Monday, 31 May 2010

Gedig


Op persketakke lê soos watte die voorvrugte.
Só, op my hart blom my liefde – onverdun.

My beminde, hou nie jou rooi hart gegrendel nie:
die hart is ’n papie wat eens nog moet vlerke kry,
wat oop moet maak soos biddende hande na gebed,
soos ’n lotus voor die son, soos twee pare lippe
vir mekaar, soos bene vir bekende heupe,
soos vriende se kaalpersoonlikhede.

Want in die laat winter bot die perskes
en deur die koue groei die liefde soos tienerborste.

My beminde, hou nie jou soet mond toe nie:
laat my tong soos ’n vinger jou snare stram,
jou perkussie plekke kielie, jou diep liefdesgrotte
maak eggo soos roepende katedraalklokke,
wat luidkeels ween oor die hoog gestookte liefde
en jou brandstapel waarop ek hartstogtelik verteer.

Hoogsomer dra die perskebome swaar aan vrugte
en loop die harte oor van bloed en liefde.

My beminde, vergeet nie die ou verhale nie:
van Adam (óf Romeo) wat deel aan die giftige perskes
en deel aan die lot, want die liefde se drif vrees nie
die dood nie, dit loop doelgerig die duisternis in –
braaf soos Christus, wánt, my beminde,
die slot van die dood bind nie die liefde nie.

Bourne's Swan Lake


Last night I went to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. It was absolutely riveting. The dancing performances, especially by the male swans, were emotionally charged and some scenes were literally breathtaking. When the performance was finished I felt frustrated at having a lack of words to describe what I had just witnessed. Not only is the choreography wonderful, but the set design is above anything I have witnessed so far. I thought I was impressed with the set of Cinderella on Ice, but Bourne’s Swan Lake out did even the ice-skating extravaganza.


But to return to the male swans, rather than the usual ballerinas that portray the swans: Something that has often bothered me about some of the ballerinas that portray swans are that they just do not exhibit the “bigness” of these great graceful and also powerful birds. Often, instead of looking like swans, the ballerinas in their silly tutus look like chickens. The tall male dancers look less like plucky chickens and more like swans.


Swan Lake is supposed to be based on the German myth of Ondine; however, Bourne’s Swan Lake reminded me of the Grecian myths of Zeus & Gaymede and Zeus & Leda. Gaymede, the young man from Troy, was abducted and raped by Zeus in the form of an eagle. Zeus also transformed himself into a swan and raped (or seduced) Leda. For some reason these connotations with Zeus were never made during my prior exposures to Swan Lake, but was very strong while watching Bourne’s version. The sexual intensity of Bourne’s Swan Lake is probably much stronger and more reminiscent of the Grecian myths than the German fairytale. What I appreciated about the ballet is that although there is a clear sense of erotic energy and seduction, the two main dancers are never depicted in any overtly sexual way. The choreography suggests seduction, but never sex. This ensures that the performance stays beautiful and tasteful.




I love dance. Or rather, I love the body in motion. I guess that is in part the reason I enjoy the martial arts so much. There are very few things in life as beautiful as the art of a dynamic body.

Kakashi Hatake

Image Source: Unknown

Over the weekend I watched an episode of the Naruto Shippuden anime and witnessed the death of Kakashi Hatake.

Hopefully I did not spoil it for anybody. The manga in which Kakashi’s death occurred was published in 2008 already and the anime episode in which it occurs showed a number of weeks back already, so at least all avid Naruto fans would probably known about Kakashi's death by now. It is I that am late at finding out the terrible news. His death in battle against the villain Pain came as a shock to me. What I find more shocking is my reaction to the death of a fictional character. It truly felt like someone I have known had died. I woke up Sunday morning and the first thought that came to mind is "Kakashi is dead!" I felt a sense of loss—that terrible inexplicable hollowness one feels when someone you care for has been ripped away by death.

 In trying to figure out why Kakashi’s death was so intense for me, I realized that I identified with this character the most. Kakashi (“Scarecrow”) is a protective martial art teacher, has a laidback personality, likes reading (albeit erotic literature). All qualities I can use to describe myself. Furthermore, Kakashi has a mysterious charm about him; something I doubt I have, but wish I did. (Not to mention that he has the coolest hairstyle of all the characters.) Is the reason his death disturbed me so because he reminds me a little of myself and thus his untimely death is especially disconcerting? Or is it just the simple fact that fictional characters, especially ones well crafted, becomes more than fiction . . . they become “real.” I have been following the Naruto anime since, maybe, 2004, which  means that I’ve “known” these characters for approximately five or six tumultuous years. (I've written in an Afrikaans post before how much I enjoy Naruto and the fact that one really start to love these characters.)

There’s a rumour that Kakashi will somehow be revived. I don’t know if that is true or not. In the meantime, I’m terribly sad about his passing.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bonzai

Yongsuri

This weekend there was a special religious service at a place about an hour or so from my house. Since I have a wedding to attend tomorrow and as I'm still recovering from a flu I decided to go only for part of today, rather than the whole weekend. On my way back I stopped at Yongsuri. I'm not sure what the name of this river is, but aparently it is one of the main sources for drinking water for the Seoul Metropoliton. For this reason no motorboats are allowed on it. The water is so clear that one can actually see the fish swimming close to the bank. It was quite beautiful. Here are some photos.



Thursday, 27 May 2010

Me at David Choi's Concert

LOL, I just saw myself on one of David Choi's videos that he took at the show I went to see of him last weekend (read about it here). If you forward the video to around 4:03 you can see a dude in a bright orange shirt way at the back. Yip, that is me. A shirt like that is not very conspicuous.



The song below about YouTube, "YouTube: A Love Song," is the song that started things for David Choi as a YouTube-celebrity.



After this song he suddenly got many subscribers and started to post more songs. He did mostly cover songs at first, but started to make more funny vids and eventually began to include more "serious" original songs. I think what makes his channel so interesting, apart from his obvious talent, is this mixture of fun stuff, covers, and beautiful originals.

Respect to Lady GaGa

I've never really taken Lady GaGa seriously. I thought, erroneously on my part, that she's probably not very talented, that everything is just a big show and that her performances are probably all computer assisted. Well, that's until I saw the video below showing an unplugged performance. She's actually quite talented. Just look how at home she is on the piano and she is a great singer too.

Sorry Lady GaGa for my unenlightened prejudice.



Still, I prefer the unplugged version above over the commercial version below, but after having heard the real Lady GaGa, I can listen to the commercial version with an appreciation that was lacking before.

Sleeplessness, Soccer, and South African Police Studying Korean

It's after 2am and I need to be at work by 8am.

I can't fall asleep. Not sure what the reason is but I'm a little "excited," it would seem. My pulse which usually beats at around 60-something is now beating at 80 beats a minute, which I find peculiar as I'm not doing anything. In fact I was lying in bed when I decided to take my pulse to see if there is any irregularity, since I cannot fall asleep.It might because I'm stressed about my full day tomorrow.

