Friday, December 4, 2009

East versus West?

Despite my Indonesian (Sundanese to be exact) roots, the first weeks in Indonesia have mostly made me aware of my infinite Dutchness. I eat rice for lunch, but really need bread for breakfast. I'm pretty laid back when it comes to timing, but if people don't show up for an appointment, I am agitated the rest of the day. With amazement I look at friends that discuss designing and printing 10.000 pamphlets to be distributed all over Indonesia. Before when? Oh, a week from today. Say what?! In the Netherlands we would have packed our bags and gone home (even though distribution "all over" the Netherlands is a whole lot easier). An endeavor like that within such a time frame is bound to fail. Well, not in Indonesia. Here, almost anything is possible. If you just push and shove on the right sides.

This TED India talk by Devdutt Pattanaik talks about these differences of perception. He describes an inherently different way of living. Neither way is good or bad; we just need to realize we have different set of myths we refer to.

Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs. West -- the myths that mystify | Video on

Thursday, December 3, 2009

C'est magnifique!

Discovering a new side of my beloved motherland is more exhausting than I thought beforehand. Almost everything I do has a kodak moment in it or is worth a blog post. And I'm just talking about the little things here: Taking the ojek (motorbike taxi) through little streets and big lanes, speaking Indonesian all day long, lifting weights at a jam-packed gym and shopping at a huge Carrefour in an incredibly busy mall for instance. Mostly it's the interaction with Indonesians that leave a lasting impression: the salsa dance class instructor that yells: "Hey bule (whitey), don't forget the steps again!", friends that want to show the picture of a colleagues' freshly operated skull and myself repeatedly lying that I am married (because how can a thirty-year old NOT be married yet?!). So, when I get home, I hardly have the energy to read a book. But fortunately, there is other amusement. MAD MEN!

As my friend Miriam already described, Mad Men, is a great show. The politically incorrect macho behavior of the advertising hotshots in the Sixties (the secretaries are not just there to type, homosexuality is not tolerated and everyone smokes and drink all the time) makes you realize how much has changed over time. It makes me very happy to be living in this day and age.

The show has won several awards (including an Emmy and Golden Globes) and rightfully so. After escaping the reality here in Manhattan for an hour, I am ready to face Jakarta's craziness again.

Here's a scene from season three. Joan sings "Say-Mah-Nyee-Fee-k Oh law law law" and shows how our current image of (skinny) beauty is false. When it comes to thighs, I say: Hooray for the Sixties!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A world of want

How beautiful our planet is! Since last year, my world has gotten bigger. Being a 'culture' girl, I finally started appreciating nature more. The different shades of green, the soft winds, heavy rains capture me. I now enjoy taking walks through the woods, bike along the coastline and sit in ricefields. Hearing birds sing their pretty songs can really make my day. We should take care of our environment and cherish it.

Staying in Jakarta made me think even more than before about how sustainable our way of living is, or little sustainable, I should say. Everybody in Asia wants to have a big car and everyone around the world wants a blackberry. After watching Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff, the notion that we should seriously diminish our consumption cannot escape me anymore. But how? In this world of want, is there a way of not wanting? Is there a way back?

Would I myself be willing to consume less? If this means I should fly less often, would I? Currently, I am reading Jared Diamond's 'Collapse', a book on how some societies have a tendency to destroy themselves. Is that what we're doing? Well, naturally I haven't found an answer yet. But I do want to share a teaser of Annie Leonard's video.

How the gecko fights the crocodile

For the past weeks, Indonesian news has revolved around the battle between the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the police. President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has made fighting corruption his flagship issue and thus established the KPK some four years ago. The KPK has thusfar brought several corruption cases to light. Then in May this year, the KPK's good name came under threat as its chairman, Antasari Azhar, was accused of ordering the murder of Indonesian business man Nasruddin Zulkarnaen. Not only was this said to be a crime passionel (supposedly, Antasari had an affair with a 22-year-old golf caddie, who happened to be Nasruddin's third wife), it was also speculated that Nasruddin tried to bribe Antasari to stop pursuing him in a corruption case.

