December 4, 2019

Dutch-Chinese space explorer now behind the moon

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:21 pm

Last week The Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer (NCLE) that was hanging in space for over a year finally had its three antennas unfolded, while it settled in behind the moon. As well, the accompanying satellite, QueQiao, initially planned to be a communications satellite, was turned into a radio observatory.

The NCLE is the first Dutch-Chinese space observatory for radio astronomy. With these shorter antennas, the instrument is sensitive to signals from around 800 million years after the Big Bang. Once unfolded to their full length, they will be able to capture weak radio signals from a period just following the Big Bang, called the Dark Ages.

Marc Klein Wolt, Managing Director of the Radboud Radio Lab and leader of the Dutch team, Albert-Jan Boonstra of Astron as well as Heino Falcke of Radboud University are all thrilled in their own way about being able to perform their observations during the fourteen-day-long night behind the moon. “This is a unique demonstration of technology that paves the way for future radio instruments in space,” Boonstra said.


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September 25, 2018

Getting babi pangang on the cultural heritage list

Filed under: Food & Drink,History by Orangemaster @ 12:21 pm


Dutch-Chinese filmmaker Julie Ng is currently working on a film about the Dutch-Chinese community entitled ‘Wij zijn meer dan babi pangang’ (‘We’re more than babi pangang’). Since the number of Chinese-Indonesian restaurants where the dish is served are disappearing, some 1097 left as documented recently by Marc van Wonderen in his picture book, Ng believes it’s time to protect babi pangang as part of her identity and the collective Dutch one as well by getting it on the cultural heritage list.

Babi pangang is the name of a quintessential Chinese-Indonesian restaurant dish with Dutch, Chinese-Indonesian and Malay roots, consisting of pork in a tomato-based sweet-and-sour sauce, also served in Flanders and made popular in the late 1960-1970s.

Babi pangang is a made-up dish much in the same way that Madras sauce is a British invention and chop suey is an American-Chinese one. However, in the Netherlands when it comes to food, eating Chinese usually implies Chinese-Indonesian since it is the only Chinese food many people here actually know unless they live in big cities or have travelled far enough to know the difference.


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October 2, 2017

Racist stereotypes of Chinese used in classroom

Filed under: General,Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 1:42 pm

We saw this go by on Facebook a while back from a teacher, but now that newspaper Parool has written about it in more detail, it’s time to share with you that Dutch schoolchildren have been learning about Dutch pronunciation using unambiguous racist stereotypes about the Chinese.

To learn about Dutch words ending in -ng such as ‘lang’ (tall) and ‘bang’ (afraid), the Laterna Magica elementary school in Amsterdam suggests children read the sentence “Shing, shang, shong plays ping-pong in Hong Kong.” To remember the -ng sound, the textbook says the children need to “make ‘slanted eyes’ using their index fingers”. Next to this comment, there’s a colonial era cartoon of a Chinese man.

Although in use since 2012, the school claims it has replaced this part of the textbook, but a media expert from the University of Amsterdam says the bigger issue is that all the educators and teachers involved in making this book had not given a single thought as to how this would promote racist stereotypes.

To drive the point home even further, the university expert said that children still sing ‘Hanky Panky Shanghai’ sung to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ at school birthday parties and use their index fingers to make ‘slanted eyes’. YouTube just gave me a few hits of mostly white people thinking this is normal behaviour.

And to make it a hat trick, the worst we’ve ever heard about the Chinese was a racist carnaval song that was pulled off the Internet featuring the lyrics “A Chinaman cannot see what’s above or below, in fact, he sees everything through a slit”.

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July 6, 2016

Opening the racist door: Monsieur Cannibale part deux

Filed under: General,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 9:02 am

The ball of this story got rolling back in 2014 when an American journalist was ‘shocked’ at an amusement park ride from De Efteling called ‘Monsieur Cannibale’ (French – new and improved explanation coming up) that features a black cannibal-like character with a bone through his nose cooking up unsuspecting children.