So I got up again and thought I'd read my emails. 

My brother sent me a link to this interesting video from CNN about how the broadcasting will work during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in a couple of weeks. Since my brother is in this line of work (TV-production, video editing, etc.), he always keeps me updated with this sort of stuff.



I haven't had time to look at the line up of games so I'm not sure which games I'm planning to see. I do have one date which is set for Saturday, June 12th. That evening I've booked a ticket to go to the Olympic Park Hall here in Seoul to watch the game between South Korea and Greece (they are in Group B). The game kicks off in the evening here in Korea, but before the actual soccer match there is a live performance by the entertaining and energetic singer Mika. To be honest, if it wasn't for Mika's performance I would not have bought the rather expensive ticket and would probably have only watched an occasional match online. However, now that I will see a match together with a thousand Koreans all cheering in the way that only a group-oriented culture knows how, I might get into the spirit of things and watch a couple more. I just haven't had the time to get into any kind of spirit recently.

Speaking of the Korean Soccer Team, here is some nitbit that might be interesting.The university in South Africa where I worked prior to coming here to Korea has been teaching Korean to the police force of Rustenburg. Rustenburg is a town in South Africa, about an hour or so from the capital Pretoria, and I guess about two hours from Johannesburg. Why would Rustenburg's local police need to learn Korean? Well, as it turns out, Rustenburg is hosting the Korean Soccer Team. I don't know who is teaching the police Korean, but it may actually be one of the Koreans that I on occassion tutored in English while still working there. Now isn't that an interesting circle of events? We live in a small world. (I always enjoys saying that! "Dis nou vir jou 'n klein wêreld, is dit nie?!")

Sjoe! Wat 'n week!

Goeie genugtig. Ek kom nou net by die huis van my kantoor af. Dis byna 'n halfuur na middernag. Die derde jaar studente van ons departement, die divisie van Engelse studies, het vanaand 'n verhoog opvoering gelewer -- "The Wizard of Oz." Ek moes die openingsgebed lewer. Dit het om sewe begin. Na die vertoning is ek terug na my kantoor, dit was seker so teen half tien, om verder vir more se klasse voor te berei. Op 'n Vrydagoggend om nege uur gee ek "Research Methodology." Hiervoor moet ek notas voorberei. Ek het darem daarmee klaar gekry, maar moet nog die fotostate maak vir byna 90 studente. Ek dink ek gaan more oggend se fakulteitsvergadering moet misloop om die fotostate betyds te kan maak. (My assistent wat gewoonlik help met fotostate maak was een van die hoofkarakters -- die lafhartige leeu -- in die toneelstuk, en kon my geen hulp bied hierdie week nie. Sy kom ook nie more in nie.) Ek is gretig dat hierdie semester tot 'n einde moet, veral omrede hierdie "Research Methodology"-klas. Dit is uitputtend en onnodige baie werk vir 'n een krediet klas. Gelukkig is dit die laaste jaar wat hierdie klas aangebied word. Vanaf volgende jaar gaan ons die vaardighede wat die studente in hierdie klas moet leer in ander vakke integreer.

Ek was veronderstel om nog 'n woordeskat toets vir die "Vocabulary & Collocations"-klas te maak, maar as ek langer gaan wakker bly gaan ek 'n zombie wees. My studente sal maar net more die klastoets moet vryspring. Ek hoop dis vir hulle goeie nuus. (Ek is seker dit sal goeie nuus vir die lui studente wees, maar is nie so seker oor die flukse studente wat die moeite gedoen het om voor te berei vir die toets nie.)

Buiten die twee klasse is daar twee ander klasse wat ek ook nog more aanbied, "British & American Essays" en "Shakespear Films." Gelukkig het ek vanmiddag reeds kans gehad om vir hierdie klasse voor te berei.

Maar dis nie al nie, more is daar ook nog administrasie wat gedoen moet word rakende twee vakke wat ek en 'n ander dosent gaan ruil. Ek gee twee skryfvaardigheidsklasse volgende semester en die ander student geen twee uitspraakklasse ("pronunciation"). Ek sal verkies om nie twee skryfklasse aan te bied nie omdat dit soveel merkwerk vereis, en die ander dosent wil nie graag twee spraakklasse gee nie, so nou probeer ons om een van ons klasse te ruil.

Maar wag, my dag more is nie verby eens ek klaar is met al die klasse om drie uur nie. Ek het more middag ook 'n Hapkido toets om vyfuur.

Ek kan nie wag vir more aand om sewe uur wanneer al my verpligtinge en die week se gejaag op 'n einde is nie, en ek die Sabbat kan binne gaan en rus nie.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mmm

"The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." -- Charles Dubois

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Gedagtes omtrent "’n Postmoderne Avontuur" en skryf

Ek was verras om te verneem dat die redakteur van pyp-aanlyn my kortverhaal “’n Postmoderne Avontuur” geplaas het. Alhoewel ek bestuurder is van die pyp-aanlyn-projek, is dit Alwyn Roux, as redakteur, wat grootliks verantwoordelik is vir die inhoudelike materiaal. Ek het nie die storie voorgelê vir publikasie op die webblad nie. Alwyn het dit waarskynlik uit een van ons ou uitgawes van die Pyp-joernaal opgegrawe en dit op die web geplaas.

“’n Postmoderne Avontuur” is sekerlik een van die belangrikste stories in my ouvre. Ek het die storie geskryf as deel van die praktiese komponent van my meestersgraadverhandeling. Die storie was geskryf met ’n baie spesifieke doel in gedagte; basies om my hipotese te bewys. My verhandeling het gehandel oor postmoderne karakters. Ek het met my navorsing drie tipe postmoderne karakters geïdentifiseer en voorgehou dat hierdie karaktertipes kan met bepaalde skryftegnieke binne ’n paradigma deur ’n skrywer geskep en voorgestel word. In hierdie kortverhaal het ek al drie karaktertipes op een karakter van toepassing gemaak. Alhoewel hierdie nie die enigste kortverhaal is wat ek vir my verhandeling geskryf het nie, is dit sekerlik die belangrikste een gewees om my teorie te “bewys.”

Lees gerus “’n Postmoderne Avontuur” by pyp-aanlyn en laat weet my wat jy dink.

