Flashbacks, Human Nature, Numbers

Four Kilometres

Yesterday morning, I walked to the post office to acquire and send off a prepaid self-addressed envelope. I assumed that there will be a postal system or procedure for my request. Nope, they do not, I have assumed wrongly. Not wanting to buy the €4 package of 25 envelopes, I decided to walk home. But first, I withdrew money from the ATM.

At home, I took a few envelopes (to be sure) and walked back to the post office. This time I got an older post office worker attending to my request. I ended up buying five priority stamps, used two of that, and stuffed one envelop in another. Ha!

Today, I have walked 4km before lunch time. I am in the process of putting administrative things in order, moving on with the next phase of my life, step by step.

Human Nature, Jibber Jabber, Travels

Coastal Excursion

D and I decided to visit the Netherlands’s coast today, in the middle of a September heat wave. 😛

The Netherlanders are quite different from the Walloons we encountered two days ago. That was to be expected though; given the different country, language, and mentality. But heck, they are also different from the Flemish. And these are people who speak the same language and live in the same region. What different nationalities can do to people. China looks upon my face, says the one with Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian ancestry.

Anyway, D and I had yet another wonderful and fun-filled afternoon excursion.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Human Nature, Travels

Bye Again Kat

This afternoon, D and I went to a friend’s home for a simple birthday gathering. It was also sort of a farewell party because Kat (not the birthday girl), whom I have known from integration class more than a decade ago, will be leaving for the Philippines after living in Belgium for three years. Kat did the same ten years ago. She left, after being in Belgium for a year, for a better future.

Kat’s departure saddens me a little. But if someone will be happier somewhere else, then I am all for it. I have crossed oceans several times for a better life, I will never be against life-path-corrections, regardless of age.

Belgium, Events, Food & Drinks, Human Nature

Easter Coffee & Cakes

D and I spent Easter Sunday afternoon with the family at the parents’ house. We had cakes, coffee, or tea (depending on preferences). After the visit, my head hurt, my world spun, and my ears rang from all the loud chatters.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. The cake, coffee and tea were good. And it never hurts to strengthen one’s social ties.

Belgium, Business & Being Creative, Human Nature

The Winner

The previous generation of world class cyclists have trouble understanding what happened at Gent-Wevelgem. Why would someone not want to have his name written down in cycling history? Why did Wout let Christophe crossed the finish line before himself? Bla, bla and bla…

You did what you did, Wout. No regrets. We ALL damn well know who won. *thumbs up*

Flashbacks, Human Nature

Pink Tokens

Flanders’ favourite weatherman Frank Deboosere presented his very last weather forecast yesterday evening. His retirement from a 36 year old career was celebrated with high praises and thunderous applause at the VRT building. The daily TV program Iedereen Beroemd was wiped off the schedule to make space for an interview and overview of Frank’s life and career. What a send off!

Frank’s busy career did not prevent him from spending time with the weaker members of the society. He has dedicated time and energy to cancer patients and old folks alike. In the interview, he mentioned that He carries a roze jeton in his wallet, something gifted to him many years ago, from a girl who did not survive cancer.

Roze jeton

I have my share of pink tokens, items that I carry with me, moving from one continent to the next. The photo below shows my grandma’s toiletry bag and a greeting card that I meant to send to Catherine. For decades, that worn out toiletry bag was a constant amongst grandma’s possession till her death in 2015. Catherine did not survive uterine cancer and passed away in 2003.

The pink tokens of life. Remembrance of lives lost. Reminders to laugh, love and live.

Human Nature

Human Tenderness?

Has three years of COVID-19 taught us anything? Were there any positive changes in us after the damn virus made its deadly rounds amongst us, disregarding race and religion? Did we learn to be more tender, considerate and kind towards other people?

NOT REALLY. *sigh*

I have seen pea-brained house sparrows treat their own kind better.

Many people have become nastier in the past three years. Aggressive. Selfish. Uncaring. Unethical. Some even immoral!

Post-pandemic humanity is not doing well. *another sigh*

Belgium, Human Nature

Traumatized Refugees

‘Work if you are able to. Make sure that your children go to school. But one day, we will need you to return and help rebuild our country.’, said the Ukrainian ambassador to the European Union on De zevende dag. Damn, such heavy words…

And here, we have the clowns and their idiotic opinions. Clowns who claim that the jobless foreigners are lazy and taking full advantage of the country’s generosity. Higher up clowns who deny people of any decent jobs because they do not speak the language. Does one really need to know Dutch in temporary jobs that do not require speaking? Well never mind me, I grew up with housekeepers/caretakers who do not speak a word of Cantonese, what the hell do I know???

And oh yeah – the classic – these foreigners are going to grab all the good jobs and we the citizens will be left unemployed and poor. An endless barrage of nonsense.

Clowns, do please slap yourselves in the face!

Let us start somewhere. Please feed and provide shelters to fellow human beings, starting with your own poor and homeless people. Hire your unemployed 50+ and 60+ who have waited too long for decent jobs. Here is the thing; unless we are willing to wipe the asses of our elderlies and our own children, farm and cook our own food, clean our own toilets; we really do not have much right to comment about ‘the jobless foreigners’.

People who fled their homes and ended up here in Belgium are usually traumatized by wars, natural disasters, and God knows what else. As for the Ukrainians, they are now asked to bear the responsibility and burden of returning home one day to rebuild their war-torn nation.

What are we asking from these people?

Belgium, Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia

Stand Up

One of my favourite Flemish columnists wrote about a bus ride he took not too long ago. Aside from the usual rants about smart phones, headphones and how distanced we are towards each other; he wrote about not giving up his seat for an older woman who seemed to be his mother’s age. He stayed seated and looked away instead, out of fear that he might offend the woman with his action. And maybe embarrassing himself? Maar allez…

I only know of a public bus system when I went to upper secondary school in Kota Kinabalu. The buses were often packed with young people going to school or work. I do not recall having to, or seeing anyone giving up their seats for anyone else, simply because such occasions did not occur during my time there.

Many years ago in Kortrijk, I was accompanying a pregnant friend to the hospital. When an old lady boarded the full bus, I stood up and gestured her to my seat. The woman sat down without much ado, as I continued talking to my friend. For someone who thinks too much, most of the time, that instance was not it. It was a no-brainer, no big deal, just a miniscule act of decency.