Monthly Archives: November 2023

Works cited

“Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie Discuss Barbie’s Surprising Feminism.” YouTube, ABC News In-depth, 12 July 2023, 

Gibson, Kelsie. “Every Photo from the Barbie Movie Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.” People Magazine, Warner Bros, 6 Apr. 2023, 

“20 Best Quotes from the New Barbie Movie 2023 – The Pioneer Woman.” The Pioneer Woman, 10 Aug. 2023,

Broadway, Danielle. “Warner Bros Defends ‘Barbie’ Film’s World Map as ‘Child-Like.’” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 7 July 2023,

Sharf, Zack. “That Final ‘Barbie’ Line: Greta Gerwig Wanted to End the Film with a ‘Mic Drop Kind of Joke’ That’s Also ‘Very Emotional.’” Variety, Variety, 24 July 2023,

Grothaus, Michael. “What Is the Nine-Dash Line? The ‘Barbie’ China Controversy Explained.” FastCompany, 5 July 2023,

“Forbidden City: Home of Chinese Emperors | Google Arts & Culture.” Forbidden City: Home of Chinese Emperors | Google Arts & Culture, YouTube, 8 Dec. 2020,

Song, Candice. “The Shanghai Marriage Market – an Engrossing Experience!” The Shanghai Marriage Market, How to Find a Mate in Shanghai, 28 Jan. 2021,

“Forbidden City.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 13 Oct. 2023,

Intan, Vanessa. “The Preserved Chinese Ancient Town of Pingyao.” Medium, Medium, 7 Sept. 2020,

Cartwright, Mark. “Terracotta Army.” World History Encyclopedia,, 6 Nov. 2017,

Goldkorn, Jeremy. “The 25 Key Phrases of Xi Jinping.” The China Project, 1 June 2020,

Times, Global. “Chinese People Are the Happiest in the World, Ipsos Survey Shows.” Global Times, Accessed 12 Nov. 2023.

Patricia M. Kim, Mallie Prytherch, and Tanvi Madan Gautam Bambawale. “Why Did the Chinese Become Less Happy during Their Growth Boom?” Brookings, 29 July 2016,

“The Pursuit of Happiness.” The Pursuit of Happiness – China.Org.Cn, Accessed 12 Nov. 2023.

Ninja, Exposure. “The Definitive Guide to Chinese Proverbs, Sayings, and Quotes.” Mandarin Blueprint, 31 May 2023,

Kuo, Lily. “China’s Modern History – in Pictures.” The Guardian, 29 May 2019,

Boyle, Joe. “11 Slogans that changed China.” BBC News, 26 Dec. 2013,

Liles, Maryn. “101 of the Best Confucius Quotes and Sayings to Motivate and Inspire you.”Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health Life, Holidays, 27 February 2021,

“Xi Jinping: China’s goals are within reach and we won’t be bullied.”South China Morning Post, 2 July 2021,

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Movie Review

Plastic is fantastic!

Yes, today will be another wonderful day in Barbieland! Director Greta Gerwig introduces us to ‘Barbieworld’, based on the Barbie doll by Mattel. A world where women are in charge and can become anything they want. Margot Robbie’s character (Barbie) has the most perfect day every day. “Just like yesterday and tomorrow and every day from now until eternity!” But then Barbie is asking: ‘Do you ever think about… death?’ Barbie’s life, in a peaceful pink cloud, comes to an abrupt halt when that unwanted thought arises. Barbie ends up in that real world. Because in addition to those unwanted thoughts of death, cellulite suddenly appears, and (horror!) Barbie’s feet, permanently put on high heels, suddenly become flat.

For Gerwig, Barbieland is not only a candy-colored wonderland, but also a successful matriarchy, in which Barbies occupy all social positions. They are construction workers, journalists, doctors, judges, Nobel Prize winners and even presidents. Ken (Ryan Gosling) only plays a supporting role in this world. His job description simply reads: ‘beach’. The Kens don’t get any further than hanging out on the beach in their colorful outfits. Ken has his own thing going on, because who is he really? A bit of a dorky type, which is mandatory for Barbie. It’s Barbie and Ken, not just Ken.

To regain her old self, Barbie will have to cross over to the real world. The fact that she ends up in the real world is because of weird Barbie. She was once the beautiful Barbie there was, but was mutilated by children playing (hair cut short or even set on fire). Weird Barbie knows that somewhere in that real world there is a doll girl who is sad and needs to be fixed. She tells Barbie these are signs that her owner is troubled and sends her on a mission to The Real Wold. Ken hitches a ride on Barbie’s journey to our world and marvels at the power men have there. If he brings those ideas to Barbieworld, it will have major consequences. He discovers that men have the power in the world. A male uprising follows, making it a Kendom with ‘Brewski-Beer’, man caves and fur coats. In any case, Ryan Gosling is sublime as the empty-headed, sun-tanned king of self-mockery.

Barbie is not just about the toy, but also about the role it plays in the lives of children and adults in the ‘real’ world. When leaving Barbieland, a map is used to the real world. The map looks as if it were drawn by a child, but a clear nine-dash line is shown on the map. This line represents the maritime boundary, and ownership claim of the South China Sea by China. The result is that the blockbuster can be seen in Chinese theaters. Vietnam bans the Barbie movie because of the ‘offensive’ world map. According to Warner Bros: “The map in Barbie Land is a whimsical, child-like crayon drawing,” the studio said in a statement. “The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the real world. It was not intended to make any type of statement.”