Ek skryf deesdae bitter min. Dis nie heeltemal waar nie. Eintlik skryf ek nogal baie—omtrent daagliks. Ongelukkig skryf ek nie juis kreatief nie. Ek kan nie onthou wanneer laas ek ’n gedig geskryf het nie, en dit was nog langer sedert ek laas ’n kortverhaal geskryf het. Ek is grootliks besig met ander tipe skryfwerk, meestal semi-akademies van aard. Ek skryf gereeld opstelle (essays) en het byvoorbeeld ’n paar dae terug ’n essay geskryf vir die aanlyn krygskunstydskrif Totally Tae Kwon Do. Ek is tans besig met nog ’n essay vir hierdie tydskryf. Die vorige week het ek ’n essay geskryf vir ons departement se tydskryf omtrent Konglish ("Korean English"). Om die waarheid te sê ek mis dit om kreatief te skryf. Vanoggend het ek gedroom van ’n vrou en haar twee kinders wat terug kom Suid-Afrika toe nadat sy en haar man geskei is en sy nie langer in Engeland wil woon nie. Skaars terug in Suid-Afrika word sy beroof en so vind sy haarself platsak met twee kinders. Die familie trek toe heel sluuks in ’n hipermark in en slaap saans in die meubelafdeling en steel kos uit die kosrakke. Dit is ’n kortverhaal “in the making,” met intriges oor hoe hulle die kameras en sekuriteit ontduik, en die hele sentrum senuagtig oor die “spoke” is. Alhoewel kreatiewe skryfwerk meer natuurlik vir my kom en ook lekkerder is as ander tipe skryfwerk, verg dit ook meer psigiese energie. My werksdruk laat my gewoonlik te moeg om kreatiewe werk te doen. Of, indien ek aan iets kreatiefs begin werk hou dit my veels te maklik uit die slaap omdat kreatiwiteit soveel energie afgee eens dit aan die vloei is. Slapelose nagte omdat ek aan kreatiewe projekte werk is nie iets wat ek tans kan bekostig nie. Gelukkig het ek ’n vakansie wat voorlê waarna ek baie uitsien.

미인아 reinterpreted

I've been following this Korean pianist on YouTube, called Yoonha. He reinterprets pop songs for the piano, often changing songs that I would normally not listen to into beautiful piano pieces that I quite enjoy listening to. The latest is a cover of the Korean boy band Super Junior's song, "Mi-Ina." Frankly, the original song does nothing for me. However, Yoonha's collaboration with Nataie White(aka Pumashock) creates a riveting song. Natalie White is another YouTube performer who enjoys covering pop music, specifically K-pop.



You can listen to Yoonha's cover of 미인아 (piano only), without Nataie's singing here.

If you like piano music I suggest you listen to some of Yoonha's stuff, even if you're not into pop music. I hope to do an interview with Yoonha someday for pyponline.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Uiltjies knip en sulke dinge

Image Source: Richard Oshen's Blog; Original artist unknown.

Ek het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat ek oorwerk / oormoeg is—dat ek moontlik te hard oefen of te veel hooi op my vurk het. Of eerder, dat ek nie genoeg rus in kry om op te maak vir die druk van my werk, projekte en oefenregime nie. Ek het bewus geraak van ’n duidelike patroon. Sodra ek ’n gewigoptel-oefeningprogram by my gewone oefen program voeg, raak ek siek. Ek doen tans vier maal per week offisieel krygskunsoefeninge: Maandag is Hapkido, Dinsdag en Donderdag is Taekwon-Do, en Vrydagmiddag is Braziliaanse Jujitsu. En soms op die ander dae doen ek ook ’n bietjie ander aktiwiteite. Met hierdie stel oefeninge blyk ek instaat om die mas op te kom. Maar sodra ek begin om gewigopteloefeninge in te sluit—gewoonlik op ’n Sondag—raak ek siek. Dit het nou al met genoegsame repetisies gebeur dat ek die patroon kon indentifiseer. Blykbaar vereis die gewigoptelsessies baie meer hersteltyd, maw baie meer rustyd. Dis nou al drie weke ek ek is nog steeds nie klopdisselboom nie. Die hoesery is darem tot 'n einde, maar my keel is steeds seer.

My huidige sowat ses ure per nag is nie genoeg nie. Ek besef dat my liggaam eintlik nege ure verkies. Wanneer ek nie myself met ’n wekker opjaag nie, dan slaap ek gerieflik sowat nege uur, daarom dink ek dat my liggaam eerder nege ure as ses ure soek. Maar goeie genugtig, waar gaan ek nege ure in die hande kry? Party aande kom ek eers half-elf, elfuur by die huis en daar is geen manier wat ek onmiddelik in die bed kan spring nie. ’n Mens moet eers bietjie afwen. En selfs al kon ek onmiddelik in die bed klim gun dit my steeds nie nege ure se slaap nie – slegs agt ure. (Agt ure is natuurlik beter as die huidige ses ure; hoe ookal, dis nie tans moontlik om eens agture slaap te kry nie.)

Ek dink die oplossing (of ten minste die tydelike remedie) is om dagslapies te neem. Ek moet bieg dat ek knip nie graag uiltjies nie. Dis grootliks my pa se skuld wat ons kinders sleg gesê het as ons in die dag slaap. Ondanks ek al jare op my eie is (nie meer onder my ouers se invloed / dak leef nie), voel ek steeds skuldig as ek in die dag slaap. Nietemin, die siesta is tradisie in vele bevolkinge van die Mexikane tot die Grieke. Ek onthou toe ek in Griekeland was hoedat winkels helder oordag toe maak vir ’n paar ure se middagrus. Ek het ook bietjie opgelees omtrent “napping” en dis duidelik dat dit gesondheidswaarde het. Dagslapies was glo “critical” vir Lance Armstrong se suksesvolle fietsoorwinnings. Ek gaan maar eenvoudig net my skuldgevoelens onder die bed in moet skop en bietjie slaap in kry deur die dag. My werksprogram laat dit natuurlik nie elke dag toe nie, maar daar is party dae wat ek ’n uurtjie kan afknyp. Gelukkig is my woonstel slegs vyf minute se van my werk af, so my bed is gerieflik naby.

Intussen probeer ek baie hard om in die gewoonte te kom om teen middernag in die bed te wees. Ek hoef nie noodwendig te slaap nie, maar ek moet in die bed wees met die lig af. Dit is natuurlik makliker gesê as gedaan. Teen tien uur die aand kry ek my tweede asem. Dit is asof ’n helderheid my beet pak en ek met nuwe oemf kan begin werk aan iets. En dit is dan ook wat ek baie kere doen. Vele aande wanneer ek by die huis kom dan begin ek werk aan iets en voor ek my oë uitvee is dit twee ure later en lank na middernag. Die ideale job vir my sal eers tien uur of elf uur die oggend begin.

Intussen, die volgende twee doelwitte: 1. middagslapies; 2. in die bed teen middernag.

Nadat ek die bogaande geskryf het besef ek skielik dat hierdie geensins 'n unieke skrywe is nie. Ek het basies presies dieselfde geskryf verlede jaar September. 

