Monday 31 March 2008

Cross-Border Weekend

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One of those perks in living in Europe is a smooth and care-free
travelling around with European trains. That is if they are not
on strike or repairing some tracks on weekends. One can either
book tickets directly per internet with especial discounts for
holders of special discount for frequent travellers or the so-called
Bahncard which gives 25% to 50% cut on the regular fares, or for
bookers for holiday tariffs as advertised by almost all European
German trains offer as low as 19Euro
for one-way ticket to Amsterdam or even as low as 39Euro to
some European capital cities like Paris, Milano and Copenhagen.
I have a return ticket to Amsterdam which would
expire this last weekend of March and so despite the
not so encouraging weather forecast for Holland and the
return text of my girlfriend Herms who is, in turn,
spending her weekend in Belgium, I took the early ICE
train to this land of tulips and cheese with a bit
of frustration though as I found out that this super
fast train would be rerouted and definitely would
be encountering delays as good, industrious
Dutch railway technicians or other guest workers are repairing
Dutch tracks this weekend.
Reaching the main station of Utrecht, I have never fail to
do the first act of my visiting rites...go to the nearest
French fries (should be Dutch fries right?) and get myself
a normal serving with peanut and mayonnaise dressing. Yes,
even for breakfast! If I would get my good share of my
bad cholesterol, then it should come from a genuine
source and not the copied fries in Germany.
The rest of the short day would be spent in window shopping
checking the latest fashion worn by these mannequins. It always
amuses me to see that in Holland, the boundary of fashion
between let us say grandmas and their teenage granddaughters is
just also a cross-generation dressing. Wear anything as long as
you enjoy wearing it or simply anything goes seems to be the
fashion dictate in this land of Gouda cheese, Delft porcelain and
herring eaters.

Even for a rainy weekend, the flower market is worth
a visit to complement a day tour of the market taking
photos of how these honey waffle cookies are made or just
feasting one's eyes on all all sizes and shapes and colors
of fish, cheese, nuts,candies leather bags, skirts and shawls,
fruits and locks, screws, bolts and toys for cats
and dogs.

On my way back, the ICE train would be again rerouted
but this time, I have a bagful of giant-sized pindas
(peanuts), cashew nuts, crab salad, honey waffle cookies,
and cheeeeeeeeeese! A real Dutch treat, right?

Monday 24 March 2008

Happy Easter Monday!


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
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Thursday 20 March 2008

East Meets West: Equinox, Newroz, Easter and 5th Year Iraq War

"And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
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We received today an email from our Iranian friend and his
family greeting us for the coming Easter and at the same time
sharing with us his wish for peace just in time for
the celebration of the traditional Iranian new year
holiday of Newroz.
Newroz is celebrated throughout the countries of the Middle
East and Central Asia as in Iran, Azerbaijian, Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Turkey.In Kurdish legend, the holiday
celebrates the deliverance of the Kurds from a tyrant, and
it is seen as another way of demonstrating support for the
Kurdish cause. The celebration is commonly transliterated
Newroz by the Kurds and coincides with the spring equinox
which falls mainly on 21st March. See the complete text
in wikipedia
This morning, I received also an sms from my sister:
"May All Good Things Come Ur Way as D Sun Rises.
Have a Meaningful Holy Week. God Bless!"

While all the greetings are about new start and new
beginning with the official start of Spring 2008,
media has been covering about the recent protests
in Tibet and the 5th year of War in Iraq.
What a waste of human resources!

I am posting here for this especial day of
"Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in
the minds of men that the defences of peace must
be constructed."
Unesco, Constitution, adopted 16.Nov.1945

No to War!
Happy Easter!

Without the light and the fire of Love
Without the Designer and the power of Creator,
We are not able to reach Union.
(Light is for us and dark is the night)
This fire massing and washing the Heart,
My heart claim after it.
And here come Newroz, and the New Year,
When a such light is rising.
from Melaye Ciziri (1570-1640)
Source: Wikipedia

Monday 10 March 2008

Cross Posting: IWD 2008 Internationalerfrauentag

Photo: Peter Rakocyz

Talente und Potenziale liegen brach

VON CLAUDIA HAUSER, 09.03.08, 20:55h
Beim Internationalen Frauentag informierten im Rathaus
unterschiedliche Gruppen vor allem über Themen,
die Migrantinnen betreffen.

