Kwok Pui Lan
In the early 2000s, PANAAWTM wanted to create a website for our network. For several years we discussed the need for a website, but could not afford to pay anyone to create it. Around that time, I noticed that Patrick S. Cheng had created a beautiful site for the Queer Asian Spirit network and asked him about it. He told me the name of the hosting company he had used and that the company provided design templates for creating simple websites.
I have never been a techie. Creating a website was not something I thought I could do. But it didn’t hurt to try.
I selected one of the templates provided by the hosting company and the PANAAWTM old website was created in about two days. I had much fun doing it: posting pictures, creating links, and even including a contact page. When it was launched in June 2004, Rita Nakashima Brock was kind enough to say that it looked quite “professional.”
After almost ten years, the old site became so outdated. It still operated on the Web 1.0 model: giving out information to the public without much feedback or interaction among users.
In an age when Facebook has one billion registered users and Twitter has 500 million registered users, who posted 340 million posts per day, PANAAWTM badly needs to catch up.
The faculty advisors discussed how to make the PANAAWTM site more attractive to increase traffic. We asked for volunteers to help with the website at our 2013 annual conference. Again there was no taker. I became ill immediately after the conference and had little energy to revamp the old site.
I am very grateful to Melody Stanford, a professional Web designer and a student taking my course on Third World Feminist Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School. She noticed that some of the Third World theological networks do not have a strong Web presence to publicize their work. When I told her that the PANAAWTM site badly needed a makeover, she volunteered to create a new site for us as part of her final project for the course.
With this new website, we can post blogs and comments, news, and upcoming events. Members can create discussion forums, share research ideas, post personal updates, create groups, send friend requests, as well as send and receive messages. There is even a video created by Melody that shows people how to create an account and use the new site.
As Melody has written, this new website can serve as a bridge across time and cyberspace. Many sisters who have attended PANAAWTM are working in different forms of ministries in North America and Asia. It is difficult to connect with those who return to Asia after their studies in North America. I hope this new site will be a valuable tool for networking and mutual support for PANAAWTM members and other Asian and Asian North American sisters. I hope to hear from you and please keep the work of PANAAWTM in your prayers.