Saturday, June 17, 2006
The word means ‘the haves’ (as opposed to the ‘have nots’) in French, and the pronunciation has such a flair and flow to it it always makes me laugh. Actually the word has a negative connotation. Decadence, wasteful, unnecessarily luxurious living, over-indulgence, and the like. For the leftists, to be bourgeois is to be part and parcel of the conspiracy by the ruling elites to suppress the lower classes. The bourgeoisie, with their snobbery, their luxuries and lives built upon the miseries of the underprivileged, are ‘digging their own graves’, according to Marx. For one day the oppressed shall rebel, and overthrow the established order based on injustice and all kinds of direct and indirect forms of suppression.
So to my surprise I discovered that citizens of Strasbourg are actually called: Stras-bourgeois. True to the name, Strasbourg and its people are clothed in a extravagant air of superiority and opulence, in the way they dress, walk, behave, and even just the aura they radiate. Prices in the city are perhaps two, three times the average, certainly when compared to neighbouring Germany. For a cheap guy who’s been living in Holland—the land of the thrifty and stingy—it’s a culture shock every time.
No matter, for perhaps fate has it that I’m destined to come here time and time again.
It's already the fifth day of my second trip here. Had trouble getting here because of chaos and ridiculous delays with the train (write about that later, but I blame the Belgians...), but it was worth the 13 or so hours of travelling in non-air-conned carriages.
Saw my friend, her mum, both of whom I've not seen a while. And then there was little Sunny, perhaps 'the' star purpose of my visit. I never imagined such a little being could have so much effect on me. The way he wriggles, the way he babbles, the way he smiles and frowns, the way he moves his little hands and feet... sweet is an understatement.
This is the first time for me to be so close to a baby, but somehow I managed to get into the role of 'carer' without much trouble. When I first took him in my arms the other day, he didn't struggle or cry, just lay there in my arms and looked at me with his big inquisitive eyes. And for a while we looked at one another, as if we had seen each other before.
Admittedly, he is a quiet little baby, unlike those screaming babies you dread to meet on airplanes. He sleeps a lot, and when he does cry (when he's hungry or just did a poo-poo) it isn't an ear-piercing or irritating shrill, but a soft, muffled cry. I've been spending some time with him, just lying next to him as he sleeps, or holding him in my lap. He likes to clutch my finger and not let go. And on his face is the stare of innocence, as his eyes dart from left to right, taking in the first impressions of the world he has entered into.
I thought it would be extremely exhausting taking care of the baby...all those hectic scenes and crises you see on tv and in movies, of the mum/dad running around like headless chickens to deal with the puking, the mess, and what not... but so far it's been alright. Sure sometimes i have to get up once or twice in the middle of the night to make milk, but other than that baby Sunny has been quiet 'cooperative'. He doesn't whine and cry as much, and that's a good sign for the mother (my friend) who's already exhausted and suffering from the first bouts of post-natal depression.
When I can I'll upload some pictures for you all to see.
Perhaps you'll be touched by him, as he did me.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I'm going on a railtrip (as opposed to roadtrip) tomorrow. As you probably gathered that friend of mine in France gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and it's time I drop by and see how she's doing.
It should be fun, and it'll be my first experience with a baby so close. I did after all spend three weeks there, and I was the first other person to feel the baby's kick. No wonder I've become 'Uncle David'. I'll also get to see the 'grandma', a very friendly 'auntie' who I got to know well last summer while in 'retreat'. So it'll be a reunion and first meeting in one.
And best of all, I'm going by train...through all those countries, places! Ticket ready, lugguage more or less packed...ready to roll through Europe!
Just love travelling~ : P
UPDATE! 12 juni 2006
It's a bit stupid...but I got to the station and found out my train to Brussels was cancelled at the last minute! : ( So I decided to come home again, and just found out there's another possibility to travel today, but that means I'll arrive in Strasbourg close to eleven tonight.
Agh! Just when you think things are going smoothly...
Bush’s defence of marriage
No Adam and Steve, no Eve and Jane if Bush has his way! He wants to amend the US Constitution in such a way that marriage is strictly between a man and woman
Looks like the Canadians have the Americans by years on this one!
The Dutch embassy in Berlin has put on an orange glow at night to welcome the FIFA World Cup.
Google IS evil!
Founder of Google admits that cooperating with China was ‘evil’.
Poles come out of the ‘Eastern Bloc’
Perhaps it’s the years of Communist rule, or the fact that
No news on Sunday
Just browsing the web, and I came across something I totally didn’t expect. On the Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformist Daily) website, this message was displayed:
Today is Sunday. We dedicate this day especially to the service of God. We view Sunday as a day of rest, a mission of God and a gift, to which we should be grateful […]
Does news stand still on Sunday? No, not that—we live in a time in which the difference between Sundays and workdays unfortunately is becoming smaller.
