Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 28


“The moment a person realizes that reality has many faces, he/she takes the first step on the road to wisdom.”

Hopstaken’s Newsletter – the breathtaking 6th edition – December 22, 2006

This edition is dedicated to all DDU alumnae & alumni around the world

This newsletter is published by Loek Hopstaken of Hopstaken Bedrijfsadvies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(www.hopstaken.com). Intended publics: Loek’s personal international network, including many former students at
DDU of both himself and his pal Peter van Oosten. Regular contributors: Peter van Oosten, Larry O’Connor, Thu Le
Lan. Liu Tian Jian (Joe), Tran Thi Huyen Nga (Anna). This edition’s guest contributors: Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan (Lan) &
Vo Ngoc Lien Huong (Jane); Photos: Peter & Loek; Zhou Lincheng (Apple); Vo Ngoc Lien Huong (Jane); Trong Tam
Nguyen (Tommy); Wendy Jansen; Liu Fan’s (Sarah’s) friend; Evert Jan Deelstra, Nga Tran’s (Anna’s) colleague.
All correspondence: hopstakeninternational@gmail.com.

1. Welcome to this breathtaking 6th Edition!!! – by Loek Hopstaken

Squeezing What is Wisdom??? No. 6 into existence
These last months of the year are the busiest, and the fastest … it’s all about completing tons of actions and projects,
setting priorities and making choices. That’s why this edition is a tiny bit smaller than the previous ones. In my case, the
busy-ness of business meant delivering a high number of workshops and coaching sessions; in November I beat my
own record. And yet, in that same month, there was quality time spent with family and friends, by taking walks and
making pictures, and doing other things that lift the spirit. When life is so busy, challenging, productive, inspiring, one
feels so positively alive that all problems seem solvable. The more intensive life is, the more breathtaking moments it
brings. And when not one, but two computers crash within two weeks, eating up many hours and delaying work on this
edition of What is Wisdom???, one has no time to wonder: “What is wisdom???” When you’re flying high, who cares?

There is only one solution to this situation: act, just do it. So here it is, and I hope you like the result of our attempt to
squeeze this edition into existence. Contributors include Liu Tian Jian (Joe’s second article), Thu Le Lan (her second
article!), Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan (Lan’s article, originally written as a school assignment), Huyen Thi Nga Tran (Anna’s
second article) and Vo Ngoc Lien Huong (Jane). So hooooooraaaaay!!! for our Vietnamese internes, you did a great
job! And I’m glad Larry O’Connor continued his life story.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 1
As usual, we have tried to collect pictures from alumni & alumnae … our portfolio’s appear to be the first section you,
our dear reader, turn to when you receive this newsletter.

The Wealthiest Person on Earth

Here you see a thoroughly happy person. He’s drinking a cappuccino with Lien Huong (Jane), who took the picture.
She is one of a few DDU alumni/alumnae who ‘stick around’ in Holland: for work & study, before their inevitable
return home. You may have noticed that I enjoy meeting former students. However, as I’m writing this, more and more
alumni and alumnae, like Jane, go home, to start a new life. Luo Man (Romana) left for Nanning a few weeks ago, so
did Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan (Lan, for Ho Chi Minh City) and Nguyen Thi Hai Ha (Jenny, for Hai Phong). Ngoc Tuan
Linh Chu (Joey) will leave December 29 for HCMC. Only rarely they return, like Chen Yan (Morgan), and Deniz Tatli
- now mrs. Deniz Kooij.

Left: goodbye to Jenny & Joey, & hello! to Deniz in Tea Rose, the English tearoom in Deventer. Right: goodbye,

DDU as it once was, a lively school, a real personal university, one of its kind, will soon be history. You ask, “How
soon?” The latest news is that DDU will continue to operate until next year July, to enable the current students to
graduate. Meanwhile, most teachers have moved on to new schools, or started new careers. And me? I just continue
what I’ve been doing before I started teaching in March 2003, and have been doing since. Yes, you could say it’s my
BATNA. My work as a trainer / consultant is already taking up much more time, as teaching at DDU is now limited to
two hours per week. And yes, I keep dreaming about working in China and Vietnam on a regular basis, as a trainer /
consultant, for let’s say, one month per every three months. I know some of you are on the look out … If in any way
possible, I want to go east and meet many of you in 2007. Then you too will see a very happy person in front of you.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 2
December 13, room 202: exam Promotional Management

Currently, I run three educational programs in three companies. Programs that consist of workshops, coaching sessions
and consultancy. While this kind of work has been my profession for many years, teaching at DDU has provided me
with more knowledge and deeper insights in many fields. Sometime ago one of my clients told me, I’ve grown more
intense, more involved with people – the participants of my workshops. When he told me this, I knew exactly what he
meant, and understood how this has come to be. You see, teaching is not only a teacher transferring knowledge to
students. It’s also students teaching their teacher. And I can safely say that going to DDU for over three-and-a-half
years has been an academic education for me as well. One that taught me so much I’m still digesting the knowledge and
insights, gained during hundreds of practical assignments, or should I say: productive and intense interactions. An
education without a diploma, but instead, a whole new group of friends, some good, some close. Some feel like they are
friends for life. No kidding.

A few of these friendships started during our ‘teacher & student’ role play, although usually they started to develop
after graduation. If I have some time, often very early in the morning, or early in the evening, and I feel like having a
chat, I’m online. And yes, I thoroughly enjoy having a drink, a lunch, or a dinner with one of my new friends who stick
around. Or we go to a pretty sight, such as the new ‘Butterfly Pavilion’, in the Amsterdam Zoo. Sometimes we talk
about the ‘old days’, someone needs a ‘mental boost’, or some help is needed with a document. Yes, the dreaded IND
still communicates in Dutch with foreign nationals. Most of the time, however, we talk about current affairs and future
dreams. If someone would have told me this would become an important part of my life a few years ago, I would have
thought he/she was nuts. Me? Mid fifties? Making friends with people who are my kids’ age? Yet, I have become the
wealthiest person on earth – never before have I been so rich in friends. So if you were wondering why the guy above
looks so happy … it’s wealth. Some call it love.

DDU ‘produced’ hundreds of alumnae & alumni. Look below for the etymology of these fancy words. And you’ll
understand what good education really does to a person.

December 16: DDU alumna Tina and DDU student Tommy enjoying the Deventer Charles Dickens Festival
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 3
October 23: this team reached a brilliant second position in a national soccer competition. This could only be
accomplished with the participation of some noted DDU students …

2. What do you know? – selected by Loek Hopstaken

2.1 How to work better

A wise advice in Tate Modern, London.