Sunday, 23 May 2010

David Choi Concert

So last night I went to David Choi’s concert. It was great fun. Even though David Choi is one of YouTube’s foremost celebrities and his concerts are filled to capacity, his celebrity status has not gone to his head. He is just a normal guy who is slightly uncomfortable in the spotlight. I guess that is part of what makes him so amiable. His shows are very informal. He sang songs interspersed with Q&A sessions. People wrote questions on paper and chucked it in a box before the concert and he casually pulled questions from the box and answered them at leisure. Most questions revolved around his relationship status which he never gave a definite answer to. One person asked: “Do you have a girlfriend. Answer with only Yes or No.” To which David responded “Yes or No.”

What I like about the Internet culture is the interactiveness of it all. People watch David Choi perform on YouTube. David Choi has a live show and then takes a video of it using his iPhone. This video of his audience is in turn put on YouTube so that the audience become themselves “viewed”; in so doing the roles are turned around and David becomes the audience of his audience. There is just generally more interaction. For instance, for one of his songs David invited a fan up on stage to sing the song with him. This fan learned the song off the Internet and was now singing with him -- I'm sure someone recorded it and we will soon find the duet on the Internet.


What I also liked about the show was how David tried really hard to use Korean, often replacing some words from his songs with Korean equivalents to his (Korean) audience's delight. It was nice to see his effort at using Korean. His Korean is not all that good. In fact, it is a little better than mine (his vocabulary is little better). Still, his effort at using Korean was nice. It is pleasant to see somebody coming to grips with their cultural heritage. (Something I’m still trying to do.) David grew up in America and is very much American. It is only recently that he started to really "return to his roots." He only met his grandparents for the first time late last year.

The video below was of the concert on the previous night which I stumbled upon on the YouTube. I ordered a camcorder recently, but have not yet received it, which is quite a pity as I would really have wanted to record some of the performances. That is another thing I like about Internet culture and Internet celebrities. At a David Choi concert recording the show is aloud, because that is the medium of choice. It is because of free video clips on the Internet that he has become famous. Instead of seeing such recordings as copyright infringement of some sort, it is instead viewed as free marketing. David is not signed to any big record label and also doesn't see the need for it. He markets himself through the Internet using social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. In so doing he skips all the red tape, and the audience enjoys a closer relationship with him. I have emailed him before and received responses. (That was last year when I wanted to go to his show and tried to find out more information. He kindly emailed me back and gave me links to the relevant websites.) This kind of interaction is hardly possible with conventional celebrities.



This video below is some of the little snippits that David Choi uploads on YouTube, talking about the things he is doing and commenting about his experiences in Korea.




Again this type of personal interaction is not something one would find with normal celebrities. Of course there are those terrible Reality TV shows like "The Ozbournes," but those are just creepy. What we have here is something more personal. David Choi is actually sharing a little bit of himself with his audience -- we do not feel like voyears spying; instead we are invited into parts of his life. This kind of openness seems to release us from any voyearistic, stalking behaviour. There is no need for it.

After missing out on David Choi's performances last year I am really happy that I was able to attend a concert this time round. I almost missed this time two as I was taking an afternoon nap and overslept somewhat. Luckily by the time I arrived at the concert hall the opening act was just finishing off her last song, so I did not miss anything.

Gedig: Haas terug

"Hot Stuff" by Lilivanili

Haas haastig terug, my beminde,
terug voordat jou rooirissie rusplek
afkoel voordat jou blossende borste
(spitsige rooiwangperskes) skaam word
voordat jou gedoude lippe soos mis
voor die dag        kom gou-gou terug!

Kom terug my beminde, vóór ek sterf!

Film Reviews: Two Korean Movies

I recently watched two Korean films. The first a fun fantasy comedy and the other an intriguing drama that considers the prejudice against foreigners in Korea.

Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard (2009)

Jeon Woo Chi is a delightful fantasy comedy about a young and rebellious wizard who misuses his magical gifts. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a fierce battle against demons looking for a magical flute. Three demi-gods decide to punish Woo Chi for his unruly behaviour and imprison him in a painting. Five hundred years later the demi-gods are in need of his help and summons him back, but now it is present day Korea. The main role is played by the charming Kang Dong-Won opposite Lim Soo-Jeong who acted in one of my favourite Korean movies: I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay (with Rain). Jeon Woo Chi is director Choi Dong-Hun’s third film. The others were Tazza (2006) and The Big Swindle (2004). Jeon Woo Chi is the only one of Choi Dong-Hun’s movie’s I’ve seen. While I’m not necessarily one for comedies, Jeon Woo Chi was an enchanting (sorry for the pun) joyride.




Bandhobi 반두비 (2009)

The story of a 17 year old Korean girl, Min-Seo, and a 29 year old migrant worker, Karim, whom is from Bangladesh, and there awkward relationship. The movie centres around the prejudice that Koreans typically have of foreigners and does a pretty good job to highlight racial issues in Korea. The film is completely devoid of a soundtrack – the scenes are often long, quiet, and uncomfortable, emphasizing the uncomfortable vibes foreigners sometimes. Even though Karim is fluent in Korean he is still an outsider and is looked down upon by Koreans; even Min-Seo, many years his junior speaks down to him. It is one of the more interesting Korean films I’ve seen. The film does reinforce the idea that all white male English teachers are perverts, but it is a stereotype required for the success of the story so I can overlook it. Although only 107 minutes in leghth, it did feel excruciatingly long at times. I think director Shin Dong-Il did an excellent job at capturing the emotional essence of prejudice against foreigners in Korea.

Three R&B Songs

I'm not a big fan of R&B. I prefer old style Rhythm & Blues much better than contemporary R&B. Nonetheless, every so often I hear an R&B song that resonates with me. Here are three of them:

Alicia Keys -- "Fallin'"



India Arie -- "Brown Skin"



Whitney Houston -- "My Love Is Your Love"

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Quit Facebook Day, May 31st


Yes, there is actually a Quit Facebook Day scheduled for May 31st.

More and more people are leaving Facebook over different concerns; one being privacy issues (see for instance this), another being time wasting. My reason for not having a Facebook profile is privacy concerns. The idea that Facebook lays claim to everything you put on Facebook, including your photos and other data just freaks me out. You may think that the photos, text and even private messages you put on Facebook belong to you. Well, you are wrong. According to their Terms of Service it belongs to them and they can do with it whatever they want; they do not need your consentiii because you signed all your rights away when you agreed to the service. Even when you delete information from Facebook it is not really deleted. Facebook keeps it in their databanks for data mining.

It is not that I’m overly concerned about having information about me “out there.” I have this blog, after all, which is quite candid. From it people can find out where in the world I live (although not my address), my occupation, my hobbies, my interests, even find a gallery of photos of me. But at least Blogger do not lay claim to “ownership” to any of these in they way that Facebook does. These are mine. Actually, much of my material here is made freely available for people to use under a Creative Commons license. The difference is that it was my active choice, unlike on Facebook where your choices are obscured and privacy settings are by default overly open. The default privacy settings have actually worsened from 2005 to 2010 – see a visual depiction here.

