Year: 2016

Happy happy Thai food

In the Forest Monastery in the North of Thailand the abbot or chief monk would motivate the people by giving pre-meal speeches packed with the phrases ‘happy happy Thai food’ and ‘big party’. He did seem to be an exceptionally happy guy, so something must be good there. Is it Thai Buddhism or the Thai food? Thai food is great. I’m not a fan of the animals and the increasing dairy use, but leave that out and you got yourself some great variety of rice in all forms, soy in all forms, many vegetables and mushrooms, tropical fruits, peanuts, chilli and other spices, lots of coconut milk and desserts made out of beans. They also like all forms of frying, and sugar. Food can be bought on the streets everywhere – in Bangkok there’s even a market on a railway. And food comes in many layers of plastic, which is a bit sad. And they have ice coffee, but often with cows milk in it, even though many Asian bellies cannot handle it so well. …

World change starts here

My time in Thailand was great. It was the first time I got out of Europe and into the tropics. I went there to reunite with my boyfriend, who’d been out in Asia for some time already. We travelled together for a month after which I settled in Bangkok for three weeks to work on a project related to sustainable food production. Thailand is very different from what I’m used to in the Netherlands. Being there was a really valuable experience, to be able to explore the Thai culture. I think I learnt a lot, but it’s always hard to pinpoint such things, because change often occurs gradually. It became clearer to me that in the end many things aren’t really important. Thai people generally have different lifestyles and standards than Dutch people, but does it matter? Only if we think it does. Things are only as important as we make them to be, which makes importance a matter of choice – and practice. Most important to all of us, eventually, are matters of basic …

Love is a river that fills everything

„For me, love fills everything. It cannot be desired because it is an end in itself. It cannot betray because it has nothing to do with possession. It cannot be held prisoner because it is a river and will overflow its banks. Anyone who tries to imprison love will cut off the spring that feeds it, and the trapped water will grow stagnant and rank.“Athena in The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Music by Braids and Blue Hawaii

Hi there! I am semi busy finishing stuff and getting packed, because I’m heading to Thailand this Friday! My boyfriend has been wandering around there for four months already and I’m joining him for five more weeks. I will try to squeeze in some writing before I leave, but I am not that organised. All right, I’ll do some squeezing right now. I’m procrastinating cleaning my room anyway. It’s always nice to share good music, so here’s one of my favourites: Braids! They are a three-piece experimental pop band from Montreal and their music is just really good. It takes some ‘getting used to it’, because it’s a bit unusual, but then it’s really cool. The voice of singer Raphaelle is really beautiful. She does a lot of long notes and I totally dig it. I know first two albums Native Speaker and Flourish // Perish and they’re good! I’ve been waiting for the right moment to write about them and now it’s here: They already have three records and now they are releasing a …

The Circle: we are all connected, all the time

The Circle, written by Dave Eggers, is a novel sketching a terribly plausible scenario for the future. The story is about an employee at The Circle, a young and hugely successful company that has started integrating all different online services into only one interface, to make your life easier. But that’s not all the company does: it not only markets its products but also its philosophies. The story starts when Mae Holland, a woman in her early 20s, is recruited to work at The Circle. As a reader, you follow Mae’s experiences in the company and in life, which more and more take place on the high-tech, super luxurious campus with glass walls. Mae illustrates how easily one can get influenced by its surrounding culture – and how big a role social media can play in one’s life. At first she seems to be living in a dream world, but is she really? So what does The Circle do? They have bought up all social media platforms and integrated them into on. And it isn’t …

Barbie’s got Curves

In the absence of interesting personal experiences, I’ll just write about Barbie’s. The iconic doll Barbie not only got a large array of accessories, careers, relationships, style, she has also been critiqued widely for her ‘far from average’ body negatively influencing body image and for over all distorting the world view of the little children playing with her. In reaction to declining sales rates, with Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Lego taking over market shares, Mattel gave her designers the freedom to do whatever to make Barbie more relevant. The outcome? In 2015, a larger variety of skin tones and hair textures were added to the mix of blondness. These dolls will all be wearing the name Barbie, instead of having different names and being Barbie’s friends What’s more: Barbie got Curvy! In January 2016 three new body shapes got released: Curvy, Tall and Petite! You can learn more here on TIMES. More interesting is this article on TIMES titled ‘What I learned watching moms and kids meet curvy Barbie’. Apparently, the kids really liked the …

Canola Corn Bread

This fluffy yellow ‘canola corn bread’ may as well be called a cake, but then there would have been too many Cs. To make it, I used a corn bread recipe from one of the many cookbooks named ‘cooking vegan’ (Veganistisch koken by Parragon Books LTD). The main ingredient is corn flour, the others are white wheat flour, canola oil, lots of soy milk, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, baking powder and some salt. The recipe is pretty similar to this one of The Post Punk Kitchen. The canola oil contributes its distinct taste and I’m still undecided to whether I like it. (I don’t know whether corn bread always has canola oil, but in The Netherlands the oil isn’t commonly used.) So it tasted a bit sweet-ish from the corn and maple syrup and canola-ish from the canola. The structure was really soft and fluffy! Maybe I put too much baking powder, but I felt like finishing the package… So it was a perfect cake, except it wasn’t so sweet like most cakes. It …

Confessions of a Social Media addict

My previous posts about sharing insecurities reminded me of the following. In the end of last year, Facebook and Instagram famous Essena O’Neill radically quit what she had been doing full-time for the past three years: she has been living for taking pictures in which she looked good, altering them, posting them on social media and receiving likes and followers. Now, all of a sudden, she had decided to quit social media, and for good reasons. This time she posted a video titled ‘Why I am REALLY quitting Social Media’ in which she tells her followers how her life has been, on  how she let herself define by numbers, by followers, likes and views, which became the only things that made her feel good. On how on the ages of 16 to 18 she spent her whole days proving herself online, trying to be that perfect person. On how she feels about it now, now she’s quit. She acts incredibly courageous. In the video she gets very emotional when she talks about her 12 year-old …