Never Forget Chinese Nationalism’s Ethnocentrism

Saying that Chinese increasingly assertive nationalism has a rather ethnocentric streak is nothing new, at least not for those who follow China. However, only when you actually read the source material in Chinese, is the starkness of the PRC’s racialism really driven home. This is something analysts, and other people paid to have opinions on [...]

On studying in China

Later this afternoon I leave for the People's Republic to start my first of two semesters at Peking University, close to Beijing's beautiful Summer Palace in the northwest. While I like to kid that I look forward most of all to the food, I will also enjoy the opportunity to study and learn about China. But [...]

Carving up the Girdle of Emerald: colonialism’s violent cleavages

The evil of colonialism is not expressed in a sum of its benefits and downsides. These debates over British railways in India and economic development miss the point of colonialism entirely. Colonialism is violence. It is not just that it entails violence as an inevitable product of its system, colonialism itself is an act of epistemic [...]

Is China trying use the COC to beef up its Article 281 defence?

Besides ‘we do not accept,’ another legal argument China used to argue that the Philippines case before An Arbitral Tribunal under Annex VII of UNCLOS was inadmissible was that the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea prevented arbitration as per UNCLOS Article 281. This article states that if states [...]

Section 377A is racist

Former High Court of Australia Justice Michael Kirby once termed the sodomy offence ‘England's Least Lovely Criminal Law Export.’ Much has been said about this nefarious side-effect of the supposed rule of law exported throughout the British Empire in the form of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. There is a certain irony in seeing [...]

The argument for democracy is its mediocrity

Any review of the argument for democracy as the best form of governance as a matter of tradition starts with Churchill's citation in the House of Commons of the quote that Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. I oblige. Its popularity shows how wary many people have become of democracy. Gone is the faith of [...]

R.M. Rilke – “Wir sind ganz angstallein”

Wir sind ganz angstallein, haben nur aneinander Halt, jedes Wort wird wie ein Wald vor unserm Wandern sein. Unser Wille ist nur der Wind, der uns drängt und dreht; weil wir selber die Sehnsucht sind, die in Blüten steht. – R.M. Rilke (24.4.1898)

Closed meritocracy in a segregated Dutch society

It must have been a news article on the occasion of a report from the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau; SCP) where I read this interesting observation: the Dutch upper class is both very open and closed. This outwardly nonsensical statement could be rephrased by saying that the Netherlands has 'closed meritocracy'. It [...]

Lucebert – “ik draai een kleine revolutie af…”

ik draai een kleine revolutie af ik draai een kleine mooie revolutie af ik ben niet langer van land ik ben weer water ik draag schuimende koppen op mijn hoofd ik draag schietende schimmen in mijn hoofd op mijn rug rust een zeemeermin op mijn rug rust de wind de wind en de zeemeermin zingen [...]

Reis door Korea: de laatste weken van de zomer

Voor ik vertrok naar Korea beloofde ik hier om niet zo'n typische reisblogger te worden die elk wissewasje met het thuisfront deelt. Daarin ben ik geslaagd: ik heb in Korea welgeteld één blogbericht geschreven. Gefeliciteerd! Maar ik denk dat ze thuis toch wel ietsje meer hadden willen horen. Daarom, nu ik in een kleine maand al [...]