Well, this is only the beginning. The story involves many players and intrigues, which are for the large part hard to keep up with. Most importantly, the two deputy chairmen of the KPK, Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Samad Riyanto, were accused of having accepted bribes. A high ranking police officier stated that the KPK and the Police relate to one another like a cicak (gecko) to a buaya (crocodile). It's a useless fight, or so he says.

Three star police general and national chief of detectives Susno Duadji illustrates

This analogy spoke to everyone's imagination and is now widely used. The extraordinary thing about it is that the public has risen to the defense of the KPK. Quiz participants on television wear black bands around their arms in solidarity with the KPK, students camp out in front of the KPK building and some were even on hungerstrike (?), NGO's organize press conferences to express their viewpoints and last week Sunday (at 7 am!) famous Indonesian bands (including the extremely popular rockband SLANK) performed at one of several demonstrations - this one attended by about a thousand people. 

And there's more: most surprisingly even is the online activity. As Indonesians too are active facebookers (membership rose with 800% over the past months, to 9 million), they have set up groups like 'Gerakan 1.000.000 Facebookers Dukung Chandra Hamzah & Bibit Samad Riyanto' which at time of writing already has over 1.2 million members. 

Two weeks ago SBY appointed eight experts (including renowned human rights lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution) to get to the bottom of things. After two rounds of examinations, the team has recommended that charges against the two suspected KPK leaders be dropped. Also, Susno Duadji quit after wiretapes came out, which shows him invoved in a large conspiracy to bring down the KPK. Well, in Dutch we say that a story has a tail if you expect something not be completely over. In this case, involving geckos and crocodiles, there is no doubt about it: there will be a long, long tail.

And it wouldn't be Indonesia, if there wouldn't be a song:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It was my intention to highlight the beauty of the Netherlands, before heading off to distant lands. That didn't exactly work out. So now, while I slowly get used to Jakarta's craziness, I will reminisce about the beauty of my very own country. Even though I have just recently learned to appreciate its varied richness, I have been able to admire it quite a lot in the past months.

De Veluwe




Friday, October 30, 2009

Let's take a walk

Some people say that the music of today is nothing compared to the classics. They feel that all popular music was somehow derived from the better original. And yes, to a large extent I agree. But sometimes, there is an artist that does something entirely new or that knows exactly how to revive that 'oldies' feel. Raphael Saadiq is one of them.

His album 'The way I see it' is one extended trip down memory lane for those of us that enjoy Motown classics. Last week, he played Amsterdam's Paradiso and it was a blast. His background singers were pumping with energy, the band played smooth and steady and Raphael was slick in his yellow suit.

Let's take a walk!

Performing my other favorite, Big Easy, live
Here you can find a 38 minute clip of Raphael playing at GoogleTalks.

And now that I'm on the subject of old music going new, I just need to praise Amy Winehouse for helping her goddaugther Dionne Bromfield record an album. Even though the 13-year-old singer still has a lot to learn, her potential sure is visible. Thanks, Amy! Now hope you sort yourself out for once and for all...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Miss Aloha

There is this cliche idea about hula. This I've noticed every time I tell someone I've studied in Hawai'i. Most people just imagine pretty girls shaking their hips and making waves with their hands. Well, that is only the beginning. Hula is a lot more. The choreographies are complex and the dancers are strong. Beside dancing, they also sing and play the drums. One of my favorite events was the big hula festival, which was held yearly. According to experts, in the year I was there, the best Miss Aloha ever won. Guess I was lucky to get a glimpse of that. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fear is my friend

On this blog I've quoted Tim Ferris before, as he often has smart things to say about fear. As I was on the plane to Jakarta, I realized that we're usually scared before something great is about to happen. We're afraid to fail at what we want to achieve or afraid to loose what we have. As Marilyn Ferguson said: "Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom". And how right she is.

Just a few days before departure, I was reminded of a time in my distant past that I conquered fear before. My sister handed me the VHS tape of my performance in a Dutch quiz show for children. I was twelve and I was so nervous! But, I did well (despite a few lesser moments) and ended up earning 439 guilders! This was one of the first times that I realized that we should befriend fear, embrace it and allow it to push us to higher levels.

