I am super excited and honored that the good folks at The Mixtape Club asked me to put together a mix for their 4th anniversary. These are really some of my favorite songs: Tropical vibes, chill beats and random tunes. Too Humid Too Dance is streaming for free at the Mixtape Club. I highly recommend to stick around and check some of the other tapes. There’s a lot of beautiful music to be discovered.
You should take a look at the website of Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national rail carrier, to marvel at its famous Denglish creations before it’s too late. The homepage is currently graced by such masterpieces as Rail&Fly, Mein Carsharing and City-Fahrräder. But enough is enough and Deutsche Bahn is finally saying no, I mean nein, to such linguistic abuses. From now on, all Anglicisms are to be replaced by proper German terms if possible. Critics of this move call it misguided since language changes over time. True, language does change over time, but it does so collectively through society, often subconsciously. Denglish, on the other hand, replaces perfectly adequate German words without much sense and thought, usually at the hand of marketing agencies. Personally, I think this move is long overdue.
As the world is getting more homogeneous, we need initiatives that preserve the uniqueness of places and cultures. At the same time, we should wholeheartedly embrace bilingualism. English is already emerging as our lingua franca – why not make it official? Instead of peppering languages with random English terms, lets keep and cultivate our mother tongue alongside proper English. It works at airports; it would work everywhere else too. Globalization is not a zero sum game and it is entirely possible to become more connected while celebrating our differences.
Source: Flickr / minno975
Earlier this week, a good friend asked about my thoughts on Chengdu’s New Century Global Center, the new largest building in the world. Here’s my gut reaction reply:
“Let’s start with the actual architecture: It’s horrendous. You know how I feel about new buildings that look like old buildings. Not only is it stupid and tacky, it also strips real old buildings of any meaning. On the flip side, I love new buildings that take cues from the past while being uncompromisingly modern. But the key to make this work is abstraction - be thoughtful about vernacular design language, materials and methods - then translate those insights into a modern building with reverence to the past. I think SOM’s Hajj Terminal in Jeddah is still among the most brilliant examples of this approach. Now, that all said, the New Century Global Center literally takes the form of a Chinese pagoda, slaps some mirrored glass on it and scales it up to insane proportions. There is absolute nothing thoughtful or imaginative about this. Hell, Germany should just build a gigantic glass covered version of Neuschwanstein Castle. But I guess Disney kinda beat us to that.
As for the inside of the thing: We got two (because one is for losers) 5-star hotels, a fake beach, an IMAX theater and a mall. Considering that, around the world, we tear down old neighborhoods to replace them with similar complexes, we can happily assume that this is the pinnacle of civilization. 6 million years of human evolution, and we finally arrive at mega malls and fake beaches. On the plus side, the complex sits on top of a subway station.”
After some consideration, the situation is a bit more complicated than that: We are not just discussing architectural merit here. It’s about the type of city we want to live in. Even, what kind of life do we want to live? Personally, please excuse the buzzword, I enjoy authentic stuff. I like old crumbling neighborhoods with tons of character. I like a simple meal from some whole-in-the-wall that has been making the same dish for the past 30 years. Yet, I must admit something: A few years back, I was working in a poor part of central Vietnam. For the holidays, I went to visit a friend in Singapore, and man, was I excited about the BBQ at Tony Roma’s inside the air conditioned Suntec City Mall. I got excited about this stuff after 5 months of living in a developing country. Can you imagine how amazing it must be for someone growing up in one?
But, sooner or later, the excitement for shiny surfaces will wear off, replaced by a longing for realness. Places connected to past and meaning. Singapore seems to be at that stage right now, desperately saving the last few shophouses still standing. Let’s hope that the rest of the emerging world, in their race to the future, will have some places left to restore once they get to that stage.
Source: Flickr / gedawei
I love tacos. It’s one of these things that is so simple in its purest form: Corn tortilla, meat, cilantro, onions, salsa. But, this basic idea of a taco then spawns a near endless array of different varieties and flavors: Carne Asada or Al Pastor? Or how about Chorizo? What about a fish taco? Maybe Baja Style? Salsa roja or salsa verde? And don’t even get me started on white boy tacos with ground beef. We could go on for days. Point is, tacos are awesome. Finally tacos receive the respect they deserve with the beautifully illustrated La Tacopedia. Currently available only in Spanish, we should all take this as an incentive to improve our hablo español. I think we owe that much to the noble taco.