inside thoughts on China and beyond

Posts tagged “people

Hong Kong Hassle (HK.1)

Hong KongHong Kong has always been an intriguing city. With its rich colonial history, its endless skyscrapers and neon signs, its ever present hilltops and, of course, the dizzying busyness between Kowloon Bay and Victoria Harbour, it was the Crown Jewel of the British Empire for most of the last a century. It was the optimum of opportunities for daring entrepreneurs and the dream of many. It was the ultimate sensation of the Orient. Hong Kong has, as Prince Charles once said, “created one of the most successful societies on Earth.” Hong Kong, in short, is a place you had to have seen before you died. But for all its magic, I tell you, never go there after Chiang Mai. (more…)


Photo Story – Our Thailand

Photo Story – My Thailand

March 2014

My Thailand -yes, one more ‘beyond’ story!- as I wrote in my previous blogs, wasn’t the Thailand you read about in the papers. It was much more; much better! After we travelled north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train and tricycle and were greeted by friendly chauffeurs and scary temple dragons, we were engulfed by a Thailand drenched with liveliness, religion and the color orange… (read more)


My Thailand (TT.5)

My ThailandI found his home on one of my biking trips along the river. A small white plank high in a tree had his name scribbled on it in red paint. Theo Meier. I had no idea who he was, but the lush garden that surrounded some old teak buildings aroused my curiosity. (more…)


Guest (TT.4)

GuestI was staying at a guesthouse that was nicely tucked away along the eastern shore of the Ping river and under the shady canopy of an ancient tree that fully umbrellaed the grounds here, and that of at least 3 neighbors. Everyday during breakfast a Dutch radio channel announced the day’s traffic jams (more…)


Golden Triangle (TT.2)

Golden TriangleWe checked in our guesthouse, left our luggage and hit the streets, finding ourselves in a street of massage shops and bars. Both rampant businesses. Both with an obvious unlimited pool of short skirt women of all ages picking their noses and long-nosed men, eager to pick up a short skirt but instead lurking around not able to make up their minds. (more…)


Tropical Tales from Thailand

Tropical Tales I’ve written it before: there are those moments you just need to escape Chengdu, or, as in this case, China. It just becomes too much. And that’s how we ended up in northern Thailand. But we weren’t alone. (more…)


Wonderful Wuhou

For most, the attraction of Wuhou, an area just west of downtown Chengdu and sandwiched in between the ancient Wuhou temple complex in the north and the campus grounds of the Minority College to the south, is that it has traditionally always been the Tibetan quarters. A little bit of Tibet in center Chengdu, complete with a good supply of beggars on every street corner, never tired of reminding you of the ancient tradition to give to the poor -and to those pretending to be. But for me, there is more. (more…)


Migrant Workers and The China Dream (part 2)

Chunjie is a moving business in quite the literal sense of the word: everyone is moving, and most are moving home. And like all previous Chinese New Year holidays, records are broken. Now, an estimated 200 million trips will be made -all in about 2 weekends. Should be enough to topple the earth, if you ask me. And this time, Da Erzi joined the crowd.  (more…)


Migrant Workers and The China Dream (part 1)

Things aren’t always as they seem. Especially when it involves my son. Just when I was mesmerizing about the fate of the migrant workers whom are the embodiment of China’s ambitious urbanization plans yet unwelcome and marginalized by every city, Asher came home. All fired up and ready to talk. That doesn’t happen to often so the migrant workers and their urbanization have to wait a while. So tell me, Asher, what’s up?  (more…)


People Persons

 I am not a Catholic but I do want to congratulate Pope Francis wholeheartedly. (Though I do think he would want me to call him Jorge, given his achievements of the last 9 month as a People’s Pope, so I shall.)  Being chosen as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ doesn’t happen often (well, it happens once a year, of course, but not to the same person). And that Jorge is chosen ahead of Snowdon and Assad is a sign; a writing on the wall. The Great Wall, I hope. (more…)


The Stroller

My traffic light is red. I stop. (Do take note of this; stopping for traffic lights isn’t anyone’s second nature after more than 10 years in China – remarkable, really!) I wait and watch thick raindrops splash on my windscreen. Soon I will need to switch the wipers from interval mode to constant. A young woman is crossing the road. With one hand she pushes her stroller loaded with Aldi shopping bags hanging heavily on the handlebar while holding an umbrella with the other. (more…)


