Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda review

One of the fantastic things about reading is that it lets you live many stories. And here’s the story of Simon, which can be lived, felt, seen from the inside. It’s almost as living — first-hand — through the considerations and problems carried by gay teenagers — many of which I was unaware of. For […]

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Nantong China

Long blue rubber gloves

There’s a lot of talk about filial piety (Confucianism!!) in China but few examples of what it really means. I see parents being challenged by their children just like anywhere else. In many ways, Chinese children are more spoiled than any children on the planet. I see kids crying their eyes out when their dad […]

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The Enemy review

Jack Reacher books are great fun (although this one isn’t one of the best in the series). Yet I do feel a bit empty afterward each time. Its up a notch from watching TV, but still I feel I’m wasting time with something that’s too close to pure entertainment. Is this the male version of […]

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Mini views on China

Here are my mini views into Chinese life. Anecdotal, generalizing, not-special, etc etc — simply my observations of life in Suzhou and Shanghai. It’s what you’d never read in Western media. (To be updated over time.)   1 — Nearly every kid wears a special child smartwatch. They call their classmates and also their moms […]

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Don’t rely on others for your identity

If you’re worried about your job isn’t cool enough, you’re perhaps in it for what it contributes to your identity. Perhaps you’re worried by your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends and think you’re a lesser man because of it. Maybe you’re stressed about your kid’s grades in school, or annoyed by your neighbor who has a bigger car […]

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The ironic crux of marketing: differentiation and distinctiveness

One of the hardest things to understand in marketing is the difference between differentiation (how different you are) and distinctiveness (how recognizable you are) — and which one is most important. It’s also where marketing’s biggest irony lies. There are plenty of guru’s like Simon Sinek who say people don’t buy what you sell, but […]

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GoEast Mandarin’s marketing and the impact of the corona virus in China

(Original interview in Dutch with MarketingTribune.) In conversation with MarketingTribune about our marketing and the impact of the corona crisis in China. What exactly does GoEast Mandarin do? GoEast Mandarin offers Chinese language lessons to foreigners in many variants: daily and business Mandarin, private and group lessons, from beginner to advanced. This from two campuses […]

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HSK Standard Course books review

(This is a review of HSK Standard Coursebooks, HSK1 to HSK4上, both the workbooks and textbooks. I’m now making my way through the HSK4下 ones.) The structure is extremely clever, and full of composite words that are useful for later when combined (the Mandarin language is full of composite words). The difficulty doesn’t really increase […]

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Xenocide review

I can separate the work of an artist and her/his art, so I don’t let Orson Scott Card’s homophobic comments bother me too much. Yet reading this book for a second time reveals the conversation uncle that he is; writing passages about chastity, marriage, passing on genes. And all his female characters are overly emotional: […]

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Heem

Here’s a Dutch word. Heem. Similar to home, referring to the town or country you grew up in. Your dad’s music, the books your mom used to read to you. The trees under which you played, the streets and bridges you cycled on, your native language — the place you come to hide, the place […]

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