Friday, 27 January 2012

Yesterday Morning's Read

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Politsi, Limpopo

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sunday, 22 January 2012

'n Ware verhaal

Gister in Mtunzini het 'n moffie met dieselde naam as een van my broers 'n kobra probeer vang en is deur die slang gepik. (Ek dog kobras spoeg, maar dit daar gelaat.) Die moffie is in 'n kritiese toestand in die hospitaal. Hy is die lover van 'n bekende geskiedkundige se seun wat ook ietwat van 'n geskiedkundige is. Die geskiedkundige se gay seun wat ook ietwat van 'n geskiedkundige is, is die eks man van 'n beroemde Afrikaanse romanskrywer. Die beroemde Afrikaanse romanskrywer het eenkeer 'n seminar voorgedra in Potchefstroom wat ek bygewoon het terwyl ek nog Skryfkuns gestudeer het. Die beroemde Afrikaanse romanskrywer se gay eks-man het op 'n keer 'n ding aan die gang gehad met SAL se voormalige senior lughawe bestuurder vir kliëntediens. Die voormalige senior lughawe bestuurder vir kliëntediens wat lank terug afgetree het en al in Frankryk in die tronk was omtrent dwelmhandel, sit voor my met net 'n handdoek om sy lyf en gesels oor die goeie ou dae. (Glo het Frankryk se tronke heerlike kos.) Hy het nie genoeg petrol om huistoe te gaan nie en het twee laaities by hom. Die twee laaities lê langs my en slaap op matrasse. Die een is 'n "rent boy" met 'n lae I.K. en 'n mond-abses. 'n Mond-abses is nie ideaal as jou werk oraleseks behels nie. Die ander een is 'n heroïen-verslaafde met gang tatoos op se lyf en 'n sigaretskyf agter sy ge-pierce-de oor gesteek. Daar's ook 'n hond. Eintlik twee honde, maar die een lê binne langs die "rent boy" en die ander een is buite. Die hond wat binne is, is inteligent en hou ons met nuuskurigheid dop. Aan die anderkant langs my sit my vriendin. Ek en my vriendin (my best friend) sit en wonder hoe dit is dat die moffie wat dieselfde naam as een van my broers het en wat die kobra probeer vang het en deur die slang gebyt is en nou in kritieke toestand in die hospitaal lê, veroorsaak het dat die afgetrede gay SAL senior lughawe bestuurder vir kliëntediens, die "rent boy" met die mond-abses en die heroïen-verslaafde ons naweek binnegeval het. Ek en my vriendin het 'n afspraak gehad om oor "verwyt" te gesels, maar daar is nie nou geleentheid daarvoor nie. Ek het bietjie verwyt daaroor.

Ek verstaan hoekom die beroemde Afrikaanse skrywer wat getroud was met die gay seun van 'n bekende geskiedkundige, en wat op 'n tyd 'n seminaar oor romanskryf in Potchefstroom gegee het wat ek bygewoon het, skryf. As jy deur sulke vreemde dinge omring word, is daar min maniere om daaruit sin te maak. Skryf, hoe onsamehangend ookal, is een manier.
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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Thursday, 19 January 2012

"Book of Books" Exhibit, National Library, Cape Town

A photo of one of the pages from an old Bible on display at the "Book of Books" exhibit at the National Library, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible (1611-2011).

Some trivia: the first English translation of the Bible was done in most part by John Wycliffe in 1383. It was a handwritten translation. In 1525 William Tyndale completed and printed a Bible for the "common man", which was smuggled into England from Germany. Tyndale was eventually arrested and burnt at the stake in 1536. King Henry VII ordered that the English Bible be used in all the churches in England sometime after 1539, so that ever Bible did become accessible by the "common man". King James I resolved that a proper translation was needed, and a panel of translators was organized in 1603. The King James Become was published in 1611.

Bible were published in South Africa from the early 1800s, with translations into many of the indigenous languages.

The Society of True Afrikaners was founded in 1875 with the purpose of translating the Bible into Afrikaans. The first complete Afrikaans Bible was only published in 1933 with a revision in 1953, known as the Afrikaans Old Translation ("ou vertaling") and considered one of the best translations of the Bible into any language. A new direct translation is currently in the works.
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"Louis Botha: Boer, Krygsman, Staatsman"

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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Rear of Table Mountain as Viewed from an Obscure, Abandoned Trafic Light Intersection


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Gatsby's

A Gatsby's is a long bread loaf (imagine a French baguette, only thicker), filled with slap-chips (french fries), vegetables and other toppings of your choice (eg. curry, beef, chicken, vienna sausages). This Capetonian fast food is too big for a single person to consume alone; instead it is enjoyed by three or four friends. l had a quarter Gatsby's, enjoyed it thoroughly, and was satisfactory filled.

