QA 38. January 2013. Rocking the foundations of thought

Education systems that render people stupid, mental health treatment that renders people mad, religions that render people wicked, economies that render people poor, political systems that render people powerless. How is it that our social systems break down (render) precisely what they are meant to serve (render to)? Read more

QA 34. June 2012. Mr Needleman of Plein Street

I’m walking down Plein Street when he catches my eye. He offers a packet of sewing needles. “No, thank you”, I say, not breaking stride. That could have been the end of it, but he turns after me. Please, mummy! It’s my last one. I can buy some more to sell and get me something to eat. I show him my back. He follows, his tone darkening. Please, mummy. I asked you nicely. Well, no. It wasn’t nicely at all. When I join the stream of pedestrians at Golden Acre he gives up and turns back.

Such a small scene, but it stays with me. What just happened? Why am I left so irritated and bemused? Read more