Photo Story – Baptism

Photo Story – Baptism

August 2013

My blog’s tagline explains the purpose of my blog: ‘show & tell’ about China and beyond. This photo story is then clearly a ‘beyond’. It is not taken in China -it took place in the center of The Netherlands. It is not about the Chinese: these are (Dutch) Indonesians. Nor is it about buddhism. This is a short impression of a Christian baptism that took place in a little pond in the gardens of De Hught, on a cold and very wet day…  (read more)


Photo Story – Schools of Hope

Photo Story – Schools of Hope

May 2013

Victor Hugo once said: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison“. This is surely true here, in the Land of the Yi, around Xichang. Long have the local people of the Yi ethnic minority lived in extreme poverty that lead many of previous generations into alcohol and drugs abuse, leaving deep scars in the younger generation. Here, a few determined teachers with small budgets but great hearts have started schools for the Yi children. Many students walk hours through the mountains each day to come to school, their school of hope…  (read more)


Earthquake Expert

There are those days you will never forget. They stay with you forever. Not that we always want to, but they do. Just take a second. While reading this, I’m sure something is popping up in your head ‘while we speak’ so to speak. And for your sake, I surely hope so. No life can possibly be so boring that it has not one moment of deep hardship or glorious fortune, not one moment of lonely obscurity or unbridled fame; not one moment that you will always remember. All that to say: today was just one of those days. (more…)


Re-post: Photo Story – Chinese New Year, China

Photo Story – Chinese New Year, China

February 2013 (re-post from February 2011)

This is the second of 2 re-posts about Chunjie; Chinese New Year. Enjoy it!

Just like Christmas and New Year’ eve in Europe and Thanksgiving in the US, with its family visits and presents, for the Chinese, Chunjie is the big thing, turning all of China red with paper lanterns  and firework … (more)


Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom

Portfolio – Emperors of the Middle Kingdom

February 2013

The One Child policy has lead to a dramatic surplus of males and a problematic shortage of future workforce, most of whom, to make it worse, are considered the overly spoiled xiao shihuangdi (=little emperors).  But is China’s youth really a spoiled generation? Have a look for yourself… (read more)


Portfolio – Walls of China

Portfolio – Walls of China

December 2012

My neighbor is building a wall around his house. I’m not sure why, because our neighborhood already has a high ands well guarded vence to keep out the dangerous and the poor. It reminded me that this was the first things I noticed when I came to China years ago: everywhere were walls. Walls around the country; walls around neighborhoods; walls around gardens ands houses.[…] above all and regardless the reason, it seems a result of the deep-rooted distrust that is a fundamental aspect of the Chinese culture. This is a small impression of life amongst the walls of China. (read more)


Portfolio – Men at Rest

Portfolio – Men at Rest

November 2012

In a booming economy in this land of opportunities, one needs to be purposeful with time. Moments of rest are crucial.  Though it would be unfair to say that only men (read: the males) rest, they do seem to devote more time to it. Here a reflection of men (now read: men and women) at rest. (read more)


Portfolio – World of Wondering

Portfolio – World of Wondering

Sept 2012

People dream. People wonder. People stare. At times, we are lost in our thoughts. Moments when we find ourselves physically present but mentally in another world. Unconsciously staring out, but looking in. An impression of these moments… (read more).

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The Vow

Motionless he stood there. Physically present but mentally in another world. Looking to the horizon but seeing nothing. Thoughtless.

His father had been a farmer. A poor, hard working, small-time farmer. Each morning before dawn he was under the cows, followed by long days pulling weeds and clearing ditches. Five cows, 1 and 1/2 pig, 8 sheep, 13 chickens and one rooster and with luck, some eggs. Cats were always walking around but he was never sure how many. They always disappeared in the winter when on some Sundays the whole family ate a special meal. The dog had died and was never replaced.

He made a vow to work his way out of this cruel  life. Away from this simplistic and enslaving primitive lifestyle.  For him and his family. The road to prosperity. (more…)


Portfolio – Faces of China

Portfolio – Faces of China

June 2012

Oscar Wilde once wrote: “A man’s face is his autobiography.  A woman’s face is her work of fiction.” Each face is a work of art and a reflection of its history. But more specifically, it reflects how the face bearer stood -and stands- in life…. It is how we deal with these circumstances, that shapes us -and those around us!… (read more).


Photo Story – in the Shadow of the Drum Tower

Photo Story – The Dong: in the Shadow of the Drum Tower

June 2011

Going over the newly paved highways cutting through the south-eastern part of Guizhou, a poor Chinese province, like a growing spider web, constantly tunneling into mountains and flying over valleys, passing hamlets that till yesterday were only reachable on foot, you cannot but wonder how this will affect the centuries old cultures of the local minorities as the Miao, Dong, Shui and many more.  …. (read more)