Retro Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) Flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, SingaporePost-training session, I was caught in that sweet limbo between dog-tired and strangely exhilarated, so decided to walk off the adrenaline around the old school Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats at Dakota Crescent.

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, SingaporeClassic circular stone tables and chairs that are better for yabbers with neighbours

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singaporethan the current HDB preference for benches.

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, SingaporeOriginal wooden doors, some painted cheerful colours – the signal flag of gentrification by yuppies and hipsters? ;-o

It was quiet there with a good breeze coming between the flats. But this wasn’t the eerie quietness of abandonment, decay, and death. There was evidence of life – a chalk drawing on the strangely-new badminton court, a boy on a skate-scooter wheeling past to chat and ask to see my photos, and then, music and dancing!

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

This “nostalgic playground” was was designed by HDB’s Khor Ean Ghee in 1979. It is immensely charming and built to last, unlike the fading and cracking plastic stuff in fashion now. Aesthetics aside, the whole construction is spread-out enough so that children have the freedom to choose how they want to use the structure without getting on top of each other or having to wait their turn:
Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Dove Playground, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

There were quite a few old cats around, chilling in the shade:
"Please do not throw cats here!". Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
cat in plants. Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

And a place isn’t old school and retro enough if it doesn’t attract a hipster coffee shop! So here’s Tian Kee & Co. (12 Dakota Crescent, facebook) – they took over the premises of a provision shop that’d been there for the last 54 years.
Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, SingaporeTian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore
Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

  • beans: didn’t ask, but the internet says it is a Dutch Colony blend
  • crema x microfoam: cappucino-thick
  • flavour x body: full-bodied cocoa with faint hint of caramel
  • aftertaste: medium

Dakota Free Library:
Dakota Free Library, Tian Kee Cafe, Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, SingaporeTaking a leaf from Rawls, it was quite a novel thing not to instinctively accuse the authorities of always spoiling things and then to hunt for that petition to sign to prevent the redevelopment of Dakota Crescent, but to:

  • assume that HDB has the welfare of the residents at heart, even if these residents are merely renting the flats;
  • find out the rationale for the relocation. A quick Google brought up this article where the Member of Parliament for Mountbatten, Mr Lim Biow Chuan said this was “ to improve the living conditions of the residents there”. Regular lift breakdowns in the blocks there and the age of the flats meant that moving to a newer flat with the mod cons would be more beneficial to the old folks in the long-term.

I suspect we are so sinful that we have forgotten that speaking ill of another without verification is slander, and slander (“a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report”) is wrong, whether or not someone sues you for it in a human court of law.

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, Dakota Crescent, Singapore

Worldview Bias in Instructional Models in Education, and Stalking Flat Whites in the Coffee Shops of Singapore

If Singapore was a safari and flat whites were exotic animals…

[In your best David Attenborough voice] Singapore. One of the many places on earth where  you can experience the full majesty of the coffee bean. There’s so much more in the bean than we ever imagined…etc…

It came as a shock to me, one day in my not-very-innocent-anyway youth, to realise that the glorious (educational) nature programmes like the ones Attenborough narrates are by no means objective; they are heavily skewed in favour of the worldview of the writers/narrators.

Then this afternoon, while considering the instructional design model to use for several groups I’ll be training in the next few months, I realised again that such models are by no means objective:

  • they are highly dependent on learning theories, and
  • these are themselves dependent on epistemological presuppositions,
  • which cannot be separated from all sorts of wobbly foundations of metaphysical nature.

Which would be best to instruct people on how to understand the Bible for themselves, rightly interpreting Scripture?

To be discussed another time. For now, the continuing search for the best flat white in Singapore, and an attempt at objective reviews of the coffee (disregarding ambience, instagrammability, service, convenience of location etc.):

Wimbly Lu, Singapore Wimbly Lu, SingaporeIn the lowlands of Lorong Chuan, a curious red-and-white beast marks the entrance of Wimbly Lu (15-2 Jalan Riang, facebook). Within the narrow confines of the cafe, the smell of chocolate is strong. For a place where coffee isn’t the focus, they make a decent cup.

