Tuesday, 2 January 2018
I flew from Korea to South Africa on December 30, 2016. My planner for January is practically empty, so it is not much of a source for what I did. But photos from my January folder tells a much busier tail. First a quick stop in Hong Kong. I took some really nice street photography.
Then time spent with family at my cousin's place on New Year's Day.
I have a few pics of my brother where he still lived in a commune, so that is where I spent part of my time in January, and meetups with other friends and family in the days to follow. By January 5th I'm in Durban.
There are also pictures from Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg, including a beautiful monastery that I visited with my bestie.
And a visit to the Pinetown Stingers Taekwon-Do Club.
The next set of pictures are of me with my nephews in the Vaal Triangle and other local friends, before pictures of Grey's College in Johannesbug, where I attended a screening of BBC's new Earth documentaries. Followed by pics of my cousin and her husband, and my younger brother and I exploring caves.
My journey led me back to Johannesburg, to help my brother scout for a place to stay.
Lunar New Year was spent, like the previous year, in downtown Joburg, in Chinatown (around Fox Street 1).
By the end of the month, I'm in Grobblersdal at the Taekwon-Do school to teach some classes.
Grobblersdal I journeyed to friends in Potgietersrus, and from there to Polokwane to visit friends further up north, and Tzaneen. Back to Polokwane to quickly see another friend before taking a bus back to Pretoria, in order to attend a family gathering on the 5th. It was a very memorable time for me. Some of the people there I haven't seen in decades.
My journey took me further from Pretoria to Johannesburg and by bus from there to Potchefstroom, which of course included a visit to my dojang there, and visits with several of my friends and some family there.
Other photos are evidence of more time spent with my brother in Johannesburg in his new apartment including some local hang-outs, as well as a Hapkido seminar I hosted. This was the first Hapkido seminar in South Africa to be held by the Korea Hapkido Federation, of which I am the representative.
Lots of photos in my folder about Hong Kong follow -- as I had my layover back to Korea again via Hong Kong. I stayed in Hong Kong for about four days.
My digital planner became useful again in March, with several luncheon and dinner appointments with friends and no less than five dance performances listed. It is also the month of my birth, so I had hosted a big birthday gather with friends again.
There are also photos of Taekwon-Do training and homemade desserts.
In April I must have had backache, because my planner shows four chiropractic appointments. There are more performances attended and a couple of dates with friends. There are also pictures outdoors -- if I remember correctly I had a little private getaway one afternoon to the river. And the photo folder finishes with pictures in Joenju at the International Jeonju Film Festival.
Photos reveal a visit to a Bhuddhist Temple for Buddha's Birthday. I also went to Asan for the Asan Outdoor Arts Festival, and my first big photoshoot for the year was in May. It was for an Macbook / iMac Pro carrybag.
I hung out with some martial arts friends, and also attended the annual Korea Hapkido Federation's international training camp.
May is also the start of MODAFE (Modern Dance Festival), hence I attended many excellent dance performances. I count around six performances scheduled on my planner.
In June I went to some performances, including combined performance of Taekkyeon and Traditional Korean Dance; I also met up with friends from Japan and Germany, and acquired an antique Korean cabinet. The Korean demonstration team from the North came to the South to participate in ceremonies for the World Taekwondo Championships, during which time I attended to particpate in a Taekwon-Do conference, where I presented a paper.
I moved into a little martial arts studio on a roof top. I went to the Seoul Cartoon Museum, the Do-San Museum and took photos of some beautiful buildings in Gangnam. My digital planner doesn't list much for July. I probably spent the first part of it finishing off student grades. There were some art made.
August started with the 7th Global Taekwondo Leaders Forum.
I had an interesting photoshoot for a pet food commercial at a beach, and a camping trip that included kayaking with a friend (at Damyeong Resort), with a trip to a lotus flower park, hanging out with dancer friends, meeting up with a friend visiting from the States, going to a Bangsky exhibit, and a videoshoot in which I'm acting as some craftsman/engineer. It was pretty cool.