First episode, introduction (I don't know what I would like to become if I grow up. In the last round, I tell him I've decided that I wouldn't mind taking his job).

First episode, first round of questions (about music, so this one is easy for me). 

The background noise is from my mom, by the way. Oh and yes, the propellor tail was my primary school trademark, so no jokes please.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Un historia de amor

He looks a bit like Al Pacino. He could walk right into a Tarrantino movie alongside Javier Bardem. But he's not an actor. Diego El Cigala sings. And he sends chills up and down my spine.

On my thirtieth Birthday I had the pleasure to see him perform in Amsterdam's Temple of Pop, Paradiso. Diego apparently started his career singing Flamenco on the street and in bars. He has played for Spain's best dancers until he decided to sing on his own. He has worked together with Cuban artists and gave extra soul to famous songs we mostly know from the Buena Vista Social Club. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Learning, learning and more learning

Lately I haven't blogged a lot. Why? Well, I've been learning. And that takes time. Apparently. In preparation of my new job, I have been offered an intensive five week training; Culture and Development, Capacity Building (see the trainer's account here) and Teaching Skills have already been finalized. Now it's just a safety training, facilitation and communication on my to-do list for September and October.

Well, I must admit: it hasn't been easy, all that learning. It's been a while since I'd been in school and my last course was in November last year (Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in Nepal with CRSC, which was great!), so it took a while to get back in shape. It made me think about how it is that I learn (a question I have also asked myself lately in the context of speaking French and dancing salsa). What is a good learning environment for me? Which is the right challenge? And for my work, the question is how people in an organization learn and how they can transfer their knowledge.

One thing I encountered while learning was resistance. From within, deep deep within. Not so much a resistance to learning in itself, but resistance to failing. It was pure fear, fear of failure. Because failing is not fun. I want things to be right from the get go. And that never (or hardly ever) happens. You should burn your fingers first a few times. That I also found when I tried out snowboarding for the first time this February. How frustrating to not even be able to get up by myself! But after fifteen minutes of ranting and telling myself: "You can do this!", I was standing on the board and sliding down the slope. For just a few meters, but the beginning was there. And THAT is how we learn. To dare and fail. And to dare again. As Tim Ferris says: "Smash fear, learn anything".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Together again

It was the first time in my life as an Amsterdammer. I was flabbergasted. When I arrived at Central Station, it was gone. I looked, and looked. Someone even came to help me ("look for a green lock", I told him). But no, my bike was definitely gone. In all my years as a happy biker I had never parked my bike in such a way that 'they' could take it. 'They' are the milieupolitie or environment police. Well, now I had and they did. I was not supposed to leave by bike designated especially for 'bakfietsen' or carrier cycles: bikes with a big box on it to carry groceries or kids. It's mostly working moms that own bikes like that. And yes, they have parking space especially allocated for them.

As I learned from their great radio commercial [Person A says: "oh no, my bike is gone!". Person B replies:"Ah, fuck!". Person A: "Well, there's no need to curse". Person B: "No, I'm not cursing: AFAC, that's where you can pick up your bike".], I had to contact the Amsterdamse Fiets Afhandel Centrale - the Amsterdam Bike Handling Center (sounds very Harry Potterish indeed). Located in an industrial area far from the city centre, I took me a while to get there.

And then I saw it: Hundreds of bikes. Some of them shiny and new. Others dilapidated and long abandoned. It was a magical sight. I walked to the counter, where I was asked to describe my wheels. My description blue (or gray) with a green lock barely sufficed. I was told to follow someone who would point me in the right direction. A guy in an orange overall greeted me friendly and explained that 'this' was a social project. People that 'have difficulties managing in society' work there: they study the bikes and register all their features in a database.