2.2 Alumnus/alumna (Noun)
Pronunciation: [ê-'lêm-nês/ê-'lêm-nê]
Definition 1: A (male/female) graduate of an educational institution.
Usage 1: Today's words form a masculine-feminine pair. Each has a Latin plural. The plural of the masculine ‘alumnus’
is ‘alumni,’ like a few other Latin borrowings ending on -us, e.g. cumulus-cumuli, focus-foci—but genus-genera, opus-
opera. The plural of the feminine ‘alumna’ is ‘alumnae,’ like antenna-antennae. English nouns that keep the Latin
neuter plurals use –a, like medium-media (‘the US media are’ not ‘is’), addendum-addenda, and memorandum-

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 4
Suggested usage: It is odd that the meaning of this word connects it exclusively with educational institutions, “Everyone
at our alumni reunion had either been successful since graduation or married someone who had.” It can, however, on
occasion, be used humorously to refer to other institutions, “We discovered that the bank’s charming chief teller was an
alumna of the state prison system only shortly after the embezzlement came to light.”
Etymology: Today’s word comes from Latin alumnus/alumna ‘foster boy/girl’ (cf. Spanish alumno ‘foster child’). The
root al- derives from the verb alere ‘to nourish,’ also found also in ‘prolific’ with the prefix pro- and ‘adolescent’ from
the present participle of adolescere ‘to grow up,’ based on ad ‘(up) to’ + alescere ‘to grow,’ a variant of ‘alere.’ The
same root, *al- ‘grow, nourish’ took a suffix –t in Germanic languages and turned up as German alt ‘old’ and English
old, originally meaning ‘grown’ (and Scottish ‘auld’ as in auld lang syne ‘old long since’). The name ‘Althea’ comes
from a Greek manifestation of the same root, “althein” ‘to get well.’
Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com

2.3 Anger management

Anger is a normal emotion, but, when it is misdirected, it can hurt us and those we love.
There are people however, with low frustration tolerance, that make a steady diet of being
mad at everyone around them including themselves. Low frustration tolerance (LFT) often
occurs when we don’t feel validated, accepted and/or appreciated by those around us. The
truth is that people around us can’t read our minds and events don’t always turn out the way
we hoped. By acknowledging that our universe doesn’t always put us first or think of our
needs, we can redirect our anger and put our energies toward more creative uses.
Arlene Unger
Note from editor (PvO): Of course, reader, you’re right! There is a famous movie with this
title from 2003… And: if you’re really interested in this subject… At:
http://studentservices.fgcu.edu/Counseling/angermanagement.ppt you can see and
download an excellent further explanation of this topic, by means of many useful “howto’s”.
And, by the way: I believe that culture and climate – next to biological genes, youth
environment and educational backgrounds - have a huge influence on anger and its management!

2.4 Seven funny things to do in an elevator (unknown source)

• Draw a square on the floor with chalk, and announce to the people: “This is my space!”
• Bring a puppet along and have it talk to people
• Loudly announce: “I’m wearing new socks!”
• Press a button, act as if it shocks you. Then go back for more.
• When someone walks in, kindly ask: “Do you have an appointment?”
• Encourage others to sing the alphabet together
• Open your purse or wallet, look inside and ask: “Do you have enough air in there?”
• The 8th item is from Sales Management course (originally taught by Jan-Willem Seip, but now taken over by
PvO): practice the so-called Elevator Pitch (EP). This is: such a clear description of your business, compact
and clear, that even a child exactly will understand. Tell your (elevator-cabin) audience what you´re doing and
for who(m). EP describes how you are adding value to your customer(s). The best EP has an exciting opening,
will last utmost 30 seconds (and 90 words), AND: is full of passion!
(Question of male student during last exams: Sir, what is ‘passion’? Fortunately I knew his girlfriend and I
explained some parts of passion with body-language to him… I did not check his exam-results yet, but – by the
way he looked at me, after my silent show in exam-class – I really think he understood! PvO)
The Elevator Pitch (which you really should prepare and practice at home, in front of the mirror) ends with the
situation, that the other person(s) interestedly will ask you further questions about you and your business!

2.5 Twelve reasons why God wouldn’t get a professor’s-placement at a university (unknown source)
1) He only had one major publication.
2) This was written in Hebrew.
3) It gave no references.
4) It was not published in an acknowledged journal.
5) There is some debate as to whether or not he wrote it himself.
6) The results of creation have never been duplicated.
7) God only conducted one experiment and when it went awry; he drowned the subjects.
8) God never received permission to use human subjects in his experiment.
9) There are some who say that God’s son taught his classes.
10) He expelled only two students (Yes? Adam & Eve…).
11) Office hours were irregular and held on a mountain top.
12) There were only ten requirements for the course, yet most students failed…

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 5

3. Is it easy for women to balance career and family? – by Thu Le Lan

First of all, I want to emphasize that everything I state in this article is merely my personal opinion. So, some may find
it true while others may find otherwise.

Finding a balance between career and family is no easy matter in any culture, but it seems more difficult for women,
especially in such an oriental culture as Vietnam.

While their husbands can dedicate most time for work, Vietnamese women must create a right balance between their
home and workplace. They have fewer options regarding work/home balancing than their husbands. Almost all
Vietnamese men are free from day-to-day family responsibilities – cooking, washing, and house cleaning, since they
have their wives to take care of these. They are born to be the bread earners of the family. Their only duty seems to
ensure their growing family’s financial security at present and in the future.

Otherwise, Vietnamese women have been cemented with family for centuries. As a remnant of Confucius’ ideology, it
is a women’s duty to dedicate most of her time to her family. Her career is of secondary importance. In Vietnam, we
have a saying: “A spoilt child is either his/her mother’s fault or his/her grandmother’s”, implying that women must take
full responsibilities for taking care of and teaching their child/children.

Although things have changed in this day and age when we are all growing up to become individuals, the workplace,
society, and women (in my country) themselves, however, have yet to reconcile work with family. If you have a child
of less than 6 years old, meaning he/she is not old enough to go to primary school, you will have less and less time for
work, particularly when you have neither your parents/parents-in-law nor a charwoman to help you, or a nanny to take
care of the child when you are out for work. This also means you may miss various job opportunities. In Vietnam, if
you stop work entirely to spend all day for your family, it’s hard to resume your career in 3-4 years. Companies are
reluctant to employ a mother who has quit her job for years. Also, flextime or part-time jobs for working moms are not
always available.

In most cases, women in my country choose to carve out their own jobs, instead of quitting them, to have more time for
their child/children when they are not old enough to go to school, to pursue a career with the role of mom. And, almost
all are happy with their choices. They can have it all once they accept that they cannot devote 100 percent to one
without allowing the other to suffer. Balance may not be an even 50/50 split between career and family. Some women
feel balanced with a 60/40 split, while others choose to put more emphasis on family. We may follow different paths,
but all aim at the same goal – a happy life, I think.

So, in conclusion, I would like to quote my old boss’s saying, which I always bear in mind, “A happy life comes when
you want to go to work in the morning and want to go home in the evening”.

4. The 10 main reasons for being honest in business relationships – by Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan
There are so many different reasons (and maybe: too many!) for honesty in business relationships, but - according to
what I have learnt - I would like to show you the 10 reasons, which are really necessary for business and for business
relationships. Before all, though, I would like you to know, that building relationships in fact is: “building trust”.

One: Building the partner-trust for the long-term

As with all relationships, in business people must have a high level of trust towards their relationship-partners. If trust
is lacking, the relationship will soon come to an end.
For example: in the company business-relationships are 2-way traffic: if I am not honest with my business partners then
why would they continue to do business with me? They would not!