It’s not that Facebook doesn’t have value. I think it is a great tool for reconnecting with people you have lost contact with. Be that as it may, if people are really searching for me, I’d prefer them to find me not through Facebook.

A life without Facebook, is that possible? Indeed it is. There are other alternative social networks. One I’m looking forward to is the proposed Diaspora-project. It is an open source project currently in development that will be a “privacy aware, personally controlled” social network. Diaspora will move away from Facebook’s “centralized social web” to a “convenient decentralized network.” Diaspora will probably only become available around September / October this year. While I will personally wait to for the Diaspora project to become active, here are some other alternatives to Facebook, not to mention Twitter, Flickr and conventional blogs.

Quitting Facebook is not easy. First of all, it is quite difficult to quit all those hours of  “social time” with your friends. Secondly, Facebook makes it exceedingly difficult for you to delete your profile; they prefer you to just suspend it. Deleting it takes lots of time and effort as I found out when I set out to delete my profile some years back. Also, with the whole world Facebook-crazy, you may find yourself left in the cold as some British students found out. But fear not, there are a whole movement against Facebook: Many people are living a Facebook-free life. Take for instance the Anti-Facebook League of Intelligentsia. There is even an Anti-Facebook page on Facebook! Although I think that they're "doing it wrong."

Thursday, 20 May 2010

David Choi in Korea (Again)

Last year I was completely stoked when I heard David Choi was coming to perform in Korea. He performed at the Ssamzie Sound Festival; however, by the time I was able to get there he had already performed. His scheduled performance had been moved to an earlier time slot for some reason, causing me to miss him. The good news is that David is back in Korea at this very momemnt, so hopefully I will get to see him this time round.


Fickle Summer Plans

Image Source: Reuters
Since I kind of decided not to go to England during my Summer Break anymore (hoping to save some money), I thought I could rather have an inexpensive holiday in Thailand. I've never been to Thailand and have only heard good things of it from friends that have enjoyed Thai hospitality. Of course, visiting Thailand won't happen either. Thailand is currently experiencing the worst violence it has experienced in 20 years! Bangkok is up in flames.

Instead I might go to the Philippines. I've never really been interested in the Philippines (apart from learning Philippino stick fighting); however, a Korean friend of mine is currently there--his company sent him there on an engineering project. It would be nice to visit him and maybe I could go do some scuba diving. Apparently it is a good place for it.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

What's the South Gonna Do?

It is confirmed today that the South Korean naval ship that sunk recently was hit by a North Korean torpedo, according to the Choson Ilbo daily newspaper. [Read an English translation of the article here.] The investigation team was able to deduce this from the torpedo’s propeller which has a serial number on it stamped with Korean characters in a font used by the Communist regime.

Even though it is confirmed that North Korea destroyed a South Korean vessel, the South is unlikely to retaliate. Even though South Korea’s armed forces are superior to that of North Korea, and although South Korea is backed by the United States, South Korea will avoid war at all cost. South Korea has build itself up to be one of the “Four Asian Tigers”: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea. These are the new industrialized countries (NICs) of Asia. Korea has developed into an advanced economy, able to compete internationally with other first world countries. For South Korea to go to war means to risk its economic stability, something it would not do. South Korea is unlikely to retaliate because unlike South Korea, North Korea is spiteful and will actually go to war. North Korea has far less to lose.

The worst South Korea will do is refuse the North some aid. Every year South Korea sends tons of rice and other aid to its neighbour. This food is send to alleviate the terrible poverty experienced by the normal North Korean people. Unfortunately such aid is hijacked by the military and I doubt very much that the average North Korean benefits much from it.

I’d be curious to see how South Korea is going to react now that it is official that it was attacked. As I said already, they will probably do nothing much, but, who knows, maybe they’ll prove me wrong. Last month, the author of ROK Drop made some suggestions of what South Korea ought to do, apart from going to war, of course.

Things to Do Before I Die (or not)

I do not really have a bucketlist. Maybe it will change once I grow old enough to feel the enivitability close at hand, but for the moment there are no specific things that I have to do before I die. There are some things—let’s call them "vague goals"—that I hope to do during the course of my life; for instance, I’d like to become a helicoptor pilot, I’d like to learn to play jazz piano, I’d like to see lake on top of Baekdu Mountain, I’d like to attend a proper Texan Rodeo . . . These are all things I’d like to do or experience; I cannot think of anything I have to do.

Another example of something I’d like to experience is to hear Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” live.

Pasop wat jy sê

Gisteraand gesels ek en my Taekwon-Do afrigter en die gesprek maak toe skielik ’n interesante draai. My afrigter waarsku my dat dit alweer verkiesingstyd is in Korea en met die huidige administrasie in plek moet ’n mens versigtig wees wat jy sê. Of meer spesifiek, moet “ek” versigtig wees. Die rede is omdat ek ’n hoë rang in ITF Taekwon-Do het. ITF Taekwon-Do word ook in Noord-Korea gedoen en die huidige regering het ’n aggresiewe houding teenoor Noord-Korea. Heksejagtery gebeur glo tydens hierdie tye wat aanloop na die stembus. Ek dink dit is heel belaglik omdat ek niks met Noord-Korea te maak het nie en is pertinent gekant teen die Noord-Koreaanse diktatorale regering.

Vanoggend toe lees ek ’n skrywe op die bekende Roboseyo-blog. (Roboseyo is een van die vooraanstaande blogs deur ’n uitlander in Korea.) Die skrywe handel oor vryheid van spraak in Korea. Soms vergeet ek dat Korea nog ernstige vryheid van spraak probleme het.

My afrigter is natuurlik reg in sy aanmatiging dat ek versigtig moet wees. Ek het ’n hoë aanlyn profiel as ’n skrywer van krygskunsverwante onderwerpe, en in besonder oor ITF Taekwon-Do. Verder is dit welbekend dat ek in Suid-Korea woonagtig is. Wie weet watse inligtiging daar omtrent my deur diverse groepe bymekaar gemaak word? Om hierdie rede vermy ek gewoonlik politieke en erg opinie gelaaide skrywes. Veral op hierdie blog. My onlangse skrywe was ’n uitsondering en was dalk ’n slegte skuif gewees.

Vir wat dit (in Afrikaans) werd is, ek is nie ’n spioen vir ’n kommunistiese agentskap nie. Maar indien ek was sou ek dit ook seker ontken het, sou ek nie? ’n Onskuldige verdenkinge kan net nie wen nie . . . 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Miyavism

I wish I can see Miyavi perform live. There is something about the way he mixes emotion with improvisation that really resonate with me. His voice is not exceptionally melodious, but that is part of its charm, isn’t it? There's something raw about him: something, at once tender, and rough. He has an androgynous quality that reverberates with my own constitution. He is weird like Marilyn Manson, but somehow he escapes Manson’s freakishness. Unlike Manson he does not try to shock. Miyavi’s “weirdness” comes across as an honest reflection of his peculiar talent. In that sense, Miyavi is much more like Björk. His honesty as reflected in his blog updates is also something that appeals to me. Although he is an international superstar, he's also just a normal person and verbalizes it . . . he's not trying to keep up appearances. He says that the hair extensions that's part of the current tour is irritating; he tells of the bruises he got when he fell off the stage; he mentions when he's tired; he leaves a nice message for his mom on Mother's Day.