An inexpensive lunch for a group of friends; a high kilojoules feast amongst friends that do not care if you gain weight or not.
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Venus oppie platteland

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Vintage Pop

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Fish & Chips

The best value for money I've had on my trip in South Africa so far: hake and chips for only R19,95; that's less than $3! Enjoyed, Capetonian style, with ginger beer.
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Muizenberg Station

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At Muizenberg

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Blomme in blikbekers

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Statue of Jan Smuts in Front of the National Art Galary, Cape Town

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town

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Monkey in a Tree

Me in a tree, at the Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town
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Lemon Meringue at Rhodes Memorial Restaurant

An exquisite lemon meringue with vanilla ice-cream, garnished with mint and drizzled strawberry sauce, at the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant, Cape Town.
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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Thoughts on Cape Town

I've often been told what a great place Cape Town is, but have had few opportunities to acquant myself with the Mother City. All I knew from my very limited prior visits is that I'm not fond of the Cape's weather and that the flora is not to my liking -- a prefer the more lush broad-leaf greenery of South-Africa's sub-tropical East Coast.

However, over the past few days I've spent with my brother, I've slowly come to appreciate what Cape Town, as a city, has to offer. It is a vibrant international city with a remarkable mixture of antique and modern design. I'm yet to visit the museums, galleries, or arthouses (that's planned for either Monday or Tuesday), but even from just walking passed galleries and designer shops, one can get a feeling for the creative spirit of the place. Another thing that has really impressed me is the public transportation system. It is still far from what I'm used to in South Korea, but compared with the rest of South Africa the new system of busses and trains are pretty impressive. I can only imagine how much it would have improved in a few years (when I may consider returning more long-term to South Africa).

The greater Cape Town area also contains three big universities: The University of Cape Town, which is positioning itself as the greatest university in Africa; Stellenbosch University, a well established international university; and the University of the Western Cape, a self-proclaimed "people's university" that counts such renound figures as Antjie Krog as one of its faculty. Not to mention all the other smaller colleges -- all potential places for me to work. (I actually received a job offer at the natural therapy mission station at Helderberg College during my trip last year when I visited, but since I was still at the beginning of my new contract at the university I work at in Korea, I didn't really considered it seriously.)

Cape Town also offers a variety of recreations that I'm interested in. There are plenty of theatres, cinemas (including art cinemas), and live music venues. There is also a variety of martial arts, but also opportunity for me to open a martial art centre of my own. Although there are both Taekwon-Do and Hapkido gyms, the is enough seperation between them for me to find my own niche as a Korean martial arts instructor (teaching ITF Taekwon-Do, Hapkido and Yusul). Furthermore, Here is an active Parkour community for me to join. Dane Grant, the "Father of Parkour in South Africa", who introduced me to Parkour some years back, relocated to the Cape. There is also scuba diving opportunities, although I'm not too keen to swim in the icy Cape waters.

With all this in mind, I have to consider Cape Town as a possible destination after my time in Korea comes to an end. Cape Town is also one of the hot spots for Koreans visiting South Africa, making it a nice transition zone, lest I become a little "homesick" for Korea.
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A View of the City from the University of Cape Town

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Egyptian Geese in Wynberg Park, Cape Town

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Friday, 13 January 2012

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Timbaktu Cafe

Timbaktu, a nice Ethiopean café in Cape Town, with a very pleasant vibe, enhanced by ethnic jazz and Africanesque decor.

It is part of the Pan-African Market in Long Street. Visit the market's website: www.panafrican.co.za

A great place to enjoy exotic food, African arts, crafts and artifacts.
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My Brother and I Enjoying Indian Cuisine in Cape Town

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Saturday, 7 January 2012

One Reason I Like Hong Kong

Hong Kong has the most wonderful mango and coconut based deserts that create orgasmic chemical reactions in your mouth. It is the type of tastes that can make friends out of enemies.
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Friday, 6 January 2012

A Cityscape, Hong Kong

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Contemplations in Hong Kong About "Home" and Things I Miss

My annual visit "home" is a strange journey, for in South Africa I do not have a "home" in the traditional sense of the word. It is probably better to say that their are homes, in the plural sense, but that is not a complete truth either. Rather, there are many people in whose homes I will make myself at home for a couple of days at a time, until I return to my "home" in my guest country. Thinking about this "home"-topic, I always think of the essay "Nowhere Man" in which the author admits his strange impartiality to all places, never a patriot of any place, but also at home everywhere. I resontate with that -- I feel equally at home and foreign, equally comfortable and uncomfortable, where ever I go. Another half truth, of course. There are places where I'm more comfortable (or uncomfortable) than others. I'm definitely more comfortable here in Hong Kong than I was in Kungmin, Mainland China; defintely more comfortable in Seoul, Korea than I am in Johannesburg, South Africa; definitely more comfortable in Potchefstroom than I am in Cape Town; definitely more comfortable in Luang Prabang, Laos, than in Polokwane, Limpopo; definitely more comfortable in Harajuku, Tokyo than in Bangkok, Thailand; more comfortable in Bangkok than in Richardsbay, KZN. If being "at home" equates the place you feel comfortable, then there is little doubt that homeliness is a very relative concept.