Elisabeth ist 15, kommt aus dem Kongo und hat einen einfachen,
mädchenhaften Wunsch: "Ich möchte mit 20 heiraten!" Das Foto,
das die Künstlerin Jane Dunker von ihr für die Ausstellung
"Innenwelten Außenwelten" machte, zeigt Elisabeth deshalb im
Brautkleid vor einer Fototapete mit Strand und Palmen. "Falls ich
nicht heirate,habe ich wenigstens ein Foto von mir im Brautkleid",
steht neben dem Bild. 17 Mädchen, die regelmäßig den
interkulturellen Treff "Lobby für Mädchen" in Mülheim besuchen,
zeigen über Bilder und Collagen,was sie sich wünschen, wovor sie
Angst haben und was sie berührt.

Die großformatigen Fotos waren beim Empfang zum
Internationalen Frauentag im Rathaus zu sehen, zu dem die Stadt
unter dem Motto "Frauen International - Dialog der Kulturen.
Wir feiern - Wir fordern" eingeladen hatte. "Niemand darf Frauen
daran hindern, sich frei zu entfalten und zu bilden", sagte
Bürgermeisterin Elfi Scho-Antwerpes in ihrer Eröffnungsrede.
Vor allem um die Förderung von Mädchen und Frauen mit
Migrationshintergrund sollte es in den einzelnen Foren gehen. So
referierte Faize Berger über die Stärkung von multikulturellen
Unternehmerinnen, die Psychologin Azra Pourgholam-Ernst stellte das Gesundheitserleben von Migrantinnen in den Fokus,
außerdem wurde die Chancengleichheit in Ausbildung, Bildung und
Beruf diskutiert. Die Ergebnisse der einzelnen Foren sollen in
das Integrationskonzept der Stadt einfließen.
"In Köln leben 159 000 Frauen mit Migrationshintergrund", sagte
Petra Engel, stellvertretende Leiterin des Amtes für Gleichstellung
von Frauen und Männern. "Es wird dringend Zeit,sie mehr ins
Blickfeld zu rücken." Engel findet es bedenklich, dass einerseits die
Erwerbsquote von Migrantinnen wesentlich geringer sei als bei
deutschen Frauen; die Beschäftigung der Frauen in privaten
Haushalten als Reinigungskraft oder Pflegerin aber deutlich
zunehme. "Die Talente und Potenziale dieser oft sehr gut
ausgebildeten Frauen liegen brach", ergänzte Scho-Antwerpes.

Köln hat als erste deutsche Stadt 1982 eine Gleichstellungsstelle eingerichtet - auch
dieses Jubiläum sollte im Rathaus gefeiert werden.

See original report in Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger Nr. 59 Montag 10.03.2008

Sunday 9 March 2008

IWD Cologne 2008

In a society where the rights and
potential of women are constrained,
no man can be truly free.
He may have power,
but he will not have freedom.
Mary Robinson, President of Ireland

You are the architect of your personal experience.
Shirley Maclaine

Be critical. Women have the right to say: "This is
surface, this falsifies reality, this degrades".
Tillie Olsen

Women are always being tested...but ultimately, each of
us has to define who we are individually and then do the
very best job we can to grow into that.
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Never retract, never explain, never apologize...get
the thing done and let them howl.
Nellie McClery

I only want to lose to bathroom scales.
MarLou Baylanes

Yesterday is a cancelled check
Tomorrow is a promisory note
Today is cash in hand; spend it wisely.

Happy International Women's Day 2008!

Monday 3 March 2008

International Literature Festival in Cologne


"Das achte Mal"
Internationales Literaturfest
29.02. - 9.3. 2008

As my small contribution to the celebration of
the 8th International Literature Festival in the city
of Cologne, I would be posting some of my favorite
pieces of poetry, book info and just about your and my
favorite hobby...reading.
But as in German expression Vorab or roughly to begin
with, or in Pilipino Bago ang's
the meaning of literature:
"Literature is the one place in any society where
within the secrecy of our own heads, we can hear voices
talking about everything in every possible way."
Salman Rushdie

For detailed information and program, see
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