God and Three architectural committees

When I pushed open the gate he said the church was closed, but when I replied in Mandarin he became more welcome to me: “Ok, have a look”. We spoke about churches in the Netherlands, and I told him that in the middle of every Dutch village, no matter how small, stands a church. I […]

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Writing on China

Most sports journalists ask dumb questions, like they’ll ask an athlete “Do you look forward to the match?” — and travel writing often lacks specifics, stacking superlatives: “The waterfall was amazing, and the forest stunningly beautiful.” Each way of writing or topic has its own problems. China writing is often caught in one of two […]

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Champions Day review

This book is insane. It tells about the races held at Shanghai in the 19th and 20th century, even going into details of which specific movies played in which cinema and at which time, and what specific people wore at days of the races. Yet it is not all fluff; the overload of details’ purpose […]

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Pillars on the horizon

‘Nine dikes port’ (九圩港) lays on the outskirts of Nantong, cornered by highways and the ever-expanding industrial harbor of the city. The area is a collection of vegetable gardens and rural houses, tied together by one-car-width roads, and it feels a bit like a campsite. Everyone who enters changes. They soften up, forget about work, […]

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I want to be vulnerable, not strong

There’s a parallel that when you sport and you get bruised, it won’t hurt until after the football match, or the day after the run. There are stories of motorcycles losing a foot on a bend armco, and they won’t notice it until they stop riding and want to use that foot to stand on. […]

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Three peaks and a railway station

I picked a random city on the map and bought high-speed train tickets. The whole country is off during the Middle-Autumn Festival (中秋节) and the last thing I wanted was crowds. Plus, China’s high-speed trains are really fast, its rails span far & wide —so all I wanted was a city with a station connected […]

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Ye Garden in Shanghai

This secret place is only a stone’s throw away from my home and @goeastmandarin. For the past half year I’ve passed by “Ye Garden” every day, but never noticed it, hidden behind the hospital. But this park is older than the hospital in front. Look at this photo from 1927. Actually, I first saw it […]

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This is me, in Chinese.

Two and a half years of learnings. I started in November 2018, but I took a half-year break in 2019 (I should not have done that). In two and a half years, I took 500 class hours, and around a dozen of books. I’m both proud and encouraged by my Chinese progress. By no means […]

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Photography exhibition GoEast

Exhibition initiated & curated at GoEast Mandarin. Planned June 2021, photographed July & August 2021, exhibited September 2021.   In Michelangelo Antonioni’s documentary Chung Kuo, an Italian camera crew travels through China in 1972, and all they do is point the camera at things and people, and film. Antonioni remarks on Shanghai: ”It has changed […]

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Oracle Bones review

I love books like this. Written with love for stories, and build on stories upon stories. And it makes you reflect on your own life too. While I was reading this, I thought: Wow, Hessler lived in China in such an amazing time, from 1995 to 2006 (when this book was published). There were no […]

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