A happy man

It’s right after midnight when the landscape becomes hillier and the road starts to slope up and down. Half an hour earlier, we drove across the George Washington Bridge. On both sides of the road I see woods that seem dense in the dark, although I can’t determine the type of trees. Continue reading

4 crazy immigration puzzles and dilemmas

The past, say, 16 months Sarah and I have been working on my emigration to the U.S. Hundreds if not thousands of euros were spent and a Brazilian rain forest had to be cut for all the forms we needed to fill out. Most of the process is just a seemingly unending string of tiresome and repetitive activities. It’s not difficult necessarily, it’s just a lot of work.

But at some points along the way you are caught unaware, and jumped by problems that cannot be solved that easily. My (current) top 4 in this post. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet: Some Predictions and the Involvement of the United Nations

In the past days the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas has been criticised more severely than ever, or so it seems. The discussion culminated in the involvement of the United Nations a few days ago. U.N. reporters apparently received information that the tradition of Sinterklaas is in essence racist, and that Zwarte Piet, stupid and a servant, feeds the stereotype of Africans as second class citizens. Dutch citizens, activated by explicit racial accusations and demands to abolish their much-loved tradition, somewhat to my surprise revolted. Online petitions received hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’. Maurice de Hond, mostly known as a the most important ‘pollster’ about elections in the Netherlands, reported that a staggering 92% of Dutch people says that there is nothing to worry about, that there is no racism involved, and that it’s just about a great feast for children. Similarly, De Telegraaf (a Dutch newspaper) surveyed 5.000 people, finding similar conclusions.

I don’t wish to reiterate all the points one can find in public discussions; I do however want to make 3 points:

  1. The tradition is already lost: A prediction
  2. The tradition is already lost: The influence of current discussions on future celebrations
  3. The U.N. – WTF?!

Continue reading