Margot Robbie is perfectly cast in the title role. She embodies the Western ideal of physical perfection. She shows herself in a comical way through excellent timing. The movie is full of subtle and less subtle criticism of the lives of real people today. Sometimes I was amazed at how much space they were given by parent company Mattel to mock the Barbie brand, and the company as a whole. But plastic is fantastic and, above all, very fun, and refreshing. A hilarious film that celebrates the resilience of women and peels back the alpha layer from men. With a healthy dose of self-mockery. The ending may not be bittersweet, as Ken and Barbie find their way autonomously. Ken staying in Barbieland, and Barbie becomes human.


Rating *****


Video Resume

Summer job – Sanchez-Casal, Nanjing

At Sanchez Casal in Nanjing, a summer camp assistant is being recruited for next summer. My dream is that I can start this job in the summer of next year. They ask for a top-level tennis player. It is intended that the summer camp assistant will teach tennis to advanced tennis players from 6 to 12 years old and English lessons for an hour a day. I think I am the perfect match to fill this job. Check out my video resume application here and I think you’ll agree that this job fits me like a glove!


Photo Essay

The Chinese Dream – Zhōngguó mèng

In the mysterious world of Chinese politics, slogans matter. They are the words that are meant to convey a leader’s vision for the country. The first reference to the Chinese Dream was made in November 2012 by Xi Jinping. After he became president in 2013. He used the term numerous times, with the goal to make China the world’s dominant power. But what does the Chinese Dream actually mean? Over time, the process of defining the Chinese Dream has become clear. It means: “realizing the prosperity of the country, the rejuvenation of the nation and the happiness of the people”. The adoption of Chinese nationalist ideologies has increased to accomplish the rejuvenation of the nation, this expresses itself in more (military) nationalism of the people.

The three parts are displayed as a photo essay in separate albums.

Go to:

The Chinese Dream – Realizing prosperity of the country

The Chinese Dream – Realizing rejuvenation of the nation

The Chinese Dream – Realizing the happiness of the people

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Travel Experience 

Have a save trip! – Yilu shunfeng! 

You know Marco van Basten, soccer? This was the only thing my parents could communicate with their fellow traveller on the night train from Beijing to X’ian 25 years ago. No cell phones, no Google Translate, Chinese people spitting on the street and rudeness to foreigners. These were the memories of an indescribably beautiful country. In 2018 we took this trip again as a family. And one of the joys this time is its diversity and receiving a friendly and warm welcome almost everywhere!

Time has not stood still; China has one of the largest economies in the world. Exploring is made abundantly easier by China’s vast high-speed rail network. The golden triangle Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai connected by high-speed trains making it easy to swing between the major sights. Our trip starts in the metropolis of Shanghai arriving by Maglev train from the airport in just 8 minutes. Besides the skyscrapers and the Bund, one of the things which is most memorable is the marriage market, a must see. Walk into People’s Park on a weekend, and you will find a son-and-daughter meat market (BaiFaXiangQin), promoted by mom and dad. We wondered why? One-child policy created a discrepancy between male and female, busy schedules of young adults, and pressure to marry before one is thirty are the main reasons. They just don’t have time to deal with it, but their parents do! It is interesting to see, going back in time to the tradition when parents arranged the marriages of their children. Compared to the modern society, China has become.

Next stop is Beijing, travelling by train, a ‘quiet’ megacity with lots of electrical scooters. As we know that the great attractions are no secret, we woke up at 5 am to have a ‘stroll’ on the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Mutianyu is relatively untouched, it is less commercialized, has fewer tourists, and has undergone less restoration work. We went up with the chair lift and downhill tobogganing. A once in a lifetime and fun experience! The Forbidden City was our next visit. At first, I didn’t understand why it was forbidden, then we couldn’t get in anyway! From the audio tour I understand that you could face the death penalty if you entered without permission, and the areas behind the high terrace from which the emperor welcomed his guests were off-limits to all. The Forbidden City was a symbol of China as a major power in the region. Take metro lines 10 and 6 (exit C) to Hujialou station to get to Chaoyang Theatre and enjoy ‘The flying acrobatic show’. This will be a nice end to Beijing.

Before visiting Xi’an, the city Pingyao was our destination. A visit to Pingyao gives you insight into what China used to look like. The historic city centre is surrounded by a gigantic city wall. In the centre of Pingyao, you will find old houses, temples, inns, and other ancient remains. The centre is also car-free, which gives you the feeling that time has stood still here. Showing the history of Pingyao people and the legacy of their ancestors (story about the banker Mr. Zhou), You Jian Pingyao interactive show should be on your itinerary. It feels like you are in a film studio walking through different sets, make sure not to miss this. Then take the high-speed train to Xi’an the last city of the golden triangle, famous for its Terracotta Army, a 2,000-year-old life-size army of clay statues. Purpose of the army was protecting emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife. A must-visit attraction, although crowded most of the time, arriving at noon is a good option. Biking Xi’an city wall is easy to do. It is the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. Stopping at the different gates and watchtowers, and just watch the residents doing their daily routines is amusing.

This is the first of three China travel experiences. Curious about the other parts we visited (see map below), and more information and imagery (photos and video’s)? 

Go to: Polar Steps – Travel Experience China – Feline van Eijkelenburg