writing

The Led Zeppelin of Cities

When my plane flew through a roof of clouds into Shanghai, I did not quite know what to expect. Every city has its own atmosphere, created by its people and the economy of the country. Shanghai is the economic centre in what is almost the biggest economy of the world, but I had no clue how this would be felt in the city. (more…)

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I will work until I die

Ah retirement! The rewarding final episode of life, the well-deserved rest after some forty years of hard work, and something many have saved for and look forward to. Retirement age varies across countries, from 62 in France to 67 in Norway, and politicians sometimes argue to raise it because of the pressing cost of an ageing population on the government. Yet that remains a very touchy and controversial topic that is more often than not buried under protests of raspy voices and bony fists, even though it is a very reasonable argument. (more…)

A Chinese bucket list

In less than a month, I will set foot in China. A land so vast it is only surpassed by Russia and Canada in size. A land with an incredibly advanced civilization in a time when Europeans were still rolling around in their own dirt before the Renaissance. China is accredited with inventions that changed the face of our world at that time, such as gunpowder, paper, printing, and the compass. Its empire continues up to this day, and it seems China is again on its way to show its greatness. There is raw power in its buzzing cities, in its deep lakes, in its dark forests, in its tales of strangeness and fantasy. I am going to China at an exciting time, and I want to share this with you. I will keep a video-blog (or vlog, as it is called) to show you the marvel of China. But for now, a bucket list of places I absolutely want to visit: (more…)

Imagine unlimited imagination

Stories come in many forms. The biography of a celebrity, the bankruptcy of airplane companies after 9/11, the moment you first saw her, a forest in the Shire. However, not all stories are created equally. The first three examples above are based upon real events that happened. This is different from my last example, as the Shire is a part in the made-up world of Middle-Earth. We are all storytellers to the extent that we can all talk about an event that we went through or that we know about. Yet coming up with something that did not happen is considerably more difficult (even liars base their lie on credible scenarios). It requires something fascinating, something that has brought the human race to where we are now: imagination. (more…)

Our future

The human race is fascinated with its evolution. We dig out ancient skeletal bones buried in the ground, give our ancestors names such as Homo Erectus or Homo Habilis and construct the DNA genome from a Neanderthal toe bone in order to understand how we differ from them. We do all this to understand how we were, how we are, and perhaps most importantly, how we will be. However, although biology certainly plays a significant part in giving us a glimpse into our evolutionary future, I believe our future can also, and perhaps increasingly so, be seen in science fiction.

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Threatened house

A flash of lightning got rid of the dark
Long enough for the sickly man to see
More aloe vera would be needed to
Soothe the wounds of his beautiful house.

Grass and tree tops are pointed to the door,
The cold wind batters the fragile window,
And the man knows it will not take long before
The rumble of thunder will break the sky

And clouds will release their cargo of rain
On the red bricks, roof and rest of the house.

Though the man shakes his fist up to the sky,

He cowers in fear

for this Putin storm.

Sunglasses out, off to Cambridge

Rejoice, spring has arrived! Melancholic winter has fled from our gardens and is now replaced by skirts, barbeque, and laughter. A group of friends and I took advantage of the beautiful weather to go visit Cambridge last Sunday, which is only an hour by train from London. Clouds were nowhere to be seen and temperature was already comfortably high when we arrived at 10 in the morning. I did not quite know what to expect as we walked towards the historic centre of the city, as I had deliberately decided not to research Cambridge on the Internet before going. In all my naïvity, I thought its historic centre would look similar to other historic centres in cities such as Bruges or Ghent. To my surprise, however, this was not the case at all, as Cambridge proved to be very different. Rather than being a city, Cambridge is a town that fully revolves around its well renowned university. The University of Cambridge ranks as one of best universities in the world, and has influential alumni ranging from 16-century-poet John Donne to mathematical genius Stephen Hawking. Founded in 1209, it is the third-oldest surviving university, behind the University of Bologna and the University of Oxford, Cambridge’s rival since the very beginning. Cambridge is an incredibly beautiful university town steeped in history.

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