Tien jaar later spreekt Cheng (31) prachtig Nederlands - met een hele lichte Leidse r - en is hij net gepromoveerd op een lijvige studie over de Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie en Formosa, het huidige eiland Taiwan voor de zuidkust van China, dat van 1624 tot 1662 een handelskolonie van de VOC was. Hij heeft daarvoor monnikenwerk verricht door uit het Algemeen rijksarchief de correspondentie over de Nederlandse bezetting van Formosa op te sporen en de zeventiende-eeuwse jaarverslagen (de 'generale missiven') van de VOC in het Chinees te vertalen en van een toelichting te voorzien. Twee dikke delen over die 'vergeten geschiedenis' vormen het resultaat van wilskracht en doorzettingsvermogen, waarvoor hij zijn familie als bron opvoert: zijn moeder deed alles om hem te laten studeren, zijn zus offerde haar opleiding voor hem op en zijn broer legde van zijn karige inkomen geld voor hem opzij zodat hij vanuit het Noordchinese Shandong in Peking kon gaan studeren.

Read the full article here: Trouw

I am very happy that I found this article. It is also a bit disturbing that a fully integrated scholar from Chinese descend was sent to the Netherlands to write this article and to be published in Trouw, the courant that used to stand for a very nationalistic ideal, especially during the times of war.



018 - Wikipedia on Biopolitics

Biopolitics is an intersectional field between biology and politics. It is a political wisdom taking into consideration the administration of life and a locality’s populations as its subject. To quote Foucault, it is ‘to ensure, sustain, and multiply life, to put this life in order."[1]

The term was coined by Rudolf Kjellén, who also coined the term geopolitics,[2] in his 1905 two-volume work The Great Powers.[3] In contemporary US political science studies, usage of the term is mostly divided between a poststructuralist group using the meaning assigned by Michel Foucault (denoting social and political power over life) and another group who uses it to denote studies relating biology and political science.[4]

Various Definitions
In Kjellén's organicist view, the state was a quasi-biological organism, a "super-individual creature". Kjellén sought to study "the civil war between social groups" (comprising the state) from a biological perspective and thus named his putative discipline "biopolitics".[5]
The Nazis also used the term occasionally. For example, Hans Reiter used it in a 1934 speech to refer to their biologically based concept of nation and state and ultimately their racial policy.[4]
Previous notions of the concept can actually be traced back to the Middle Ages in John of Salisbury's work Policraticus in which the coined term body politic is actually used. The first modern usage of the term (in English) starts with an article written by GW Harris in an article for the New Age in 1911 in which he advocates the liquidation of "lunatics" by 'state lethal chamber'.[6] The concept then starts to gather pace in the 19th century with Walter Bagehot's work Physics and Politics in which he reflects on the term as if he was a trained scientist in the form of Jakob von Uexküll. Bagehot didn't have a scientifically trained mind such as von Uexküll so he (Bagehot) falls rather short in the explanation of the term. Nevertheless the book has some novel points particularly on the subject of natural selection and politics.[7]
Morley Roberts in his 1938 book Bio-politics used to argue that a correct model for world politics is "a loose association of cell and protozoa colonies".[4]
Robert E. Kuttner used the term to refer to his particular brand of "scientific racism," as he called it, which he worked out with noted Eustace Mullins, with whom Kuttner cofounded the Institute for Biopolitics in the late 1950s, and also with Glayde Whitney, a behavioral geneticist. Most of his adversaries designate his model as antisemitic. Kuttner and Mullins were inspired by Morley Roberts, who was in turn inspired by Arthur Keith, or both were inspired by each other and either co-wrote together (or with the Institute of Biopolitics) Biopolitics of Organic Materialism dedicated to Roberts and reprinted some of his works.[8]
In the work of Foucault, the style of government that regulates populations through "biopower" (the application and impact of political power on all aspects of human life).[9][10]
In the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, anti-capitalist insurrection using life and the body as weapons; examples include flight from power and, 'in its most tragic and revolting form', suicide terrorism. Conceptualised as the opposite of biopower, which is seen as the practice of sovereignty in biopolitical conditions.[11]
The political application of bioethics.[12][13]
A political spectrum that reflects positions towards the sociopolitical consequences of the biotech revolution.[12][13]
Political advocacy in support of, or in opposition to, some applications of biotechnology.[12][13]
Public policies regarding some applications of biotechnology.[12][13]
Political advocacy concerned with the welfare of all forms of life and how they are moved by one another.[14]
The politics of bioregionalism.
The interplay and interdisciplinary studies relating biology and political science,[15] primarily the study of the relationship between biology and political behavior.[16] Most of these works agree on three fundamental aspects. First, the object of investigation is primarily political behavior, which—and this is the underlying assumption—is caused in a substantial way by objectively demonstrable biological factors. For example, the relationship of biology and political orientation, but also biological correlates of partisanship and voting behavior.[17] (See also sociobiology.)
According to Professor Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis,[18][19][20] biopolitics is a conceptual and operative framework for societal development, promoting bios (Greek = life) as the central theme in every human endeavor, be it policy, education, art, government, science or technology. This concept uses bios as a term referring to all forms of life on our planet, including their genetic and geographic variation.[21]

