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




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