Updates and news

November 2018

Archives (13th July 2015): Back to Yangon

I am writing from Yangon today. I am vey tired, as I have just returned from a rather physically demanding trip to the western part of Myanmar (Rakhine State), but also very happy to be in this country again after many years of absence. I will write more about my experiences here (and in DPRK as I have promised previously), but this will happen when I back in Bangkok in a few days. In the meanwhile, just wanted to greet you all from one of the most enchanting cities in the world - Yangon!

Archives (28th June 2015): Back from DPRK

I realise that I have not been proactive when it comes to writing updates in here. I was away from Bangkok in DPRK, and was very busy there, without much chance to write. Now, I am however back online, and will restart writing. Thanks for your patience!

Archives (14th June 2015): 20K in Warsaw

Presidential elections in Poland prompted lots of emotions… From my perspective, what was really depressing was a fact that the pre-election campaign gave opportunities a surge of xenophobia and hatred towards all kind of minorities that live in Poland. Although I was not surprised, I was astounded by lack of empathy to problems of so many of people living in Poland. On one side, everyone seemed to worry about poverty and social injustice, but only as long as it concerned white Poles… the moment that we start referring to problems of refugees, foreigners, non-Christians, LGBT, Roma communities… the compassion quickly vanishes... As a society, in Poland, we fear minorities… All these debates on ‘Poland’s values’ made me feel sad, as I could not agree with so many things that I read about and listened to. Clearly, I need to accept that democracy is all about the majority’s views, and as such I humbly respect that many people in my country tend to favour conservative values, but this does not mean that I agree with it - hence my very mixed feelings… happy to see people being able to express what they say freely, but sad to know that we still dislike difference.

Somehow, there was a ray of hope in Warsaw yesterday. The Warsaw’s Equity Parade attracted 20,000 participants! It was the largest one ever organised in Poland. In addition, the novelty was that there was no counter-parades arranged by the nationalistic movements (well, these may come later though). Except for the rights for LGBT and disabled community (traditional themes of Warsaw’s parades) this year’s happening heavily focused on rights of refugees and migrants in Poland. I really, really liked it and was happy to see that many politicians, actors, companies and civic society organisations openly supported the event. Most importantly, as mentioned, 20,000 people came! There is some hope after all Winking

Archives (6th June 2015): June updates

It is already 6 months since I arrived to Bangkok! Time flies indeed… I feel like I have lived in Thailand for ever, although still in October 2014, I was still in an environment of war and conflict of South Sudan.

Moving to a new place frequently prompts new opportunities and brings changes to ones life. Moving around is not new to me, as I constantly do so. Arrival to Bangkok is still special. It is for a first time for a very long time that I have arrived (to settle) to a city that could be considered as ‘modern’, with functioning infrastructure and with vas variety of entertainment possibilities. It is perhaps an odd thing to write, but instead of benefiting from it, Bangkok overwhelms me and sometimes makes me scared. I guess I have alienated myself from modern appliances and modern way of life, and seeing rushing people with their eyes fixed on their phones while driving, walking, eating out or in a metro makes me feel lost. Here, another odd thing that I am going to write is that is some ways, I really felt more comfortable in Juba, where life was clearly much more difficult, when you think of comforts. To be fair though, I am enjoying being able to walk on streets of Bangkok without anyone wanting to shoot at me, or assault me. This is definitely a welcoming change that I enjoy!

When I arrived to Bangkok, I started learning Spanish. This is one of the best thing I could have done. Initially, the lessons were difficult, but it is exciting to see that just a few months later, I am already able to communicate quite a lot. Now, really motivated to keep it going and would like to make my Spanish fluent within next 18 months.

2 days ago, the Embassy of DPRK granted my visa. If all goes well, I will be travelling (for work) to Pyongyang at the end of June. This is really exciting and I am looking forward to visiting a place that is so little known by the world.

Archives (29th May 2015): Refugees in South East Asia

The Bay of Bengal refugee crisis has changed my plans, and instead of travelling to Brussels for internal meetings in the HQs of my organisation, I remained in Bangkok to follow-up on negotiation progress between the countries on how to handle it. Today, the Government of Thailand is hosting a meeting on finding solutions, but so far, as it is reported, the meeting has not yet brought fruits: Bangkok Post article.

Archives (16th May 2015): Talks about refugees

I just got back to Bangkok from Jakarta, where I met with various organisations trying to deal with the most recent refugee crisis in South East Asia (Myanmar and Bangladeshi refugees trying to seek safety in countries of South East Asia). I have to say that this trip affected my personally a lot… It is already a while since I have been dealing with so much hatred and so much unwillingness of lending a helping hand to the poorest and the most vulnerable victims of conflicts and prosecutions. The last few days I hear nothing but excused of why it is okay not to rescue people from starvation and thirst and seas; why it is okay to deport refugees back to places, where they are likely to face severe prosecution; and countless reasons of why it is justified that the wealthy countries do not welcome refugees, out of duty to protect order within its boundaries. Hatred, xenophobia, cynicism, lack of compassion and lack of empathy are the adjectives that I will associate with May 2015. As nations, communities, civil society organisations, and indeed individuals - we should be ashamed that we do so little to help those who need help, or worse so, that we advocate for actions that potentially harm refugees. I think that we are experiencing a very severe crisis of humanity that will turn against us altogether sooner rather than later. Shame on us the humans!

And here comes an associated article relating to the above.

Archives (9th May 2015): Typhoon in the Philippines

The end of my holiday in Poland is a bit stressful. As I pack to go back to Thailand, we are hearing that many people are bing evacuated from northern parts of the Philippines, due to the typhoon that is expected to make a landfall on Sunday. I may be needing to travel to the Philippines to carry our humanitarian assessments, right after arriving to Bangkok.

Archives (8th May 2015): Back to Bangkok soon

May holidays in Europe is great, but it is time to start thinking of going back to work. After a week in Poland, I am now packing, and preparing to travel back to Thailand this weekend. While, I have really enjoyed staying with my family, hiking, visiting friends, and sightseeing; I am very annoyed by the politics in Poland. The country is in the middle of the presidential campaign, and the hopefuls for the job try convincing Poles to vote for them. Many of our presidential candidates seem to favour xenophobia, lack of respect for the natural environment, and a total lack of respect of diversity of any kind (religious, racial, political, etc.). Personally, I am saddened by this, and feel uncomfortable with the level of political scene in Poland. In that sense, I am glad to be leaving the country, so that I can focus on my work, and forget about the language of hatred that I hear all around me.

Archives (4th May 2015): New Website

As promised, here come a slightly refreshed version of my pages. At this stage (May 2015), lots of resources are unfinished, and are ‘under construction’. While I am sorry for inconvenience, I hope that the site will be fully operational soon.

You will have noticed that while much on the site remains the same, there are some modifications. The main addition is a section on immigration to Poland. The changing times: economic situation in the world and in Poland, as well as demographic developments started processes that we would never imagine that could take place: immigration to Poland. This new, for us, phenomena is full of opportunities, but also cause a considerable uneasiness among many Poles. I find all of these processes extremely interesting and worth some attention - hence this section.

I hope that you will enjoy new and refreshed website! Warmest greetings to all!