In the colonial setting

Catastrophes are periodically mobilized as vehicles for historical transformation. European states often found themselves grappling with sociobiological propensities of populations. Mercantilism and capitalist modes of production led to a modern biopolitical approach to famine: the modern state depended on providing a diet sufficient to keep the biological machines of industrial capitalism running. The British developed biopolitics in tandem with colonization to help solidify their control over the Irish.

The French Third Republic in Western Africa also employed biopolitics in their colonial efforts. The fin-de-siecle revolution in microbiology and specific developments in public health legislation aided the French. Furthermore, thanks to the germ theory of disease pioneered by Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, the etiology of some of the most deadly diseases—cholera and typhoid—began to be understood in the 1890s, and the French used this new scientific knowledge in the tropics of West Africa. Illnesses like bubonic plague were isolated, and vectors of malaria and yellow fever were identified for the political purpose of public health. They passed public health laws to introduce up-to-date health standards. The goal was for African subjects to respond in exactly the same way as metropolitan citizens to market incentives and new technologies imposed by a progressive state. Thus, public health was a political concern in the sense that the state hoped citizens would be more productive if they lived longer.
Michel Foucault

French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault first discussed his thoughts on biopolitics in his lecture series "Society Must Be Defended" given at the Collège de France from 1975 to 1976.[22] Foucault's concept of biopolitics is largely derived from his own notion of biopower, and the extension of state power over both the physical and political bodies of a population. While only mentioned briefly in his "Society Must Be Defended" lectures, his notion of the concept of biopolitics (Foucault never invented the concept) has become prominent in social and humanistic sciences.[23]

Foucault described biopolitics as "a new technology of power...[that] exists at a different level, on a different scale, and [that] has a different bearing area, and makes use of very different instruments."[24] More than a disciplinary mechanism, Foucault's biopolitics acts as a control apparatus exerted over a population as a whole or, as Foucault stated, "a global mass."[24] In the years that followed, Foucault continued to develop his notions of the biopolitical in his "The Birth of Biopolitics" and "The Courage of Truth" lectures.[25][26]

Foucault gave numerous examples of biopolitical control when he first mentioned the concept in 1976. These examples include "ratio of births to deaths, the rate of reproduction, the fertility of a population, and so on."[27] He contrasted this method of social control with political power in the Middle Ages. Whereas in the Middle Ages pandemics made death a permanent and perpetual part of life, this was then shifted around the end of the 18th century with the introduction of milieu into the biological sciences. Foucault then gives different contrasts to the then physical sciences in which the industrialisation of the population was coming to the fore through the concept of work, where Foucault then argues power starts to become a target for this milieu by the 17th century.[28][29] The development of vaccines and medicines dealing with public hygiene allowed death to be held (and/or withheld) from certain populations. This was the introduction of "more subtle, more rational mechanisms: insurance, individual and collective savings, safety measures, and so on."[30]

017 - I, Moratorium

It is theorized that "Identity Moratorium" is the status of individuals who are in the midst of a crisis, whose attachments are either absent or are only vaguely defined, but exploring alternatives. - Alex Chien, in Chrysanthemum, 2018

Do we choose what we want ourselves to be?

Breathing in, deeply, slowly exhaling. For me this question breaks through a lot of barriers. On the one hand we are geneticly programmed by our birth parents, at least this counts for me, and I programmed by our adoptive parents. Or parents who shape us in the early years, for a lot people this does not necessarily has to be the people that are taking care of you in the practical needs like shelter, and food. This can also be that one uncle, aunt or father of a good childhood friend.

For me I think it is a combination of all of these. Maybe I made a rolemodel in my head, and let my imagination run wild with a crosstaminition of Pipi Langkous' dad and Jesus Christ. Which are both, sorry do not want to be disrespectful, very rich character example of excellent character building writing skills, some may be over 6000 years old, and still relevant, for a percentage of the world population, that is.

What do you think, do we choose ourselves what we want to be?
I am not sure what to think at this point.
Ask me in ten years, and I think I will still be in the dark.

Maybe not.
Maybe I am.
Am I?

