Notes and thoughts on communication and philosophy.

Blog by Elmine Wijnia.

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Smart women , beware!

Whilst all TV nannies preach about positive feedback and ignoring bad behaviour, one of the biggest political parties suggests to do the opposite. The PvdA (social party) wants for higher educated women to pay back for their education when they 'decide not to choose for a job after their education' (students monthly receive a VERY modest amount of money from the government, not even enough to pay the rent AND half of it goes back to the same government in terms of tuition fee). It's supposedly a waste of society's money. I'm at a loss for words, actually!

[Update 14:04 pm]: apparently I'm not the only one who disagrees with this idea.

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Generation gap - using the internet for communicating

A poll from Guardian/ICM shows that a third of all young people online have launched their own blog or website, writes Owen Gibson, media correspondent for The Guardian. (via Thomas Burg)
"There are signs of a significant generation gap, and rather than using the internet as their parents do - as an information source, to shop or to read newspapers online - most young people are using it to communicate with one another."
I really believe that labeling this as a generation gap hits the spot. Recently, the use of MSN by teenagers has had quit some attention in the Netherlands. Parents don't seem to have a clue what their kids are doing. Teenagers spend a lot of time hanging around in chat rooms, not only chatting with people they know but with complete strangers. And they've got web cams as well, so that's it for anonymity. I've even seen teenagers showing their genitals in front of the camera.
Don't get me wrong, I love communicating through the Net and I use all types of tools to communicate with people. But parents need to realize that teenagers need some guidance with their online behaviour, just as they need guidance when they start dating. Common sense, but an overlooked issue. Sitting in front of the computer at home does not automatically mean that they're 'easy teenagers'.
(Disclaimer: I'm not a parent ;-) )
(Btw, the article is just about the poll. Using the term generation gap just triggered me into writing this) 

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Thrilling HEMA??!!

During a lunch break TV zap round I tuned into the BBC. What a weird experience. A British couple is bargain hunting / shopping in Amsterdam and the presenter gets excited from the HEMA. What am I watching? Foreign exchange. Fun to see the remarks on our coffee shops: "famous for their aroma".

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Happy Koninginnedag

Nieuwe foto2.jpg
Today (April 30th) we, the Dutch, celebrate the 25th anniversary of Queen Beatrix. And this is what we do: find a spot in the sun to relax, drink a beer (or more :-)) and enjoy the activities around town. And the next day?? Headache!!

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60 Years Liberation Camp Westerbork

National Westerbork MemorialI'm watching the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Camp Westerbork. It's one of the camps from which thousands of people were deported to be killed in one of the German concentration camps. It's more a memorial service, very modest and beautiful. And it moves me, realizing just how many people lost their lives in a useless war...

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The lost generation

The Dutch government seems to be concerned with three issues: terrorism, safety issues and cutting down the costs. how we are going to pay for the pensions of (the baby boom generation). I'm not saying these issues should not be given attention (however, the government should have given these issues attention ten years ago!), but there are two huge issues for my own generation nobody seems to notice: finding a proper job and finding a decent place to live in.

One of the December issues of  Intermediair , a vacancy magazine for the higher educated, talks about the lost generation. A survey showed that 14% of Dutch students that graduated in 2004 hadn't found a job yet. To put this number into perspective, the average unemployment rate for The Netherlands is  6.3% in October-December 2004. While this seems a huge problem to me (note that I still haven't found a paying job) and friends around me, there seems to be absolute silence around this issue. The people experiencing trouble finding a job now could get 'lost' according to Intermediair since they will lack experience in a few years time when the baby boomers (the generation born after WWII) will leave the companies by the dozen. By that time they will lack the experience AND are not fresh comers on the market, hence the lost generation. I'm one of them. What does this mean to me? I'm well aware of the problem and I'm looking for all kinds of platforms to keep me busy and give me working experience, even if I don't get paid for it. That is my way of dealing with it. But I see a lot of friends around me that need to make money to make a living (I'm in the fortunate position I don't) and are forced to do simple work, e.g. working in a call-center. It's them I'm worried about most, since they lack the time to create their own projects and end up having no proper working experience in a few years time.