Two: Building the customer-trust for the long-term

I believe that:
• Customers do business with people they trust.
• Customers prefer to do business with people who are knowledgeable, and who will deliver what they promise.
However, how do and how did companies develop this customer-trust? Trust is built on telling the truth. Companies
must maintain this principle both with internal (see below in Three) and external customers. They have to build up their
trust by doing honest things, by behaving in a honest way. A brand is a promise, and unto the end you will have to keep
your promises. The customers understand and ‘buy’ the company’s brand values If you do decide to build up the trust
with your customers, make sure that most of the communication is from you to them. That way, at least, you will have

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 6
some control over what has been said and what you need to say to continue the relationship.

Three: Building the employee-trust for the long-term

In the company, you must continuously re-think who your employees are; what they deeply value, and how your
organization can manage employee’s abilities, responsibility, values and consistency. How can you build the employee-
trust for the long-term? What counts for the external customer (in Two), also counts for the relationship with the
internal customers, the personnel, but then ‘brand-value’ is “company-value” and “employer-value”.
If you don't have trust, you don’t really have a relationship. That’s equally true in business and in your personal life.

Four: Building the trust in communication

Communication means communicate between people in different levels in the company or organization. The trust in
communication is also built on a feeling of safety about being real and human. To achieve trust you must be
trustworthy. Trustworthiness is based on both your character and your competences. However, since personally I’m shy
and a more or less negative-sensed person, I don’t have enough self-confidence to communicate with strangers, people I
do not really know. I realize that this (my) character especially makes it difficult to build good communications and -
from there - trust in the business relationships. I’m trying to change myself and to make good relationships with others.

Five: Building the trust in suppliers for the long-term

Building the supplying relationship is focused on long-term relationships between suppliers and industrial customers.
Most suppliers try to win the customer's business or to sell the customer a product or service, rather than investing in the
time, needed to learn about customers. This makes suppliers, who do their homework, stand out in their customers'
eyes. Because these suppliers are better prepared, they are able to add value in their discussions with customers and they
are able to gain much more insight about the customers and their demands. Therefore, we should try to understand our
customers, but also our suppliers; put effort into building the trust, even before we really want to do business with them.

Six: Building the trade associations trust for the long term
Trade associations deal with exchanging or sharing information within a particular industry to make the market more or
less competitive, so it is important to build up trust with the trade associations; it helps them to trust you and to
understand what you stand for and what you expect. Therefore, I believe that you need to show true information about
your product, quality, and service. If your partners / customer see your information as honest information, then they will
want to do business with you.

Seven: Building the powerful leadership for the long-term

It means, building the best image in the customer’s or employee’s mind. The best leaders have found effective ways to
understand and improve the way they handle their own and their followers’ emotions. Understanding the powerful role
of emotions in the workspace will enable you to achieve better real results, such as higher profits, highly developed
talents, motivation, and commitment. Therefore, if you want to be a good leader, you will have to be truly honest and
show it to your people.
My personal strengths are: having good opinions; listening to others, if needed. I think that I can be a good manager.

Eight: Marketing yourself and your product

If you’re not a business professional, and if you don’t have much work experience, just like me, I think you should ask
yourself: “What business am I in?” The answer is quite simple: if your business has anything to do with people and all
businesses do, you are in the business of building relationships. Moreover, ‘building a relationship is building Trust.
Some people think, that, if they sell things, they are in the business of selling. They aren”’ t. They are in the business of
building relationships – because that’s how you can sell things! Therefore, in the company, trust has an important link
with your organizational success.

Nine: Building a powerful first impression

In business relationships, the customer will make decisions about you, based on your first appearance, your words and
the sound of your voice, your information. You can't make a first impression twice, so you have to present the truth and
be honest with the customer, try to get the customers listening and looking to you. Let your customers know what you
want them to do at the beginning of your talk and again at the end. When they can see you’re a honest person, then you
will get a good image in their minds. I think that the customers want to feel safe before they do business, so you will
have to be honest for their first, very important impression. When an environment of trust has been created, (other)
good things start happening.

Ten: Finally, trust is the key to success in every relation, so why wouldn’t it be in business relationships?
I think that trust is the basis of all enduring, long-term business relationships. Before making a purchase from you,
buyers need to trust that your products and services will be like they are supposed to be. People do business with
people, therefore you need to help your customer / partner to get to know you and trust you. For example: a picture of
you, with a natural smile; your product and your service, all in an impressive strategy on the 1st page of your marketing
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 7
The people you see and talk to on a regular basis are usually the ones you trust the most. Communication isn’t the only
important item for developing trust, but still it is quite a critical one.
Finally, I would like to tell you that trust really is necessary to be established
in business relationships. If you want to be a good business person, you must
be a honest person.

Note LH: This article has been written by Lan, both as part of her final chores
before graduating, and as official assignment from the editors of Hopstaken’s
International Newsletter. She received an official certificate for it.
Lan now is managing a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

5. ‘My meaning’ of Christmas – by Peter van Oosten

In-between these two breathtaking essays of “my” (so completely different!

But, Oh!, so) beloved girls from Vietnam, and just a little reading time before
Jane’s (also from VN!) very inspirational love-story, I think it’s a warm-
enough place for me to compose some thoughts about what Christmas means
to me. The real inside feeling, I mean, and not so much the glitter and
glamour, which seems to be attracting most of the world at this moment.
OK, agreed, it should be part of the ancient tradition of the “mid-winter light-festival”, which Christmas also has been.
Make the dark and the evil (and the cold!) go away, by illuminating your environment and by sitting together – inside -
with your relatives and relations, warm and cozy. “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled…” is a
fragment from the Christmas-carol Hark the herald angels sing. So much and so deep a message in just this single
sentence! “Peace on earth” will be a wish for mankind, I guess, for at least some more centuries. With Christmas we do
shake hands, we embrace each other, we put kisses on cheeks and we wish each other “Peace” and something “Merry”.
The “cease-fires” in our global war zones fortunately still take place, but will only last for a few days, maybe hours.
I do not close my eyes for those parts of reality, but I’m as much part of this rather materialistic world as most of you
are, and of course I am not always busy with being social and environmental friendly and showing my Christian
believing. Come on! I also wanna live and have fun and eat junk food every once in a while! And – instead of giving
my Christmas bonus away for charity – buy some new stuff for my office (= my laptop) or my house or my wife or my
kids or … Well, at least the goal should be pretty close to myself!
And that’s exactly what mostly happens to me with and around Christmas! I feel connected with and very close to
whatever kind of topic or people or individual, which or whom need(s) my special (Christmas-) attention. A thought, a
story told to my children or to other people, money for the different good purposes, attention for my own consuming
behavior, a prayer (in my own way) for all this and that, for me and mine, for you and yours, for us…
My wife Annelies just told me of an old tale (in Dutch), which she had come across on the internet. Below is how I
translated it in English and I would like to end my short story with it, because I really cannot think of a better way to do
that! Be good, my dear friends!

In my d r eam I en te red a s tor e.

