Belgian media dubious tricks

Trends and Knack

I receive daily newsletters from Trends and Knack, discovering their Belgian media dubious tricks. Dubious but also misleading the least to say.
It’s sad because they were supposed to be reputable media.
So, what’s the problem? In the emailed newsletters the articles intended for paying subscribers are supposed to be marked with a lock or + sign. The other ones are supposed to be accessible to everybody.
I am a registered user but not a subscriber.

See above some examples:

– Flashen voor gratis drank: no lock – but no access
– KBC-baas: no + – but no access
– Chinese groeimodel: no lock – but no access
– Jonathan Holslag: no lock – but no access

Their explanation

I contacted the two several times. First they answered their technical team would look into it. Finally they admitted it was a trick to convince readers to subscribe: you click thinking it’s free, damn, it’s not. I should subscribe. Should I?
A Dutch friend commented that this practice in The Netherlands could be deemed against the consumer law and one could file a complaint.
In Belgium, I don’t see this possibility.

Other media do it correctly.

See Gazet Van Antwerpen:

As far as I can see they do it correctly.
In conclusion, I would rather subscribe to GVA than to Knack-Trends. It’s a matter of honesty. And the newsletter of GVA is clear and well done.

2300 years old silk robe

The story

Full details of the 2300 years old silk robe can be found in the following articles:
China Daily 1 August 2007 – Chinese Archaeologists Make Ground-breaking Textile Discovery
and 31 July 2007 – 2,500-year-old Textiles Discovered by Chinese Archaeologists

The 2300 years old silk robe was discovered in a tomb in 1982.
Chinese archaeologists have found textiles in a mysterious tomb dating back nearly 2,500 years in eastern Jiangxi Province, the oldest to be discovered in China’s history.
The textiles, which are well-preserved and feature stunning dyeing and weaving technologies, will rewrite the history of China’s textile industry, says Wang Yarong, an archaeologist who has been following the findings in the textile sector for more than three decades.
Wang and her colleagues found more than 20 pieces of fine silk, flax and cotton cloth in 22 of a total 47 coffins unearthed from the tomb in Lijia village of Jing’an county.
“Most of them are fine fabrics and the largest piece is 130 cm long, 52 cm wide and woven with complicated techniques,” said Wang, a researcher with the textiles preservation center of the Beijing-based Capital Museum.
The tomb, 16 meters long, 11.5 meters wide and three meters deep, contained the largest group of coffins ever discovered in a single tomb and its excavation was dubbed “the most important archeological project of the year” by cultural experts and the Chinese media.
Experts had unearthed more than 200 heritage pieces from the tomb, including copperware, jade, gold and handicrafts made from bamboo: a well-preserved fan 37 cm long and 25 cm wide and a bamboo mat 180 cm long and 80 cm wide.
Seven of the coffins contained human skeletons, four of which were identified as healthy females aged around 20, said Wei Dong, an archaeologist from northeast China’s Jilin University. Wei and other members of the research team assumed the four young women were maids who had been buried alive in sacrifice alongside a dead aristocrat, as was a centuries-old custom in ancient China.

Read the full article!

At the house of our friend Mike

We welcomed Ms. Wang Yarong at the house of Mike, along with Rene and others on 28 July 2022. The CCTV crew did the shooting of the documentary.

We had the chance to look at the copy of the original silk robe, done by Ms. Wang Yarong and her team. Ms. Wang gave a detailed insight into the art work and we also looked at the 3D computer images.

The documentary

Came out in August 2023.
The movie is best seen on mobile, it needs the app.


See some screenshots from my mobile.


Isabel Crook passed away


Longtime Beijing resident Isabel Crook passed away on 20 August 2023 at the age of 107.
She was a truly remarkable lady whom I met several times. Despite her age she remained very active. The last time I met her was on 18 February 2023, the big birthday party for Mark Levine, attended by many of his friends. Isabel Crook and her two sons were the star guests, see the post here.

With Isabel and Michael Crook 20 August 2016

I also met her in 2016, as mentioned in the post “Spotlight on Mark Levine”. With pictures from 2014 (Hilton event) and 2016 (Beijing Foreign Studies University), including Isabel and Michael Crook.
Another key event was on 20 August 2019 when I attended the launch of the movie featuring Isabel Crook, in The Bookworm, with a performance by Mark Levine. Fu Han did a remarkable job!

I was with Michael Crook (in the middle, white jacket) on the float during the parade of 1 October 2009.

All over the media

See here some of the media announcements.

China Daily
20 August 2023 – Pioneering educator, researcher Isabel Crook dies at 107 in Beijing
By Zou Shuo in China Daily

Isabel Crook

Canadian educator and anthropologist Isabel Crook, who pioneered English language teaching in New China and was a recipient of the Friendship Medal, China’s highest honor for foreigners, died on Sunday in Beijing at the age of 107.
Crook, who lived and worked in China for more than 90 years, witnessed and participated in the development of China’s foreign language education, according to a eulogy released by Beijing Foreign Studies University, where she taught English for more than 70 years.

