About me

After I used vibrant red henna on my grey hair in November 2018, one of the local pigeons who knows me well threw me a long inquisitive look, trying to figure out whether the red hair had any special significance. I’ve seen it before, with my own hookbills. (See footnote.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Who I am? Well, my LinkedIn profile used to say that I am a versatile critical thinker and creative tinkerer who is into bioethics and inclusivity (see footnote) and has an earth & life science background.

Indeed, my primary background is in earth, marine and environmental hence also life sciences (ResearchGate). I have worked in a wide range of fields and environments, however, and learned a great deal from all of that. In addition, I have a knack for law, and for writing.

Yes, I am based in Britain, a country that is often totally off-the-charts nuts in many respects, but have previously lived in the US of A and hail from the Netherlands. I’ve spent most of my adult life in vibrant Amsterdam.

As I mentioned above, my interests have revolved around bioethics and related issues in recent years, such as the drive for greater equality. Law is also part of bioethics.

In 2017, I published the first version of my book “We need to talk about this“, then doubled the number of pages in the much better version that I produced in 2018. The book deals with the new eugenics and related topics.

I’ve also written a bit of entertaining flash fiction.

That’s the photo taken for my university ID in Florida in 1994.

I went to university relatively late in life. I initially worked in tourism and hospitality in Amsterdam, then quit my job and enrolled in earth sciences when I was in my mid-twenties, to become a geologist and marine biogeochemist. Most women my age were starting to have babies or were already well into their careers.

Doing fieldwork in Sweden. The year was 1989, I think. I lost that coffee thermos at the end of 2010.

After I got my Master’s, I moved to the United States to do a PhD. That’s a long story. My goal was to be a professor with my own top-notch marine biogeochemistry group, but I let go of that when I was in my mid-forties.

Anyway, I’d already become self-employed in Amsterdam in 1997, initially working with an international network of associates for clients ranging from universities and university scientists, mining companies and high-end consultancies to publishers and start-ups from all over the world.

This is me in 2003 or 2004, at an environmental chemistry symposium in the Netherlands, before I relocated to the UK.

I am a former board member of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society as well as former editor-in-chief of its newsletter and yearbook, a former member of the board and of various committees of NIMF (a Dutch foundation for women in science and technology), and former associate editor of the newsletter of the US-based but internationally operating Geochemical Society.

At the end of 2004, my business and I relocated to the United Kingdom. One reason for my relocation was that the air in the UK is cleaner. (Depending on where you are, there is generally a lot less fine dust in the air here.)

In addition to being a sole trader, I am a Company Director, for a Company that isn’t active at the moment (Angelina Souren Ltd).

I am also a feminist. I believe that women are fully fledged humans, not flawed or defective. Not a lesser kind of human.

A fun fact about me? I once flew a small aircraft – an Aero Subaru Fuji FA200 – for a few moments, long before I learned how to start a car. This concerned a flying lesson at Lelystad Airport in the Netherlands. I would have loved to get my pilot’s licence, but it not only cost a lot to acquire, it would also have cost a lot to maintain it, and would have involved a lot of travel time as well. I liked the freedom of flying, having three rotational axes of movement.

That’s me with my alto sax at a rehearsal in Bristol in 2009. I looked a lot better than I sounded! (Owing to a turquoise-coloured fibre deftly stuck onto the pad of my A, that day.) My hair was dyed; this was before I became allergic to various synthetic hair dyes. At the moment, I do not play any woodwinds. I often no longer even have enough air for a penny whistle, but I am positive that this will change in the future.

The rehearsals were for this event:

 

Footnote for the photo at the top:
Yes, birds do see colours, though what exactly they see also depends on the species. Most birds, in fact, see more colours than humans as birds see light in a broader wavelength range than humans do. Birds, however, need a lot more light (stronger light) to be able to see colours. In other words, their dawn is later than ours and their twilight is earlier.

Footnote about my interest in bioethics and inclusivity:
After I moved to Britain, I found myself severely hampered by a host of stigmas. About being over 35, about being a foreigner, about being a woman, about being single, about being educated, about being perceived as lying about that professional background and so on and so forth. This was a completely new experience for me and it taught me a lot.

I have also often been stunned by the level of cruelty in British society. I’ve been baffled by the lack of respect for the (human and regular legal) rights of other people and absence of mutual human respect that I’ve witnessed. It seems that Britain is still held back by what happened here in the 19th-century (Victorian prudishness, the habit of talking in riddles, and the callous teachings of calculating utilitarianism).

People in countries that rank very low on masculinity on Hofstede’s scale – like the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark – tend to have much better lives and be much happier. Their societies are more egalitarian, more focused on cooperation and true democracy.

Kindness is a not a weakness that only fools engage in. Education should be available to everyone, not restricted to the happy few.

It is not on to keep a large group of the British population, including many with chronic illnesses and disabilities, deliberately in deep poverty so that the government can milk and manipulate these groups to balance its books (and this is not exclusive to Britain’s Tory governments, but is structural).

It is not on that tens of thousands of people die in Britain every winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, but that wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few people who are mostly based in London, while about one third of the country’s population lives in poverty.

Many Brits seem obsessed with holding each other back and making each other as miserable as possible. But if just about everyone in Britain feels that he or she can only be happy when everybody else is miserable, then Britain is doomed by definition! A successful life is not about beating everyone else. In fact, being selfish contributes negatively to your income over time (see video below).

A first step? Stop gossiping. Stop making stuff up about people you don’t even know. Stop believing in gossip. Stop spreading gossip. Stop this:

(GOSSIP | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary)

gossip definition:
1. conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true

Breathe and let breathe.