Rice field in front of my uncle’s house just before the rainy season

Have you ever flown? Took an airplane and flown across skies, far above the clouds, hanging in a tube with wings propelled by a couple of engines giving you that thrust to keep steady in the air? Have you looked 30.000 feet down below?

What did you see?

When you drive to the airport you leave. You leave the comfort of your house, your space. You step into a car, pass the city border, onto the highway. Cars are passing by and you enter and leave one municipality after the other. At the airport, you’re leaving your luggage behind hoping that it will fly with you. After customs, suddenly you are in the international area and in no man’s land.

All of the time you see people, borders, signs telling you when something stops and something else begins. You see rich people, rich houses, industries, the newest office blocks, malls, which is contrasted with shacks, beggars, and the poor who never have a chance to go more than a few miles from where they are. Ever. In their entire life.

But, up there, high in the sky, when you’re looking out the window, what do you see?

You see colours, land, water, islands, desserts, the light of the sun making way for darkness. Some remote lights are visible, or entire cities that are lit so well that you can see the main streets that never sleep.

airplane window view of white clouds over mountain
Photo by Igor Fedoriv on Pexels.com

What is it that you do not see?

Borders. There are no human-made lines defining a country, let alone a province, state or city limit. The landmass is so large but you fly over so many differences, so much inequality, problems, happiness and everything that makes up human life.

Once you have landed, you are far away from your comfort zone, far away from all that is known and everything seems to be different.

There is one thing that is common. One thing that is established so well that we cannot imagine being different. And that one thing is pushed on nearly all humanity:


An economic system we so believe in, we so hold on to, we never criticise. Well, yes, we do. But not that far that we want to replace it with something else as ‘anything else has failed’.

No matter how ‘normal’ capitalism seems to be, do we understand the core of it? Do we understand the consequences of it? Do we see the results of it? It affects you. Every single day and it became our biggest ‘elephant in the room’ we don’t see because we don’t know any alternative.

I’m Daniel and I have been in countless aeroplanes. I have looked down numerous times. I have landed and spent time in the same amount of countries, slept next to slums, was treated in shamelessly insufficient staffed and equipped clinics against malaria in developing countries. Not only there but also in the USA I passed by ghettos where they didn’t have enough money to pay the electricity bill so people were burning their own furniture in their own home to stay warm in the freezing cold.

I took up studying a Master Degree which aims at reducing poverty and taught me ways how to approach it. I took a linguistic approach to it to see and to discover the true discourse of our present reality.

I am from the Netherlands and now living with my amazingly beautiful wife and 3 cats near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am an English and Global Perspective teacher at Aspiration International Secondary School where I gratefully teach. For now, I am at ease quiet and peaceful. But down there, somewhere there still is a fire burning to actively leave a legacy to live life differently than the ‘system’ wants us to do.

Let’s see when that will come out!


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