One Man Coffee, 215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore One Man Coffee, 215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore One Man Coffee, 215R Upper Thomson Road, SingaporeOne Man Coffee (215R Upper Thomson Road)

  • beans: One Man Coffee Seasonal Espresso Blend (Brazilian, Columbian), Axil Coffee Roasters (facebook)
  • crema x microfoam: bright
  • flavour x body: a promising decent cocoa-citrus body at first
  • aftertaste: watery

Assembly Coffee, 26 Evans Road, Singapore Assembly Coffee, 26 Evans Road, Singapore Assembly Coffee, 26 Evans Road, Singapore Assembly Coffee, 26 Evans Road, SingaporeAssembly Coffee (26 Evans Road, facebook)

  • beans: Speakeasy Blend, Liberty Coffee (facebook)
  • crema x microfoam: good microfoam, cocoa
  • flavour x body: creamy milk chocolate, macadamia nut
  • aftertaste: medium finish

The New Black Coffee, 1 Upper Circular Road, Singapore The New Black Coffee, 1 Upper Circular Road, Singapore The New Black Coffee, 1 Upper Circular Road, Singapore The New Black Coffee, 1 Upper Circular Road, Singapore The New Black Coffee, 1 Upper Circular Road, SingaporeThe New Black Coffee (1 Upper Circular Road) – was very excited to stumble upon this. Almost like a enomatic machine for coffee!

  • beans: Caballero (Honduran), Tim Wendleboe!!
  • crema x microfoam: micro-smoothness, red fruit?
  • flavour x body: creamy chocolate
  • aftertaste: long finish
  • beans: Sermon (Brazilian, El Salvadoran, Ethiopian), Verve Coffee Roasters
  • crema x microfoam: smooth
  • flavour x body: a hint of blue berry in cocoa
  • aftertaste: medium finish

Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore chicken ramly. Chye Seng Huat Hardware CSHH Coffee Bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, SingaporeChye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH) Coffee Bar (150 Tyrwhitt Road, facebook)

  • beans: probably Terra Firma, Papa Palheta?
  • crema x microfoam: cocoa, nut, smooth
  • flavour x body: cream, cocoa, nut
  • aftertaste: medium finish

Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow

London -> Harwich -> Hoek of Holland -> Amsterdam (Holland) -> Copenhagen (Denmark) -> Stockholm (Sweden) -> Riga (Latvia) -> Moscow (Russia)

Photograph Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, Russia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500pxFlat-white drinking is never more pleasurable than when it is to warm a body that has been trudging through Moscow streets in sub-freezing temperatures.

Photograph Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, Russia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, RussiaDouble B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, Russia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px
Scored a seat in Double B Coffee & Tea (Милютинский переулок, 3 (Milyutinskiy pereulok, 3)) and thought it extremely cute how the usual coffee drinks had been rendered in Cyrillic. Yes, they’d said, of course they could do a flat white even if it wasn’t a menu. Where was I from?

Photograph flat white, Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, Russia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Then, the coffee chat trope about beans and machines.

Photograph Double B Coffee & Tea, Moscow, Russia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

On the next table, a group of university boys were talking loudly about going to Singapore in a mixture of English and Russian:
“Where is it?”
“What language do they speak there?”
“That’s very far away! Is it safe?”
“Wow, you’re very brave to be going there.”

The Porosity of Borders, Myth of the Country, and International Student Ministry

London -> Harwich -> Hoek of Holland -> Amsterdam (Holland) -> Copenhagen (Denmark) -> Stockholm (Sweden) -> Riga (Latvia)

Photograph Kronvalda Park, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Countries. States. Nations. The myth of borders. The conflation of cartography with reality. The assumption of fixed geography separating distinct genetics, cultures, practices, languages, thought-patterns, worldviews.

These folk ballads of uniqueness are what undergird much nationalism, nativism, anti-immigration policies. But how firm are these foundations?

  • first, as political entities, nations are particularly fragile. Any flip through the history books tells us that much;
  • whether co-cumbent with politics or not, the lines that delineate the state too are morphous and its edges, even in times of political stability, fairly vague.
  • thirdly, with international or cross-border trade inevitably comes the exchange of ideas and thoughts, and even cultures. And in this day and age of the internet,
  • And what of the practice of endogamy, enforced by political powers in various places in history? What if no person was truly local?

I was telling a Latvian the names of two guys I knew – Martins and Miroslavs. “Miroslavs” is not Latvian, he’d sniffed, that is a Russian name with an “s” stuck at the end to make it seem Latvian. But poor Miroslavs had been born and brought up in Latvia and called it his home, knowing no other. Would he be welcomed as a local if he’d merely changed his name?

What can Americans mean by being against migrants when most of them (other than American Indians) only arrived on that continent a few generations ago? The same question can be asked of Australians (other than the Aboriginal people), and of the citizens of many countries clamouring for nativism. In fact, if we backed up far enough in anyone’s family, we’d find that they weren’t always living in the same geographical area, and even if by some small chance they were, that little patch of land would not always have been within political boundaries of the same homogeneity.