Although Miyavi is kicking off his world tour again, it doesn’t seem like he's going to perform in Korea any time soon. Maybe there isn’t a fan base in Korea. None of the Koreans I’ve asked about him knows who he is. After some gigs in Japan he’ll start a tour in America, performing in many of the big cities in the US and Canada: San Diego, Los Angelas, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Toronoto, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston . . .

I truly hope that I get to see him at least once before my stint in the Far East is over.


Great Uncut Cinematic Fight Sequence

This scene was just superbly shot. Unfortunately I don't know from which movie it is from. (I stumbled upon it on YouTube while preparing for a lesson on cinematography for my film class.) The actor is Tony Jaa (Tatchakorn Yeerum) from the Ong Bak films. I have only seen the first Ong Bak film, not any of the Ong Bak sequels, so I'm guessing that this scene is from one of them.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Important Thoughts I Wish to Share with My Loved Ones

I try to avoid serious political and religious posts on this blog. I have another blog for that. However, since more of my family and friends read this blog than the other one I thought I’d share these thoughts here as I believe them important. So to all my loved-ones, this more serious post is for you.

In personal letters to friends and family I have commented that I wouldn’t mind to go to Greece or Portugal as a future career stationing. We all know what happened to Greece. Portugal and Spain will probably be next and from there move all over Europe, especially the East Bloc countries. The United Kingdom has also started to show symptoms. As I mentioned to friends and family before, the global economic breakdown is far from over. The worse is yet to come. The stimulus money merely helped with some of the symptoms; it did not cure the problem. It is like prescribing a pain pill for a rotten tooth. Europe will probably see much more protests and rioting than we saw in the United States thus far. Most Americans believed that bailing out the Too-Big-To-Fails will solve the problem. Unlike the Americans, the Europeans now have a case study and we are likely to see more people actively voicing and demonstrating their disagreement with bailouts and similar strategies. The protests we’ve already seen in Greece, Ireland, Romania and elsewhere are likely to be repeated in other European countries once their economies weaken. (By the way, when market prices come down in Europe, do not buy into them. The media will probably hype it as a great time to buy into the European markets. Do not believe them.)

My dream of going to work in Europe will have to wait. (The same goes for my plans to visit Europe during the coming Summer Break.) I am therefore happy to announce that I will probably continue to work at my current job. Two weeks after my department chair was supposed to let me know if they intend to renew my contract or not, I could not wait any longer. So one morning I just got up the nerve and went to his office to ask him directly what the department’s intention is. I was happy to hear that their intent is to renew my contract. As I told my brother the other day, while Korea is not where I want to settle, it is still good to me. I’m still gaining valuable teaching experience, and it does allow me to pursue some of my other passions, like the martial arts.

I’m not saying that South Korea will stay unaffected—far from it. The global economic depression means less export for Asia. As more and more Western countries become affected, they will import less from abroad. China will be severely affected. I don’t know exactly how China and South Korea are related economically, but I’m sure it will have a negative effect. What is disconcerting is that any weakening in China may cause their baby brother, North Korea, to become more restless, which will undoubtedly influence the Far East, South Korea in particular, negatively. Furthermore, the United States continual economic insecurity and global political unrest is sure to affect South Korea, which is, in my opinion, for many practical purposes, an American colony. Japan is already experiencing serious economic concerns. In short, it is very feasible that South Korea will not escape an economic crisis and we are feeling some of it already. Young graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs. The competition is fiercer than before. There also seems to be an increase in violent crimes in Korea. While these are still exponentially fewer than in South Africa, this upward turn in violence does seem to be a symptom of underlying stress. South Korea is also one of the many countries that dumped stimulus money into their economy. Like with America, stimulus money does not solve the problem, it merely hides it for a while.

The really disconcerting thing is America’s Pakistani War. This is something that is neglected by the mainstream media, but is probably one of the most volatile things happening on the planet as it can easily spread to India, which is ranked the fourth largest military in the world. The bi-weekly drone attacks on Pakistan by the United States are alarming. America’s drone attacks started a year ago. Since then the number of innocent civilians to have perished have been nonsensical. It is not farfetched to image some of the surviving family members of these “collateral damage” to want revenge. Do not be surprised by terrorist attacks on America and its allies this year. And then we ought not to forget about Israel. While hard headed Israel continues to aggravate those around it (Gaza / Iran?) the United States is continuously affirming its intimate ties with it. In practical terms this means that Israel’s enemies are also America’s enemies. All of these just contribute to possible terrorist attacks and in so doing America will merely do what it did the previous time—retaliate with war. Add to this the trend for many countries that go into serious economic decline; they turn to war. War is a way for getting a country focused on an external “enemy.” If things continue like this, more wars around the world are inevitable. A possible third world war is not farfetched? All we can do is pray that that is not our immediate future.

So what are we to do? Well, wealth preservation is an important consideration. Don’t gamble with your money (avoid the crazy stock market) and invest instead in things with intrinsic value like gold. Save by buying products in bulk like at Costco or Metro. By perishables at your local community, rather than at the big supermarkets like Wallmart and Spar. By supporting the small stores, the Portuguese Fruit & Veg on the corner, for instance, you are strengthening your own community and in the difficult times it would be your small community working together that will help you through the tight times. Build a network of service trading in your community. Entrepreneurs should consider quality and the personal touch paramount. These are the qualities that will make the difference between successful and failing small businesses. Lastly, in the past I have advised my friends and family to change their jobs if they are not feeling fulfilled, as I strongly believe that job satisfaction is absolutely crucial to ones wellbeing. For the time being, however, I would advise people to stick it out in their dreary jobs. Now is not the time to gamble with a secure income. Rather, save money and try to get your fulfilment on the sideline. Maybe, with time and planning, you can build your hobby into an income. But until then, do not quit your day job.

Finally, get informed by staying abreast with the real news, not mainstream news. Look at alternative news options like Democracy Now. Look at my suggestions in the sidebar under “Now in the (Alternative) Media” for some suggestions. Be careful, however, as focussing on the negatives can easily sabotage you. It does me. I often get disheartened at the state of the world. The only way to survive is to augment your information intake with the advice of Paul to the Philippians: “. . . whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, good, of good report, has virtue and praise, think on these . . .” In these times of uncertainty we need to strive for higher things. Focus on the arts and literature that will enrich your life, rather than pollute and clutter it. Nurture your spirituality. Faith, Hope, Trust have been the sources of power that helped people overcome the difficulties of the past. And Love. Real Love, not Hollywood inspired infatuations.God's Love.

