Monday, May 28, 2007

..when I'm sixty-five....

You have to have goals in life, you got to have reasons to live. At least so I have been told.

My goal in life is to become (at least) 65; and my reason to live to that age is not because that is the official pension age in the Netherlands, but because at that age I am allowed to open a letter my dad wrote to me, when he was sixty-five (and which he still has not finished yet at age of 68. Must be quite a read then, when I am 65...).

I thrive on other people's misery, I enjoy another's ache. I celebrate demise, and I applaud deterioration. So whenever I can I ridicule my dad, and make fun of his, well, old age, and all that comes with it. Agree, it does not come across very nice, and may even make me look like an un-nice character, but hey, I guess everyone has his vices....

My dad is a loving and lovable father, and sees and hears my remarks with the attantion they deserve: hardly. However, I guess we are very alike. On his 65th birthday, or around that time, he decided to write me a letter, only to be opened on my 65th birtday. The letter will not be a letter of advice, because he guesses that by that age any advice wil be lost on me.No, it is going to be a letter from one 65-year old to the other 65-year old, with a sum-up of his life, and more importantly his abilities and disabilities at that particular age. It is a check-list of what I should still be able to do at that age (for instance, comb all my hairs. He has beaten me on that front already). It is the ultimate match, but also the dumbest: there can be no re-run of it, it is the sum-up of our lives up to that moment, but neither of us will have any pleasure in winning it, because my father will not be there to ridicule me, or be ridiculed by me.

Still, I like the idea. Even when I am 65, old and weary, I can be outsmarted by my dad, who will 'speak' to me on that day as if he is there. It might be the moment in which I regret all my jokes, but it might be a moment of triumph. For sure it'll be a boy-ish moment indeed.....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

First in, first out

Ok, ok, I do not live in Sarajevo anymore, so I should not write about the news overthere anymore. Agree.


...sometimes there is news that deserves some attention.
Friday the 25th of May, at around 1700, I received an sms from a friend in Sarajevo, with some disturbing news:
Radovan Stankovic, the first person ever to be transfered from the ICTY under Rule 11 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICTY, had escaped that Friday morning. He was serving a 16 years prisonterm for multiple rapes. He is most likely in Serbia now, and since he has Serbian nationality, he will not be extradicted or handed over to Bosnia, since according to the Serbian consitution it is illegal to extradite nationals. It is most likely that he will never serve the remainder of his prison sentence.... What this means for the rest of the so-called 11 Bis cases is yet unclear. He was the first convicted in the Court of BiH, and he is the first out, too...

Back to business: I am in Friesland, and to be more precize: 4 kilometers north of Bolsward. My parents live here, and it is the first time since I got back from Sarajevo that I am at their place. Nothing happens in Burgwerd, where my parents live. And that is great. I managed to read two weeks worth of newspapers. I know what has happened in the world, hence the details about the escape. I am a fraid my story about Micro Credits has to wait a few days. See this is blog as yet another cliffhanger....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pinguin Party Pics

Pinguin party

"British wines are getting better every year. I think I am one of the few people pleased with global warming," says the owner of a wine shop in Clapham, London.

A few moments ago I dashed into his shop, because I forgot that I had to buy a wine for the wedding of a friend. With a group of people we bought a wine fridge for him and his wife-to-be. Empty. The idea was to fill it. And now I am here, in a rush, feeling like Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, only slightly looking less smooth after three days of London and it's nightlife. I forgot about the idea. The shop owner looks at me bemused, and while he eyes my morningsuit, with my shirt slightly untucked, he tells me he hopes the weather stays ok. So do I- I forgot my umbrella.

The first friend from university is getting married to a British girl, and we fratboys are mightly exited. One down, 15 to go, is the feeling as one describes it.

It is funny, but suddenly, now for the first time ever, I realise that we are no students anymore. No matter what kind of jobs we have or had, no matter how serious some of the guys have become (ok, occasionally), I always thought of these friends, and myself, as students, pinguins, in the first place, and as professionals or anything else in the very, very last place, despite the conversations about work, new employment and buying of houses we very often have. And now, while sitting in the church, I start seeying us for what we are: friends, boy-friends, a husband and some even in-the-more-than-nine-months-but-near-future-fathers-to-be. Anything but students. We hum to hymnes in church, we act as adults during dinner. And might studying once again, but will never be students again. Which is a nice thought- live moves on.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


...., the noble art of self-defense.

Before I left to Bosnia, I used to box. Boxing is, unlike what most people think, a self-defense sport. However, this was not the reason for me to do it- I started doing it because someone once told me that it was 'physical chess'. This was about the biggest nonsense i had ever heard, so one day i decided to go to a gym to find that out for myself.

And indeed, it is a game of strategy, more than pure muscle and strength. After doing it for a while I had to admit it is indeed a mind game , and that if you keep paying attention during a sparring match, you can win it, without being the one with the bigger guns...

The only requirement for winning is being in good shape. Something I am not currently. Something I sort of forgot. Until last Friday, at around 20.35. At that moment I was in the dressing room of the gym, after my first boxing training in almost three years: beat. In the literal sense of the word. In my last sparring rounds I could not even keep my arms up high enough for s decent defense; I was used as a punching bag for about half an hour. Lovely. "You have been abroad for a while, haven't you?", one of the boxers asked me. "Yeah, I can tell. You packed quite a few pounds..." Thanks. But he is right- I saw a group picture of the gym of June 2004, and indeed I looked more like a boxer than I do now....

Nevertheless, it was good. And sure, a mind game, physical chess, bladibla. For chess you do not have to do hundreds of push-ups for a reasonable result. You can learn it from a book. Yesterday my arms were so sore, that I could not even keep a book in my arms. Let alone box again. Maybe next week....

I was asked to write something about Micro Finance, private equity and my new job on my blog. That'll be for later- once I understand all of it....

Queensday pictures

Three pictures of Queensday. Just to show what it was like.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Queens day, Commemoration Day, Liberation Day. And all that in one week. Holland was on a role.

Queensday is the national holiday, the celebration of the royal family, the House of Orange. On commemoration day the victims of the second world war and wars fought after that are commemorated, and on liberation day the defeat of nazi Germany is celebrated.

The purpose of all three days are currently scrutinized.
For a reason- Queensday has become a day of binge drinking instead of a day of ceremony, and Commemoration Day and Liberation Day are days in which a war which has very few survivors is in the center of attention.

Scrutinzed, ok- but what else? How should those days be celebrated? I have got no clue. For one, I like the way Queensday is being celebrated- it fits in with the picture of Holland as a liberal and tolerant country; and commemorating the dead of the biggest war in which Holland was ever part reminds us of need to stay a tolerant and liberal country. Liberation Day should stay a day in which freedom and the right to make your own choices are celebrated.

As long as those values are kept, I am perfectly fine with a new filling in of those day. But hey, isn't this remark like kicking in an open door?