Blog - Pagina 12 van 29 - Mark Blaisse
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Geen categorie / 26.02.2013

Why is Finland so famous for its design? Whether we talk about furniture, glass work, cutlery, textile or ceramics, the Fins haven't stopped amazing us. The other day I was talking about another famous Finnish company, Nokia. How did this nr. 1 cell phone designer end up getting in trouble? Did it sleep while the competition worked hard to come up front? Had the world become too comfortable after all these years of success? Or was something else going on? Back to the question: why Finland? Why all...

Geen categorie / 26.02.2013

Many people seem to be worried about the impossibility to govern Italy after the final results of the elections became clear. No wonder. Italy, where one out of four voters chose Beppe Grillo, the clown who speaks the truth. Only 10 percent stood behind the first serious and efficient politician in many years of Italian chaotic politics, Mario Monti. Italy's globally criticized business tycoon and womanizer Berlusconi almost came first. I mean, who is kidding whom here? These elections prove the total lack of respect for a political...

Geen categorie / 25.02.2013

First Iran received the bad news that wrestling is no longer an Olympic sport. Wrestling is for Iran what cricket is for India and Pakistan. Don't mess with wrestling or you mess with the Ayatollahs. Skipping wrestling? The IOC must have been influenced by enemies of the Islamic Republic, there is no other explanation if you live in Shiraz or Qom. Last night there was another blow to Iran's confidence. Argo, the Ben Affleck movie about American diplomats trapped by the Iranian revolution, won an Oscar for the...

Geen categorie / 21.02.2013

Als we een lijstje maken van mensen die de afgelopen paar jaar het slachtoffer zijn geworden van zuiver op de man spelen, en niet op de bal, dan ontstaat er een verbluffend beeld. Dat beeld verraadt een nare trek in ons volkskarakter. Wat blijkt? Vrijwel alle aangevallen lieden hebben talent, verdienen veel geld, verschijnen regelmatig in televisieprogramma's (al dan niet vrijwillig) en zijn ofwel de baas, ofwel individuen die voor eigen rekening en risico opereren. Hier is een willekeurige keuze uit de lange lijst, overigens opvallend zonder vrouwen: Sjoerd...

Geen categorie / 16.02.2013

Every time I am in Africa I feel more clumsy, stiff and chunky than at home. It is because of the movements. They don't walk here, they dance. Of they stroll it is on a mysterious rythm, somewhere inside. Running looks more like flying, so easy, so elegant, so natural. Africans enjoy the flexibility of their bodies, whether young or old. If there is music, almost evrybody starts moving their hips, shoulders, knees. A woman picking up a mango on the market, bringing it to her nose, discovering...

Geen categorie / 15.02.2013

To be an African leader is probably one of the most difficult jobs in the world. In Africa, more than, say, in the United States or Europe, life is about belonging to a tribe, a village, a region. Forget boundaries: they were more often than not designed by Europeans. What counts is your roots. From these roots you grow, you learn, you fight. If you want to become the leader of a mixture of tribes (which is almost always the case) you need to be shrewd, strong and...

Geen categorie / 11.02.2013

I cannot prove that my book on the marketing of God ('Hey Joe!', Amsterdam 2009/Frankfurt 2011) has influenced Pope Benedict's decision to give up, but I secretly hope so. In almost six centuries this has never happened. A pope stays until he dies, naturally or poisoned. A pope never retires, even if his doctors advise him to take a rest. Benedict is not allowed to travel any longer, his medics told him, and this pope cannot imagine doing a good job by staying in Rome. He has to...

Geen categorie / 06.02.2013

Microsoft announced it will team up with Huawei of China to sell low-cost Windows smartphones in Africa. The phone will 'only' cost $ 150.-, Microsoft said, and it will not be a cheap model. Instead, it will sell 'real quality innovation.' In the first place $ 150.- is a lot of money in Africa. Most Africans I have seen use old fashioned cellphones just to call and send text messages. No frills, no apps, no games, but at a price of around $ 10.- they are really affordable....

Geen categorie / 05.02.2013

Every time I come home with pictures made en route, I get irritated not only by the quality (not sharp) but also by the fact that, while taking pictures, I forgot to look. So I am done with camera's. I want to have enough time to observe and not loose time looking for my camera, trying to get the right frame and ending up missing the clue. If I can't remember without a picture in my album, the object or moment was obviously not worth it. I have...

Geen categorie / 03.02.2013

This question comes from the late Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski (Thw New York Review of Books, December 2012). He draws our attention to the meaning of happiness. Is Nirvana, he wonders, the absolute state of happiness? Those who cannot read the early Buddhist scriptures in the original, cannot be certain: 'happiness' does not occur in the translations. It is also hard to be sure whether the meaning of words like 'consciousness' or 'self' corresponds to their meaning in modern languages. Nirvana entails the abandonment of the self. This...