Beside the fact that there are hardly any vacancies for starters there is another problem. I'm living in Enschede, two hours by train/car from Amsterdam, three from Rotterdam, two and a half from The Hague. Guess where most of the jobs are! Taking a job in these cities would mean to move there. But you're likely to get offered a one-year contract, meaning there is no way you could get a mortgage. Well, that's fair enough. The only problem is that renting a place is gonna cost so much that you're lucky to find something you can afford AND have your own bathroom. Even though I'm living with Ton, who has a fine income, we could not make a living in the Randstad up to our standards (and that is living together on a minimum of 90 m2 and experience a bit of nature around us). Houses are too expensive out there, either rentals or for sale. And that is not an issue for us alone. So not even the amount of vacancies for me is small, the amount is even smaller if I take into account that I actually can't move further west than Enschede. And what's the news reporting? Well, the trial against the murderer of Theo van Gogh began today. Guess what I've been seeing live on tele today?

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Money for Asia

I'm amazed how much money people are willing to donate for the victims of the tsunami. Over 112 million Euros and still counting. These days I'm proud to say I'm Dutch!

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Does history repeat itself?

OK, normally I don't get mad at what other people write about the Dutch and Dutch culture. Today in my normal routine of skimming through my RSS-reader Jeroen Steeman blogged about a column of Cal Thomas. He thinks the Dutch have hit rock bottom now that one of our respectable hospitals has made a protocol for euthanizing babies when there is no hope of survival for the baby. (note that this news is not an issue in the Duth press!) Of course, as a respectable citizen of America and employee of Fox, Mr. Cal doesn't agree with such a policy. The thing that strikes me though is that he dares to compare euthanasia with the mass murder in WWII. Oh yeah, we're really selecting our babies on their genes, mr. Cal! And we do it in such an amount that we (the Dutch) end up murdering 6 million babies in five years time. Thank you very much for this well written column. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that this man is working for FOX news. Anyone seen Outfoxed??

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Today, May 4, the Dutch will commemorate the victims of WW II. It is the day before the official liberation of the Netherlands (May fifth) and for years this day has been a day of remembrance. Tonight at 8 PM people all over the country will hold two minutes of silence to rethink what happened over half a century ago.

As a child, I used to hate this day. Playing in the local wind orchestra I had to play on this evening every year. The commemoration took place at the local monument somewhere at the outskirts of our little village. All I can remember is that it was always cold and playing with numb fingers was no fun. As a child I didn't know what it was all about. My grandfathers, who were the only relatives that lived during the war and were still alive when I was born, both died when I was very young. Therefore I was never able to ask them questions about what it was like, having to deal with a war. Now, growing older, I've got so much questions I want to ask them. I really miss that piece of historical knowledge from my own family.

During the years I've grown to love this day. It is so important that people give it a moment's thought about what is going on in the world. Young people need to realize that they are lucky they can live in freedom. At the same time there are so many people that still suffer from war, whether the war is already in the past or whether their country is still at war.

Tonight I will remember that people have fought and lost their lives to preserve the country I grew up in. I will think of all the suffering in the world due to wars, that mostly make no sense to me. At the same time I will celebrate that I'm luckily living in a free country, and hope I'll never be caught up in war.

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A new kid on the block

Last sunday a new princess was born in The Netherlands, the first daugther of our crown prince Willem-Alexander and his wife princess Máxima. For the Dutch it has been a time of speculation about the name of the baby. Yesterday it was known that the first two names probably would be Catharina-Amalia. How did people know that? The internetdomain had been claimed. Today the crown prince registered his daughter at the Registry Office in The Hague in front of the press. One of the reporters asked him why they chose to register the domain before the official anouncement of the names of the princess. His reaction was that they tried to claim several domains so that there would still be speculation left. Unfortunately most names they wanted to claim as a diversion were already claimed in the last few days. That shows that there are people out there trying to make money out of everything. Unfortunately for them they didn't come up with the real name:

Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria.

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