I never knew even church-run websites rest on Sabbath.
Now I do.
No need to swear
Or take the Lord's name in vain! The League against Blasphemy and Swearing has in the past period successfully put up posters in public places to remind people it is not nice to swear, and the virtues of positive speech.
Orangification is always simmering, but in a momentous event like the FIFA World Cup, it explodes! Whole streets have orange banners, flags, posters and other orangified merchandise on display. Windows of some households let you take a peek of how orangified the family has become (when the cat has been dyed orange, that says something…). And in stores all sorts of commercials, give-aways and souvenirs are on offer. Packaging of foodstuff and drinks have been orangified and football-ised to latch onto this great commercial wind-fall. Beer, chips, bread, yoghurt…hats, cups, underwear, scarves, fast-food meals…whatever you can think of that can be sold has taken on a coat of orange.
Shows with how much passion the Netherlanders love their country.
Here are some shops you can indulge in orange-fever.
The Heineken website has an excellent interactive page where you can follow ‘Dutch spies’ trying to infiltrate the German nation. One of their secret weapons is a hat which looks like a traditional German ‘Ganzehut’, but it stretches to become a loudspeaker.
Met een Wuppie, Wuppie, Wuppie /
Pakken wij dat
With a wuppie, wuppie, wuppie
We take the
I even got my very own Wuppie when I went foodshopping yesterday, look!
I wonder why mine is not orange…
My very own Wuppie
enough space and food for everyone
mingling in peace
Eygptian Nile-geese on the run!
Perhaps they thought I was from the Immigration Service or the far right...
This is NOT what should be happening.
Goose-kind should not be chased away or frightened away because of their 'down-colour' or because they 'just look different'. They are as 'goose' as can 'goose can be!
Michiel Smit of the Nieuw Rechts (New Right) party wants to banish the migrant Egyptian Nile-goose from the country because “they are not adapting” and are supposed to be “rather aggressive”, causing problems for the other geese. He calls upon hunters to take “drastic action” against this geese invasion.
According to a bird expert from Vogelbescherming (Bird Protection) the Egyptian Nile-goose is completely integrated into the indigenous population. They get along while with other geese, and are even breeding in the country.
Here is a fragment from RTL News (click on the videocam button next to ‘ganzen’.)
I did a little investigation of my own yesterday.
Is the Eygptian Nile-goose integrated into the Dutch population and landscape?
My observations confirm that the Egyptian Nile-goose are fully integrated.
Within a time span of a couple of minutes I saw at least three Egyptian Nile-goose families (with young). They were grazing and swimming, and walking around like the other geese. From afar you would not even notice the difference.
The only difference is that their down is more exotic looking, and of a different colour. Their body size seems to be generally bigger than the others as well.
They were quiet and did not cause much nuisance, unlike the other (indigenous) ducks and geese, which were making an awful racket and being anti-social. From personal experience it is the local and Canadian geese that are more aggressive, and sometimes resort to pecking and kicking if you do not give them food.
The Eygptian Nile-geese were mingling with the local mallards, indigenous white geese (the so-called "autochtones") as well as a large horde of Canadian geese.
One important observations was that all the ducklings and goose-lings look the same. The young apparently have the same gray feathers, and all still cannot fly. It is only after reaching adulthood that obvious differences can be seen, but this does not seem to hinder integration between the different 'races'.
No obvious conflicts or inter-racial squabbling were observed. Nor were there obivous contestations for territory and water between the different geese population.
There was one group of around six geese-lings which had a mix of colours and patterns on their down--they had the white feathers from the indigenous goose, but also black and brown feathers, presumably from the 'other' geese. They could not be classfied into one or the other 'race' of goose, and were swimming in a group by themselves. Preliminary conclusion is that they were the results of inter-racial breeding.
Unfortunately due to communication barriers interviews could not be conducted at this time.
The Egyptian Nile-goose have become part of the Dutch (geese) population. To advocate exterminating or banning them from the country is in-goosane and immoral. Many of the families have probably been here for generations, and their young were born and bred here. They are as Dutch as any of the other geese or birds. Noone is advocating the extermination or deportation of the Canadian goose, so why single out the Egyptian equivalent?
The fact that the young look the same is important to note. Only after growing up can they be differentiated, but that should and does not seem to form any barrier for integration. They may look different, they may have different living, grazing or swimming habits, but essentially they are 'geese', nothing more, nothing less than their fellow goos-itens.
The multicultural society is an undeniable phenomenon based on mutual respect, coexistence and acceptance within the goose population. It should be an example to human beings.
a well integrated Nile-goose family
Canadian goose family, also well integrated
the multiculti society of geese
from a distance you cannot even notice the 'racial' differences