Saturday, 31 March 2012

Don't Condition Your Child for Molestation!

Every so often I write an update letter to friends and family. The following is part of my most recent letter. Because I believe it such an important subject, I decided to post it here for a bigger audience to read. If you have children, please take the time to read this.


Image Source
This is a serious topic that I wish to address and I do so unapologetically.


During my visit in South Africa I got to visit with many family and friends that have little children. Something that disturbed me about my trip is how I saw parents unwittingly condition their children to be potential molestation victims. Parents sometimes asked their children to kiss or hug me, insisting even when the children felt shy to do so. I also took gifts to some of them, and especially then the parents told the children to kiss or hug me. Sometimes the children felt uncomfortable, seeing as they haven't seen me in a year or more and can't remember me that well.


Please, parents, DO NOT make your children feel obligated to give affection when they do not want to. You are conditioning them to feel that they have to do it, when they don't feel comfortable. Especially do not force them to give affection after they have received gifts. A simple “Thank you” should suffice. DO NOT condition your children to think that when they receive something that they have to trade it for affection. Affection should NEVER be bought and when you force them to give affection after receiving a gift you are in effect teaching them that affection can be bought. It is an easy thing for a paedophile to exploit the “good manners” you taught your child.


I do not have children of my own, so I shall not presume to tell you how to raise yours. However, as a self-defence instructor I believe that I have an understanding of some of the dynamics involving crimes of a physical nature. Perpetrators exploit people's cultural conditioning. Again, I besiege you, DO NOT condition your children in ways that can be exploited by the sick members of our society. I know you think that you are teaching them good courteous behaviour, but I reiterate, a friendly “Thank you,” is all a child need offer for a gift. And in greetings, if a child does not feel comfortable to give a kiss or hug, the child should not be forced to do so. A courteous “Hello,” is sufficient. You have to respect the child's innate boundaries. If you don't, you basically teach them that it is okay if their boundaries are violated.


We live in a sick world; prepare your children accordingly!

Bene


Bene of borste? Die ding wat jou maak vergeet waarvan jy jou net gepraat het en (ongeskik, maar onskuldig) staar. Party mans is gaande oor borste, ander oor bene.  Ek is 'n beneman.

In Korea sien 'n mens nogals baie bene. Koreaanse vroue het nie juis borste nie, daarom paradeur hulle hulle bene. Een van die vreemdste dinge van Korea is hoedat jongvroue, veral in die winter, hulle bene wys. Terwyl gewone mense alle vleeslike opening toe maak teen die bibberkoue, loop vele Koreaanse vroue rond in “hot pants.” Wyl ek ten minste twee lae broeke aan het, vergaap ek myself oor Koreaanse meisies in minirompe. Ek wens die “vergaping” was 'n waardeuring vir hulle bene, eerder as 'n verstomming oor hulle bomenslike (waansinnige?) vermoë om die koue te weerstaan. Then again, I am from Africa. Van my studente meen dat vroue wat so met kaalbene in die winter loop doen dit om gewig te verloor. Glo brand jy baie kilojoules deur jou bene in die koue te ontbloot.

Dis baie jammer dat tipiese Koreaanse meisies se bene dit net nie vir my doen nie. 'n Mooi been moet 'n kurwe hê, glo ek. Die kuite moet 'n kontoer hê wat herhaal in die enkels—'n eggo van die middel en heupe. Die Koreaanse ideaal vind nie vroue met kuite aantreklik nie. Kuite is waarskynlik 'n historiese simbool van harde-arbeid. Die mooi vrou in Korea is gebasseer op die aristokrasie, bleek vroutjies wat deur hulle diensmeisies gepamperlang is: spierlose porselynpoppies. Tipiese Koreaanse meisies het kontoerlose bene, sulke omgekeerde "cones" wat in skoene verdwyn. Selfs Korea se mode-gurus kritiseer hulle celebrities indien hulle bene elegante kontoere het. Kyk hierdie ontstellende YouTube-video waarin meisies met mynsinsiens pragtige bene eufemisties afgekraak word oor hulle "healthy legs".



Toe ek vroeër vanjaar in Suid-Afrika was, het iets my opgeval—mooi bene. Ek het al vergeet hoe mooi bene kan wees en dit was lekker om soveel meisies met gesonde, mooi bene te sien.

