Things I dislike about Britain/England

  • The stigma on being female;
  • The stigma on migrants (colonial thinking/insularity) (and often everyone else who was not locally born and bred);
  • The stigma on people over 35-45 years old;
  • The frequent loud drunk hollering, the random setting on fire of things and breaking down of things (such as infant school’s fences and things in other people’s backyards) and from time to time having to open my window and loudly tell – yell at – people out there to get a grip – because people never learned how to handle their emotions in a normal way;
  • The fact that you sometimes have to scream like a banshee here or take other drastic steps to get some attention or protection for your everyday rights (because hey, the idea that all people have the same rights clashes with the principle of inequality and that can be a giant hurdle to overcome);
  • The overall misery, poverty, envy and hate and the related grouchiness;
  • The relentless bullying of random people;
  • The issues (insecurity?) many Brits have with regard to confident, enthusiastic and highly driven people;
  • Its awful inequality, that division into worthy people and worthless people, and how people are treated according to this division;
  • The crap rich people get away with;
  • The scheming, often followed by backstabbing, which also seems to be a side effect of inequality;
  • The lack of cleanliness (but that is a minor peeve);
  • The fact that you’d better keep to yourself, avoid other people’s eyes and certainly not talk to strangers unless you don’t mind getting into trouble;
  • The truly appalling stigma on single women, on women who are not a man’s property. (Chinese culture, apparently, has a stigma on single women too; I don’t know if it’s similar.)

Oh, and nasty big bully neigbours, of course, LOL, who visibly get off on making other people afraid (those other people preferably being single women, I’m sure).

On most days, I simply ignore it as I can’t change any of it anyway and on many days I don’t even notice it when I am focused on other matters than what strangers might be thinking of me. But the yelling and whining and a few other things are much harder to ignore, and I get really fed up with this from time to time. I know I am not the only one. I do my best to focus on what I can change.

What’s good about it?

  • The green space! Britain is much less densely populated than my own country.
  • The coffee!
  • The flexibility. It is the other side of what you’ve been seeing with Brexit for over three years now; this “anything goes no matter what we say and we never plan anything whatsoever and have a heck of a lot of trouble getting anything done and you can never rely on anything whatsoever as we may change our mind tomorrow and then change it back the next day or put another different twist on it” approach has two sides.
  • A few other things, such as the way people help each other out.
  • Deborah Meaden.
  • Deborah Meaden’s twin sister.
  • Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman.
  • The oodles of sunshine! I swear, there is (almost) as much sunshine here as in Florida.



Gonna be on BBC1 this evening. 7:30, I think. Start listening at 7 if you don’t want to miss themhim. Haven’tHasn’t released any music in about five years. They’reHe’s back.

Here it is! Hmm. It’s a bit different. I like it, but I am not sure yet what to think of it. Takes a few plays, I guess. There’s a whole story in it. Sounds like a lot of pain and tragedy, in the middle. Makes ya wonder. Yeah, okay, I like it.

(Confession: I really really really like Jamelia. And Irene too, I think.)

Tragedy, grief and resilience – not pity

I posted this video when I reached 5:39 and I’d already said “Yeah!” several times! People sometimes truly suffocate others to death with all their pity, with their stifling doom-and-gloom predictions, stopping them from moving on.

But the opposite happens too, of course.

Only you can determine how you will overcome something that happened to you and what the appropriate time for grieving is.

A psychologist, a long time ago, noticed that I seem to be pretty good at what this talk tells me is “benefit finding” (looking for the silver lining, the plus, no matter what it is). “You’re a true survivor!”, she exclaimed. It felt good to be told something like that. And it’s another thing to be grateful for, too.

One of my weaknesses may be that I get bogged down when I pay too much attention to people who tell me that I should be stressed or miserable or worried (or worse, that I am not worthy and should be ashamed or embarrassed over something). You’re supposed to talk about how bad things are. Not about what’s good and nice and wonderful, and fine and cool and okay.

You’re considered silly and childish and immature when you still see the wonderful in little things.

Benefit finding is one of the things Brits aren’t good at, at all, because what they call “whingeing” (an exclusively British word) is part of their culture. (British culture is a strange thing. I’ve learned that some of its peculiarities have resulted from the Brits or English wanting to follow the stoics, which somehow turned in people not acknowledging their own emotions but pushing them down and pretending that what happened didn’t really happen. Many Brits are not very good at relaxing and just being, but this also seems to go for many Americans these days, in a different way.)