016 - processing

December, 2018

My heart aches if I think about the concept of family. One family line and system is completely hidden, the other one is still unknown of its whereabouts. The other two. Well, they are my adoptive parents system and each has their own unique life of struggles, handed down by generations before them. In its core I cannot relate to them, too cold, too distant and very individualistic way of living with each other. It is a complete 180 of how Taiwanese people, at least to my very own experience, are with themselves, between friends, persons and most of all family.

Whereas in Dutch society it is normal to see each other only on formal occasions like birthdays, funerals and the like. In Taiwanese this would be seen as offensive, lack of respect and love. This "simple" and for the outsiders eyes subtle difference shows sometimes my in betweenness, for this I cannot think of a better fitted word - for now.

I think the West has gained a lot, by effective civilization and organizing of power... and of course Colonialism in its true form - trade what actually meant oppressing others by extorting, conquering and slaughter in the colonies and areas where they wanted to take what they thought was theirs to take.

It sickens me. This First World Country syndrom. And I? I am part of both these too opposites. Sometimes they say opposites attract right. In this case I don't want them to be right. I am undecided, still.

Sincerely yours truly,




014 - subquestion 1

What is a passport?

passport is a travel document, usually issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder primarily for the purpose of international travel.[1] Standard passports may contain information such as the holder's name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other identifying information. Many countries are moving towards including biometric information in a microchip embedded in the passport, making them machine-readable and difficult to counterfeit.[1] As of 2017, there are over 120 jurisdictions issuing these e-Passports.[2] Previously issued passports usually remain valid until each expires. By Wikipedia source
Passports are often requested in other circumstances to confirm identification such as checking in to a hotel or when changing money to a local currency.

Why is this used to identify ourselves with? And why is this the standard. Who decided that. In a way passports are used to authenticate mutual trust. Wy which is strange cause this power paper is being issued by the government, and is necessary to administrate power over someone. You have to buy a passport, you have to apply for it, and nowadays have to pass an entrance exam. Aren’t we all humans, made from flesh and bloods?
Why does the phrase ‘divide and conquer’ suddenly pop up in my mind, and why is this old fashioned sentence still relevant.


On the 4th of December I "celebrated" my coming to the Netherlands, it has been 27 years ago. Still I long for getting to know my Taiwanese roots, the aching goes deeper than any feeling I have ever felt before. Its hard to put into words.

When I exit the cab in Taipei I say Xie xie ni. I stop to breathe in the thick, humir air again. I relish in hearing the voices and accents of the people around me. I feel the ground of home beneath my feet, and even though where I am may shift, the earth and air of this place is always with me. Its history and values forever bound to me: the blood, ashes, and the sacrifices for now and for the future. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. ~ Bessie Chu, 2018 


Heritage, even when looking into the definition of the word it still seems very ambiguous to me. Am I the only having this problem? When I think about it two thoughts pop in my head. 1biological. 2material. What the common ground of these is possession. One might say that DNA is a valuable possession given from generation to generation in the "family". On the other hand we have traditions, mother tongue, habits and things we like and do not like, our behaviour.

Personally I have two mothers, two fathers and actually four familysystem I belong to. Technically, biological, jurisddiscal and just because I was born. And grew up.

To be continued.



Today I made a start with the visual analysis of the Dutch front cover of the passport.



A friend of mine pointed out that there is also a list published by the Dutch government, IND, immigration services. Where people can keep their pasport.

Follow the link to see more:

What I found out is this:


Bij verkrijging van de Nederlandse nationaliteit verliest u de Taiwanese nationaliteit niet automatisch. Van u wordt niet verlangd dat u afstand doet van deze nationaliteit.
So this does mean that I still have a Taiwanese nationality? Although this is not shown directly on my Dutch passport?
What I find particulary strange, cause why did my parents choose for me to lose my nationality. Or does this process differ when adopting a baby? In a way, the starting point for me this process was a phone call two years ago to the Taiwanese embassy. They told me I need to write my own proposal to regain the Taiwanese pasport in mandarin, and I need to undergo 1 year of military training, because I was born before 1994, since then is has been only 3 to 4 months, in order to retrieve this.

I feel very uneasy about the fact my parents never told me this, or spoke to me about this. Maybe they did not know as well?

In the following link there is written about that the Dutch passport give access to 171 countries around the world. This list is based on the most recent Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index from 2015.

I know that the Taiwanese passport is the 25th powerful passport of the world. So in this sense I can only rank up or level up by attaining one of these: 173 countries; Germany, United Kingdom or 172 countries; Finland, Sweden, USA.

Via https://ind.nl/en/dutch-citizenship/Pages/by-birth-or-acknowledgement.aspx
I found this paragraph.

A minor child gains Dutch citizenship by adoption abroad if the following conditions are met:
One of the parents is a Dutch citizen.
The adoption has been realised in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention or Book 10 of the Dutch Civil Code (BW).
The family ties with the original parents are fully broken.
It does not get better...


