Author Archive | Andrys Onsman

On Christian Names

I was born a Frisian – a statement that usually causes snorts, sniggers and hilarious comments about cows. I have no idea how the cows feel about the jokes but I’m over it. It’s not that I can’t take a joke; it’s just that they’re not funny. But of course, it’s not really about cows. […]

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Humility in translation.

After a year teaching in China, one of my colleagues gave me two beautiful scrolls. One was a calligraphy alphabet she had drawn herself on gold-coloured paper and the other was a scroll of a famous poem, hand made by her calligraphy teacher at art school. At more than a meter and a half in […]

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Tasmania’s Stolen Generation

I wrote this essay quite a few years ago but it still seems relevant today. Few people know that Tasmanian Aboriginal people were part of the “Stolen Generations”, forcibly removed from the Bass Strait islands and placed with white families in the cities. I first met Gus ages ago and his story emerged over time. […]

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On Euthanasia: a family guide.

Just before Christmas in 2008, my brother Edzer Onsman, known as Eddie, chose to be euthanased because his body was so racked with pain that he had to drink liquid morphine just to get through the day. He was no longer in any condition to live and there was no hope that the tumours growing […]

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