Studying HK through Airbnb

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If you want to dive into HK’s housing problems and enjoy a holiday at the same time, this piece is a must-read. Inge Goudsmit and I collected Airbnb places in Hong Kong that will tell you everything about the city’s housing history and challenges. You’ll find the article here on Archined. Some other work from this summer: An article for FD on why modern slavery is still a driving force in our economy, written with Kathleen Ferrier and a column about why downloading the app ‘I’m getting arrested’ can be considered a political act in China. I’m making new research plans for the coming months… any interesting leads or ideas? Let me know.

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Work Therapy

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Writing has been a form of therapy the past couple of weeks. I was able to work on several articles about China-related topics for Dutch media. While it’s lovely to be back in Europe, I still miss life in Hongkong very much and writing about Asia-related issues somehow makes it a lot easier to deal with a reversed culture shock.

You can read some of my work for Nederlands Dagblad and China2025 on my blog here. I also wrote three pieces for the June issue of One World Magazine… they curated a special China-edition. Keep you posted on that project. It’s being printed as we speak!

Interview with Occupy Leader

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What an awesome last day of the year it was. On the 31st of December Kathleen Ferrier and I were able to look back on the Hong Kongs’ political turbulent year with Benny Tai, one of the main Occupy Central (With Love and Peace) leaders. Interviewing him really inspired me, not only in a professional way but also on a personal level. Although it’s quite obvious he prefers to ‘hide’ in his study full of books and plants, he feels it’s his duty to speak up. Such a humble man, full of hope and strong ideas for Hong Kongs’ political future. I hope some of them come true in 2015.

We wrote this article about the interview in Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch Daily Newspaper). 

MONU: Indoor Urbanism

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Our Article ‘Hong Kong Outside In’ got published in the new issue of MONU, a great international architecture magazine. I wrote it together with Inge Goudsmit (OMA, Hong Kong).

If you’re interested: the complete magazine is about interior urbanism, a fascinating topic if you ask me. You can get your copy here.

Work in progress

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Yes, I still do my fair share of design-jobs during the week, but apart from that I’m also starting to do more jobs as a freelance editor lately (sorry only for Dutch magazines and newspapers;-)). There’s so much to write about and my favorite topics –China, language and consumer/design trends– merge in so many area’s these days. I feel inspired all the time!

– A couple of weeks ago, my article on how we need to use more Chinese words in our international language, got published in Trouw. It was really exciting! I got in touch with several language-experts after that and we agreed that a lot of eastern-concepts can’t be translated in a western languages like English. You can read the article here.

– Now I’m working on two stories. One is for magazine Skipr about Hong Kong’s public health care. Bloomberg put it our city on a number one spot in terms of efficiency recently. The other story is about the fascinating Chinese womans’ language Nushu. It was used secretly in times of hardship and illiteracy, by women from Hunan province in China. It’s the only exclusively ‘womans’ only’ language in the world. Nowadays it’s not a symbol of submission anymore but of empowerment instead. Woman who still speak Nushu can make more money in the tourist industry than their male relatives. Fascinating, no?!

Chinese to me: mapping mutual incomprehension

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Last week I was working on an article about how we all should use correct Chinese terms over misleading English translations of those terms. As I was researching, I stumbled upon this really interesting map here. Although the design is very basic it really got my attention.

I know from living in Hong Kong that most English speaking people say: ‘It sounds like Greek to me’ when they don’t understand something. When we Dutch speakers encounter a language problem, we say ‘it’s Chinese to me’. And apparently we’re not the only ones using Chinese as an equivalent of ‘this is something way beyond understanding’. Chinese is used most often in this international phrase phenomenon, Greek comes second and Spanish third. (Original source of the map can be found here)

Chinese are the only ones who don’t refer to another earthly language to indicate that they can’t comprehend something. They say ‘This must be heavenly script’.  I admire the self-confidence of Asians;-).