September involved more photoshoots, some performances by friends, and a Radio interview with the K-Pop diva Lena Park. I also notice pictures of at least two art exhibits, and a Taekwondo forum attended.
I went to numerous SIDANCE (Seoul International Dance Festival) performances, catching up with some old dancer friends, and meeting a few new ones. Some art was made. And there was even a little dress-up for Halloween. My planner also lists at least three photoshoots. I also participated in a dance performance in which I recited a poem and did some martial arts movements.
More dance performances, photoshoots, and pictures of fall foliage, and art made.
I made this skull drawing one evening after grading a heap of student assignments and feeling that existential dread that teachers around the world knows all too well, when they realise that there are still mountains of more grading to be done.
For November, my picture folder also shows some martial arts photos, training with my students.
December starts with attending the International Conference of Taekwondo, hosted at the Taekwondowon in Muju. I spent some extra time with my friend Dr. George Vitale, who came from the States to be a keynote speaker at the event. The first weekend is a nice couple of days spent with friends and talking about Taekwondo until odd hours of the night. During December I was part of a series of photoshoots for a commercial for Ssangyong's new ranger. It was hard work, but a great experience.
And then I went to Cambodia. I was to chaperone students from my department who went there as volunteer workers at a little school in a rural area. While they continued with their volunteer work, I worked on my students final grades. At the end, we had three days to travel around Cambodia. Unfortunately, I came down with a super bad flu, that involved fealing dreadful and a terribly high fever. I stayed in bed most of the time. We arrived back in Korea on the 29th. I had a photoshoot on the 31st.
And that is a quick summary of 2018. Of course, what's not much touch on are the every day regular work as a literature professor, the Korean language lessons I took, and other things I forgot to document, such as book read, podcasts listened to, movies watched, and so on.
Sunday, 31 December 2017
In December 2015 my brother came to visit me, and stayed with me in Korea into the new year. On New Year's Eve we went to a little gathering hosted by a friend of mine.
Two weeks later, I met with a German Taekwon-Do friend, and also taught a Taekwon-Do Workshop.
I arrived in South on the 25th, and taught Taekwon-Do at different schools in Pretoria and Grobblersdalk the following week, before spending the weekend with friends in Tzaneen.
My brother and I and some friends went to the Lunar New Year festival in Johannesburg's Chinatown.
The first week of February I travelled to Potchefstroom to meet with friends, old professors, and also my old Taekwon-Do club where I taught some lesson.
I can't really remember the order of the rest of my trip in South Africa, but it involved spending time with my younger brother, spending time with some of my cousins (a group of us had a delightful dinner at an Italian restaurant), and visiting my father.
Upon returning to Korea, I went to my PhD graduation ceremony and had a nice post-graduation lunch with some of my friends here in Korea, and even a dear friend who flew all the way from New York City to attend the event. Later in the month a received an award for best PhD dissertation from my faculty.
I also went on a trip to the Taekwondowon in Muju, Korea.
My dentist started me on interdental brushes... Possibly related, in my photo folder for this month I have some pictures of chocolate brownies.
Of course, this is also the month of my birth, hence a party with friends at an Italian restaurant.
In March I also started doing fashion modeling. In February I was invited by someone who had scouted me on Instagram to come in for a fitting. They put me in suit, took a few photos, and told me that they liked what they saw and that after discussing it with other people in the company, they will contact me in about a month. I didn't think anything would come of it, but sure enough, a month later they contacted me, so on March 21st I had my first photoshoot. And then again the following week. I've been doing modeling relatively regularly ever since.
I also went on a day trip with a friend to North Hangang River.
I hosted more martial art workshops, attended dance performances, a theatrical Taekwon-Do performance called "Kick", and the internationally acclaimed musical, "Dead Dog."
Also in April, I had a radio interview with KBS World Radio.
And I did some really funky photoshoots in April too.
With warmer weather, I went camping by myself and loved it. Hung out with a friend who visited from America, and hosted a Taekwon-Do workshop. This month I did a very interesting photo shoot at an abandoned amusement park.
