"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sometimes I wonder if I have an unfair advantage over most of the students here since I'm a native English speaker; some Dutch students bring in and use dictionaries during exams.


There was a pair presenting an article which argued that, with respect to the WTO, manufacturing should be liberalised instead of services. This was because in both, developing countries would gain roughly the same, but developed countries would gain much more from liberalisation of services than manufacturing. They thought this this relative hobbling of rich countries would be "fairer". Wth.

To bolster their argument they said thousands of Africans would come across the Mediterranean in small boats on seeing how rich Europe was. They also suggested that developing countries use this as a bargaining chip so developed ones would redistribute some of the gains from services to them. Someone else raised the issue of justice vs fairness and brought up the case of how people's happiness depends on relative welfare rather than absolute welfare.

Maybe I should've lamented about the misery of the human condition, but on the up side, European notions of social justice are an exception to how libertarians are all rich and anti-abortion activists are all men.


They dressed up a couple in 18th century clothing (complete with wigs) and had them walk around the Hoog Catharijne one Saturday to promote some special shopping day they had. Very cute, especially since they were in orange (which I doubt was in in the 18th century).

Everything here is truly fried into submission. I had a 'supertje crizly' which was basically a kebab on a stick (with onions), but battered and then fried. It was served with fries (naturally) and satesaus. Aiyoh. It was heavy, even for me.

I saw a place selling a pistolet (bread in the shape of a mini half-baugette) with Dutch strawberries. Wth.

There's this product called Cornetto Soft which is basically instant soft serve ice cream. The ice cream sits in the freezer in cylinders and is served by placing them in a press which squeezes the ice cream into a waiting cone. Voila - instant soft serve (complete with swirls).

There was this brand of oil with a picture of an olive, and the bottle of which said it contained olive oil. I looked at the back and found that only 20% was olive. The rest was ominously labelled "vegetable oil and fat". Bah.

I was at Nettorama and they were giving out free samples of Nieuwe maatjes haring (New cut [?] herring). It was raw of course but what the heck, I decided you only live once, and decided to try one square. For about 20 seconds I was trying to suppress my gag reflex, but after that I could appreciate (so to speak) the product. Its texture was pretty much like smoked salmon, and it wasn't as slimy as I expected. There wasn't much of a taste beyond an off-salty taste (like salt with unspecified additives), but this stayed in my mouth for many minutes.

Nettorama is not quite as cheap as Aldi, but it has more brand-name goods. Also, the stuff comes in smaller sizes. Onions at Aldi come in 2kg packs, but I knew I couldn't finish 2kg of onions in as many weeks (still having a few left in the cupboard to boot). Nettorama, on the other hand, sells onions in 1kg packs also, so that's what I went for.

I made stamppot with instant mashed potato mix. It was the wrong texture but it was still nice.

Advertising slogan for Dr Pepper: "Can you handle the taste?" It's that bad, huh?

On 21/6, I found that the 2x500g packets of sliced, cooked potatoes I bought from Aldi which were due to expire on 24/6 were both bloated and smelled and tasted sour. I had to go buy a new packet from downstairs. Gah.

There's a street in Utrecht called 'parallelweg' (parallel to the track). Needless to say, it's parallel to the railway track. Gah.

I realise I can document my travels with soft drink bottles. Right now I can see a French Pepsi bottle, Greek Fanta Orange bottle, Austrian Coke bottle, German Fanta Orange bottle, British 7-up bottle and the numerous Dutch bottles in my room.

Seen in a snack bar: "Loempia cum laude" (Spring roll cum laude) and "Nasi Goreng Rol" (Nasi Goreng inside spring roll skin and deep fried). Gah.

One of my housemates said some of them were wondering if I was straight because when Jiekai was over they heard a lot of laughter from my room. Gah. Then when I laughed in response to their question one of them said it was the laughter he heard when Jiekai was over.

It's more surreal seeing mineral water in tetrapaks, somehow, than wine.


Quotes:

financial creases (crisis)

our pre'sentation (presentation)

the lest area described in the paper (last)

fill a pines (Philippines)

expert subsidies (export)

[On aid] You can't just give them a bag of money and say, 'Have fun'. I see your point. I even agree with it. How's that?

the cows and effect is unclear (cause)

What is the chicken and what is the ack? (egg)

Suppose the return on your education is 6%... The interest rate is 4%. So you borrow... If the interest rate rises to 7% you can continue borrowing... or stop living.

Question 6. Who has done question 6? It's an easy one, so it's good no one has done it. *explains question 6*

I will come to slaughter your presentations on Friday... One of my favourite activities. So be prepared.

[On Montenegro adopting the Euro and running a current account deficit] We hope, of course, that you will sell your country to foreign investors.
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