The third trait that she mentions I find much harder (but I wrote this at the beginning of when she started explaining it). It’s not always clear in advance whether something is going to harm you or help you (such as, in her case, go to the trial). My solution for that? I ask myself if there is at least one good thing that I can get from it. This can be simply “satisfying my curiosity”.

Some people may call me naive when I give something (or someone) the benefit of the doubt, for the mere sake of finding out whether I was wrong or right about something (or someone). I sometimes attend events that I don’t think will bring me anything at all – just to see if perhaps I was wrong about that. And sometimes, I end up being wonderfully surprised by what I find. The unexpected. At other times, it brings me some form of learning.

I’ve forgotten what the first trait was that she mentioned, so that didn’t resonate strongly with me.

Can YOU still justify supporting Facebook?

Facebook has just added one more feat to its long history of appallingly unethical actions.

It began with the mood manipulation experiments for which the affected users had given no consent.

I thought that this would have major consequences for Facebook.

I was wrong. People just shrugged. They made fusses over Starbucks instead.

So Facebook took it further and further. It meddled in the US elections. It meddled in the UK’s Brexit referendum (the Cambridge Analytica scandal). Its boss gave governments the finger by not showing up for hearings. It paid kids to give it access to their entire digital lives.

And now this. Can you still justify using Facebook (and Instagram, and WhatsApp)?

I can’t.


An owl, a lizard and a cat walk into a bar.

Nonmi Hiseddeo:

An owl, a lizard and a cat walk into a bar. The bartender brings them 3 waters and puts a bowl of cockroaches down on the counter for them. Suddenly, the owl hears, “Hey, you’re a good-looking owl!” The owl turns around, but he sees nothing. Then the lizard hears, “Your colors are just stunning!” He turns around but sees no one. Finally, the cat hears a voice saying, “I bet your parents are SO PROUD of you!!” Having had enough of the mysterious voices, they call to the bartender. “Where’re the voices coming from?” they ask. “Oh,” says the bartender. “That’d be the cockroaches. They’re complimentary.”

Errors of the human body – and genome editing in Toronto

I am about to watch a film called “Errors of the human body” that I just ran into at the local Scope charity shop. Although I don’t know yet how much relevance it has within the context of the new eugenics, it reminds me of (the graphics for) a session on 17 October I saw announced on Twitter this afternoon:

If you happen to be in Chicago on the 14th, there is also this:

42% of EU citizens in UK who apply to stay now not deemed “settled”

This includes for example a chef who has been in the UK for over 20 years.

Still believe that weren’t lying in 2016 when politicians said that nothing would change for EU citizens in the UK, that we would all automatically be granted “settled” status and be permitted to stay and continue with our lives? No fuss whatsoever?

Still believe that the application process is a mere registration process and is straightforward and simple, easypeasy?


Brexit update

In spite of all the noise in the media, the dot gov dot uk website still mentions 30 June 2021 as the application deadline

Application? To use an app to ask if we – EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK – can pretty please obtain the rights about which it was said in 2016 that they weren’t going to change and were guaranteed.

Even if we ask and are approved, we still won’t get any official documentation, nothing that will convince anyone else, apparently. But at least they’ve waived the application fee.

The dot gov dot uk website also still advises EU citizens who haven’t been here very long to wait until they’ve passed the five-year mark, if applicable, before they apply.

Today, I received this e-mail below, which undoubtedly everyone else in that Home Office e-mail data base got as well. (Can’t do screenshots at the moment.)

Consumerism or not

My microwave finally gave up the ghost a few days ago. There had been one or two earlier occasions when it was using energy but not heating food, so it was no big surprise.

The first thing I did was go online and look for a new one. Old habits die hard. It is very tempting to run out and get for example a new shiny red one right away as I rely pretty heavily on my microwave (and a red or black microwave is prettier than a white one). I very rarely use a stove or oven.

But this one had come from someone else’s kitchen remodelling project, and served me well for years. I’d bought the one before that new, and it did not last long at all.

So, operating from a non-consumerist point of view, I was hoping to find another one that was getting tossed out or already got tossed out during a kitchen renovation. Those microwaves often still work fine but as they usually have no legs and their looks may be a bit less appealing, most people probably don’t want them. They’d look a bit odd in a shiny new kitchen, granted.

So I went on freecycle, posted my request and crossed my fingers. I received three offers! I only needed one – which was very kindly dropped off, too – so that means that two other local people whose microwaves are about to break down will be in luck.

There is still so much stuff sitting around unused in people’s sheds, basements and attics. It means that something else does not actually have to be bought yet, with the various environmental burdens that purchase would entail.

What puts FOOD on the table?