For Buddha's Birthday I went to see the Lotus Lantern Festival procession in Seoul -- I climbed on the roof of a building for a bird's eye view, and then on Buddha's Birthday, a friend and I visited a temple and took cool photos.
May is also the start of MODAFE (Modern Dance Festival), so I, of course, attended many dance performances.
There are some things listed on my planner for this month, that I can't really remember, but most the items for this month that are significant are appointments with martial artists -- one a BJJ player from Brazil, and the other a Kali practitioner from NZ.
My photo folder for this month shows more camping pictures with a friend, in Gangneung, inlcuding a trip to the Ojukheon, the birthplace of I Yulgok. There is also pictures of another camping trip. Photos of dance performances attended, martial art workshops hosted, and photos of some art made.
More dance performances, and hanging out with dancer friends.
More meetings with martial art friends, and a student I promoted to black belt formally received his black belt certificate. I, also, received my 4th Dan in Hapkido.
I was interviewed by Geek magazine for their August issue.
And I made some art.
An unforgettable month -- when I visited the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Let met see if I can remember... Landed in Amsterdam. After a few days went to Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe. Great museum! Stayed at a B&B called Horse & Human. Loved it. Visited friends in Utrecht. Back to Amsterdam. Went to Belgium. Stopped in Antwerp, went to Bruges, back to Antwerp, then back to Amsterdam, but stayed over in Rotterdam for a night. In Amsterdam my friend Garnet and his family visited from the UK. Then off to Germany with a nightbus to Hamburg. Love that city. From there to Dresden. From Dresden down to Frunkfurt to visit a friend in Russelheim. Bus to Cologne, and back to Amsterdam for a few days before returning to Korea. I loved it, and kissed several people along the way. One of the best three weeks of my life and took many awesome photos and saw magnificent art.
Back in Seoul I went to see a dance performance by the National Dance Company.
The photo album for this month shows meetings with martial arts friends, visits to the Seoul Cinemateque, some Taekwon-Do photos, visits with friends from Germany, pictures about Bisexual Awareness Week, more dance performances attended, and art made. And a picture of a black board with a time line of the 19th and 20th centuries major American poets and historical events, that was clearly part of my 19th & 20th Century American Poets class.
SIDANCE (Seoul International Dance Festival) and SPAF (Seoul Performing Arts Festival) got lots of money from me in 2016, but the highlight performance for October was not at SIDANCE or SPAF, but the Tiger Lillies performance at the LG Art Center.
In this month I also went on a trip to Yeongju with a friend, had Taekwon-Do visitors from abroad with whom I've been Facebook friends, but finally met in person, and I attended then International Fireworks Festival for the last time with my close colleagues, as they ended their work contract at the end of 2016. We used to go to this event together annually, and would have a picknick in the afternoon and then watch the fireworks in the evening.
Also, some more fishy art.
More dance performances attended, dinners with friends, and photo shoots are listed in my planner.
The photos in the folder for this month are mostly about food, friends, and art made and performances attended.
The December shows many pictures of performances attended, pictures of Taekwon-Do training, the Korea Hapkido Federation Year-End Party, a Christmas party with martial arts friends, and my own pre-Christmas party with friends (loved it!).
My planner says I also had a photo shoot on the 29th, but I remember it got canceled, and I departed for South Africa on the 30th.
It is now officially 2018 . . . Finally got round to listing the highlights of 2016 . . . For me, the most significant event was my trip to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Sunday, 26 November 2017
I really like this quote of Juergen Moltmann:
"What anxiety and hope actually have in common is a sense of what is possible. In anxiety we anticipate possible danger. In hope we anticipate possible deliverance."
Anxiety anticipates a negative future, whereas hope anticipates a positive one. Both are, however, essentially the same thing: an anticipation of possibilities.