Famke Jannsen is 'n Nederlandse model
en aktrise. Sy is 1,82 m lank, langer as meeste
Amerikaners waar sy in Hollywood werk.
Binne my subkultuur* verdien gesonde, gespierde vrouebene aandag. Dis moontlik die Hollandse genetiese imprenting saam met die Afrikaner plaaskind argitipe wat daar agte lê. Die Nederlanders is van die langste mense in die wêreld, en dus langbene. Die Nederlandse genepoel is sterk in Suid-Afrika en daarom hou ons subkultuur moontlik ook van daardie genetiese manifestasie. Daarby is die Plaas 'n geweldige sterk simbool binne die wit Suid-Afrikaner se psige. Plaaskinders wat buite speel en boomklim en skaap aanjaag en perdry en in die plaasdam swem is gesonde kinders met natuurlik gesonde spiere. Nie te praat van die hordes stories van ons oumagrootjies wat kaalvoet oor die Drakensberge geloop het nie. (Ek het so 'n storie in my familie; jy?) 'n Paar generasies later en elke hoërskoolseun vergaap hom aan die pragtige gesonde bene van die meisies in die netbal- en hokkiespanne.

In Korea is daardie tipe bene geensins die gekose bene nie. Hier in Korea is daar snaakse dinge van Suid-Afrika wat ek mis en nie mis nie. Ek mis nie braaivleis nie. Ek mis nie rugby nie. Ek mis bene wat my hart aan die jaag kry!


* Ondanks my Skots-Joodse herkoms, was ek in 'n plaasskool as kind en in 'n Afrikaanse hoërskool. My bewuswondering van mooi meisies is dus vanuit hierdie konteks. 

If You Don't Get This, You Can't Be My Friend

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Random Pictures

I was browsing through my office computer's Picture Folder and was intrigued by all the variety of interesting pictures it contains. The pictures on my office computer are mostly related to work somehow -- pictures I've used for lessons and presentations. The context of most of these pictures I cannot remember; I can only remember the one of the dog, which I used during a lesson on public speaking, in a unit concerning active listening.

Unfortunately I don't know the sources of these pictures anymore. I share them in goodwill.


















Friday, 23 March 2012

Watched Karen Zoid's New Album Launch


Last night I got to see South Africa's rock 'n roll diva, Karen Zoid, launch her latest album, "Zoid Afrika", which she performed in Johannesburg live.

The video below is a teaser for the new album.



No, I did not quickly fly to South Africa from Korea and then quickly rush back for my 9am class this morning, although, if that was a possibility I would have been terribly tempted. (So when are they going to invent teleportation machines?!)  No, I was snugly sitting in Korea when Zoid had her album launch at 7pm, CAT. The show was broadcast live over the internet on Skyroomlive. It was 2am here in Korea, so around midnight I went to bed, and set my alarm for the show, got up and hour and half later, rolled myself in my most fluffy blanket, positioned myself on my sofa, turned up the volume to a moderate level (loud enough to enjoy, but not so loud that I bother the neighbours), and enjoyed Zoid live. An hour later, at 3am, I slithered back into bed and got up again at 8pm to be in time for my 9am class.

Today, nobody knew that I enjoyed a live South African rock show last night, but, o!, I was walking around today all smug. Just the idea of having had the pleasure to enjoy a live South Africa show was quite something and well worth the missed hours of sleep. The Internet is indeed a quite remarkable invention -- I love it!

Karen Zoid's new album is not disappointing. It has all the great rock, ballads, and social commentary we have come to expect of Zoid. I'm likely to get myself the album. Every so often, when there is a good South African album, I will get it, either as a physical CD when I visit South Africa, or from an online music store such as Rhythm Music Store -- a South African online music distributor.

High on my list of albums to get is "Zoid Afrika", Gerald Clark's "Sweepslag" and "Blues and Love Songs", as well as an album by Zahara and Bittereinders. It was my intention to buy the albums of the latter two while I was in South Africa last month, but my time there was so hectic that I never even entered a music store.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ingredients for Staying Up All Night

Here are some things to make you worry and if you are particularly acute, keep you from falling asleep.


If I wasn't in a rush, I could have easily added another five ingredients for increasing your nightmares.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

As dood dan wel beskore is om met my verjaarsdag vereenselwig te word . . .