It didn't take long before I saw my remarkably green lock. We were united! I paid ten euro and was given back my bike. A long bike ride home followed. We flew through the sky, mon velo et moi. I was happy with the thought that some people found new meaning in their lives by dealing with all these bikes. And happy to be together again fighting traffic and tourist on the streets of my beautiful hometown.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Couleur Cafe

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend at the Couleur Cafe festival in Brussels. The festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary and the program was jampacked with great artists. Possibly, this was also its last edition as the location where it was being held will be renovated. That's very sad, because it is a great feast! I have had the pleasure to see and hear; Ben Harper, Oi Va Voi, Cubanismo, Ozomatli, Alpha Blondy, Zap Mama, Solomon Burke and Cesaria Evora.

Solomon invited fifteen people on stage and handed out roses and necklaces to the audience (which we were able to lay hands on too!). The way he performs his songs is amazing: seated in a big chair the whole time, he never ceases to keep the audience involved. His lyrics are great too, by the way. I especially like:

"And there are people still in darkness,
and they just can't see the light.
If you don't say it's wrong then that says it right.
We got try to feel for each other, let our brother's know that we care.
Got to get the message, send it out loud and clear.

It's a simple truth we all need, just to hear and to see.
None of us are free, one of us is chained.
None of us are free.
now I swear your salvation isn't too hard too find,
None of us can find it on our own.
We've got to join together in sprirt, heart and mind.
So that every soul who's suffering will know they're not alone"

Even though she's already 68 years old, Cesaria Evora definitely rocks the stage. Her voice is beautiful and when she sings her (relatively expressionless) face completely lights up. My favorite moment of the concert was when she said there would be an instrumental song, so she could sit down and smoke. And that's what she did: in the middle of the stage, she sat herself down on a chair, lit a cigaret and took her time. "Always enjoy life to the fullest" is what she seemed to say.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In the now

with a positive take on the past and hungry for what is to come...

This video would actually fit better on my other blog, where I compile thoughts on how to put our ideas into action and how to live a happy and successful life. However, this specific talk by Philip Zimbardo stuck with me. Why? Because what he describes as the right combination of experiencing time is something I have just recently stumbled upon. It doesn't work perfectly yet (sometimes 'negative past' or 'fatalistic present' do still haunt me), but I immediately understood what he was talking about. I had been trying to explain this to people around me, but words failed me. So, to save me the trouble, please watch ;)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Always time for art?

On my way to a meeting at the airport, I rushed my way through the commuter crowd when my eyes caught a girl jumping ropes. She was shown on a huge video screen in front of the train station, right in the heart of Amsterdam's business centre. A man next to her, jumps along. It was a surprise to see, a sudden bit of peacefulness flowing across the square. I stood still and tried to understand what it was I actually saw.

On the way back, I showed my (very special Burmese) guest the screen and we found out that through a toll-free phonenumber we could hear the sounds that accompanied the images. This time the controlled passion of football fans was shown.
This open air art is provided for by CASZUIDAS – moving images in public space, a what they call "urban screen arts initiative". It's great! Very inspiring. It does make me wonder however whether more people actually take to time to watch it. Has anyone else ever called the phonenumber to get the soundbites?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The far East

For the past year, I've lived in Amsterdam Oost, the eastern part of the city. Before moving there I had the impression that it was a somewhat unsafe neighborhood with ugly houses. Now, after having lived in four apartments (three of them with Indonesian street names), I must rectify. The far East is fantastic!

It is a lively, multicultural neigborhood, especially the part called the Indische buurt. As said, street names refer to Indonesian cities or Islands - in colonial Dutch spelling I must add. The Javastraat is the centerpoint; there you can find all sorts of shops; Turkish bakeries, Surinamese foodshops, Dutch cheeseshops, cellphone and long-distance phonecards suppliers and of course the laundry shop with the Indonesian owner.

The owner of the barbershop is a Singaporese man, who's lived in the Netherlands for years. He works with Sonja, a Moluccan lady, who immediately recognized my Indonesian features (to my great pleasure). The shop is visited by a caucasian dad with his three small children, a Chinese student, a Surinamese Indian man in his fifties, an Indisch lady who speaks Dutch mixed with Indonesian words.