Saturday, 18 November 2017
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." — Theodore Roosevelt
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
"Because we think that practical help - the deed, the action - is the only answer we have to give to suffering, pain and fear. But compassion, sharing another person's guilt, grieving with him and standing by him when he is dying, demands a solidarity that goes beyong activism and the illusion that there is something to be *done* about everything." -- Juergen Moltmann
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Ek het vanaand vir Lena Park ontmoet. Sy is ’n Amerikaans-Koreaanse sangeres en liedjieskrywer wat veral gewild in die laat 90s en vroeë 2000s was, en het seker meer as tien albums vrygestel. Sy is huidiglik ’n omroeper by KBS World Radio en dit is waar ek haar ontmoet het. Sy het ’n program genaamd “One Fine Day”, elke weeksaand, en op Woensdagaande is daar ’n segment “Aliens in Seoul”. Die titel is ’n tong-in-die-kies verwysing na Sting se liedjie “Alien in New York”. Ek was genooi as gas vir die “Aliens in Seoul” segment vanaand om bietjie saam met Lena te gesels oor my lewe hier in Korea. Ons het gesels oor die redes hoekom ek Korea toe gekom het, en wat maak dat ek steeds hier woon en ander interesanthede. Byvoorbeeld, ek het onder andere genoem hoe bittersoet ironies dit vir my is om haar te ontmoet, omdat my blootstelling aan haar en haar musiek was via ’n eks van my wat ’n groot aanhanger was. ’n Liedjie wat ek aangeraai het om na te luister op die program was juis ’n song op Lena Park se laaste album Parallax, wat ek as ’n geskenk vir my eks gekoop het, toe ons nog saam was. Dit was ’n heerlike kuier, en Lena en die vervaardiger het genoem dat hulle eintlik weer met my op die lug sal wil gesels, omdat daar nog so baie was waarby ons nie uitgekom het nie. Alhoewel die krygskunste ’n groot rede is hoekom ek Korea toe gekom het, het ons skaars daaroor gepraat vanaand, met die gevolg dat dit moontlik ’n fokusonderwerp mag wees vir ’n toekomstige radiogesprek. Hoe ookal, dit was ’n lekker ervaring om weer op die radiogolwe te surf. Die program sal volgende Woensdag, 4 Oktober 2017, uitgesaai word en dan ook daarna aanlyn op die KBS World Radio webblad geluister kan word, en ek dink ook vanaf iTunes afgelaai kan word.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
"God is Christlike and there is no unchristlikeness in God." -- Archbishop Michale Ramsey
Sometimes it is good to read a paraphrase to truly comprehend an idea. This quote by Archbishop Ramsey combines ideas from different verses:
- 1 John 1:5, "God is light and in him is no darkness at all."
- Colossians 1:15a, "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God..."
- Hebrews 1:1-3a, "In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation [χαρακτήρ / charaktēr] of his being [ὑπόστασις / hupostasis, i.e. "essence"], sustaining all things by his powerful word."
When Christians really accept the idea that the character of God is exactly the same as the character of Christ, especially as seen at the Cross, it will mess up some of their most cherished dogmas. For instance, the Jesus at the Cross depicts a non-violent, non-retaliatory, all-forgiving, non-judgemental, unselfish, other-centered, unconditionally loving character. Now that is a type of God that will make many people very uncomfortable.