The seas are tired

It’s not true that people don’t follow their dreams anymore because they grew old. They grew old because they didn’t follow their dreams anymore.

Dear All

A short trip to Java; checking some furniture for a friend in Africa and on the last day enjoy Yogyakarta. It became a trip with some hurdles. Only at the airport I notice that my ticket is indeed for the 16th but in December. Susah. Susah at the airport and of course with the agent when I get back. I want a reimbursement ad it’s doubtful if that will happen, I know. A smooth flight to Yogyakarta, the train to Solo is on time. The furniture looks good, it’s a serious company, I’m glad I went. For the Friday I have an appointment in Semarang. I book the bus for an early ride to be back somewhere late afternoon. That won’t work says the manufacturer when I call him. The showroom is in Jepara, 75 km further, it’s a three hours drive and we won’t be back in time. Funny for a company that has its office in Semarang and why didn’t they tell me in the first place… I’ll change my ticket so that I’m in Semarang till Saturday. Good plan says the furniture guy, that way there is no problem. I throw my ticket away and buy a new one. (change your ticket Pak? Ha, ha, that’s not possible.) Thursday in the evening I get a text message. He forgot but the next day is Friday so there is sholat in the mosque. (prayers). He’ll pick me up at one. Had I known before, I wouldn’t have left Solo at 5 in the morning.

It’s almost two when he arrives in my hotel. ‘Eh, well, eh, no. To Jepara today? It’s a three hours drive Pak, we’ll never make it.’ ‘And how can I see the furniture then?’ He doesn’t know but maybe I have an idea? The ideas I have are mainly violent. Goodbye Sir, goodbye Sir. I’m not too happy.

Time to pamper myself a bit. I go for dinner in Toko Oen, a restaurant that’s there since 1928 and where remarkably little has changed over the years. Even the waiter seems to have been part of the establishment since they started. A singer, he looks like eighty or older, sings ballads and kroncong with a clear voice and the right intonation for every word. Tempo dulu, a trip to the times before I was even born, the nasi goreng is the best I’ve ever had, the sate is a delicacy. Ten minutes Toko Oen and I’m overwhelmed by feelings of thankfulness; I’m allowed to be there and enjoy the graciousness of the place and the people. Semarang, mid Java.

An article in a newspaper states that the boat refugees are, maybe (sic) with the exception of those that come from Syria, are a new sort of gold diggers. The economy in Africa is getting better all the time so why go to Europe? He blames the internet. The fast communication and the too positive picture of life in Europe that comes through … Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand send the refugees in in that part of the world, mainly Rohingya from Myanmar, back to the sea. It’s Birma’s (Myanmars) problem is it not? Europe makes some inadequate plans, it has to be affordable. A Dutch politician compares them with a well known criminal, Katie Hopkins from the Sun in GB calls them cockroaches and wants the marine to sink their boats at sea. The seas are tired was a song of a Dutch singer years ago. Yes, the seas are tired, more than ever I’d think.

Internet; our richness is not a rumour any longer. It’s not hidden anymore but visible for each and everyone. If envy is still envy when hunger and need are paired with a sense of right and wrong is a question not difficult to answer. How to explain the Chinese worker whom assembles i-phones for almost nothing, 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week, that the lady responsible for the sales of it gets 80 million a year is something I wouldn’t know. The soaps with their always well off characters in big houses and fat cars are to be seen on every TV screen. The commercials for often useless but expensive products as well; bold underlining of unreasonable inequalities. Seeds for revolution fall everywhere, more and more. The blunt and self-conceited argument “we deserved it” is long past its best before date and, that’s where the article is right, keeping doors and windows closed is, due to internet, impossible. Why you would want to keep it closed in the first place is another question. If the words “you are me in a different form” is true, and I do believe so with all my heart, we are quite schizophrenic.

In the meantime the opening of my exhibition in Leerdam is already done. It was good, very good. It became a beautiful exhibition and the reactions were very positive. It turns out that receiving compliments for a whole day is something I’m very good at. Now back to work again, making wall panels for a restaurant in Africa. It feels a bit like a new beginning.

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Love,Frank