Beh ind th e coun te r an Ang e l stood…
I a s ked: “wha t kind o f m erchand ise do you sell?”
“ Wh a te v er y o u wan t !” , the Ang e l a n swe red.
“Oh? !”, I sa id, “rea lly?
Well, in that case I would like to have pea c e on earth ,
no mo re hung er and no mo re poverty.
And I wou ld like to g e t good h ea lth and a shelte r,
freedom and resp ect for everyon e…”
“Plea s e, wait a momen t!”, th e Angel sudden ly shou ted,
“you d id not und erstand m e righ t…
I’m so rry to say, bu t in h ere we don’ t sell th e fru its ,
b u t m er e l y th e s e eds ,
wh ich you shou ld d is tr ibu te o ve r the ear th you rs e lf!”

6. Experience is never enough…– by Tran Thi Huyen Nga (Anna)

(Or: What should be added in project management?)
Perhaps, we have learned project management knowledge and skills in the similar business environment or somehow
we have gained it from different “tastes” in this life. For example, we decide to go to business campus, such as business
centers, schools, colleges, universities and institutes, to study and get a degree. From these programs, we will get to

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 8
know or even do a practice about how to manage a project. In other words, we have gained our project management
experience in academic ways.

In contrast with this, some of us have luckily grown up in a family, whereas parents or relatives are operating various
business types. That is a wonderful chance for us to observe daily business. Let’s think openly like this: a chance, which
I just mentioned, also means that business concepts and operation step up gradually in our mind. It would not be a
surprise, when the question of: how to manage our daily business in an effective way?, somehow will appear in our
thoughts. Let’s try to turn our thoughts smartly like “daily business give us an overview image, which helps us to see
how to manage a small or big project in daily life”. More logically, we just simply consider, that our daily business
more or less has to take steps of project management, even though someone could argue, that the definition of ‘project’
is not focusing on a routine job.

Looking at the wider range of project management matters, I am very much interested in an article, that includes its
definition. “Project management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-
time effort. To be realistic, when starting a new project the first element we will have to take in our consideration is a
feasibility study to see the opportunity to achieve our goals in the way we ‘want to gain’ from this project. Second step
is: planning what we are going to do in the project. How the details of our plan should be depends on the size and
purpose of the project proposal. The implementation then becomes the main step. As we know, there are many troubles
coming up under pressure. They need to be solved effectively and quickly. Going along with this project, it already gets
us to be tired. However, all strategy and steps are not enough to make us end up successfully. Still another question is
coming up: this project, is it valuable or not? Perhaps, that could be a reason for you to walk further, skip this nasty
question in the evaluation and finish up your project successfully, when only looking at its earnings, the material profit.

I am quite convinced of the fact, that the described way does not have enough elements for good project management
and why??? If I would tell you this from a deep and wise brain, it would say NOT ENOUGH. Why? Well, it simply
needs ‘skills of strategy’ to adapt to any project, to make it valuable. And I also can tell all of you, that these ‘skills of
strategy’ only can be gained in training, during the progress of practical exercise. It can be done in the business campus.

During my, but I think I can easily say: during our study, for many nights, we were thinking and wondering about the
teaching method of one lecturer. Most of the time, this lecturer let our teams decide what we really wanted to do or not
and he just was on the side, in case we needed support. He also encouraged us in bringing up all potential ideas.
Frankly, he left us in a pool, whereas we had to choose ourselves which directions to turn and to make up our mind if
we wanted to win in the various circumstances. I bet some of us did have an attitude of being disappointed by what he
was doing for us. It was too little. It was too poor in his class or even it was so boring to be attending in each lesson….
And more comments were going up and down, discussing this. I started to do an investigation for myself and I figured
out, that, in fact, all of us liked him very much. This lecturer took a lot of cares for us. He was thinking further, of what
could or would happen in the real world, after we left school. That is the big reason, that he left us in a pool to be free in
developing projects. The rights for each leader to take his or her own decision for the benefits or directions of his / her
team’s project is such a great gift and challenge, and he was so brave to hand these over to each team leader.

Time is flying and some moments of

my life, I just take an overview to
look at the difficult matters in the real
world. I recognize that all his taught
“skills of strategy” are fantastic. That
has lifted me up to a higher standard
in my young career now and for that
reason I want to send many thanks to
my dear lecturer, who gave us his
quietness and sincerity and made us
wonder many times, whether he was
actually “teaching” or not… You
really helped me to become the
project manager, which I am now!

Note PvO: My pleasure, Anna!

Thank you for your appraisal, for the
confirmation, that all the frustration
on both sides once will turn out to be
worthwhile! Don’t think too lightly
about your own willpower, though!

Nga Tran (Anna), early 2006

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 9
7. Working in the Netherlands, while thinking Chinese – by Liu Tian Jian
Recently my thoughts went back to my first step on European soil, on February 8, 2001. It has been four years since I
first saw the Dutch sunset. I always tell the other person I spent my ‘golden age’ in the country of tulips and windmills.

I have been eating, reading, feeling and telling everything about this country. Sometimes I feel that this country already
is my second motherland. I love this country on some points, not all. Anyway, after four years study, fortunately I found
a position in one of the small companies of this county.

Liu Tian Jian (Joe)

There is always someone who asks me: “What do you think about Dutch? How do you feel about working with them?”
In my personal opinion, there are three words that provide the answer.

First: ‘Honesty’. Dutch people are quite ‘open’: they are world famous for that. I mean their mind, not the usual
stereotypes about ‘red light district, drugs and sex’, but the way they think. For instance, when I worked with my
colleagues in the office, I was first ashamed to say “Sorry, I can’t do this”, when I felt I wasn’t capable to do something.
Being honest is very important, Dutch won’t criticize because you are not capable of something. If you promise
something, but you can’t finish it, your attempt will be appreciated. On the other hand, say and do everything you want
and think is right. Of course you shouldn’t harm others. Dutch won’t justify your behavior according their norms,
because you are your own, you have your own way to do things.

Second: ‘Direct’, which is especially remarkable for Chinese or Asian people like me. In our custom, we are trying to
be ‘Mr. Good and Mrs. Good’ all the time. We want to be polite as much as possible. As matter of fact, ‘direct’ means
you should be able to stand up and face your boss say “No, I think you are wrong”, if you have something in your mind
which against your boss or your colleague’s opinion. Dutch don’t hide their feelings. They can be very direct in
conversation, you can and you should tell your feeling and opinion. Never hide yourself or ‘beat around the bush’,
especially in Dutch business conversations.

Third: ‘Precision’. For instance, you should always be ‘on time’, ‘be correct in your calculation’. I believe some of you
know the expression ‘GO DUTCH’, which means you pay your own dinner when you go out for dinner with your
friends. As Chinese, we always try to pay for the dinner for the others, just to show our respect and friendship. This is
not necessary in the Netherlands. What I try to say here is that Dutch prefer to be clear on the bills and numbers. They
have their own calculation in their mind to balance the income and outcome, precisely into every cent. I am not saying
they are ‘cheeseparing’ (which is one of the fixed ideas about the Dutch), I just use it as a sample.

What I described to you were only some general opinions from a Chinese about working with Dutch, and what should
be taken into account, as compared to Chinese customs. I hope this will give you some clues to help you understand
your Dutch friends and colleagues.