Photograph mittens "lovingly hand-knit by latvian grandmothers" by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph mittens "lovingly hand-knit by latvian grandmothers" by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

These mittens say they have been “lovingly hand-knit by Latvanian grandmothers”, scoring high on fuzzy authenticity. But what if I told you though the experienced hands that manufactured these were local, the mitten patterns were designed by a Japanese lady living in England, based on Latvian and Scandinavian patterns? Would that make them less authentically Latvian? If you wanted to “buy Latvian”, would these make the cut?

Photograph poster for the performance of Reinis Zariņš, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

You say “čaikovskis”, I say “Tchaikovsky”. And what about “classical music”? One cannot say it is authentically Latvian, though neither can one identify it as the music of Austria or Germany or Italy.

And what of imported authenticity? That is, authenticity that isn’t locally traditional (if that can ever be defined) but is part of an internationally recognised conceptual package?

Photograph Miit Tiim Cafe, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Miit Tiim Cafe, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px Photograph Miit Tiim Cafe, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Miit Tiim Cafe, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Miit Tiim Cafe, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

The third wave, specialist coffee movement is a good example. in most countries, it can be in no way authentic in relation to its products: coffee beans being commercially grown in only a few countries. Yet all across the world, these places sell authenticity – back-to-basics, grassroots, homemade, vintage, unprocessed comfort.

Whne came upon Miit Coffee (facebook, Lāčplēša iela 10), it seemed terribly familiar. The coffee counter (with its uncommon Opera coffee machine), the bicycles hung precariously on grey walls, the plaid shirt and beard and thick-rimmed glasses combo, the denim aprons with their assymetrical leather straps, the vegetarian/vegan food menu, the brewing options (espresso, in milk, Chemex, V60, Aeropress), the coffee beans identified by their varietal and place of origin. (The beans were bought from Andrito Coffee Roasting which was founded by former Latvian Barista Champion Andris Petkēvičs. The fact that there was even a barista championship of course indicated the pervasity of this non-Latvian culture.)

Photograph Miit Coffee, Riga, Latvia by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

L the Latvian was amused. E the Singaporean was delighted at the prospect of “normality”. I, not having eaten anything since that bowl of soup a few posts ago, was just plain ravenous. That plate of vegan food was mighty fine as was the coffee, but hey I could be biased.

Now how about international student ministry or international ministry within a church?

To the Galatians, Paul wrote:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:28-29)

  • There is an equality amongst Christians that is more than political-correctness. It is an equality because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and all have been saved by the death of his Son.
  • Why is there a tendency then, especially in U.K. churches, to separate the foreigners from the locals if they can all speak the same language? And how would you define someone as foreign or local – by citizenship? By skin colour? If so, would you direct a black American to “the international group”?
  • If it is because of different practices that they are split, then doesn’t God’s word advise that these are all opportunities to show love to each other?
  • How would this church tendency entrench prevailing attitudes of people seeing another with a different accent or skin colour as the Other, the altern?
  • And, in any case, how would this cohere with what has been discussed above?

(About a month ago. a curate from London was a visiting speaker in Singapore. While we were having tea, he pointed to the thick toast we were sharing and asked,”Where did you get bread from? Is it from the Brits?” This was as if I’d gone to London and asked if they’d gotten their tea from the Chinese or Indians. It was probably mere small chat, but it hurt because the mere assumption of alien-ness reinforced the gulf between us, when we should have been brother and sister. I probably didn’t help much, being sarcastic in my reply and mentioning “colonial masters”.)

Photograph breakfast at the Latvian grandparents' house, Riga by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph dinner at the Latvian grandparents' house, Riga by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px That night, we were hosted by L’s grandparents. Her grandmother prepared a feast for us, then she and her husband retreated to the kitchen. No, no, they wouldn’t want to eat with us – they didn’t understand English, so they would eat, standing up, by the cooker. Much as I appreciated her embarrassment, this was also one of the few times in my life that I’d been starkly reminded that I am first and foremost an Outsider, a Stranger, a Foreigner, an Alien.

Photograph Latvian grandmother's flower arrangement by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Nystekt Strömming and Drop Coffee Roasters in Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden

London -> Harwich -> Hoek of Holland -> Amsterdam -> Copenhagen -> Stockholm

Photograph Stockholm C, Stockholm Central Station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px Stockholm was an easy and comfortable 5-hour train ride on the SJ X2000 (with in-train wifi) from Copenhagen.