In New York Times
26 August 2023 – Isabel Crook, 107, Dies; Her Life in China Spanned a Century of Change
Read the full article here.
A noted educator and anthropologist, she spent almost her entire life in China, where she was a committed friend of the Communist government.
Isabel Crook, a China-born daughter of Canadian missionaries who became one of her adopted country’s most celebrated foreign residents, beloved as an educator, anthropologist and articulate advocate for the Communist state, died on Sunday in Beijing. She was 107.
Her son Carl Crook said the cause of death, in a hospital, was pneumonia.
Mrs. Crook was among the last of a generation of Westerners born to missionaries in China in the decades before the Japanese invasion, World War II and the subsequent Communist revolution.
See the PDF: 230826 NYTIsabelCrook.

In theBeijinger:
Remembering Isabel Crook, Canadian Expat and Educator, 1915-2023
22 August 2023 – Irene Li – theBeijinger
Canadian educator, anthropologist, Friendship Medal recipient, and longtime Beijing resident Isabel Crook passed away on Aug 20 at the age of 107.
Born to missionary parents in Chengdu in 1915, Crook earned her master’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1938, before returning to China for anthropological study.
See the PDF230822 theBeijingerIsabelCrook

Birthday party for Mark Levine

A real big party

On 18 February 2023 a real big birthday party for Mark Levine, attended by many of his friends. Of course with Mark giving a speech, having his birthday cake, playing his music.
He received some presents and personal congratulations, from Michael Crook and government officials. Fu Han sent her best wishes from the USA with a video.

The guest of honor was obviously Isabel Crook, accompanied by two of her sons. What an honor! I was also happy to have a short chat with her.

Mark Levine in the media

Mark has also had his podcasts of the Bridge Podcast, see here an overview.

23 February 2023 – Mark Levine: sing songs about China
From community organizer and volunteer in the US to winning China’s “Friendship” award and working as a volunteer across China, Dr. Mark Levine uses his time to help others. Need inspiration to change the world? Listen to a singer song writer building bridges between the US and China through Music, education, writing and giving back to the global community. He inspires our host; he’ll inspire you. And he concludes the show with an inspirational piece of music. This is The Bridge: our interview with Dr. Mark Levine, American in China.
Listen here from The Bridge Podcast.

I interviewed ‘Mr. China,’ Dr. Mark Levine, about his 20 years living in China, his China Friendship award and his life as a professor and folk singer. (The Bridge Podcast)
Part 1 of a 3 part series with Mark.
Dr. Mark Levine, An American Who Loves China
Watch here on YouTube.

It’s The Kites That Own The Sky – By American Country Singer in China, Dr. Mark Levine (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

American Folk Singer Dr. Mark Levine Sings Chinese Song “Gan wen lu zai he fang” (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

An American Community Organizer on Making China His Home (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

How Does an American Sociologist become a Folks Singer in China (The Bridge Podcast).
Watch here on YouTube.

Gilbert’s interview during the party

Interview with Gilbert “How to see the real China” on 18 February 2023 during the birthday party for Mark Levine. I explain how I introduce China to foreign visitors.
Watch here on Vimeo.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I got the book!

As I mentioned earlier with some details, the the book “Home Is Where The Heart Is” came out and I got a few hard copies.

Right now no idea how one can buy a copy, while a price of RMB130 (TBC) has been mentioned.
It’s not yet on Amazon (expected soon) nor Taobao and the bar code does not work as for now. Seems Graham Earnshaw might get involved, he is well-known and also has a publishing company. I met him many years ago when he was talking about his walk from Shanghai to Tibet. That would be interesting!
Anybody interested contact me directly.

The contributors

As mentioned earlier, see here again who talks about their China story.

Mark, Raja, Terry and myself are members of the “Old China Hands Monthly lunch”; I know personally Michael (and his mother!) and Volker.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

The term is actually well known, it’s also a song (Elvis Presley and others), an American movie (1987), a TV miniseries (2022) and a book on Amazon with the same title by Ilse Crawford.

See here some details:

Home Is Where the Heart Is, a TV Mini Series (2022)
A privileged young lawyer, Jane becomes a reluctant champion of the vulnerable when she partners up with Arif, a cynical yet compassionate social worker to take on pro-bono cases of the less fortunate.
Creators: Kai Xiang Chang and Kenny Tan; Stars: Naomi Yeo – Fauzie Laily – Mathialagan

Home Is Where the Hart Is, a 1987 American film starring Leslie Nielsen

Many different versions: “Home Is Where the Heart Is”, see here details.