8. Inspiration of Love (Getting Warm for Christmas) – by Vo Ngoc Lien Huong (Jane)
“What is Love?” This question is always in our minds when we’re trying to define its exact meaning. Since millions of
quotes about Love have been and are being published, we’re still searching for its definition. However, life is not so
simple, and it creates different descriptions of Love in our minds, as a result of differences in our lives and experiences.

“Love is something you can’t describe like the look of a rose, the smell of the rain, or the feeling of forever.”
Kristen Kappel

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 10
Vo Ngoc Lien Huong (Jane)

Rather than that, we have a more complex explanation of love. While pure Love to me is very simple. It comes to me as
something I used to dream about, and believing in miracles, through time I get ready to receive it.

“There is only happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

Georges Sand

Some people say that there are more things that create happiness in life rather than Love, and Love is only one part of
life that is called happiness.
Yes … Good appearance can give people happiness because they are proud of themselves, and that’s a gift God gave
them, to let them be born as beautiful people. Yes…Good career can give the satisfaction that they are proficient
enough to get to a high position so they can be admired by others.
Yes…wealth, money give people happiness through a satisfied life with all the convenient conditions, like owning large
houses, more leisure time to enjoy life, money to travel everywhere in the world, and buy everything they wish to
Yes, a good education can give people more time to spend, a more open minded to discover the world and something
for themselves that makes them happy; they can even use their inventiveness to create a happy life.
Yes… being a humanitarian one can create happiness because the more people give to help the poor, people who live on
alms, the more they are happy to live, as they have something to devote their life to.

On the other hand, we should realize that no one can be completely happy if they don’t know the meaning of loving and
to be loved in return. I have a disagreement with all the ‘Yes’ statements above.

First No: a good appearance can change through time and one day people will get depressed about the loss of beauty.
True love doesn’t change, it stays throughout a lifetime.
No…a good career is only one tool to prove a person’s success and that glory with fame will be over when the time
arrives people retire. Moreover, without love, people won’t have the energy and power to stay strong to overcome all
the obstacles they will face in life, while a person who has love can survive those hard times easier.
No…wealth can’t create the great, bright, and lasting smiles as the one you have when you have love, that come to you
every minute, smiles straight from the heart. Lots of wealthy people suffer because they haven’t found the meaning of
their life, even if they have everything that other people wish for.
No…good education gives people the world of knowledge, not the key to the magic world where people are hungry to
search for all their
And No…being a humanitarian surely still has its meaning…because we are human beings, we’re not a saint at all even
we have plenty good manners, still, we need love in return.
Finally, Love gives you happiness and creates other happiness of life.
The love of two people, the love of family, and the love with friends, buddies are all love that create happiness.
So, how we can recognize as if that’s love? This really confuses us, some can realize it for a short time, some need
longer time, some for a lifetime, and some even can’t find where is their true love until the end of their life.

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Bill Wilson
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 11
That’s ‘The Look of Love’, like in the song with the same title by Dusty Springfield I recently heard. Yes, to one
person you may be the world because in that person’s eyes, you are you, and you are that person as well. This you
cannot disguise, or hide behind a mask. So, be honest with yourself with the one you love, because in that love, you will
discover yourself: “I love you not only because of the one you are, but in you, I know who I am as well”. This is the
way we can recognize true love. That sounds simple, but actually, this is really difficult in reality. Only people who
truly love can understand and live with it. This is the way people believe in Love. Belief is not only a thought, but
actions as well.

I remember how Peter van Oosten quoted the apostle Paul in ‘What is Wisdom’ no. 5 in his article ‘Accounting is not
related to Love’:
“Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately,
doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with
the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Yes, love works in the ways that are wondrous and strange and there is nothing in life that can change true love. Love is
really unselfish, even though people may be selfish sometimes. People can believe in all things, hope for many things,
believe in miracles, believe in dreams, hope for future, even people who don’t have a future for being together, but still
want to bear all things, just to keep their love alive. Love is free like a bird, it doesn’t envy at all because the bird only
feels happy where love is. Love is really priceless, pure, and takes no account at all … I believe that’s true love.
However, that won’t be enough: true love needs to put in reality to test it. This will prove how long the love will last,
and how strong it is.

“A bell is not a bell until someone rings it; a song is not a song until someone sings it. Love wasn’t put in the heart
to stay, for love isn’t love ‘til you give it away.”
Chanh Kha

This reminds me about Loek Hopstaken’s article “Are you a giver or a taker?” in ‘What is Wisdom’ no.5.
Yes, Love is balancing two sides: giving and taking. This seems mundane, even though it only works when people
consider this statement. This is because Love is the answer that everyone seeks. Love is the language that every heart
speaks. Everyone needs love, needs to be loved by someone, and needs to give love to create happiness. To give love as
much as you can to receive happiness from other’s side also makes us happy. That’s pure Love … giving not to receive
things for your own benefit, but just to give to the one who is taking it.


People need time to share Love, and a heart to understand.

So, to you all my friends, all I want to share with you is to give Love, give as much as your heart tells you to … not
what your mind tells you to. Because whenever you still let your mind decide who and how to love, it’s not pure and
true love anymore. When your mind is still in doubt about the love you have, when your heart is not really beating
heavy enough whenever you have a thought about the other person, or what you have is not really coming from your
heart, but came from your mind, rethink it and make no decision. Because Love takes no accounting, no calculus at all.

Keep your heart warm in this loving season: it’s Christmas time.
Wish you all having a merry Xmas with love, happiness, and joy.


9. Life in The Netherlands – by Larry O’Connor

For most, if not all of us, our lives can be broken down to into major events that change us for good. A birth, a death, a
marriage, a divorce, is just a few examples of events that change us for good. As a fairly recent example, we now live in
a world that is referenced by the events of 9-11 in order to put many aspects of our lives into perspective.

Well, just as everyone else, I have my own major dividing moments that are used as reference points to differentiate
phases in my life. These include life before my father passed away, life after the birth of my daughter, and the subject of
this article, my life after I moved from a large country to a small one in the corner of Europe.

Before I even got onto the plane to head to the Netherlands my impressions of the Netherlands began. Standing in line
at the check in at the airport I began to get a sample of Nederlanders as I stood there going through the goodbyes with
my mother and brother. I remember looking around, or should I say looking up, at the returning Dutch passengers and
thinking how tall they were, all the black they were wearing, and all that shiny gel in their hair. And of course those
garbled sounding conversations they were having were just part of the ambient sounds one hears at airports that you
don’t pay much attention to.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 12
Around eight hours later it was time to get off the plane. And even though the plane was now in the Netherlands it
represented the last vestige of my life pre-Netherlands. Getting off that plane was leaving New York and entering a new
country, and more significantly, a new culture that began a process where there was no turning back.

When ever I go to a new country, I always get a kick out of those first few minutes when you cross the border by any
means of transportation. It is those first few minutes; all those new sights, sounds, and smells that give you that crucial
first impression of the new place you have set foot in. In this case it was Schipol, that unpronounceable airport name
that even our captain from Singapore Airlines pronounced in his Anglicized way- Scipol.

