November 30, 2008

Kitchen experiments

One of the things I've wanted to be able to cook for a long time has been pumpkin soup. Pumpkin has only become more popular to cook with here over the last few years but I love it. But somehow, doing something with pumpkin myself was very daunting.

(I don't know why this last picture is on its side, but I'll figure that out later)

It turned out quite well though, so I'm very happy :) On to the next cooking challenge!

One month

(I've used an extremely roundabout way to get the above picture in here - if you want to see the above pictures better, go here!)

November 18, 2008

November 09, 2008

Flower in the pocket

Yesterday Last week, I saw the movie "Flower in the Pocket" - one that I have been curious about this year as it was playing at the Rotterdam film festival in January and won a big award there.

By accident I discovered that it was on television late last Saturday night.
It's a very nice movie but what struck me most was the similarity in story (partly) and atmosphere to the movie Nobody Knows/ Dare mo shiranai.

'Nobody Knows' is about four siblings living in Japan, whose mother has left them to fend for themselves. Absolutely beautiful film, but very sad also. 'Flower in the pocket' is much less sad luckily, but is about two brothers, who basically also have to look after themselves. The stories have very different plots and endings, but interesting to see the similarities.

What was also good about it is that it gave a good idea of the complex society in Malaysia. The boys are Chinese Malaysian, and speak Chinese with their dad and between them both. Only the older boy speaks Malay and can communicate with some of the other kids, and people in the movie. Then a doctor who appears seems to speak only English, but can understand the father speaking back in Chinese. Malaysia has a very mixed, and complicated, society which I've also written about when I was there earlier this year and it's very apparent in this film.

Definitely a recommended film.

November 03, 2008


Today, I spent the day in Brussels visiting some of the main EU institutions.

A very long day, arriving in Brussels at 10am, leaving at 6pm, listening to presentations and asking questions non-stop in the meantime.

I've always been a supporter of the European project. When the referendum on the European constitution (a horrible name for the Lisbon treaty) in 2005 was voted down in the Netherlands I was in Japan (and voted from there) surrounded by a fairly pro-constitution crowd of Dutchies. I was shocked to find out what had actually happened in the Netherlands in the run-up to the referendum.

This also means that I was quite curious to finally go and see the institutions where it happens, hear more about how it works, and talk to the people working as part of this circus. During the day, we spoke to lobbyists, government staff, EU staff, journalists, politicians - so it gave a fairly varied image of what goes on. But of course, all of these people broadly support what happens in Brussels; they wouldn't be doing their particular jobs if they didn't I guess.

Nevertheless, an interesting but exhausting day. Back to semi-regular work tomorrow!

The above picture is taken from the main entrance of the building of the European Council: a huge balloon with all the European flags going around it.

November 02, 2008


I just realized that I am today starting on my fifth year of this blog. I'm quite surprised that I've managed to keep this thing up for four full years already! It's probably turned into quite a strange & partial reflection of my life over the past couple of years.

Oh well, let's see if I can manage another four!


I tried to do this a year ago (here) and failed.

So, I'm attempting again - inspired by a group of other internet acquaintances.

My pictures will be up at flickr, of course.

I'm hoping that this will encourage me to be a bit more active and creative with my camera, instead of only taking pictures when I'm travelling.
Anyone want to take bets on how long I will last? ;-)