In my little 3m x 4m room here in Tsim Tsa Shui, in Kowloon, Hong Kong, I'm pretty comfortable with my wi-fi, double bed and cozy duvet, my tablet, and books (both paper books and electronic books: philosophy, short stories, martial arts, religious, poetry). The fact that the shower's water is not as boiling hot as I like it, is probably the only discomfort I'm experiencing at present.

"I'm a citizen of the planet" sings Alanis Morissette.

I decided to visit Hong Kong again because I've missed it. I've longed for it as for an old friend I haven't seen in a long time. It happens. As an expatriat people often ask me if I miss South Africa. An honest answer is no. I miss people in South Africa, I miss the energies of specific places in South Africa, but I do not miss South Africa as a whole. I miss sitting in a coffee shop in Luang Prabang, but I do not miss Laos. I miss feeling at home amongst the freaks in Harajuku, but I do not miss Japan. I miss that little jazz cafe in Apgujeong (Seoul) that closed recently; I miss my childhood friend Keith McKenzie with whom I was only friends for a year; I miss some of my Taekwon-Do students that I ony taught for a couple of months; I miss Jackie Horn, another childhood friend whom had the most beautiful singing voice; I miss my mother in front of the organ; I miss the big bath tub I had in the commune I lived in during the final year I worked on my master's degree thesis; I miss taking drives from Richardsbay to Kloof, Pietermaritzburg, with my friend Garnet that now lives in the UK; I miss dancing on New Year's Eve with my brother's ex-girlfriend; I miss the trees I climbed in as a child; I miss all my cats that had lived up their nine lives; I miss easy access to deep one-one, face-to-face, conversations with my best friends; I miss double cream Greek style yogurt; I miss innocence; I miss my grandmother's apricot jam tarts; I miss kissing soft lips; I miss characters from The Death Gate Cycle; I miss the smell of horses; I miss the old lady that made chamchi-kimchi bokkembab (Tuna and Kimchi stir fried rice); I miss the feeling of a man's stubble on the back of my hand; I miss South African achar in red pepper oil; I miss the Chonin Exam in Naruto; I miss drinking chocalate milk while sitting on the beach in Mtunzini; I miss smelling a women's neck; I miss my childhood flights of fantasy when I imagined myself being a unicorn, or a black panther, or an elf; I miss eating whitebread peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches with a glass of freshly milked milk; I taking swims in the farm dam with my dog Tiga; I miss seeing flying peacocks (we had peacocks on our farm when I grew up); I miss thunderstorms in the Transvaal; I miss hugging trees while I still was a pantheist; I miss writing songs on my guitar; I miss running and sliding on a rugby field on a winter's morning when it is covered with frost; I miss taking piano classes; I miss getting excited about the actual good news of the Gospel with someone else that really get's God's character; I miss eating mango and coconut desert in Hong Kong (the last one was a lie since I've had it two times since being in Hong Kong -- that was part of the reason for coming here again); I miss the beautiful summer clouds and sunsets in the Laeveld; I miss playing Legos; I miss Dawie, Die Kabouter; I miss dancing with my mother in the kitchen; I miss the excitement I felt when I learned about Postmodernism and recognising myself in it; I miss; I miss lying on the roof of our farm house and looking at the stars; I miss the overlapping character sketches in Catch-22; I miss being able to do the splits; I miss a world where some people do not try to controll or rule over other people; I miss bunny chows; I miss working on my fantasy-adventure novel "Lightning Twins"; I miss first snow, first blossoms, first kisses, the first shaky steps of a toddler; I miss such things.

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Teaching Research Methodology

After last semester ended I began teaching a winter class -- Research Methodology -- on the day after Christmas. The class is basically a guided course in the writing of a literary research paper. Within the span of one week (Monday through Friday) I facilitated about 20 students to choose a topic, narrow it down to a research question, adapt it to a thesis statement, develop an outline, find sources, and write the first draft of a short literary research paper. Over the weekend they had to expand on the paper, edit it, and hand in their final paper on the following Monday. In other words, they wrote a short, but nevertheless complete, research paper on a literary topic of their choosing from start to finish in exactly one week. With the right guidance (see how I'm blowing my own horn), it can be done.