Very modern and clean, that was my first impression. There was kind of a futuristic feel to the place when I walked
around. It was the kind of gee-wow feeling. It was probably best said the opening scenes in the film Pulp Fiction when
Vincent and Jules are discussing Vincent’s recent trip to the Netherlands. “It’s the little differences. A lotta of the same
shit we got here, they got there, but they’re a little different”

And for the most part that’s true. But for a guy like me raised on the outskirts of New York City, there are real
differences that took getting used to.

After meeting my new partner at the airport and getting over that awkward few minutes when you have to get used to a
person again after not seeing them for a while it was time to make the trip to my new home. A new home that’s about as
far as one can get from the airport in the Netherlands. We were on our way to a town called Winterswijk.

I will never forget looking out the window of my partner’s car to get an impression of the surroundings. Half asleep
from Jet-lag I looked about the window and in a short time I noticed that for a long time the only thing I was seeing was
farms and cows. I’ll never forget thinking to myself “oh my God, what did I get myself into” Where used to live it
might be years before I even see a farm, not to mention the cows as well.

Ok, cows and farms everywhere. This is farming country. And although Winterswijk is a very typical farming
community, I soon learned that in the Netherlands, if you’re not in a city, and you’re not in a housing area, and if you’re
not in an industrial zone, you are on a farm. Even if you are out in nature, in the woods, for example, you are not far
from any of these areas. And by far I mean a few hundred meters.

After taking a nap in my new home, fresh off the plane, I decided that it was time to get that crucial first impression.
The best way to do that was to walk into town to get a taste of what to expect.

I will never forget walking into a store, looking around, and having someone behind intruded on this the counter garble
something that I guessed meant “what do you want?” Now this sounds perfectly normal, but it was not what the person
said, but how it was said. It was kind of a tell me now, and don’t waste any time question. I got the impression that I
was invading the shopkeeper’s personal space and I should be thanking our maker that she will provide me with her
goods and services.
Strangely enough, this
behavior seemed to repeat
itself in many of the shops I

Early 2005: Larry surrounded

by Joey, Vinh, Tony, Tony
Cao, Paul, Jenny, Cherry,
Rachael & Anna

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 13
After a week, I cautiously told my girlfriend that I didn’t get the impression that the people were all that nice. In some
cases it was perceived as somewhat rude.
She really did not have an answer, but there were some serious questions pertaining to getting used to this new culture.

Thinking that perhaps it was a language problem (which of course it turned out to be-mine that is) I decided to really
take this new language seriously. In fact, before I came to the Netherlands, I even found a Dutch language self study
program in New York. Not having much else to do, I began to study the language.

I spent week learning, what I thought was important, how to say “how are you doing”
After playing the tape over and over and getting the pronunciation satisfactory. Finally, after hours of practice, I tried it
out on my girlfriend and proudly said “hoe gaat het met je” And of course, she giggled and said great.

Now for many cultures, “how are you doing” is a basic greeting. In Spanish its como estas ? In French its comment ca
va? These questions are used frequently, and without much seriousness in many casual conversations. Not in Dutch. In
the Netherlands if you ask the question, it deserves a real answer. The lady at the bank has no interest telling a complete
stranger how she is doing.

“Good morning, how are you today?

“Oh gee, my kids are sick and I had to take the morning off work to watch them and to be honest with you, I’m feeling a
bit sick too.”

“Oh, too bad, but I have a question about my account.”

This just does not happen, and of course in English speaking lands, the question just gets an “I’m fine, how are you”

This basic faux pas may seem meaningless, but it says quite a lot. People in the Netherlands are direct and the speech
reflects that. Looking through the eyes from another culture it may seem cold and non-personal.

In reality this is not really the case. It seems that way because we base our perceptions of a new culture on what we
have learned from our original one. In addition, we also, as I have done, base our opinions on what we can only see and

It is more important to take a look at the parts we can’t see, such as people’s feelings or motivations. Then you get an
idea of what’s going on. And just as it is all over the world, the vast percentages of people are nice. It is just a question
of how it is expressed.

Sounds simple, but it took me years to figure that one out.

Tip: for those who want to learn about our Dutch ways, study ‘The Undutchables’. (LH)


10. Wise Quotes & Crackers from around the planet

“Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.”

Jacques Delille (1738-1813, French poet)
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 14
“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity
and integrity.”
Douglas Adams

“Wise leaders generally have wise counselors because it takes a wise person themselves to distinguish them.”
Diogenes of Sinope (c.410-320 BC, Cynic philosopher)

“The only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”

Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author)

“Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)

“Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.”
François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)

“Who is that man again?”

“You don’t remember? He’s the man showing his cock to the
audience!” (last year November, Dutch Cultural Evening)…

Saurav, Suman, Lama, Malik & Tirtha talking about Conno,

who also attended the Chinese Buffet in our canteen,
finishing off a successful afternoon of culture-in-business
presentations on December 19, 2006.

Some people consider this a romantic environment. How about you? ☺

“Though reading and conversation may furnish us with many ideas of men and things, our own meditation must form
our judgment.”
Isaac Watts (1674-1748, British hymn-writer)
“Being part of an agenda beyond ourselves liberates us to complement each other rather than compete with each other.”
Joseph Stowell
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 15
“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960, Indian-born British novelist)

“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion,
Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)

“Wear your learning like a watch and do not pull it out merely to show you have it. If you are asked for the time, tell it;
but do not proclaim it hourly unasked.”
Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield (1694-1773, British statesman, author)

a not-so-well-educated cat, in my brother-in-law’s kitchen, and a Stalin bust in a public cell, The Hague

11. Love … The Beatles – by Loek Hopstaken

Actually, when British rock band The Beatles were the number one band on the planet, 1964 – 1970, I was more a fan
of the American The Beach Boys. But that’s a subject for a later newsletter. Yet, listening to their music today is still a
pleasure, and new generations discover the qualities of this simple, yet effective kind of pop music. Like my generation,
new generations are singing along with old Beatles hits, and Beatle Paul McCartney, now 66, is still drawing vast
crowds who come to hear him sing the old Beatles songs.
In 1964 The Beatles gave a 30 minute concert in The Netherlands. Yes, you read that correctly: 30 minutes. It was live
on television, and all Dutch watched the event. For this performance they were paid something in the order of 14,000,-
euros, in those days a ridiculous amount of money – a year’s salary for many.
It’s been over 35 years now since The Beatles ended their career, but their music is still very much alive.
A few years ago the director of Cirque du Soleil, the world famous Canadian circus organization, approached Beatles
producer George Martin to create a soundtrack with original Beatles music for one of their shows. The result of this is a
fantastic CD which serves as a perfect introduction to the sound of The Beatles. There is also a version with an audio-
DVD, with 5.1 surround sound, which is just sensational.
Name of the CD: LOVE. Get it, listen to it on a decent volume (= LOUD), and be amazed by the wonderful music, its
freshness and particularly, the sheer amount of creativity put into this project.

Recommended CD’s: Rubber Soul; Revolver; Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’s Band; Abbey Road.