The interior architecture of Stockholm C (Stockholm Central Station) was a good indicator of how the rest of the city would be: not ostentatiously design-conscious, but sort of like that conservative relative who has kept their understated 1970s stuff so well that it is ready for the return of the trend.

Photograph Stockholm metro furniture by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph sans serif signs at Stockholm metro station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Nystekt Strömming, Södermalm, outside Slussen station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Nystekt Strömming, Södermalm, outside Slussen station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph fried herring, Nystekt Strömming, Södermalm, outside Slussen station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph fried herring wrap, Nystekt Strömming, Södermalm, outside Slussen station by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px Chatted with S over very good fried herring (no excess oil or batter; fresh fish) at Nystekt Strömming (just outside Slussen station, Södermalm), about life as a Swede. Was very glad to hear about how instrumental the Nordic Chinese Christian Church summer camps had been in her coming to faith. Still, it’s not just starting the race that is important, but persevering and ending well. This comes not by clinging on to some historical commitment doggedly, but in learning more and more about this Jesus in whom we have put our trust. And his trustworthiness shines through very clearly in the Bible, but poor preaching and teaching unfortunately often obscures this!

An inspirational verse for the day here and a verse-hop through Scripture there to find back-up for my latest crackpot-or-not theory makes use of the Bible for our own ends rather than letting it show us the character of God and Jesus. Which is why expositional preaching and teaching (that is, working systematically through a book of the Bible) and a good grasp of biblical theology is important.

Photograph Drop Coffee Roasters, Södermalm, Stockholm by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Drop Coffee Roasters, Södermalm, Stockholm by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Drop Coffee Roasters, Södermalm, Stockholm by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph flat white, Drop Coffee Roasters, Södermalm, Stockholm by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Drop Coffee Roasters, Södermalm, Stockholm by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px After lunch, we paid a visit to Drop Coffee Roasters a few streets away. It was crowded and hot, but both the flat whites and almond pastries were excellent. And I guess tasting that the Lord is good and trustworthy and glorious is just as plain from reading any bit of the Bible.

 So, take the second bit of chapter 1 of John’s Gospel:

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’, as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree’, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

(John 1:19-51)

It amazes me how big the Bible is on giving more than sufficient evidence to enable us to trust that what Jesus claims of himself is true. After all that mindblowing stuff in the first part of John 1, you’d be waiting for John to back-up that bluster. Here, he names three incredible witnesses:

  • John the Baptist (a big historical figure, mind. Josephus wrote about him in Antiquities of the Jews) –  Herod might have perceived him as a threat, but missed the bigger threat to whom John the Baptist was pointing: Jesus. The whole aim of John’s ministry was to prepare people for the arrival of the king, “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord” (as prophesied by Isaiah, oh, maybe 700 years before. See Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 4:5.).
  • God the Father himself – now part of John the B’s witness was to observe and proclaim that God the Father himself had borne witness that Jesus was the Son of God, by the visible descent of the Spirit on him (this again had been prophesied by Isaiah. See Isaiah 42:1.)
  • the Old Testament – not only did were these events prophesied by Isaiah. It was clear that the Jews had already been waiting for the fulfilment of other prophesies in the Old Testament (Moses and the prophets): the coming of the Lamb of God, the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15), the anointed one (the Messiah, Christ), the Son of Man (Daniel 7).

 As we end this passage in John, Jesus says rather tantalisingly to Nathanael,”…you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”, a reference to Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:10-12 where he saw angels going up and down from heaven on a ladder. So Jesus is promising to be the one who links earth to heaven, who is the path to God, who enables the fulfilment of God’s covenants.

But we’ll need to read on in the Gospel of John to see how all this panned out! Exciting stuff.

Paté Paté in Kødbyen, Democratic Coffee in Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek, hot dogs from Andersen Bakery, and John’s Claims about Jesus in John 1

London -> Harwich -> Hoek of Holland ->Amsterdam -> Copenhagen

Photograph a square in Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px Copenhagen! My third home.

Photograph BioMio, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500pxDropped that-house-on-my-back in the left luggage facility in the basement of Københavns Hovedbanegård (Copenhagen Central Train Station), legged it past BioMio to my old haunt, Paté Paté (Slagterboderne 1, 1716 København), in Kødbyen, the old meatpacking district now gentrified.
Photograph Paté Paté, Kødbyen, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Paté Paté, Kødbyen, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Paté Paté, Kødbyen, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Paté Paté, Kødbyen, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Paté Paté, Kødbyen, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px
It was drizzling steadily outside but inside, there was my first hot sitdown meal of a week, and wifi. First, a tarte fine of Jerusalem artichoke, parmesan cream and pickled mushrooms, then a grilled ribeye steak with borretone onions, parsley and hazelnut salsa.