That evening and most of the following day I spent grading those papers, for I had little time to spare, because on Tuesday night I went to the airport. Early on Wednesday I was off on a plane and currently find myself in Hong Kong. One more day and then I'll hop on the plane again, destination South Africa, for my annual "visit back home".
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South African Friends in South Korea

Over the last three weeks Franco and Vickey, friends from South Africa, came to visit me in South Korea. This had been the first time that anybody from my home country came to visit me in my guest country; that my South Africa world overlapped with my Korea world. Having lived in Korea for nearly five years in all, this simple visit felt significant, some how.

During the three weeks I tried to show them a kaleidoscope of what Seoul, South Korea's captical, has to offer. I would have wanted to show them of Korea in general, but unfortunately my work responsibilities did not allow. When they came I was busy with final exams, the following week I graded exam papers and the final week I started teaching again -- I taught a winter class in Research Methodology.

I'll try and list as many places as possible of things that I can remember that we did. Their first day here, I took them to Gangnam, which is a very well off part of Seoul, with some of the more interesting modern architecture. We went to the Kukkiwon so I could show them how Taekwondo examinations are done en mass; afterwards we went to a Mexican restaruant that I enjoy. South Africa does not have real Mexican food, so I really wanted them to taste the good vegetarian option that Mexican food could provide. (Like me, they are mostly vegetarian.)

The following day I took them to another part of town, quite opposite in character of Gangnam -- the backstreets of Dongmyo and Dongdaemun, known as the market area of Seoul. We walked down grimey alleys, waded through underground clothes shops, and made our way through clothing markets. We also went to the Seoul Folk Flea Market, where you can literally buy anything from a stuffed crocodile, to second clothes, to photos of the dictator-president Park, to dildos, to snow cloves, to abacusses, to tea pots, to buddha statues.

Other markets we went to were the underground market at Express Bus Terminal, the Yongsan Digital / Electronics Market (we got a bit lost on that one), and also some upmarket malls.

For food we had Mexican (twice), Indian (twice), Malaysian, Italian, and of course Korean. We went to some small mom & pop type Korean restaurants, to hidden Korean vegetarian buffets, to Chinese-Korean fusion restaurants, and to university cafeterias.

For entertainment we went to a DVD-bang (which is a very small personal theatre where you can watch a DVD of your choice) and to IMAX theatre. We went to a jazz cafe (they sang mostly golden oldies that particular night). We also had some separate fun on occassion too: They went to the zoo and to the Seoul Tower, while I went snow boarding and martial art training.

Franco has returned to South Africa this past Sunday. Vickey is still in Korea. She started working as an English teacher / missionary worker and will stay in Korea for a year. Franco plans to come visit again in a couple of months.
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Sunday, 1 January 2012

Men in Skirts

In ages past men wore skirts, and I must confess that I like them. Was it not for my job at a conservative university, and were I to have been in a more creative career, I would definitely have enjoyed a much more artistic expression in my daily wardrobe, including some wrap-around skirts and kaftans. 

Artist and fashion designer Rick Owens sports interesting skirts and kaftans for his Summer 2012 Men Collection. 






Read more at 1883 Magazine about other designers that are putting men in skirts by Chad Burton, another blogger from Korea. 

North Korean (Satirical) Artists

I once, in person, saw a large painting of white tigers basking in the winter sun on top of Baekdu Mountain, in North Korea. The exquisite painting was by a North Korean artist. I was struck at the talent and beauty that can be found in a country that is otherwise so terribly deprived.

There are two controversial Korean artists who had both defected from North Korea and now live in South Korea. Both were trained as North Korean propaganda artists and when the came to Korea they turned their propagandist style into dramatic satire against their former government.


The first is Seon Mu (Sun Mu), who uses a pseudonym lest North Korean spies should leak his identity to North Korea and his family (parents that are possibly still alive in the North) should be tortured on account of him. Sun Mu is known for his "Happy Children" series in which he depicted North Korean children in obvious displays of "conditioned" happy-acting, that is part of the daily life in Korea. You can visit his blog (in Korean) to see more of his work. An interesting aspect of his work is his use of nudity. All displays of nudity in North Korea are illegal as it is associated with American imperialist decadence. Showing nudity, therefore, not only celebrates his own freedom from the oppressive regime he grew up under, but also mocks the Pharisaic morals of the dictatorial North.


Another originally North Korean artist that defected to South Korea is Seong Byeok who attempted to escape from North Korea but was captured and put into work camps. He attempted again, fortunately succeeded and made his way to South Korea where he now works as an artist. He gained international recognition after his show early last year called "Forever Freedom", of which one painting displayed Kim Jong-Il is a cross-dressing Marilyn Monroe, mocking the late North Korean leader's love of cinema. Seong Byeok is set to exhibit in the USA this year. See his website here.