Let me put it bluntly––I care enough not to game the system. I know enough good writers who are starving, fighting cancer, and otherwise keeping it real to want to do everything organically, from the base up. Only in this way can I present my idea of Fabric in a sustainable way, have maximum impact.
Fabric as I see it combines the power of human-driven algorithms with eCommerce flow. Not to be distributed to cowboy venture capitalists, channeled through shady banks and parked offshore, but used to encourage sustainability (data-crunching scholars take note, the transaction-based traffic is itself a facilitator of locally focused change).
Sustainability-focused scalable startup that distributes money back to the communities that are the source of transactional revenue . Toward environmental and social goals (take that Uber and pork barrel politicians). The only people who lose in this scenario are the 1 %. Those who have too much, are hoarding capital and (by extension) human potential to transform how things are done, at local and macro levels.
How does Fabric generate revenue? Through a map-based app that encompasses the place discovery, food, lodging, entertainment, and social-linkup aspects of TripAdvisor, Agoda, Priceline, Lonely Planet. (Throw in a little Facebook intuitiveness and social connectivity). Quality and practicality is built into it at the base level (gratuitous Apple reference).
Imagine a Boracay Fabric app (small enough island to complete as a beta project, within a year):
Locally produced, curated information about places on a "green-dot, red-dot map" platform that zooms in, GoogleMaps style and reveals more than the basics (created by a hand-picked combination of locals, travelers, and personally invested writers - some seniority/quality of content-based user comment system in play as well).
Envision using the app on your smartphone. At the macro-level map, Boracay Island appears as an entire island, a distinct twin-beached, double axe geographical forma. To make it mobile friendly, there are 10 maximum green dots at first. These range from paraw sailboat excursions to yoga on the beach, exceptional food, cool shacks with open mikes.
• Exit Bar - still the best driftwood on White Beach - DJ Tong is epic on the vinyl reggae/hip hop. 60 peso pilsen
• OMG - fresh Banguis with rice for 110 pesos
• Tru Food - vegetarian Indian food, plus daily yoga
• Real Coffee - as noted
• Frendz - garden native-style hostel in the middle of construction-zone Station One
• Red Pirate - the Congas musical crew has its own paraw - Friday barbecue in the beachside garden is epic
• Pinas - kitesurfing at its most lokal
• Mango Ray's - chess-checkered tables for people watching... best mango shake... fresh veggies-focused Mongolian buffet... ah shit, got sold to Manila-owned Hainan Corp. that is replacing paradise with concrete (red-dot watchers note)
• Levantin - on Bulabog beach, continuing the tradition of nipa and classic Bora mango shakes.. watch the colorful windsurfers carve and flail
• Kalinga - best among the affordable, non-corporate beach buffets
• Willy's - sunset at the Rock
• Casbah - happened upon vocalist Jun Mazeery doing an unannounced gig with DJ here
• Island Inasal - best grilled local chicken and best Batchoy, hands down
• Lokal Bar - played tribal flute many nights with Louie, Mel Mel, Voltaire, and the Pinas kitesurfing crew
• Tony & friends - the 100 percent wind-powered paraw sailors union
• That crafts shop that uses recycled materials to create affordable, original handbags, etc.
• Treehouse... because
• Spider House... windy roots of nipa on the rocks
• Wahine - Hawaiian for woman
• Dave's Straw Hat - sounds cool
• Straw Dog - ditto
• MNL Hostel - cool cats, young Philippine entrepreneurs
• Terraces - sustainability-focused small restaurant with live music, at the end of Station One
• Puka Beach - the surrounding land is a "natural preserve," can it possibly be saved now that the San Miguel Corporation has invested heavily?
This exerts transparency in capital flow and ensures that money that comes from the community goes back to that community (let's define the fund as encompassing Bora and neighboring islands and Malay mainland), financing efforts to:
a) preserve the natural surroundings
b) increase recycling, plastic alternatives
c) decrease carbon emissions (irreversible global warming ties in here)
d)provide sustainability-focused youth training
e) work with local communities to implement sustainable practices
f) move beyond pure profit motives to quality of life, "Gross National Happiness"
Fabric highlight projects and happenings of significant concern/impact, keeping casual visitors in the loop as to what is really happening. On the proactive side, travelers can click in to tree-planting, gardening, teaching, beach cleanup––community-focused, human togetherness opportunities.
• Proposed development of Puka Beach, the real remnant paradise.
• MegaMall construction at Fairways, behind massive "eco-friendly" (so not) NewCoast development. the island will sink under its own weight.
• Gray water disposal on back beach, overflowing sewers throughout Boracay, lack of trash bins on White Beach and corresponding pile-up of trash. Bacteria laden water, green algae.
• Parceling off of remnant areas of Boracay with trees and relaxing nature to "build-to-the-property-line" developers.
• 600 room Marriots being built behind Red Pirates and Congas, completely devastating the quiet, natural side of the beach.
• Exploding waterside traffic jam of boats in certain areas of White Beach, including aforementioned Station Three.
• Continued destruction of plant life and creation of narrow alleyways throughout Station One & (almost gone) Two.
• Intentionally set fires to clear local people out, build massive tourist hotels. Most infamously, the Talipapa (local vegetable and meat market) on the hill.
Fabric funds will never be used for this type of activity. They may be used to coordinate activities against exploitation, at the moment it is identified. Fabric may, on the website level, help frame the question "what is allowing all this to occur?"
Readership wise, the positive news is that the blog metrics are consistently growing and sustaining. I can post just about anything and hundreds of people will read it. Total views look impressive, inching up toward 10,000 a month, with no promotion to speak of.
To quantify: I generated 73 unique visitors in the first eight hours after posting Ari Park 1.7 "Projection." I'm sure there are more readers who visit every few days, once a week. I would conservatively estimate that about 400-500 people are following the novel as it progresses. Readers with no vested interest, taking time to acquaint themselves with literary prose on a regular basis.
It is definitely spurring my creative commitment to the project. There is something about the idea of presenting a work to readers I respect that generates focus. A number of the readers I know of are not simply casual, are excellent wordsmiths in their own right.
I want to encourage readers to share with any friends who might be interested in following a complex narrative about Japan. Through reaching a sustainable readership level in the low thousands, I am hoping to fund three months of literary research in Tokyo and Chiba as I work on the latter sections of the book. I trust that will give immediacy and vividness to the prose––a chance to brush up on my Nihongo, soak in a hot tub surrounded by dark, weathered cedar planks and pine trees. Eat sweet miso with grilled eggplant as autumn leaves fall.