Wit Licht (The Silent Army)

Marco Borsato – one of my favorite singers and most definitely my favorite singer in the Dutch language – as a movie star, I was very curious. Finally, Wit Licht, (The Silent Army) arrived in my mail box this week and I got a chance to see this movie that has been received with such mixed feelings. From a standing ovation in Cannes to some very critical reviews in the Netherlands and also on the net (Imdb).

The story is in short the story of Eduard Zuiderwijk (Marco Borsato), who owns and runs a small restaurant in Uganda. His wife dies and left with his son  Siebe who is in turn very good friends with Abu, the son of one of the staff members. After the death of his wife, Eduard has a hard time running the restaurant and keeping the relationship with his son good. Abu, who fills an important spot here, is kidnapped by the rebels to become a child soldier. The movie is all about the search for Abu, in the hands of rebel leader Obeke, incidentally a former client and ‘friend’ of Eduard.  Intertwined with the search and rescue journey the movie is showing the horrors of children getting involved in war and of course with a happy ending where Abu – who as we understand later had to kill his father to save his own during a raid – is recovered by Eduard and reunited with his mother.

What  personally found most difficult is seeing Marco Borsato playing someone else and that took some time to get over. I cannot help but feeling that some of the emotions portrayed by Eduard in the movie were very real as opposed to played. For an acting debut not too shabby at all! While writing this I am looking at the special feautures and now see that one of the African actresses (Abu’s mother in the movie) actually makes fun of that where she found Marco Borsato crying on the set after she portayed a tormented, screeming mother that just lost her son to the Rebels. So there must have been some real emotions in this all.

I was not always impressed with the dialogues but at the same time, that is probably more close to real life than the ither way around. I was particuly impressed with the performance of the rebel general, throughout the movie, whenever you see him there is this real sense of danger hidden behind a relatively friendly presence.

I think it is fantastic that someone like Marco Borsato, also heavily involved in Warchild, and from the site it transpires that the movie is promoted as “War Child Film”, put his name and efforts behind such a great and important cause through this movie. The movie is most defintely not without its weaknesses but then again has some very powerful images in them that really grabbed me by the throat. Whatever the reviews, for that reason alone it is a very worthwhile movie and a must see. One cannot be pointed out enough how horrible war is, and more importantly how devastating the effects are of any war on children, especially child soldiers.

The strongest quote was by Valerie I guess when she decides to break all protocols to help out Eduard against all advice:

“It is not about why we do things but what we do (or words of similar meaning).” “Most people have brilliant reasons to do nothing at all.” 

Job Hunting, have you made your Visual CV yet

Looking around for a job abroad or in you own country. One of he most basic essentials you need to have is a CV. Immediately you need to think about how to make your cv stand out. Visual CV offers such an option. Using Visual CV you can build your own dynamic and secure cv online that gives you just that extra edge and offers future employers immediately more depth to whatever it was that you provided before. Best of all, you can print your CV as a pdf besides making iot available online.

Check it out for yourself at Visual CV or as an example of how this could work out check my online resume.



Harden Up Mate: Kiwi Houses Exposed as Health Risk

Expats and other new arrivals, myself included, are or were often unpleasantly surprised by the poor quality of New Zealand houses, especially when, like myself you come from a central heated and double glazed home in Europe or the US. Looking out my window seeing the neighbours’  windows covered with condense and similarly the same situation in our own bedrooms, it is not a pretty sight. More importantly it seems like the standard and it poses a risk for your health. My impressions are not anecdotal.

Basics such as insulation, draft proofing, efficient and all over the house heating systems appear almost to be a luxury reserved for those that do not have the required toughness to make it through the winter in a singlet, a pair of gumboots and shorts or if you are one of the softer types pants, sweater, shoes, jacket and if you are really a softy a thermal. I have often wondered if the way traditional kiwis live and dress may be associated with the strikingly high number of people carrying around a puffer.

According to a recent survey by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, “more than a million himes are not adequately insulated, and from a further survey it transpire that more than 400,000 homes could actually “be making their occupants sick, some seriously.”

From a survey of over 3,500 New Zealanders about the state of their homes it transpired that:

  • 45% of existing homes are mouldy
  • 16% of homes have no insulation whatsoever
  • 21% of the people between 18 and 24 claim that their home is cold and uncomfortable
  • Almost 66% of New Zealand homes were built before insulation became a legal requirement in 1979
  • More that 25% of the New Zealand’s homes could actually be making the occupants ill

I guess that is something to think about when you arive here as an expat and are looking for a home. And remember, as an expat, renting a home you are usually liable for costs such as electricity. at the same time there is no onus on the landlord to have a certificate of energy efficiency, gas safety or electrical safety. On the other hand, asking direct questions about these matters to the landlord or agent about these matters, requires them to truthfully answer them.

The full report of the NZBCSD can be read here >>>

More information on tenancy can be found here >>>