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Die rede is dat die stigter, ’n voormalige tweester weergmagsgeneraal, Choi Hong-hee, was teen die diktator-president Park Chung-hee gekant. Choi en sy onderdane het die weermagskrygskuns Taekwon-Do ontwikkel, omdat die jong Suid-Korea op daardie stadium nie ’n gevegskuns vir die soldate gehad het nie. Park óók ’n generaal in die weermag het meer persoonlike ambisies gehad. Hy het staatshoof geword na ’n weermagsgedrewe staatsgreep. Park was veronderstel om slegs vir ’n kort rukkie aan bewind te wees, net om orde te herstel in die gebrekkige land, and dan sou hy kwansuis weer demokrasie herinstel. Soos gewoonlik die geval met mense wat aan bewind kom, was hy glad nie gretig om sy mag op te gee nie, en het selfs die konstitusie verander sodat hy langer aan bewind kon bly. Choi Hong-hee was gekant teen Park se klaarblyklike oneindige magsdrang. Park was natuurlik nie in sy noppies met die idee dat Choi, ’n generaal wat al hierdie krygers in die weermag onderhom het, hom teen staan nie, en het toe beplan om Choi te laat sluipmoord. Iemand het Choi van die planne laat weet, en so het Choi een aand uitgesluip en verdwyn. Hy het later in Kanada sy verskyning gemaak, waar vandaan hy met ’n goeie groep sterk Taekwon-Do meesters ITF gebou het tot ’n waarlik internasionale krygskuns. Park het waarskynlik onveilig gevoel met soveel soldate en burgers wat bevoeg is met ’n krygskuns wat moontlik hom kon ontverwerp, en het gevolglik veranderinge aangemoedig, sodat Taekwon-Do in Suid-Korea stelselmatig verander is in ’n gevegsport, eerder as ’n outentieke krygskuns. In die vroeë 1970’s is die WTF (World Taekwon-Do Federation) gestig. Sederdien is daar twee hoofstrome van Taekwon-Do in die wêreld. Die krygskuns gefokusde ITF, en die gevegsport gefokusde WTF. (WTF het vanjaar hulle naam verander na World Taekwondo, of te wel WT.)
Toe ek dus in 2006 in Korea aankom, kon ek nie ’n ITF skool vind nie. In 2008, met my tweede koms na Korea kon ek uiteindelik aan die einde van die jaar ’n ITF skool ontdek. Die enigste ITF skool in die hele Seoul-distrik. Darentee kan ’n mens gewoonlik meer as een WTF skool in elke buurt vind. Sedert 2008 was ek deel van daardie ITF skool, en het selfs daar begin afrig, as een van die ITF instrukteurs. Mettertyd het ek die hoof-instrukteur onder Meester Kim Hoon geword. Ons het baie geheg geraak aan mekaar, en hy het selfs vir my gesê dat ek moet hom as “ouboet” (in Koreaans) aanspreek, eerder as “afrigter”. Vir omtrent agt jaar was ek saam met Meester Kim Hoon, en vir ten minste vyf jaar was ek die hoof Taekwon-Do instrukteur by sy skool. Sy gimnasium het verskeie aktiwiteite aangebied: Taekwon-Do, skopboks, stoei, Cross-fit, en pilates.
Meester Kim Hoon het voltyds krygskuns en ander aktiwiteite afgerig vir sowat 20 jaar. Die gimnasium het gewoonlik 9:30 of 10:00 oop gemaak, en sy laaste klas het rondom 22:00 geeindig. Hy was uitgeput, en het vele kere aan my onthul dat hy moeg is, en dat hy op ’n verlengde vakansie wil gaan, en die wêreld gaan toer. Uiteindelik, in Mei van hierdie jaar, het hy besluit om dit te doen. Aan die einde van Mei het hy die skool gesluit en ek is namens hom bly dat hy tans in Brasilië is, met ’n toer in Suid-Amerika.
Ongelukkig het dit ook beteken dat aan die einde van Mei-maand was ek skielik sonder ’n plek om te oefen en afterig. Ek het ’n handjie vol studente wat onder my geoefen het, en al ver gekom het, maar nog nie hulle swartbelde het nie. Ek het ’n verantwoordelikheidsin teenoor hulle gevoel, maar ook wou ek verseker dat ITF Taekwon-Do voortleef in Suid-Korea se hoofstad, al is dit net as ’n klein saadjie wat hopenlik eendag weer kan ontkiem en ’n grootboom word. Verder, jaarliks kom daar toeriste van heinde en verre Suid-Korea toe, mense wat ITF Taekwon-Do in hulle tuislande beoefen, en graag die vaderland van Taekwon-Do wil besoek en beleef. Ook vir dié mense wou ek ’n klein ITF-tuistetjie bied. Hoe tragies om al die pad Korea toe te kom, maar nie ITF Taekwon-Do te kan oefen nie.