In Oosterpark people do Tai Chi on a Friday afternoon. The Surinamese teacher instructs a group of 30 some people of all different types and skintones on the movements.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dutch girl becomes Indonesian superstar

On a holiday on Bali, Rebecca Reijman rocked a microphone at a Karaoke bar and what many people dream of happened: she was 'discovered' by a producer and offered a record deal. Now, one year later, she's a superstar. Rebecca is of Surinamese-Javanese descent; she has Javanese and Dutch features and fits the Indonesian beauty ideal. She had never visited Indonesia before. As she didn't speak the language yet, she took Indonesian lessons for two months and started recording. Her CD is a big hit and soon she'll star in a Singapore film.

Her first video Tanpamu (without you)

So, who know.. maybe I do stand a chance after all! ;)

Here are some videos taken of my performance with Chester Brandes at the Anak Wayang Benefit dinner. More can be found here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Every family has a story like this one

When I just started reading A fraction of the whole, I was annoyed; the characters all seemed depressed overthinkers without a sense of humor. Why was I reading about their lives? Luckily, I found out soon enough.

When Martin, the main character, places a suggestion box in front of the town hall of (what the inhabitants themselves call) the least desirable place to live in New South Wales, it all changed for me. I began laughing out loud and haven't stopped until I finished the book. It is a great and highly recommended read! This review in the Guardian focuses on the brilliance of the fact that all good intentions seem to have disastrous results. I totally agree; the magic for me lies in the fact that in the end I actually sympathized with the characters.

Well, I will not talk about the plot here - click here for more on the plot and the author. Instead, I'll just quote some of what I think are the funniest passages in the book. Being an Asia lover, I especially enjoyed the character's observation of life in Thailand.

The second note Martin puts in his suggestion box reads: "For Jack Hill, the town barber. While it is admirable that you continue to cut our hair despite the crippling arthritis afflicting you, the result is that this town had more bad, uneven, and downright mysterious haircuts than any town in the world. You are turning us into freaks. Please - retire your vibrating scissors and hire an apprentice".

Page 575: "To get to Tim Lung's place we had to catch a long-tail boat down a dirty, foul-smelling canal. As we passed wooden canoes laden with multicoloured fruits and vegetables, I shielded my face from threatening splashes of murky water. My first impressions of Thailand were good, but I knew my immune system wasn't up for the challenge of its bacteria". 

Conclusion: Read it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Work from the soul, not from the ego

From 2-5 June, I had the pleasure to attend the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression in Oslo, Norway. It was very informative, useful and most of all extremely inspiring. Especially the session 'Silencing Women's Voices' with Lydia Cacho, Philo Ikonya, Irshad Manji and Malalai Yoga on the panel, roused in me a sense of urgency to go out and change the world. It is people like this we need in this world. Especially us women need role models like these. Lydia Cacho concluded by urging us all to work from the soul, to keep on fighting for what we believe in.

Hilarious! This woman is so courageous. A true example for women (and men!) all over the world.

What a shock when I saw myself! See after 7 minutes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi

Approximately, two weeks now, she has been imprisoned in the notorious Insein Prison in Yangon, Burma - Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma's opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). After being under house arrest for thirteen years, she was scheduled for release this week. However, a mysterious American man swam across the lake surrounding her house and spent the night there. After arresting the man when he tried to swim back the next day, the Burmese junta immediately used this incident as an excuse to lock Aung San Suu Kyi up in prison. Her trial is ongoing now.

In 2010 elections are scheduled, which the junta calls its first steps on the road to democracy. Having the leader of the NLD imprisoned is all too convenient for the military leadership. Through Burmese media in exile both Burmese in and outside their country as well as foreigners all over the world, have access to news from Burma. For more news, visit the Democratic Voice of Burma, Mizzima and Irrawaddy websites.

This cartoon was copied from the Mizzima website

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Art Amsterdam

Thanks to Miriam I was able to visit the Art Exhibition at RAI last weekend. Looking back, I find that it was mostly the photos that made a lasting impression. It makes me wonder whether I do not like paintings as I cannot recall any that I specifically liked. Well, the photographers that I remembered were Phyllis Galembo, of whom a collection of ethnographical work was shown.

