Who is Karien, this bedu mama lady?
The bedu, or bedouin, بَدَوِي, in arabic, are a nomadic tribe from the Arabic peninsula. I too, was conceived in the Arabian desert, and have the nomadic lifestyle to match. Born into expat live, I boarded my fist intercontinental flight at only fourteen days old. From the Middle- to the Far-East we wandered, until we moved back to Europe. There, I tried the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, but found them all too cold and boring to my taste. So I convinced my husband to pick up our young family and move to hot and steamy Singapore. There he provides the family income whilst I look after the kids, fight for the rights of migrant workers and write. In our jungle house, I keep chicken and grow my own vegetables, quite a challenge in a city that prefers those in cling-film. And there is also the matter of protecting them from the furry primate neighbours...
In 2013 I joined Singaporean charity HOME to support domestic workers staying at their shelter. In 2014 I founded the MyVoice blog; a place for migrant workers to share their stories. I created and edited the book ‘Our Homes, Our Stories’, an anthology of 28 real-life stories written by migrant domestic workers, which was published in March 2018.
As a freelance writer and blogger I contribute to several publications in Singapore and the Netherlands. In 2012 I published a children’s book in Dutch recounting my childhood in Borneo. ‘A Yellow House’, my first novel will be published by Monsoon Books summer 2018.
Photo by Lina Meisen