Short Movie Reviews

Over the last six or so months I’ve seen a number of movies but haven’t had the time (or interest) to mention them here. There are probably only two on this list that really ought to receive a proper review, but I don't have the time to do so now. So, in no particular order (merely in the order that I can recall them):

Solomon Cane (2009)

Solomon Kane is based on the pulp fiction comic books by the same name, based on the character created by Robert Y. Howard. When Satan sends a demon to collect Kane’s soul for payment of a deal they struck in the past, Kane decides to break the contract and runs. So starts his journey to redemption, which involves, among other things, rescuing a puritan (Huguenot) girl that has been abducted by a band of evildoers. These types of sword and sorcery films are few and far in between so it was a nice watch. The plot, of course, espouses Salvation-by-Works, and so misconstrues the Gospel. The movie does raise some interesting questions about self-defence and pacifism.

Green Zone (2010)

The “Green Zone” is that area in Baghdad, Iraq, where the international representation resides. The film focuses on the politics surrounding the “weapons of mass destruction” saga that led to the Iraqi war. It is a well directed, well acted, war thriller. The movies stars Matt Damon and was directed by Paul Greengrass whom also directed The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland sees Alice (now 19 and about to get married to a stereotypical irritation of a man) returns to Wonderland through the rabbit’s hole. It is a coming of age tale in which Alice needs to rediscover her inner self and face the Red Queen’s dreaded Jabberwocky. It is visually beautiful but not one of Burton’s masterpieces. As always, Johnny Depp is fun to watch.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

A remake of the 1981 fantasy adventure film that recounts to tale of Perseus. This original fantasy was one of my favourites and wafted my young imagination into the world of myth and legend. Even though the special effects and CGI in the 2010 version is superb, it did not do for me what the 1981 film did. Maybe I’ve just grown too old. Nonetheless, the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans is well worth seeing just for the Pegasus. This is probably the best rendition of a Pegasus I’ve ever seen. Absolutely stunning. The story, however, is a simple hero quest, and is as such quite predictable. A great film if you’re a teenage boy.

The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies is another remake of an earlier film from 1973. A small town’s water supply gets poisoned and the people turn into murderous zombies – or something to that effect. I saw this movie on the spur of the moment and had no idea what to expect. It has some very tense moments but is not the type of film I’d suggest wasting your time on. Also, the behaviour of the “zombies” are inconsistent and this is never explained. Some are as stupid as logs, others are intelligent kidnappers and hunters. Give this one a skip.

Robin Hood (2010)

This film has been remade so many times that one is hesitant to see any new release. Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is not too bad. It acts as a type of prequel to the legend, showing how Robin became an outlaw. Good action, but there's nothing superb about the film. Russel Crowe’s English accent changes every so often. The only reason I’d watch this film again is to see the lovely Cate Blanchett as the Lady Marion. She has a queenly beauty that is just staggering.

Daybreakers (2010)

A vampire film in which vampires have taken over the world and the supply of blood is running short. A handful of humans remain; living on the outskirts of civilization they are being hunted by the vampire authorities which would farm them. The movie has an interesting deconstruction of the vampire genre, but not interesting enough to make it a must see vampire movie. Only watch it if you are an avid Ethan Hawke or a vampire fan. On both accounts you may be disappointed.

The Bounty Hunter (2010)

Another spur of the moment watch for me. It’s an “action” romantic comedy featuring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. There’s not much more to say about it.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The second film of the planned trilogy loses some of its charm from the first. The first one was much better, although the second one isn't too bad.

Raging Phoenix (2009)

A Thai martial art film starring Yayin Vismistananda. This movie will probably only be enjoyed by martial art enthusiasts; however, they are likely to enjoy it a lot. The plot is one of those typical martial art plots: kidnapped loved ones that needs saving. Be that as it may, the martial art choreography is absolute enjoyment and mixes some interesting combinations like Capoeira, Chinese Drunken Fist and Drunken Muay Thai. There is even some Parkour.

Invictus (2010)

Nelson Mandela becomes president of the New South Africa in 1994. The following year South Africa is to host the Rugby World Cup. Mandela uses this event to unite South Africans in a common brotherhood. It is not Clint Eastwood’s greatest film, but it is still, like most Eastwood films, very well done. The performances of Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, although not perfect, are admirably accomplished. The script is based on John Carlin’s book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. It is an inspiring film and reminds one of the hope that South Africans had of a Rainbow Nation. A hope that is fast dwindling. I could not help but wonder if the release of Invictus so close to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa is more than coincidence. And I can also only hope that the Soccer World Cup may help South Africa in a similar way that the Rugby World Cup did.

Sherlock Holmes (2010)

The amiable Rovert Downey, Jr. plays Sherlock Holmes with Jude Law in the role of Dr. John Watson. It’s a very enjoyable piece of escapism. It’s fun, but will probably irritate fans of the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Terry Gilliam’s fantasy film featuring Heath Ledger, making it the last film released featuring the late Ledger. Because of Ledger’s untimely death the film was suspended, but Ledger’s friends, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrel, pitched in to portray Ledger’s character, Tony, when he entered Doctor Parnassus Imaginarium – a surreal dreamworld. It is a weird film and may not be to everyone’s taste. It has a uniquely gothic and surreal feel to it which I enjoyed.

Julie & Julia (2009)

Probably the best film on this list; but then again, I am biased as I am an avid Meryl Streep fan. The film weaves the stories of Julia Child, the lady that brought French cooking to the American home, and Julie Powell, the blogger, who started the blog “The Julie/Julia Project” in which she cooked her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Excellent acting; a great script. If you do not like dramas you may wish to skip it. Otherwise, do not miss out on this touching, fun, enchanting film.

The Soloist (2009)

The third film on this list featuring Robert Downey, Jr. In The Soloist he plays a columnist for the Los Angeles Times alongside Jamie Foxx as the schizophrenic musician living on the streets. The Soloist is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers. It is a beautiful film with strong performances by Downey and Fox and a must see for anyone that enjoys classical music.

August Rush (2007)

My X and I planned to see this together but we broke up before we got to it so I avoided seeing it. However, when I was in South Africa at the beginning of the year I thought it high time to see and close that chapter. It is a very sentimental story about the power of music to reunite people and has somewhat of an Oliver Twist thread to it. The only way to take this film seriously is if you consider it a fairytale, in which case it is a beautiful fairytale. If you are not into sentimental stuff, nor believe in love at first sight or any such naiveties, do not watch it.

Fringe (Seasons I, 2008 & II, 2009)

Fringe is a sci-fi TV series that is somewhat like The X-Files. FBI agents in the “Fringe Division” investigate cases that can only be solved with “fringe science.” Every episode investigates a unique case, but there is an overarching story involving a “Pattern” of terrorist attacks based on high tech science.

