inside thoughts on China and beyond

Posts tagged “progress

Chengdu Shopping

 I don’t know about you, but if there is one thing that wears me out before it has even started, it is shopping.  What traumatic experience ever caused this apparently unique disorder, I don’t know, but for as long as I remember, for me, shopping is an endurance race. And after the first 3 shops, it is right out torture. And so when my wife, daughter and son banded together against me to devote the rest of the day on shopping, I categorically refused and stuck my heels deep in the Chengdu soil. This time I serious; I wasn’t going to give in. Not me, not now. (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…)


Big Business

Disclaimer: do not read this article while eating! And with that said, let’s dive right into it: China is changing rapidly and its toilets are changing with it. Notably slower though.

But toilets have always, how shall I put it, intrigued me. After all, we spend quite some time there. As a boy I would sit and study the patterns of the floor and walls while doing my business. In the shapes and lines on the concrete floor I would see the outlines of countries, of wild roses at the point of withering; the list of what I saw was endless and always growing. Sometimes though, I would see faces. An old man with a sharp nose and deep eyes, a girl’s face with wavy long hair falling down her bare shoulders. Sinterklaas. Well, today it happened again. (more…)


Chinese Dream

In 1963, Martin Luther King spoke his legendary words: “I have a dream” and within days it became the dream of millions.  Exactly 50 years later, Xi Jinping revealed his slogan: “Zhongguo meng” the “China Dream” (also translated as: Chinese Dream). That was months ago, and millions are still wondering what he meant by it.  (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)


Red Alarm

AQI

(Monday 174 red)  The sun is shining -though somewhat watery. The sky is blueish and the temperature is just right. The peach trees in front of our kitchen window are blossoming -spring is in the air! These are those rare days that I just can’t stop myself from running. Running my lazy winter sweat out. Loosening my stiff muscles. Pumping blood through my vessels and spring air into my lungs. Reason to rejoice, was it not that there is more in the air. More than meets the eye. It’s called pollution. (more…)


Exit Xichang

clothIn America, striving for happiness is as fundamental as the Declaration of Independence itself. In China, it is the government’s worry number one, as it has been for centuries. To maintain a ‘harmonious society’, they are working hard to keep the people happy. But happiness doesn’t always come easy.  (more…)


Twisted Care

Yesterday, I twisted my ankle, if not worse.

All I know is that while cutting trees and branches in my back garden, I jumped off a wall, onto a chair. Well, that was it. Not that I haven’t done that before –from higher walls even. Of course, I blame the chair. Never jump on Chinese chairs. They are just not made for it. Anyway, I jumped onto the chair, the chair made movements I’ve never seen it do before (more…)


Holiday Noise


As I was dreaming away through a small window of the Waterlelie, a brown pub at the harbor front in the Wieden, I noticed unending floods of thick rain drops forming expanding circles on the lake. Perfect. Rain. That’s me alright. I am on holiday.

Now that was a depry start. (more…)


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…)


Table Talk

All progress has a price. Well known are of course the issues of over-population and pollution and corruption and spoiled kids. But not often mentioned, surely not in China, is the issue of equality. Yes, you read it correctly: the issue of equality. Equality as an issue.

So I called Alain de Botton. Not really, of course -for who am I?- but real enough to include this philosophical thinker and popular crowd speaker on this matter in an imaginative roundtable talk. (more…)


Monitoring Mystery

A few days ago my daughter and I were researching options for her study in Holland, freely surfing away over the world wide web from our small and cozy little cabin deep in the endless wild Dutch forest, when we came across the following remark of an anthropology student in Utrecht: “China is a large and mysterious country”. Now that gave us a good laugh! He surely hadn’t done a thorough study or had slept through the lectures and obviously had missed the last developments in China or he is one of those bookworm nerds that never leaves queen or country. Not to mention what all this tells us about his lecturer or at least the university’s marketing head. China is large, sure, but mysterious? (more…)


photo-story – Changing Chengdu

Photo Story – Changing Chengdu

January 2012

Don’t we all like medieval cities and romantic mansions? As much as we are intrigued by these symbols of the past, we would not want to live in it without proper heating, running water and wireless internet connection. But although change today is a necessity to be ready for tomorrow, if it wipes out all connections with yesterday, it will create a lost generation… (read more).