009 - concept text, under construction

Central Question:

How can I use the visual regime of the passport as a vehicle in order to clarify my own “power” relationship and levels of agency regarding my Taiwanese-Dutch nationality?

Visual Cultures is altijd een regime, als introductie, als het ergens belangrijk om dat Visual Regime te analyseren is dat wel voor mij, refererend naar 1991. Aanscherpen definiëring voor jezelf en de lezer.

Feedforward Jan:
Question: How can I use the visual regime of the passport as a vehicle in order to clarify my own “power” relationship and levels of agency, considering my Taiwanese-Dutch nationality?

Agency, reclameren, wat me toen was ontzegt. Door onderzoek te doen en te formuleren. Die ik daarvoor ontwikkelt die creëren mijn agency, en die agency is nodig in VC, op basis van Visual Regime. Visual Regime, handel in stereotypes, mensen die de power hebben om die stereotypes, power of definition. 
My agency, belangrijk deel om die power terug te halen.

Agency en power omdraaien.

Effect van het paspoort, power paper. 3e machtigste paspoort van de wereld. 

Als NL staatsburger heb je grondrechten, recht op van allebei dingen. Staan ook plichten tegenover. De kern is dat je die rechten, politieke rechten onverkort toe, ongeacht je culturele identiteit. Die onvoorwaardelijke rechten in toenemende mate worden bekneld door steeds hardere culture eisen. Als je het niet over je religieuze hart kan krijgen, dan zeggen heel veel mensen in NL, dan ben jij geen echte Nederlander. Dan heb je ook geen recht op het uitoefenen van die dingen. Terwijl het precies andersom is. Een van onze politieke grondrechten is om vanuit religieuze grondredenen mensen te discrimineren. 
Op dat moment gaan die culturele vooroordelen al spelen. 
3 heel breed spectrum van bejegenen die ik naar me hoofd krijg. Dat die culturele scheidslijn er wel degelijk is. Het paspoort is een sterk document, maar het kan niet die culturele druk weerstaan. Het geeft je geen garantie of vrijbrief dat mensen op basis van dat document tot de hunne zullen rekenen. 

Subquestion 1
  1. What is a passport?
  2. What is the visual regime of this document, specifically the Dutch/Taiwanese passport?
  3. How do I want to use this visual as a vehicle to clarify my own take on this matter?
Subquestion 2
  1. Which power relationship is in place regarding an individual and the supplier of the passport, in this case the government?
  2. Which levels of agency am I engaged with as an citizen?
  3. And considering my Taiwanese-Dutch Nationality?


Maps of ancient Taiwan, 1600s.



Trending topic on Social and Media right now, my stand on this matter is a hard no for the duo Dolce & Gabbana. Once they were huge influencers, before dis became something commercial, to stand up for gay rights and in a way when wearing people would feel empowered as a sex/gender-based minority. But what about racial minorities. Dolce and Gabbana, out, exit, bye. Felicia. (yes it is a reference to that one movie)

In het kort:
Modeduo Dolce & Gabbana zou normaal gezien vandaag een modeshow in Shanghai geven, maar heeft die plannen op het laatste moment afgeblazen. De 2 ontwerpers worden door veel Chinezen namelijk beschuldigd van racisme nadat ze een campagne gelanceerd hadden waarin een Chinees model een Italiaanse maaltijd probeert op te eten met eetstokjes.

De bewuste campagnevideo werd als eerste op het Chinese sociale netwerk Weibo Monday geplaatst en werd daar na minder dan 24 uur al offline gehaald. Te laat natuurlijk, want ondertussen circuleerden de beelden al op zowat alle Chinese platforms. Ook op de officiële Instagram- en Facebookaccounts van het merk bleven ze gewoon staan.

Source: HLN / Diet Prada (instagram).


Source MOMA
Alighiero Boetti
Map of the World

A map is supposed to provide a definitive representation of the physical and political boundaries of countries, continents, rivers, and oceans. Italian artist Alighiero e Boetti commissioned Afghani artisans to make this embroidered map in 1989. It includes several oddities and some tragic ironies, all of which underscore that nothing is permanent on our earth. Certain countries do not appear on the map because they did not yet exist (Ukraine and Belarus, for example). Some nations, such as Israel, are not represented because the Taliban regime of Afghanistan did not then recognize their existence. Some countries that are represented, such as Zaire and the USSR, have since changed political identities and no longer exist.

Embroidery on fabric

46 1/4" x 7' 3 3/4" x 2" (117.5 x 227.7 x 5.1 cm)

More info and biography via Wikipedia.

What I find most interesting about his work is how he creates his own world, in which I can draw parallels with the work of Raf Simons, especially his underground collection AW 2005, which was published off catwalk.