I just saw this on Twitter:

When I looked into it, I found that yes, there is interest from Turkey to save about 4000 jobs or so. By the way, Turkey isn’t joining the EU either and the billion or so Turkish people who were supposedly all moving to Britain – as an argument for Brexit – have no intention of doing that.

Campaign paid for by…


Be like water

Part of the zen approach to life is to be like water, to go with the flow (and not see yourself as the water drop but as part of the water). Water can be gentle and soothing or powerful and instantly destructive, but the gentle trickle can accomplish lasting change – as any limestone can tell you – while the destruction wreaked by loud manifestations of water often gets repaired pretty quickly.

Water adapts to its surroundings, takes the shape of what it finds, does not insist on being anything else.

I know (of) someone who is like the sea, made up of many individual waves of dark and light, among and under which many sea creatures play and lurk. He sees himself aptly as a work of art, of light and shadow. The brain is infinitely more fascinating than beauty, he says, as beauty fades and changes and loses its appeal, but the workings of the brain continue to intrigue.

Most people, however, only get to see the cute little seal who waves one of his flippers at them, and are oblivious to the rest of him. What they don’t know either is that he does not choose to be this way. It is simply what he is and like water, he goes with the flow, adapting himself to the circumstances, but he is also the rock in the middle of the stream that watches and influences the flow of the water around him.

Throughout my life, I have found that in times of turbulence, most people around you will rapidly flow away along the path of least resistance to seek easier surroundings. (I said “most people”, as not all will do this.)

When all you have to rely on is yourself, you may have to be like the rock and not allow yourself to be swept away or swept along. This, then, will cause sand grains and pebbles and smaller rocks to snuggle up, finding shelter behind you, in your wake, for a while.

We’re all like the water and like the rock at times, and at other times, we have no choice but to be like the pebble that seeks shelter behind the rock to get some rest and recuperate.

Eventually, each rock turns into smaller rocks, then pebbles, then sand grains, only to be turned into massive rock again later. And then the cycle repeats itself.

We are all different, yet we are also all really the same.

From the Tao Te Ching:

The supreme good is like water,
which benefits all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
It gathers in unpopular places.
Thus it is like the Tao.

The location makes the dwelling good.
Depth of understanding makes the mind good.
A kind heart makes the giving good.
Integrity makes the government good.
Accomplishment makes your labors good.
Proper timing makes a decision good.

Only when there is no competition
will we all live in peace.

Also from the Tao Te Ching:

Water is the softest and most yielding substance.
Yet nothing is better than water,
for overcoming the hard and rigid,
because nothing can compete with it.

Everyone knows that the soft and yielding
overcomes the rigid and hard,
but few can put this knowledge into practice.

Therefore the Master says:
“Only he who is the lowest servant of the kingdom,
is worthy to become its ruler.
He who is willing to tackle the most unpleasant tasks,
is the best ruler in the world.”

True sayings seem contradictory.


Targui = singular

Touareg = plural

Also called “Kel Tamashek” (something like “those who speak Tamashek”).

How do I know this? For a long time, I had a bunch of books, some quite old, in storage in the US that I once bought in Amsterdam. I also borrowed some for a while. About (mostly) northern Africa.

How come? A long time ago, when I was working at a large hotel in Amsterdam, a guy checked in who was living in the US – I think he had a travel agency there, in Virginia – and he completed part of his check-in card in French, as he had been born in Oran.

I realized that I knew nothing about the country he must have grown up in and went to the library, started reading. I soon went south and this is how I ran into the Touareg and their rich culture. Music, poetry, dance, lifestyle. I found them very inspiring.

I crossed into the Sahel too, into Mali for example, but I stopped there (until I later got into apartheid a little bit).

I seem to remember that the white dress is worn by royalty or only on special occasions and that the royal blue is the more commonly worn color. The Touareg cover their faces out of respect for you, if I recall correctly.

So at first, the title “The Voice of Tamashek Women” looked like it had been translated incorrectly, but during the interview, Eyadou Ag Leche talks about “the Tamashek style” so it apparently is more complicated than merely “language”. More like “culture”? Kel Tamashek then becomes something like “those who speak the language of that culture”, maybe.

Reading up on Africa in the early ’80s made me aware how much we of the west messed up there. The way I see it, we caused many of the drought (food) problems there because we didn’t think people in Africa knew how their own land worked and we started drawing lines and called them borders and told people to stay put instead of move around like they had always done.

I also had Geoffrey Moorhouse’s “The fearful void”.

“I’m in a complete solitude, where thoughts frighten me, and lost in their midst I arose and noticed that I was thirsty and wanted water.”

Wonderful that I now get to hear what the books I read sounded like, so to speak.