We must all be earthworms before we can be lions: Myanmar’s struggle for transition.

Sook

“… And then you have to tell us what animal you’d like to be and why.” This question is part of the opening exercise of today’s class “Communication for change”. It is in part an icebreaker and an exercise in speaking English – but the real aim is to get to know each other better from the choice of animal.

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Brunei’s brain drain

Abdul Malik Omar

The debate on Brunei’s brain drain has again hit a feverish pitch since Hardware Zone published a post entitled “Very severe brain drain as Brunei falls into decline, talented Bruneians leaving the country“. Citizens like myself are only too indifferent to the negativity surrounding the subject but it kind of begs the question: Why do many of the talented and skilled Bruneians leave the country?

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Fear of the other: when will it escalate?

IMG_20130921_213048

Loes Broen

About a month ago I moved to Belfast. I did not really have a reason to leave except for just wanting to get out of the Netherlands, away from all the blabla about the crisis and the increasing fear for everyone who is not Dutch.

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Simple Things That Really Matter

Sherif Rizq

People who travel a lot see the same things; yet, they react differently to the same encounters. More often than not, the way we react reflects who we are. Among our most prized possessions are our own simple things that stay in our mind and heart forever.

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Relativity and diversity – You and I

Sherif Rizq

Relativity and diversity are corner stones in understanding the complexities of this world, Herb Cohen said “You and I don’t see things as they are we see things as we are” and that explains how relative everything can be, it explains that what’s normal to someone is not necessarily normal to everyone else, and in fact, it shouldn’t be. What’s normal to you is only normal to you because you are unique, and everyone else is unique as well.

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Sharing is multiplying

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Erdem Gunduz at Taksim Square in Istanbul

Lotte van Geijn

In the story of David and Goliath I always forget who is who. Is David the giant and Goliath the shepherd boy? Or is David the shepherd boy and Goliath the giant?

I am standing in front of a huge statue. It is a man with a bag in one hand and a jacket loosely in the other.  He looks like he just got back from work, walking home, but suddenly decided to go into another direction. Tomorrow, he will not follow the same route to work again. Tomorrow, everything will be different. Behind this huge statue is a small army of green figures. Toy soldiers. We kneel down to look at them closely. I feel your breath on my face. Suddenly a soldier stumbles and within a domino effect the start to fall. This place makes me rebellion. We put the plastic soldiers back on their feet: ‘Back in line.’ One stubborn plastic soldier keeps looking at you. We decide to let him be different.

Elastic legitimacy: how legitimate was Mursi’s leadership?

Military helicopters fly above Tahrir Square. Egypt's revolution

Sherif Rizq

One can’t define a political term the same way any time any where. Time and place may add a bit of a different context. Contextualization is a key word to understand what’s happening anywhere anytime in the world. So, this is the case in Egypt as well. The way the Muslim Brotherhood defines legitimacy, for example, depends completely on whether the definition would serve them best or not. When Mubarak, the former president, was ousted in Feb 11 -2011, he was a legitimate president. He was elected in 2005, so it was quite unconstitutional to force him to resign, but the Muslim Brotherhood insisted on the legitimacy of the revolution. Now when millions headed everywhere in Egypt, they definitely outnumbered the people who demonstrated in 2011, they had the same claim of legitimacy of the revolution, yet the Muslim Brotherhood insisted on the legitimacy of the ballots.

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Should having a cleaning lady make me feel awkward?

Kitchen Burma Sook_BloggersWithoutBorders

Sook

We like to take trips to far-flung places for encounters with the new-and-different. We love to take in natural wonders and stare in amazement at architectural feats, while we shudder at the thought of fried insects as a delicacy or the amount of chillis that smile at you when food is served. You don’t even have to go far. On the other side of your country’s border you can already stumble upon the most unexpected situations.

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S-21: The Torture and Killing Machine

Davey Meelker

Yesterday I went to the Dutch premier of the documentary The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence. In this documentary the French lawyer of Duch, the leader of the infamous S-21 prison camp in Cambodia, was followed. It showed a defence team in disgrace within a troubled tribunal and reminded me of the blog I wrote earlier: was the tribunal worth it? It also reminded my of the time of which I studied all the transcripts of this trial to create some understanding of what happened. It took me almost a year to draw this picture. Underneath is an article derived from this extensive research, for this occasion a bit more text than the usual blog. You can also download the full article it here, including references, acknowledgments and a diagram. For those who find it to too much of a read, the video above was created to explain the basics of the functioning of S-21.

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The Dutch and their liberal minds

Dutch multiculturalism

Loes Broen

There was a time that the Dutch were praised and admired because of their liberal minds and the evolving of a multicultural society. We have so many different nationalities living in the Netherlands, we have freedom of speech, we have gay marriage and we tell everybody who wants to listen exactly how open minded we are. But are we really that open minded as we think? Isn’t that something that once was but has been gone for few years now? Or is it just the privilege of populist politicians to say what they think?

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