The racist door has now opened up as the Stop Oppressive Stereotypes (SOS) group published an open letter to the amusement park accusing it of featuring racist rides, one of which is Monsieur Cannibale and the other Carnaval Festival that features Asian stereotypes. However, Efteling asked SOS for a sit down and SOS haven’t responded yet – to be continued.

One side is telling the other to get a life and ideally a job and the other is having a ‘hey’ we never really saw things that way and it makes us feel uncomfortable moment, akin to the debate about Zwarte Piet. The Efteling says it mostly gets complaints about serving unhealthy food, but not about racist stereotypes.

I love Sacha Distel, the French singer and guitarist who sang this 1966 racist and sexist song that the Efteling chose to subject to children: it matches the ride perfectly in its bad taste. Distel’s song is about a white man captured in Africa by black cannibals who thought he was a spy, trying to politely plead the head cannibal (hence addressing him as Monsieur) not to eat him, but negotiates his way out of it by offering him porno magazines. The head cannibal laughs, brings the guy back to his harem for a week after which the guy lose 20 kilos and refuses to leave. The man basically shagged all the presumably black ladies who were all “hungry for it”.

Here’s a version of the song with a decent Dutch translation:

And since the French playback performance I posted in the original post was removed, here’s the same offensive performance sung in Spanish. He still pulls his eyes sideways to indicate the Chinese language at the beginning, so the Asian stereotypes are conveniently addressed by Distel as well.

(Photo: Photo of an Efteling dragon by Jeroen Kransen, some rights reserved)

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July 23, 2015

Drugstore caught selling baby formula out the back

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Health by Orangemaster @ 12:06 pm

The manager of a drugstore in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant was caught selling a pallet of baby formula out the back of the shop before the product hit the shelves. However, this apparently happens often around the country, as managers receive their bonuses based on their turnover rather than their margins. If they are always able to sell their pallets of formula in one go, it’s no surprise some of them will move product this way. Almost everyone in the Netherlands has noticed that baby formula can only be bought one or two tins at a time due to a constant shortage.

The media tends to blame the Chinese who buy up baby formula, but that’s only half the picture. The shortage is not caused by individual Chinese buying up units or even a pallet out the back, but mainly by Dutch producers of formula who can sell it at three times the Dutch price on Chinese websites where only a select handful of foreign companies are allowed to do business. According to the Telegraaf in 2013, Chinese resellers can make millions selling Dutch baby formula to the Chinese whether it comes directly from Dutch companies or Chinese selling it themselves. I’ve read that ambitious traders who buy pallets get the product into China through Hong Kong, even a few tins at a time if need be.

Sure, the Chinese can buy domestic formula, but since the scandals of 2008, expecting parents would rather buy quality foreign products, and big European companies know this all too well.

(Link:, Photo of a poster protesting Nutricia by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)

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June 4, 2015

Record number of Chinese for one Dutch visit

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 2:20 pm

The Chinese cosmetics company Perfect has recently sponsored 4,500 of its employees to vacation in the Netherlands, making it the biggest group visit to the country ever, according to Dutch media.

Their entire visit has brought in close to 8 million euro. The Chinese visited places such as the Hoge Veluwe National Park, Roermond outlet centre, the congress centre in Utrecht, and the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, while having to stay in different cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

Many of them were spotted enjoying Chinese food the most, which could be the typical Chinese-Indonesian food the Dutch usually serve. The group will most probably help attract even more Chinese visitors to the Netherlands with their word of mouth advertising.


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November 28, 2013

Guy refused internship for being ‘dark-coloured’

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:50 am

Saying sorry profusely and ‘distancing oneself from the incident’ is purely being done not to get sued. And suing does not happen that often, but this time the guy from Arnhem who was refused an internship for being black went straight to the police and filed a complaint.

An electronics company in Arnhem refused a candidate based on his skin colour and sadly, the internal e-mail in which this was done was sent to the candidate by mistake.

