Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friends and their causes

Della is an animal lover and she does what she preaches. She is currently taking care of elephants in Thailand.

Elephant manifesto and other matters...

Wildlife Friends of Thailand is a safe haven for abused wild animals. In Thailand (but not only, to be fair), gibbons, macaques and others serve as photo props for tourists who are unaware that, by asking for or accepting that service, they are seriously stressing and endangering the animals. I will tell you about the primates in a future update but for now, please take a moment to read the following manifesto:


By giving money to mahouts (elephant handlers) tourists are contributing to elephant abuse:

·         to perform, the elephant has to be 'broken' using the cruel Pahjaan process – the elephant is starved, burnt, stabbed and systematically tortured to make it obey humans.

·         elephant obedience is based on FEAR and PAIN. If commands are disobeyed, the elephant is beaten. If tricks to entertain tourists are not learnt, the elephant is beaten.

·         The elephant is often starved to keep it looking small and 'cute' for tourists, so it is hungry for tourists' food.

·         Making elephants perform on dirty, unhealthy streets is illegal to do and causes road traffic accidents. Tourists can now also be fined for supporting street-begging elephants.



The mahouts are NOT poor people (this is a myth)- they earn the Thai equivalent of a small fortune every night from exploiting elephants and tourists who are unaware of the cruelty involved. By feeding it, you are not helping the owner's elephant, just its owners bank balance.

A handful of elephants were lucky to be 'saved' by WFFT and will finish their life safe and secure from the cruelty of the mahouts. For obvious reasons, it is very difficult to get the mahouts to hand over their elephants. As a result, the one and only way to stop this abuse is to not support it. If there is no more demand, hopefully the abuse will stop.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eight venerable poetesses

Lucienne Stassaert here performing 'Leben-Leven-Life' with friend and great improvising musician Jean Demey. She opened the evening which turned out to be very enjoyable. She got a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine signed by all present as a memento of her 75th birthday. Not slowing down in her creativity, an example for all of us.

Hungarian born Adriana Kobor, the youngest of the bunch, closed the evening with some disquieting poetry. She leaves an impression of daring and honesty.

The eight poets reading that night: Vera Alexander Beerten; Patrica De Landtsheer; Adriana Kobor; Xinte Mässer; Annmarie Sauer; Lucienne Stassaert; Hilde Van Cauteren; Yerna Van Den Driesche. Intermission music on the piano Marc Clement.
organizer: Frank De Vos: the guy on the left side.

It is a bit hard to get eight poets coordinated, but the mildly wild bunch is seen here. The third and fourth of the left chose some slightly naughty poetry which lend a light air to the evening.

The public as always at that specific literary café was attentive and generous with applause.
For a sample of 'Leben-Leven-Life' click here

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The making of TIJ (Tide)

First of all Tij is the second chapter of Sounds of Harbour (Hafenklänge, Havenklanken), a poem written by six authors: Wilfried Bienek, Job Degenaar, Peter Holvoet Hanssen - the male voice on the sound track -, Roger Nupie, Annmarie Sauer- the female voice- and Fred Schywek. It was the latter who conceived the plan for the poem, wrote the story board on how to proceed the mixing of poetry and sound and got permission of the German composer Frank Niehusmann to use his electronic music 'Fragrance'. ( Well, they had worked together before).
A young Audio man Gorik De Smet did the cutting and the fine tuning.

Here you see how sound looks on screen while fiddling with fading in and out and tiny issues of timing.

You can download it here.