Another one I liked was Michael Wolf who made a series of architecture in China called the transparent city.

Next on the to-do list is to visit the World Press Photo Exhibition! More about that later...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tribute to Tompi

Now that I am practicing Indonesian songs for the Anak Wayang benefit dinner on May 23rd, I again realize how much I love Tompi. That man is the bomb, especially on stage. Here's some evidence to prove it, including the (mostly female) fans all singing their hearts out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


What started as - what I thought was - Indonesia's answer to Amelie Poulain (cute girlie girl, nice music, pretty colors), turned out to be an impressive thriller. Fiksi is the story of Alisha, a girl haunted by her past, looking for love. Not knowing how to express that, obsession gets hold of her. It drives her to find the endings to the stories that Bari, the sexy writer with a continuous writer's block, tries to put on paper. The stories of their lives are however the most dramatic ones. Great movie, I especially like the photography and the music.

Single ladies doing it

Must say that I really like Beyonce's video, so I was especially happy to see this! In reply to Miriam's post and with thanks to Maike, here's some great dancing!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No more blues

Wanting to practise this song, I went to look for others who'd sung it. And what do you know? My favorite singer of all times, Carmen McRae, did her very own version! Love it. And the lyrics.. well, they speak for themselves ;)

No more blues
I'm going back home
No, no more blues
I promise no more to roam
Home is where the heart is
The funny part is, my heart's been
Right here all alone
No more tears, and no more sighs
No, no more fears-
I'll say no more goodbye
If travel beckons me, I swear I'm gonna refuse
I'm gonna settle down, and there'll be no more blues
Everyday while I am far away
My thoughts turn homeward, forever homeward
I've traveled round the world in search of happiness
But all the happiness I've found
Is in my hometown
No more blues
I'm going back home
No, no more blues
I'm through with all my wandering now
I'll settle down and never roam
And find a man and build a home
When we settle down, there'll be no more blues
Nothing but happiness
When we settle down, there'll be no more blues

Friday, April 24, 2009

Smash fear, learn anything

Today I cheat; I'm posting the same TED clip here as on NotJustAnIdea. The reason is that I'm truely inspired. What helps us to do want we want to do, is to ask ourselves: "What's the worst that could happen?". Fear is your friend, just remember that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Cinque terra, so beautiful!

Funny sign in Parma... thinking of creating a series. This one goes well with the 'Unnecessary noise prohibited' sign in New York.

View from the hotelroom... Great location looking out on the Sidel factory and right above the Sound cafe. Thanks for the didgeridoo, guys!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


"My name is Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you". That's how gay rights activist Milk opened his speeches to the masses that gathered time and again to protest against discrimination of gays. Finally, I have seen this highly appraised film and I fully understand why Sean Penn received an Oscar for his part. It's a beautiful portrait of a brave man.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Music all around

New York was as great as expected! Especially since there was music everywhere! The first night I went to look for it at the Blue Note, a place I couldn't miss. But Sunday I just bumped into different people singing and playing. What a city!

Jazz at the Blue Note Jazz cafe

Jazz at Washington Square Park

Mariah Carey's hero on the subway

Next backstreet boys?

Friday, March 20, 2009

New York, New York

I'm just excited, that's all... (and yeah, the Karaoke clip will not be used for demo purposes to boost my singing career :P)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jakarta, Jakarta

This city never ceases to amaze me. One minute streets are jampacked with cars, the next the water is knee-high. Boys jump in and start messing around. They help the bajaj drivers that get stuck by pushing them forward. Great!

Asia's crazy little things

As I have been blogging for Amnesty in Dutch, I have somewhat neglected this blog. This time I'll talk about some weird things that caught my eye here. Still in Bangkok, I noticed how all the schoolgirls in their uniforms wear belts. The skirts they wear (and pull up, to make them as short as possible) however do not have straps for the belts. How do they solve the problem of their belts moving up and down? Right, by attaching it with a big paperclip - you know, the ones you uses to bundle a big stack of documents... First, I thought it was just one girl being creative, but in fact its a movement! Being very quick one morning, I took a picture of this girl at the breakfast buffet.