Uiteindelik het ek besluit om ’n klein spasie te huur vir hierdie doeleinde. Ek het ’n dak-kamer gekry, in die middel van Seoul en het aan die begin van Julie daarheen geskuif. Dit is basies ’n enkelkamer op ’n woonstel se dak. Die kamer is waar ek toerusting soos slaankussings, fokusteikens, en ander krygskunsverwante gereedskap kan stoor. Dit sal ook moet dien as oefenspasie tydens slegte weer: reën of wintersmaande. Die dakspasie buite is waar die meeste van die oefening plaasvind. Die plekkie is nie ideaal nie, maar dit is al wat ek nou kan bekostig. Ek kon nie die groot gimnasium van Meester Kim Hoon oorvat nie (ek het in elk geval ’n werk, en wil nie ’n voltydse gimnasium ook probeer behartig nie), en met net ’n handjievol studente (moontlik twee ernstiges) het ek maar besluit op die dakspasie vir nou.
Die beoefening van krygskunste op dakke is eintlik nogal ’n tradisie in die stede van die Ooste. Selfs die bekende Bruce Lee se eerste instrukteur Ip Man het klas gegee op ’n dak in Hong Kong, en dit is waar Bruce Lee se krygskunsbasis gevorm is. Vir ten minste ’n jaar (die lengte van my huurkontrak) volg ek dan ook nou in die spore van Oosterse krygskunstenaars van die vorige eeu wat hulle dissipline op stadsdakke beoefen het. Ek gaan nie geld kan maak met hierdie affêre nie. Die spasie is te klein om meer as ’n handvol studente, dalk so min as drie of vier op ’n slag, te kan hanteer. Ek sal dalk af en toe ook privaatklasse daar aanbied, maar soos wat dit vir my lyk is hierdie uiteindelik meer ’n liefdesdaad as enige iets anders. Ek hoop maar net dat ek genoeg studente het dat ek nie ’n te slegte verlies maandelik sal lei nie.
En so het dit dan nou gebeur dat ek ’n klein privaat dojang op ’n dak in die middel van Seoul het. Gisteraand het ek buiteligte gaan hang, en vanaand se oefening was heerlik, so met die bekende Suidberg (Namsan) en Seoul-toring in die agtergrond.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Monday, 10 July 2017
|"Gog and Magog consuming humans." |
—Thomas de Kent's Roman de toute chevalerie,
Paris manuscript, 14th cent.
I have not yet read his book, so I'm not sure how much his ideas and my own overlap, but I did listen to an interview with him, in which he discusses his book and the obsession popular culture has with zombie apocalypses and how it connects with religion. You can listen to the interview here: Zombie Time with Greg Garrett
Friday, 16 June 2017
2 x eetlepels sjokoladepoeier
2 x eetlepels suiker
2 x eetlepels melk (ek het room gebruik)
1 x teelepel bakpoeier
1 knippie sout (my bydrae)
Saturday, 3 June 2017
My favourite atheist Kurt Vonnegut provides a poignant solution: “There is no good reason good can’t triumph over evil, if only angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia.” I think Vonnegut, unlike most people who use the Problem of Evil to argue against the existence of (a benevolent) God, intuitively understood the impasse. As ethicist David Rodin puts it: “if one can defeat evil only by becoming evil, then it is impossible to defeat evil.” Sure, an almighty God can easily kill the evil-doers, or better yet, reach into the minds of the wicked and prevent them from acting out their malicious intentions, but while the end may justify the means the implication is horrifying. God would be the Mafia Boss, the Tyrannical Dictator, the ultimate Puppet Master. Yes, we would not have evil or pain or suffering, but neither would we be free to enjoy anything worth caring about. We’d simply be puppets in a universe void of love or liberty.
Friday, 21 April 2017
""It makes no sense that men mostly like dogs and women mostly like cats. Because men in their relationships really want a cat: not too needy, elegant, self-maintaining. Women in relationships want involvement, emotion; they should like dogs! It's completely backwards." -- Jerry Sinefeld." -- Jerry Seinfeld