Arriving in Singapore

On the way in to the city from Changi Airport I strike up a conversation with a taxi driver, who informs me that the population of Singapore is growing very slowly. When I ask him why this is so, he tells me that it’s because people in Singapore, like the Japanese, don’t have sex very often. The conversation is taking […]

Read more

Back in the DDR

The excellent DDR (German Democratic Republic) Museum in Berlin presents fascinating material. It’s immensely popular, and clearly arouses mixed feelings among those who attend. On the day I visited the crowd was at its thickest around a machine playing the national anthem of the DDR, to which people were responding in different ways. (Similar emotions are raised by the kitsch but oddly attractive […]

Read more

Christ’s Paschal Eucharist

Building on a few words in St Mark (16:12f), St Luke tells how the resurrected Christ appeared to two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. Finding them confused after the crucifixion and reports that he was alive, Christ expounded things in the Scriptures concerning himself, and then, sitting at a table, performed actions over bread which he gave to them. They realised who […]

Read more

Making Sense of the Holocaust

At one of the entrances to Wittenbergplatz U-Bahn station in western Berlin, near which I was lucky enough to stay recently, is a sign commemorating those who left on a trip from which they never returned. There follows a list of their destinations which you suddenly identify as one of Nazi death camps, and you realise that these travellers were victims of the […]

Read more

Walking the Streets of Berlin

I hadn’t realised that most of Berlin was bombed to pieces during World War II. One wonders whether this wasn’t excessive even in military terms, for the war ended when Soviet troops occupied the city, and it hard to see how this was aided by such things as the destruction of the Neue Synagoge by British bombing in 1943, an act that deserves […]

Read more

Universities in England and Germany

England has two universities that are invariably included in lists of the top ten in the world. Founded by the early thirteenth century, their immense prestige, the able international students funnelled in their direction by the Rhodes Scholarships and Gates Foundation, their ability to raise money from their alumni, the way in which their leadership is plugged into centres of […]

Read more