“I had a look, it’s nothing. First of all he’s dark-coloured (nigger). And he has little experience with computers etc. on his resume.”

The nigger part is in the e-mail as such, and ‘it’s nothing’ means ‘it won’t work out’. The employee that sent the mail by mistake never would have apologised had they not been caught. So basically, they really are racist and the candidate has a point.

A run of racist and discriminatory remarks have plagued the Netherlands as of late, and co-blogger Branko has been writing them up on another blog, calling it ‘The coming out of the racists’.

And after the racist remarks towards a Chinese student that hit television recently, here’s a column by a Canadian of Chinese descent married to a Dutchman of Chinese decent and their takes on it.

(, Image: Wiering Software’s video game Zwarte Piet)

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November 20, 2013

Racist remarks on television fuel discussion over Dutch intolerance

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 6:10 pm

The racist sounding jury of televised talent show Holland’s Got Talent has actually managed to outdo itself stupidity-wise after recently failing to recognise one of their most established singer-songwriters.

This time a Chinese immigrant speaking better English than the Dutch jury was poked fun at purely because of his ethnicity. Xiao Wang is asked his name before singing an opera aria by Verdi and once he says his name, a woman on the jury answer’s “no matter”, reassuring him that his Chinese is not a problem. The crowd sounds shocked, but laughs. A little later, Gordon, the same pop singer we mentioned earlier this week , asks Wang, “what are you going to sing? Number 29 with rice?”, obviously referring to the fact that many Chinese run take away restaurants in the Netherlands. After Wang’s performance which was surprisingly good, Gordon says “that was the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks”. I stopped watching after that.

This video has decent English subtitles, which will have you facepalming in no time:

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February 28, 2013

Chinese chef caged, beaten and exploited as a slave

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 4:35 pm

A 52-year-old female Chinese restaurant owner and four other suspects are being prosecuted on human trafficking charges for having exploited a Chinese chef forced to work in restaurants in Amsterdam and Arnhem.

“The victim was intimidated and had to work under miserable conditions. He was not allowed to visit a doctor and had to sleep in a cage in an Amsterdam restaurant under video surveillance.” He also worked for long hours for almost no pay, and his bank account was plundered.

Many human trafficking victims in the Netherlands are women brought to work in the sex industry, but a broader type of exploitation is apparently on the rise.

(Link:, Photo of dumplings by filipe.garcia, some rights reserved)

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January 13, 2011

‘Racist’ Dutch carnival song about the Chinese

Filed under: Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:17 pm

Dutch carnival songs are usually catchy, funny, tacky, use bad electronic keyboards and dumbed down enough so that everybody can sing along. After a lot of beer and in the right mood, it can work. However, the past few years have produced songs of a xenophobic and dare I say ‘racist’ or culturally ignorant nature.

In 2007 happy hardcore hit ‘Een bussie vol met Polen’ (‘A bus full of Poles’, a cover of ‘Een bossie rooie rozen’ (‘A bunch of red roses’), set to the tune of Edith Piaf’s ‘La vie en rose’) by Vlemmix & Roos was controversial, but this year a ‘racist’ carnival song about the Chinese community by duo Anita and Ed has taken first place in bad taste.

Dutch Chinese author Lulu Wang (who was probably asked to politely balance out the article, let’s be honest) has no qualms about lyrics like “A Chinese cannot see what’s above or below, in fact, he sees everything through a slit” and everybody wearing traditional pointy straw hats and black braids in the video. She argues that “the song reflects Dutch feelings of impotence toward the Chinese in the Netherlands, who are doing increasingly well.” I guess that’s one way to see things, and that last part is true, statistically speaking. I cannot imagine everyone shares her view, Chinese or not.

What if the song were about Moroccans or Turks? Or Antilleans? Or… Muslims? Think about it while watching Een bussie vol met Polen, paying hommage to the hard working Poles trying to build a life in the Netherlands doing jobs the Dutch won’t do.


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