TEDxAUCollege | Kees Klomp
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Kees Klomp


Purposeful Companies: The New Normal


I had a very special grandpa. My grandpa was a harbour-worker in IJmuiden; a little coastal village with a sea-harbour in the Netherlands. He worked as a mechanic on ships. He was typically blue collar. But more importantly, my grandpa was a communist. A hardcore communist. A hardliner. His blood ran red. For as long as I can remember, we had long talks about social injustice in the world. My grandpa was highly engaged and opiniated. Visiting my grandpa was never a dull moment. In the early 80’s the world got confronted with severe famine. There were images of starving people on the TV all the time. I can remember having dinner with my sister and parents one evening, whilst on TV there was very disturbing news about mass starvation on little children in Ethiopia. I remember getting physically sick and not being able to eat. I remember asking my parents how it was possible that we had plenty of food and even throwing food away often over here; while they died over there. Just a couple of thousand miles away. I can remember hearing my parents answer that I should let it go and finish my plate, because we were not able to change the situation; that is was out of our league. A very understandable and common reaction. But when I went to my grandpa that next Saturday, he gave me a completely different reaction. The reverse actually. Grandpa didn’t told me to let it go. No, he encouraged me to feel bad about the situation. I can vividly remember hearing my grandpa say that it’s a no go to leave social injustice for what it is; that there is always something you can do. And should do. My grandpa showed me the way to compassion; a path I have purposely walked ever since.