Courage doesn’t mean you never get afraid. Courage means that you don’t allow fear to stop you. Someone wrote me those words after my last blog.

Dear All

An enormous scandal in Indonesia. Tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of kids are vaccinated with a fake vaccine. Parents were under the impression they protected their children and paid the bill, the used product came from a small factory in Java that mixed salt and water and sold it as vaccine at very reasonable prices. The stickers on the bottles were like the real stuff. Hospitals claim they didn’t know but it was remarkably cheap and they kept all the transactions out of the books. Nobody knows which kid is and which isn’t vaccinated so now they all get a new injection; not without risks if that means double vaccination is what doctors say. It doesn’t make me proud to be an Indonesian says a friend here.

“Pride”, I think about the word and wonder of what one can be proud in the fist place. The scam with the vaccines makes me think that we can be very thankful the health care as is in our country and maybe that’s a keyword. Thankful.

Pride, in the literal meaning; we see quite a lot of it lately, specially in the last few days. Proud Turks waving their flags all over Europe to celebrate that a coup failed, pride about citizenship – America First. Proud to be Dutch of whatever nationality, proud about own intelligence, proud to be member of an old family. On the republican convention in Cleveland a guy announces to be proud to be gay, here I meet proud Hindu’s as well as proud Muslims and I know plenty of proud Christians. In Amsterdam the gay pride is going on.

Is it really a good thing if we carry qualifications that were just given to us as a banner as if it were achievements? Proud to be Dutch, proud to be gay? Maybe something is wrong with me but I don’t feel any pride about it. To belong to a people, a group, a (religious)society; it’s all a gift of life itself for which we didn’t do anything to begin with. And also later, when the realization sinks in that “I am because we are”, it is still so that I may work in a garden I didn’t create myself. The ability to love someone else – gender is totally irrelevant there – is certainly something to be grateful for but did I create myself? The counterpart of pride is a feeling of superiority. To put my pride in perspective, to put thankfulness in place of, creates room for diversity and opens a door to acknowledgement and understanding of the other. A bit more thankfulness and a bit less pride about what was a gift in the first place would be a good thing. I’ll keep the pride then for when I managed to do something real good with what’s given to me. Or for when I made something really good and beautiful. But even then… all from myself, all my own doing?

It’s not profitable. The conversation is about windmills, something I know very little about. Nevertheless, not profitable, how come? You build a windmill and you get, without any further pollution, energy. That’s profit no? Is the problem that producing that mill takes more energy than it brings? No, it’s not that, it’s more expensive than other energy sources, that’s the problem. And then (again) I don’t get it. We need energy and this method doesn’t pollute the earth any further, it’s clean. Yes, but the (polluting) alternative is cheaper so it’s not profitable. I see a market with healthy and poisonous vegetables. The poisonous are way cheaper. Business?

From the net: I’ve always assumed ironing boards were surfboards that stopped pursuing their dreams and got real jobs.

Love, Frank




tomorrow again

Courage is not always roaring. Sometimes it is the soft voice that at the end of the day says: “I’ll try again tomorrow”.                                                                (source unknown)

Dear All,

The words above I found on the internet and they hit me. Hard. Difficult months; Doni left for two weeks to Lampung and never returned. Less and less courage was available and once on the track to gloomy and dark, a little is enough to go downhill even faster. The horrors that ever more frequent strike this world do that job even better. A report of 2,6 million words that, once again, proofs that the Iraq war was wrong and illegal, again hundreds of deaths in last weeks bombings in Bagdad and even then still insist that the world became a better world because of that war. South Sudan with its hundreds of thousands displaced persons celebrates its fifth birthday with the beginning of, again, a civil war. Politicians aiming for power, the population pays with suffering and often their lives. Two poisonous, rotten apples in a bin where healthy fruit hardly can be found.

No Nina Bobo on the terrace but searching for courage to comprehend all and everything … and not finding it. The small steps, the human size forgotten in the storm, with all the ado and force not noticed that soft voice. Yes, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Today I start a new blog, because of a lack of focus I didn’t come to it for a long time. A short visit to the Netherlands to teach and see some dear friends and family, in itself it was good but: ‘one takes oneself with’. After that to South Africa. A part of me will always be there I guess – you can leave Africa, Africa won’t leave you – and it was good. At the same time: everyone with eyes to see must notice that problems aren’t getting any smaller. There also politicians that are on the hunt for power and prefer to enrich themselves, the contrast between the haves and have not’s gets bigger and more visible all the time. Tension is palpable. Beautiful days nevertheless.DSC_0013

Three days in Madiwe, a wild park, eye to eye with an incredible nature and all the days the people … Believing in the possibility of a future, the country screams for that belief although it’s an almost impossible assignment for many.

The harshness in this country
cannot subdue
its softness.

In sweet voices,
loud and full,
in soft whispers,
gentle gestures,
and a happy glance,
sounds from deep and afar,
for those who wish to hear and see,
an ancient call,
yet always new:

we are brothers.

DSC_0119Over the Netherlands back to Bali. Pak Par did the garden, his wife cleaned the house and all looks good. It’s an exception she did this, in principle she stopped working to babysit her granddaughter. That is, looking at all the debts the family has, quite an impossible thing to do but, nevertheless, that’s how it goes. The ceremonies in the meantime don’t stop, if there is one the granddaughter is brought to an expensive day care. A small world with, sometimes big, problems and still they manage. Courage for life is abundant, there is a lot to learn for me. What’s happening in the world is practically unknown to most Balinese and sometimes that’s not so bad at all.

Mohammed Benzakour, a Dutch writer, wrote a letter in the name of allah as a reaction to all the bombings and lust for murder in the name of a god.

Allahu’akbar — yes, most certainly. I’m great, magnificent and great. But not in the sense your limited brain thinks I am. I am great because am in All. Because I’m part of everything and everything is part of me, until the smallest spire, the tiniest spider. That should make you profoundly humble.

A little drop but if only one man would change his point of view. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Love, Frank

The fact that, when I came home after a trip with (too) much good food and excellent wines, the scales in the bathroom was stolen should be seen as an act of love, initiated by the gods here. I can ignore the scope of it.