Note of the editor (PvO): I prefer The White Album, but I’m also almost a year younger than my soul-brother Loek, and
I truly realize, that not all parts of these 2 disks are really ‘accessible’, good to listen at, if you don’t have that specific
‘time-spirit’ of the late Sixties.
Come to think of it: I now more and more realize, that I somehow ‘stole’ this album then!
I obtained it in not-such-an-honest way … The selling price was way too cheap and therefore I should have known, that
something was wrong with it. And of course I knew! But I was so happy and proud! I wouldn’t know of it then…

Note of the other editor (LH): when the White Album came out, my first reaction was: cut out the weak numbers, and
turn it into one fantastic album. With my friends we used to discuss these issues as if our lives depended on them. And
yes, Peter belongs to a younger generation … sigh … “Those were the days, my friend, I thought they’d never end …”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 16
Advertising works: Friday December 8, I see a double-decker bus in Oxford Street, London. Next day, I bought the CD.

12. What is Wisdom??? online: http://hopper1951.spaces.live.com

Since Wing and Apple convinced me that chatting was not just something for toddlers, and creating a home page not
only a way for desperate adolescents to attract attention, I’m online, and updating my msn space. I’m also on Yahoo!,
not in the least for the great emoticons: they move, and when used at the right time, they make me roll on the floor
laughing. I never plan a new blog, or photo album. They are always spontaneous inventions. It’s a great way to share a
story, ideas and images. In many ways, they are an extension of this newsletter: they bring news a lot faster. In general,
the question: “What’s up?” can be easily answered by looking at someone’s home page, as long as it’s written in a
language you understand. Via my homepage you can get to several other home pages. Providing a link to the home
pages of our Yahoo! friends is a bit more complex (links are just too long); contact me if you are interested.

Meanwhile, I stimulated a few friends to start ‘blogging’: it’s just a modern way to meet new friends, and to be
‘connected’ to the true events in the world. These may differ from what you read in the newspapers, or see on CNN or
Al Jazeerah.

Three London pics that are not shown on my msn photo album: a poster on a Victoria & Albert museum wall, self-
portrait taken in a distorting mirror in the V&A shop, and Edgar Degas’ marvelous statue of a young ballerina, on
exhibit in the Tate Modern museum.

To give you a taste of my blog, this is the one I wrote November 21:

“Making pictures is a re-discovered joy, since buying my little Sony DSC-W1 in August 2004. It’s a decent camera, 5,1
mega pixels. My friend Peter stimulated me to pick up this old hobby again.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 17
Making pictures makes you look at the world around you in a different way. Now, I’m not a ‘news’ photographer. I just
shoot pretty scenes, or try to catch some of the magic that surrounds us – if I happen to notice it. Magic such as an
unexpected reflection, or a beautiful scenery, with natural light. Or people of course. It’s true that the camera seems to
like some people more than others. The first kind always look great: relaxed, and just their natural pose improves the
picture. The other kind is nervous, and often tries to ‘pose’, and if you’re not a professional model, this adds an
unnatural and sometimes even uncomfortable flavor. Very rarely I use flash, and try to keep the pictures pure: no
cutting, no color enhancements, no elaborate tricks to improve their quality. I’m too amateur for that. Rarely I cut and
enlarge a section, to focus on a face in a crowd, for a special effect, or a seemingly insignificant detail that sort of jumps
out as ‘odd’.

The last three photo albums I shot these past 5 days: the first album (Fall, leaves, fall) contains pictures taken at
‘s-Graveland, by car just 20 minutes from my home. One of the lovely parks in that area, run by ‘Natuurmonumenten’,
a foundation that takes care of our national parks and forests. The second album shows off butterflies you can see in the
Amsterdam Zoo ‘Butterfly Pavilion’. The third album is a mixed bag of shots, Sinterklaas (‘santaclaus’) at the city hall
in De Rijp, polder scenery, Nelly near the village of Graft, Summer at Nijenhuis Castle, Louis (my Duke Ellington
buddy) at his home, and participants in a workshop I conducted in a renowned shop that sells top class piano’s.
(www.vankerkwijk.nl; in Dutch.)

I hope you like what you see, and that it will inspire you to look twice at the reality around you. There’s beauty and
magic and fun – if you care to look. And if you push the button on your camera, the reward is a nice picture … for
yourself, and possibly, for others as well.”

So, if you care to communicate, use these great means to do so, and let us share a piece of your life.

13. DDU-update and call for materials and information – by Peter van Oosten
Well, Loek already told something about DDU’s present situation. We’ve come along further than we maybe expected,
some half year ago… It’s quite a thin organization, because most of the staff left or had to leave, but we have around
30 very motivated students sitting in most every exam, which we still organize!
Some of them will be able to graduate in February 2007, others will have to continue their studies, AT DDU !
And this has been – at least for me, Peter van Oosten – a very pleasant surprise!
I’m not going to spend so many words on it… We’re just very happy with these developments and we’re also very
happy for the students. At least they will be able to (try to) finish their BA at DDU and graduate in June/July 2007.
As it is now, the coaching and support from school are quite alright. Mr. Deelstra, Loek, Caroline, me and – whenever
needed – another freelance teacher like Wim, are still and fully in the game. Mr. Deelstra is doing the Methodology-
part, Graduation Assignment and BA-Practical, next to cleaning up the DDU-building (with which I mean: going
through all the leftover treasures from former inhabitants, which still were in the basements and the attic), because there
might be a chance, that we’re going to share the building with some other organization (this would save DDU a lot of
Anyway, we’re doing alright, but we’re also downsizing, because we’re not going to continue the present formula
(DDU – with students living in Deventer). How, what, when and who? We’ll just see! Don’t worry, we’re alive and
kicking! And very happy with the positive feedback we get from our present students, here and there, like Vinh (James)
in Vietnam and Karen (LiJun) in China, who had/have visa-problems and now are following the lessons by internet and

Another thing:
Loek and I are very interested in the subject of ‘Humor in the different cultures’, especially from those countries, where
our students originate …
We – of course – have noticed through the years, that a joke is not a joke for everyone. This is already the case in one
room with people, and also in our country… But we noticed, that Chinese people laugh about different things than
Vietnamese… And Turkish, well, you probably get our point: we would like to get more insight in International Humor,
Joking all over the world…
You would make us very glad, when you would give us examples of what you’d like to laugh about and what not (and
also: why and why not! Just like in my exams…).
Everything is possible material for us! You can always help us to translate and/or understand.
What are Loek and I going to do with the materials and the gained insight?
We haven’t got the slightest idea yet, but we might perform something on Graduation Day, or we might make a
presentation about this topic, which we could also distribute amongst you.
Please, help us! You know how to reach us, don’t you?

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 18

Taking her breath away: Lien Huong (Jane) visiting the Amsterdam Zoo Butterfly Pavillion

Turkish author Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Prize Winner Literature 2006) signs my copy of ‘My Name is Red’

Taking my breath away: seeing my dream house on a sunny day in November

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 19
Breathtaking event: CK, the happy mother of a baby girl

Breathtaking moments for both Peter and two of his DDU friends: Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan (Lan) & Nguyen Thi Hai Ha
(Jenny), who both returned to Vietnam shortly after completing their final graduation assignments.