And then two pictures taken at a Java Jazz Hotdog stand - Indonesians do it better, or at least bigger :P

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Korea is hot!

Today I learned that everything Korean is hot in Thailand; Korean food (kimchi mmm), funky clothes (and nice hairdo's) and of course, Korean music is the bomb here. This was nicely illustrated when we stumbled upon a crowd of screaming Thai girls this afternoon. Apparently Korean boyband Super Junior was performing, heavily sponsored by a Thai brand for talc powder. The skytrain station was packed as was the big square in front of Siam Paragon mall.

While we were having dinner nearby, girls came running past - yelling, with their camera's ready. Since I hardly ever see Thai running (a sign at the skytrain entrance actually tells you not to run for the train), it was quite an experience.

Super Junior

This song below has been haunting me everywhere. And guess what? It's Korean too!

Wonder girls

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back in Bangkok

After another ten hour trip with little entertainment from KLM (I'm still reading 'What's the what' and spent my time writing, sleeping and listening to music), I arrived in Bangkok. Nothing changed. The streets are full of cars, the heat is all encompassing and the food smells amazing as ever. Must say that my hotel room is very nice - hopefully it will enable me to perform optimally during my three-day visit here. My view:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ain't nobody but Chaka

Well, there's not much I can say, but damn.. can she sing! Another thing I can cross off my wish list!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dutch music rocks too!

When I say something about music on this blog, it's always about some artist from a far away country that come to play for the Dutch crowd. But actually, we Dutch folks have some pretty good bands ourselves!
At Paradiso on the 23rd of December, I danced the evening away during the Kraak & Smaak concert (thanks, Daph!). And last weekend in Leiden, I got to enjoy Zuco 103, Gare Du Nord, the Young Sinatra's and Candy Dulfer. Funky stuff - for the record...

Kraak & Smaak

Zuco 103

Candy Dulfer

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Romeo

I am a groupie, and a proud one. My very own 'little' brother, Lennart, starred as Romeo in Shakespeare's famous play last weekend. Of course, I was gleaming with pride! Not only is he a great singer, he can act! And, he even persuaded the directors to allow for one song (as this was not supposed to become a musical). They made him sing in Italian, which he did marvelously. Naturally, the image quality of my recordings is not perfect, but (especially in the last two) it's the sound that counts. I'm already looking forward to next year! And, do check out the X-factor: Lennart auditioned and we have reason to believe his story will get some airtime...

The famous scene; Romeo, oh Romeo, Wherefor art thou Romeo?
"Jij mag me opeten, alleen jij! Ik wil alleen door jou opgepeuzeld worden, Julia!"

Strani Amori

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cat person

Yes, I will not lie about it: I am a cat person. I love cats, and I love them more than I love dogs... Dogs are faithful and watchful, true. But then again, they are also smelly and they have the tendency to bark and lick you. Those are definite cons for me. Cats however are soft and lazy and love the luxurious life. I like that; they honestly don't care who takes care of them, who gives them all their love - as long as they keep on receiving. If you're lucky, they just might give you some love in return.

When I was growing up, we had two Persian cats. Aga Khan, was the grey one, who lived longest and Djenghis Khan (yeah, my mom gave them these names) was black and my favorite. He'd always try to stick close to me and sit on top of me in the most uncomfortable position...

A brief search on 'cat people versus dog people leads to some interesting website, where people ask questions such as: "Why are cat people usually smarter than dog people?". I'll not get into such discussions here. Instead I wanted to show you a clip of a dog who recently became a hero in Chili. And just to keep things balanced, I'm adding the picture of Dante, this beautiful cat, I met on the train from Amsterdam to Leiden.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Munir & Muchdi

The New Year does not start as it should have for those seeking justice for Munir; Muchdi was acquitted due to lack of evidence. The struggle thus continues in 2009!
Read more here

Munir's wife, Suciwati, looks at the statue made of her late husband