Holterbroek

The city of Zwolle is the juncture for all kinds of villages in the East of the Netherlands, all the villagers drawn to what the big city has and the villages do not: offices, high school, shopping malls, and cinemas. Nine long years I went to what is spoken of as Zwolle’s drain: Holterbroek. The […]

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Hengshan & Huaihai Road

Hengshan Road Patrick from Historic Shanghai tells a story about the American School, which was located on Hengshan Road from 1923 to 1941. On its 100th anniversary, some years ago, 6 ‘boys’ and 6 ‘girls’ — now aged in their 80s or 90s — visited the location again in which they had grown up. And […]

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You cannot see yourself

My world is larger than the tight borders of my country — but for long I thought I had an open and unbiased view across them, proudly seeing myself as a world citizen. Yet now I see that term for what it really is: impossible — and I see that the lens I thought to […]

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SIVA/DeTao

That was 9 weeks of teaching at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts & DeTao Academy. Up until the last day, teaching made me feel honored (“Wow, they asked me for this”), but at the same time feel nervous and inadequate (“Who the hell do you think you are, teach branding?”). The students were nice, […]

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Tonglu town

A basketball pitch used for drying crops, an empty clothing factory, a low-tide hydro lake, a Buddist temple among hostels and farms, and koi fish in the river. The village of Tonglu is made of many layers, each concealing something else.

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Press stroke

Search ‘massage’ on Google and you’ll find pictures of beautifully relaxed people. Massaging, as a verb, means ‘to treat flatteringly’. But the Western notion of massage is limited. Chinese massage is different, and its name (按摩Ànmó) more honest: press stroke. We went to a Chinese spa for the latter, but I still had the former […]

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Deniz

I wanted to see how Deniz was doing, the way Facebook quickly allows that. Type in a name, *poof*. But instead, Facebook showed “Remembering Deniz Üzüm”. It was early in the office and the message was abrupt, the way you remove bandage from a wound. Messages of love and goodbye on his profile were over […]

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Someone from the future would love to be here

This morning in Historic Shanghai’s WeChat group I saw a photo from 1995 with People’s Square and the Shanghai Museum being constructed. When I see those photos I feel sad I wasn’t in Shanghai back then, thinking it would have been amazing (yet now impossible) to walk through those alleys now-gone, to talk to people […]

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The edge of the forest

Biologists name it the edge effect; the place where two or more environments meet. Where forest and meadow crossover — where desert and rainforest turn into savanna — where rivers become reeds. These are the areas teeming with life and biodiversity. And this edge effect is found everywhere, where hip-hop and classical music mix, where […]

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Going back to your childhood is part of growing up

My dad always had these vinyl records and I never understood why. CD’s were long out and in comparison vinyl records are big and every four songs you have to turn them around. The sound quality isn’t that good either; they’re riddled with cracking noises. Also, I didn’t like his music, because what was popular […]

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