Lale Ustuner, engaged to be married next spring: flanked by her fiancé & best friend
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 20

Two DDU classmates from Guangxi now living and working in Shanghai: Liu Fan (Sarah) and Zhou Lincheng (Apple)

Liu Fan (Sarah) representing her firm at a Guangzhou fair

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 21
Dai Jiaying (Wing), December 2006, Shanghai

Chen Zhi (Grace) in Hollywood, September 30, 2006

Shining Zeng Qian (Tracy) on her birthday

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 22
In Chengdu, China, Wendy organized a Dutch event: the Chinese hostesses in Volendam costume

Lu Wang (Lulu), October 12, on a Dutch train

15. Events, birthdays and an overwhelming recipe

Meet a Master Sculptor: Rodin

Those living in the Shanghai area have a unique possibility to see many of Rodin’s works
until February 18th 2007. Shanghai’s Sculpture Space, housed in what was once the
Shanghai Steel Company's Factory Number Ten, has been a success since it opened in
2005. Besides the best of Chinese contemporary art, it also offers temporary exhibitions,
such as this show of replicas of work by Auguste Rodin. Born in 1840, the French
sculptor had become famous by the turn of the century for his skilled, emotive modeling.
This exhibition displays more than 30 replicas of Rodin’s most famous sculptures,
including “The Thinker” (used as an example of “thinking inside / outside the box” by
PvO in one of his historical power point presentations, which some of you might
remember), “Balzac” and “The Age of Bronze”. Also featured are numerous etchings by
Rodin, as well as photographs and manuscripts.
Shanghai Sculpture Space, 570 Huaihai Xi Lu. Daily 10am to 4pm. Tickets: 20 yuan.
For more from the Shanghai cultural calendar, check:
“Balzac”, by Auguste Rodin, 1891-98

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 23
Birthdays – until April 1
NB: if we miss a birthday, or mistake a date or name, please notify us.

Nguyen Thuy Duong (Tracy) December 23

Ritesh Kharel December 25
Deniz Kooij - Tatlý January 1
Chen Xiaole (Lily) January 11
Sun Wei (Aaron) January 15
Cui Yi (Stella) January 16
Nguyen Thi Thuy Lan (Lan) January 16
Guan Rui (Phebe) January 18
Yuan Fangbing (Amanda) January 22
Ma Huayin (Shirley) January 25
Suman Pudasaini February 1
Nga Tran Thi Huyen (Anna) February 2
Nguyen Thi Hai Ha (Jenny) February 8
Nguyen The Thanh (Thanh) February 9
Lale Ustuner February 10
Zhang Xi (Cici) February 11
Wang Jianguo (Vincent) February 14
Tran Duc Cuong (ChoCho) February 25
Tran Thu Thao (Amy) March 2
Luo Man (Romana) March 5
Zhu Xinglian (Rage) March 8
He Xiaokai (Jamie) March 9
Wang Hailong (Peter) March 14
Eew Sawaluck Suwannawong March 20
Yu Xiangyi (Jack) March 27
Bee Ketnim Sarawut March 29


1 Cup Water 1 Tsp. Baking Soda 1 Bottle of Tequila
1 Cup Sugar 1 Tsp. Salt 4 Large Eggs
1 Cup Brown Sugar Lemon Juice Nuts & 2 Cups Dried fruit
• Sample the Tequila to check quality (I already sampled it - several times - to check the quality) .
• Take a large bowl. Check the tequila again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
• Repeat.
• Turn on the electric mixer.
• Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
• Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
• At this point it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup...just in case.
• Turn off the mixerer thingy.
• Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
• Pick the fruit up off the floor.
• Mix on the turner.
• If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
• Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.
• Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
• Check the tequila.
• Add one table.
• Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
• Greash the oven.
• Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
• Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
• Finally, throw the bowl out the window. Finish the tequila and wipe counter with the cat.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 24
Some impressions of the culture-in-business event, held in DDU, December 19 2006.

Not really like the Cultural Evenings, we had in the past… More or less like the Multinational Cultural Evening should
have been (but this one never took place)… Presentations at daytime about the different habits in different cultures,
related with business-occasions. There-after a great Chinese Buffet was waiting in the canteen and Trees, Albert and
Esther were guests-of-honor, because they recently left the organization (and we did not have the chance yet to say
“Thank You & Good Bye!”). Just a few pictures of the many which were taken at the different moments. No further
comment except for – I almost forgot! – the short, but heartbreaking speech Suman Pudasaini held, specially directing it
to Miss DDU, Esther… His reason to do that? Well, Suman intended to leave DDU after last summer, because of all the
bad rumors and such, but a miracle happened! Angel Esther persuaded him to stay and he’s still very happy with it!

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 25
16. This issue’s Song Lyric: I Believe in You, as sung by Bette Midler
Reading these lyrics … I dedicate them to … mind your own business ☺. These lyrics (Don Gibson / Bette Midler) read
like a ‘creed’: I agree with nearly every line – just a few details, like ‘Johnny Carson’ would be ‘Harrison Ford’. What
else to add? Perhaps that back in 1977 my old friend Hans, attempting a career as a reporter and himself an avid Midler
fan, waited in Bette Midler’s Amsterdam hotel room to interview her after her show. She didn’t appear, Hans fell asleep
in a comfortable chair and dreamed of making love with her (well, that’s what he told me). Next morning Hans woke
up, in that same chair … with Bette in her morning gown serving him a royal breakfast. She believed in dreamers …
(DVD: Diva Las Vegas. A live performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, 1997)

Bette Midler in 1977

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 26
I Believe In You

I don’t believe in superstars,

in fancy food or foreign cars;
that Haagen Dazs and motherhood
have done my body any good;
that Elvis is alive and well;
that courtesy has gone to hell;
that kindness is in short supply;
that little kids should have to die.

But I believe in love.

I believe in dreamers.
I believe in miracles
and I believe in you.

Well, I don’t believe virginity

is as common as it used to be;
that left is wrong and right is right;
that black is black and white is white;
that the Beatles could be history,
the sixties just a memory;
that war will never go away;
that Johnny Carson’s had his day.

But I believe in love.

I believe in angels.
I believe in Mom and Dad
and I believe in you.

I know with almost certainty

what’s going on with you and me
is a good thing.
I know it’s true.
I believe in you.

Now, I don’t believe that heaven waits

for only those who congregate.
I like to think that God is love.
He’s down below, He’s up above,
and He’s watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn’t care.
And I’m an ordinary girl
trying to make my way in this old world.

And I believe in love.

Yes, I believe in music.
I believe in promises
and I believe in you.

You know, darlin’, that I believe in love.

Yes, I believe in dreamers.
I believe in miracles
and I believe in you.

(Original song & lyrics by Don Gibson; Bette Midler changed a few lines)

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 27
My ultimate lecture spot …

Peter & Loek

wish you
a happy holiday season
a mighty 2007
full of marvels!

Christmas card, which little Hilde made for Loek and his wife Nelly. The meaning: the mailman, delivering a letter with
congratulations for Mary and Joseph, because of the birth of Jesus …

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” 28