a student) by surfing banner ads as part of a deal with a dotcom company in the US/UK, I paid for web hosting and the domain name.
In earlier versions of this blog, my writing style was different – shorter, more succinct yet profound. Coming fresh from school in the UK, worked in a newsroom environment and then a branding consultancy probably kept my English going on strong. Since then, it’s been weathered down by constant exposure to a smattering of broken English, Mandarin and dialects. I now read lots of broken English in emails, and what’s worse, people seem to be more accepting of it. I don’t like what’s happening.
The other thing was, when I was in the private sector, I wrote much more about politics, both international and local (but mainly the former), no holds barred. I designed anti-war wallpaper* in protest of the US invasion of Iraq. My posts on politics were intermingled with funny personal anecdotes. See this old home page as an example. I saw issues from a journalistic point of view. I was not afraid of repercussions.
Design was of high priority in very early versions of my website. The minimalistic look (2001) stuck with me for a while. I kept a full list of my favourite designers. When I felt like it, I would completely take down the home page and just post a message or image on it.
Web technology also fascinated me. I wanted the most powerful system and even thought of running my blog using Macromedia Generator (which at the time was state of the art). That sort of mindset probably led to my change in job scope, to become a web technologist rather than a straightforward web designer.
You can see how my blog looked like when I first launched it, powered by Movable Type. At the time, I did not understand stylesheets. However, this is probably the state of knowledge that many Singaporean designers are still at – using a mix of nested tables and some token use of CSS.
My favourite local blogs were Serial Deviant, Krisalis and Tribolum (view their sites as they looked back in 2003). We were there, before the Singapore blogging scene exploded. I still link to them but there are many more local blogs in my Blogroll now.
It’s been a fascinating walk down memory lane. It is very much like looking at your baby photos. Except in this case, the blog is my baby.
* note: There’s a broken link to the wallpaper. I’m searching for the missing files. I hand-drew that image of George Bush, dammit.