“Oh, how did you know this was exactly what I needed?” I wanted to ask them and I sighed in relief. But that would be sentimentalising the moment: they didn’t know what I wanted; I’d ordered what I wanted and I’d have to pay for what I’d ordered. Pft.

Many people think Jesus is some invisible friend imagined in a similar fashion – a pretense that we upkeep at the expense of our rationality and sanity and the freedom of others. But the beginning of the Gospel of John kinda knocks all socks off:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:1-18)

First, Jesus is not a figment of someone’s imagination. He was a real person in history, and well-attested to by an equally legitimate figure in history, John the Baptist.

Secondly, John the Gospel-writer doesn’t just settle for Jesus being a good teacher, he makes mind-blowing claims about Jesus:

  • his origins are eternal; he was there in the beginning before things were made;
  • he was there with God;
  • he was, in fact, God, the only God;
  • he made everything in the world;
  • he gave life to all mankind;
  • being God, he could and did give the right to be children of God to those who believed in him;
  • being God, he alone can reveal God, since he alone has seen God the Father, etc

If you were John’s lawyer, you’d be getting pretty nervous by now. Why not just say he is a good man? Why the need to make less bombastic claims? Unless, of course, what he says is true: Jesus is actually God himself come to earth; he is the Maker walking amongst the people he’d made…

We’re eager to read the rest of the Gospel of John to find out.

But an interesting thing to note for now: Jesus the God and the Creator doesn’t come in power and might, but “grace and truth”. Quite unlike the usual action movie stars made up by screenwriters.

Photograph Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Democratic Coffee, Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph flat white, Democratic Coffee, Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px As I sat looking around Kobenhavns Hovedbibliotek (Copenhagen Main Library), sipping a very good flat white made with Drop Coffee beans by Democratic Coffee (facebook, Krystalgade 15), I thought that the accusations of John the Gospel-writer were at once incredible and also chilling:

  • the Creator was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world, did not know him;
  • Jesus came to his own people, the Jews, who’d been waiting for his arrival but his own people rejected him.

Not sure how many Danes are ethnically Jewish, but certainly, if Jesus is their maker, few in this beautiful country really acknowledge him as such (says a poll).

Photograph bicycle, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph bicycle, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph bicycle, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph bicycle, Copenhagen by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px Strange fragile creatures, these bipeds, who balance on machines made of only two wheels, and eat hot dogs without dog meat in them.

Photograph Andersen Bakery by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph hot dogs, Andersen Bakery by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Friet, Flat Whites, and Stroopwafels in Amsterdam

London -> Harwich -> Hoek of Holland ->Amsterdam

Photograph canal, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph canal, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Having arrived in the Dutch rain at the Amsterdam Centraal Train Station, I managed to accidentally wander through the red light district before meandering (after almost being hit by a tram, then by a cyclist when I tried to avoid the tram, then by a Mercedes when…yeah…) towards the good stodgy smell of fries.

Manneken Pis, sans inappropriately unclothed juvenile performing an uncivic-minded act, had been voted as serving the best friet in the Netherlands in 2013. No mention whether Manneken Pis’ wietsaus (weed sauce) option skewed the results:

Photograph frites, Manneken Pis, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Wietsaus (weed sauce) with your frites?, Manneken Pis, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph frites, fries, Manneken Pis, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Further down the road, Lanskroon (Singel 385) was a cosy little bakery with a purring cat and very good Koningsstroopwafels and other goods. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.
Photograph Lanskroon, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Koningsstroopwafel and tea, Lanskroon, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Koningsstroopwafel and tea, Lanskroon, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph cat, Lanskroon, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Ended the day at Sweet Cup Cafe (Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 101L), with a flat white, before dashing for the overnight train to Denmark. While Sjefke the basset hound mopped for the absent member of the team, we had a good discussion about roasting on Giesens (theirs had the pride of place in their little store) and brewing on V60s. Ah, the international third wave/specialty coffee brotherhood.
Photograph Sweet Cup, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph flat white, Sweet Cup, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph coffee magazines at Sweet Cup, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px

Photograph Sjefke the basset hound, Sweet Cup, Amsterdam by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px