Hung (2009)

A comedy series of a school basket ball coach, Ray Drecker, that loses his home in a fire and his children are forced to move in with his ex-wife. Drecker is desperate to make money and with the help of an acquaintance (an aspirant poet) begins a male prostitute service with often hilarious consequences.  Although it has an adult themed back drop it doesn't rely on soft porn. Rather, the comedy is based on the ironic or uncomfortable situations that Drecker finds himself in, not on vulgar slapstick.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

"Green Vase with Red Flowers"


The walls in my new office are a bit dreary so I thought I should draw something to put up in my office. I made this pastel sketch Saturday evening. My office has some lime green elements which will match the vase and green leaves in picture. Coloured paper, instead of the white paper, would probably have looked better but I made the best of what I had. Of course I don’t know if the picture will actually work in my office until I go put it up on Monday. If it works, I may have to make two more pictures as the wall is quite long and one such a sketch will not be enough.

Koreaans

Aangesien my kontrak hernu gaan word en ek vir ’n verdere twee jaar in Korea gaan aan bly (indien dit God se wil is) het ek besluit dat ek pertinent aandag moet gee aan die aanleer van die Koreaanse taal. Ek ken genoeg Koreaans om relatief gemaklik oor die weg te kom. Ek kan dinge bestel by restaurante, taxi-bestuurders aanwysings gee, en die assistente in die boekwinkels vra om my te help as ek opsoek is na ’n spesifieke titel. In gesprekke met Koreane kan ek met verbasende gereeldheid, met my 10% luisterbegrip en uit die konteks, aflei waaroor gepraat word. Die probleem is egter dat ek myself nie regtig kan uitdruk met enige ware gemak nie. En terwyl ek sowat 10% verstaan en dit my instaat stel om te oorleef met my woordeboek in my hand, is dit steeds nie genoeg nie. Ek is steeds gestrem. Ek sou baie graag Koreaans formeel wou leer maar my werksure laat dit nie toe nie en my aande is vol met krygskunsklasse sodat ek ook nie na-uurse Koreaanse klasse kan neem nie en ek is nie van plan om my krygskunsaktiwiteite af te skaal nie – dit was een van die redes hoekom ek terug gekom het Korea toe.

So wat is die oplossing? ’n Nuwe gedetermineerdheid om Koreaans te leer. As ek aan bly in Korea wil ek regtig my self meer verdiep in die kultuur. Ek weet dit sal altyd onmoontlik wees om “een van hulle” te word. Die blote feit dat ek anders lyk sal altyd van my ’n uitlander maak, ongeag my vlotheid aan die taal. Nietemin, ek wil ten minste ’n basiese gesprek kan voer voordat my lewe in Korea tot ’n einde kom.


Ek het daarom besluit dat ek Hollym se “Alive Korean Language Series” gaan aanskaf. Dis ’n reeks van vier boeke wat die vier taalvaardighede dek: gesprek, luister, skryf, en lees. Dalk kan ek hierdie naweek nog by ’n goeie boekwinkel uitkom en sien of ek hierdie boeke in die hande kan kry. Ek het verskye ander boeke omtrent Koreaans, maar hulle is almal “survival Korean” tipe “phrase books.” Wat ek kort is iets meer gestruktureerd.

Ek het ook besluit dat ek ’n lys van die mees algemene werkwoordfrases moet kry. Koreaans spil rondom die werkwoord. Dit is die belangrikste deel van ’n sin. Koreaanse sinne is gereeld sonder ’n subjek. Partykeer selfs sonder ’n objek. Maar nooit sonder ’n werkwoord nie. ’n Frase soos 합니다 (“doen”) is ’n volledige sin in Koreaans. Ek is oortuig dat indien ek meer werkwoorde en hulle verbuigings ken, selfekspressie in die taal baie makliker sal wees.

Archaic

(This is the post that wouldn't publish.)


I asked an assistant at my department to dub me an audio tape that I need for one class. I gave her the original and an empty audio cassette. She looked at me with a blank face and finally said that she had no idea how to do it. So I took out the double deck cassette player, put in the original tape in the one deck and the empty tape in the second deck, pressed play for the one and record and play for the other. I asked her to please bring me the tape once it is fully recorded.

Today I used the recorded tape only to find that it is only recorded on the one side. Once the original tape was finished playing Side A, the assistant never turned it over to record Side B. That one have to actually dub both sides is something I’ve taken for granted and neglected to tell her.

This, of course, makes me feel terribly old. This girl grew up when audio cassettes have become obsolete. She has never copied a tape before. The closest she comes to anything remotely as archaic as dubbing a tape is to burn a CD. Her audio life concerns copy-and-pasting from her PC to her MP3-player and setting up playlists.

What does she know about making “Love Tapes,” a whole night’s hard work of selecting your favourite love song, chosen with much care for their (subliminal) messages and edited together on a tape that you bought from the Indian’s store? Burning a compilation of the latest pop-songs that you downloaded from the Internet just doesn’t compare.

Frank Frazetta (1928-2010)


(All pictures are from the UNOFFICIAL Frank Franzetta  Art Gallery)

A couple of days ago (May 10th) Frank Frazetta passed away.

I find it fascinating how great an impact this artist had on me. In truth, in the past I’ve never really taken much notice of his name; however, browsing through his paintings just a day or two ago I realized that Frazetta is probably one of the artists that have been most influential on me.

While looking through his work I realized that I am very familiar with much of his oeuvre. Even though I studied History of Art and am fairly familiar with the majority of the typical artists one would encounter in formal History of Art textbooks, I am sure that I find Frazetta’s oeuvre more recognizable than these other great artist. The reason is that I’ve always had a strong interest in all things fantasy and Frazetta is one of the (if not the) original fantasy and sci-fi artist. My interest in fantasy, since a very young age, caused me to take note of Frazetta’s work. He has the ability to capture a whole (fantasy) world, a whole adventure, a whole enchanted quest in one scene.

As a child I spent hours and hours drawing fantasy pictures, attempting to imitate a Frazettian style. I drew dragons and wizards, gladiators and warlocks; muscular warriors and their Amazon princesses. From drawing pictures I went on to write fantasy stories and wrote a couple of (unpublished) fantasy novels when I was in high school and during my early university years. Formal education in English Literature somewhat matured my writing more “adult” (and less fantasy) themes, but I’ve always wanted to revisit those grander, more mythical genres of my youth. I guess that I came to believe that the fantasy genre that I enjoyed so much during my youth was immature and that this is the reason I stopped writing much in this genre. But now, as I’m older I’m less insecure about things and seeing as two of the greatest literary scholars of the previous century, namely C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, both former professors at Oxford University, were fantasy-adventure novelist, I guess returning to this genre may very well be admirable. Lewis and Tolkien’s novels are just as much “high literature” as any of the other great literature out there.

But back to Frank Frazetta . . . his contribution to the fantasy genre is immeasurable. And even after his death his legacy lives on through his work and through all the people he influenced and inspired.