Creative Business, Events

FACTS Spring 2019

Three out of the seven guests showing up at this year’s FACTS are well known villains in films and tv series.

Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter) was a charismatic person. He spoke his mind and was quite funny. Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) whom story D and I were most eager to hear has alas seemed too tired or too jet-lagged to share his very interesting life. He has lived a life that can easily top any standard Hollywood film. Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lecter in the tv series Hannibal) turned out to be very charming and interesting. No wonder he is very popular amongst the female fans who called themselves Fannibals; female fans of Hannibal.

Thumbs up to the three screen villains born this side of the Atlantic!

Creative Business, Human Nature

Little Consumers

Yesterday, D and I went to Kortrijk to buy tickets for an upcoming event. Unfortunately, the shop has stopped selling these since last October, and we would need to purchase the tickets online. So, D and I did some window shopping at the mall and went for a short stroll in the city before proceeding to our other errands. Before leaving the mall, D purchased a nice summer jacket which he really like.

Kortrijk on a Wednesday afternoon, when school was out, were crawling with teenagers! The heaviest concentration seems to be at the the mall. I noticed that a lot of them were actually buying things and have little shopping bags with them. When I remarked that kids are spending their parents earnings, D reminded me that our niece has been working in the weekends to earn some extra cash.

I am all for the hard-working teenagers. I find it wonderful that some youngsters are becoming aware of the rewards they can get in exchange for their time and energy. Hopefully, they are also appreciating and saving their earnings for greater goals, and not be converted into little consuming zombies by the big businesses.

We live in a different and more challenging world now. A lifestyle of mindless and endless consumption is simply unsustainable.

Creative Business, Jibber Jabber

Who’s Recording?

Just read What Google Knows About You.

Out of the six suggested methods of limiting what Google knows, I am only able to protect myself with the first three. I am constantly signed in and use email regularly. To my surprise, I also seem to watch quite a number of YouTube how-to videos – and Google knows!

My question is, who exactly is the watcher? Is it like your creepy nosy neighbor? Or is it more similar to your loud mouth cousin who cannot keep any secret? The general consensus says that it is a humongous emotionless electronic brain which filters out the juicy stuff, trading these off to businesses, which will then haunt you with your own regurgitated data.

Which is it?

Creative Business, Malaysia

Palm Oil

I just read How The World Got Hooked On Palm Oil. The article is interesting, informative, and rather alarming because all this is happening too close to home.

I read the article with an open mind, and with a grain of salt. The information was digested slowly and decisively because I have no efficient way to check the accuracy of all the data provided. Who is to say that the statistics has not been manipulated at all?

Regardless, the last paragraph of the article does make a point:

Products that are sustainable are those produced and consumed locally; when buyers are able to witness the production process, they will demand that it occur in line with their values. When it’s out of sight, it’s difficult to get enough of them to care. Changing that may require more than a little magic.

All I need to do is think of my home-grown Belgian endives.

Creative Business

Broken Demand Supply

A week ago, I watched a short documentary about global food waste. In Salinas California, trucks after trucks lined up to dump tons of food away. We see bags of pre-washed salad leaves being dumped into landfills by the thousands. These were removed from grocery store shelves not too long ago. My heart ached for the waste of still edible food, for the labourers, for the waste of resources such as water and electricity, for the many millions whom are starving or in need of a decent meal.

Yesterday, D and I went to the shopping mall. Despite the many stores and the dizzying amount of products, we were unable to find what we were looking for. Unable to find the right size of the desired piece of fashion which is the current trend. Ah yeah, said D, we were too late. All the good stuff are gone.

What will happen to the not so good stuff then, if they are not sold within the year? What will happen to the no-longer-desired items? Do they get dump into landfills, like those thousands of bags of pre-washed salad in Salinas?

Demand has shrunk. Even though I am rather sure that the economic well-being of the masses is the main factor, I shall not write off the possibility of environmental awareness as one of the many influencing factors.

Time for the suppliers to slim-line their productions. The current supply-demand system is broken. It is blind, dumb, and simply unsustainable.

Belgium, Creative Business, Health

Third Option

Yesterday, I phoned the local hospital to make an appointment for a medical check-up. The call went first to a language option menu where I may choose Dutch, French or English! Ten years here and I suddenly have an option of using English to book my appointment.

Well the funny thing is that I chose Dutch in the end. It just felt more normal speaking Dutch to a Flemish receptionist. And I have practised the sentences so many times in my head before the call. Besides, I have had made similar calls in the past years without encountering any issues.

The English option offered by the hospital did surprise me. This may mean that the hospital is becoming more global – possessing experts who cater to a diversity of patients. A good thing then.

Belgium, Creative Business, Simplify

January Sales – Part One

Instead of piling everything on this coming Shopping Sunday, I have decided to do part of the Kortrijk city winter walk and January sales this afternoon. D and I were able to take our time and enjoy these activities at a slower and less stressful pace.

After Kortrijk, we went to Lokaal to do some grocery for the weekend. We met a few people whom we know and thus spent some time with them drinking, chatting and laughing.

In the evening when we got home, I quickly cook up a chicken curry and rice dinner.

Creative Business, Jibber Jabber

Backup Plans

D and I have until next Monday to complete our New Year’s gifts purchases. But since neither of us like last minute shopping stress, we decided calmly what to buy and which store to go to this afternoon.

Before leaving the house, I casually did a search for alternative stores. Just in case. Well thank my lucky stars I did! One of the stores we needed to go to was close for Christmas holidays. Score one for backup plans.

Creative Business, Health, Simplify

Simplification Of Personal Finances

I strongly believe that one’s personal finances should be simplified in steps as one ages. This simplification process is the best deterrent to any stressful confusions, possible deceptions and costly negligences. Therefore, close those unnecessary accounts, choose the services of a no-bullshit financial institution (I know, these are so rare), do not let greed or jealousy guide you, and stop making life-altering financial decisions by age 53!