Source: Associated Press
Verlede jaar op my verjaarsdag het 'n groot aardbewing veroorsaak dat Japan met 'n reuse, hartskuddende, fratsgolf getref word en derduisende mense ontkom het. My broer het sy verjaarsdag wense aan my mos só gestel:

“Ek wens jou alle sterkte toe, en wens jou God se seën toe. Jou verjaarsdag is nou gelink aan . . . 'n natuurramp in Japan.”

As dood dan wel beskore is om met my verjaarsdag vereenselwig te word, dan kies ek eerder dié van Dr. Peter Goodwin, 'n Suid Afrika-geborene, wat vanjaar op my verjaarsdag tot sterfte gekom het met behulp van wettige bygestaande selfmoord, in die Staat van Oregon, VSA.

Dr. Peter Goodwin: "I don't want to go out with a whimper,
I want to say goodbye to my kids and my wife with dignity.
And I would end it . . ."

Dr. Goodwin was lank 'n kampvegter vir bygestaande selfmoord vir terminaal gediagnoseerde pasiënte in sy tuisstaat, Oregon, wat in 1994 oor die kwessie gestem het. Die resultaat was die wettiging van die “Death with Dignity”-wet in dié Amerikaanse staat. Dr. Goodwin het ook gehelp met die stigting van die organisasie Compassion and Choices wat terminaalsiek pasiënte en hulle families ondersteun en veg vir die keuse om met waardigheid te sterf.

Dis maklik vir mense wat nog nooit ware pyn en lyding in die oë gestaar het nie, wat nog nooit direk gesien het hoe 'n siekte 'n mens se menswaardigheid kan stroop nie, wat nog nooit beleef het watse las dit beide finansiëel en emosioneel op die geliefdes is, en gevolglik watse erge skuldgevoelens en droefheid dit in die pasiënt opwek nie, om bloot botweg bygestaande selfmoord as verkeerd te verklaar. In hierdie konteks is bygestaande selfmoord nie net 'n vorm van genade dood nie, dis 'n laaste uitvoering van 'n mens se Godgegewe vryekeuse—'n laaste oomblik van menslike waardigheid.

Ek kan hoor hoe roep party (Christenne) uit: “Dis nie Godgegewe vryekeuse nie! Dis sonde!” Om die lewensgeskenk weg te gooi is moontlik 'n sonde, maar die terminaalsieke gooi nie sy of haar lewe weg nie. Daardie lewe is reeds tot 'n einde. In 'n ander tyd sonder vandag se mediese vooruitgang sou so 'n persoon waarskynlik baie vroeër gesterf het.

Simson pleeg selfmoord in die Tempel van Dragon
wanneer hy die steunpilare omgooi en die gebou op
homself en die teenwoordige Fillistyne laat val.
Skildery deur Giovanni Benedetto.
Daarbenewens het die Bybel, sover ek weet, ook niks oor die onderwerp te sê nie. Inteendeel, daar is sowaar voorbeelde van sterftes wat as selfmoorde gedefiniëer kan word in die Bybel. Dink byvoorbeeld aan Simson wat tot die Heilige Gees gebid het om hom die krag te gee om homself saam met die Filistyne om die lewe te bring. Dan is daar ook Jesus wie se missie as Verlosser was om te sterf. Hy het die vermoeë gehad om sy dood te vermy, maar het gekies om dit nie te doen nie. Dit is waar dat Jesus gekies het om 'n marteldood vol pyn en lyding deur te gaan, maar dit is juis die punt—dit was sy keuse. Hy kon kies om dit vry te spring en Hy kon kies om dit te verkort, maar Hy het gekies om deur die lyding te gaan en so te sterf.

Op die ou einde is dit inderdaad Sonde wat lei tot sterfte—volgens die Heilige Geskrifte was dit daardie eerste Oersonde wat tot die dood gelei het, en dis ons ingebore sonde en die vloek van sonde oor die hele Skepping wat konstant elke mooi ding verwring, elke spesiale ding verweer, elke goeie ding verknog en alles tot sterfte dwing. Gun 'n mens tog, in so 'n gebroke wêreld, die keuse om met waardigheid te sterf! Moet nie vir 'n oomblik vir my probeer maak glo dat God behae het in 'n onnodig uitgerekte lang siekbed en gepaardgaande marteling nie. As ons mense, wat inherent sondig is, die wysheid kan insien om 'n siek dier se leiding te verkort, laat ek my nie vertel dat God van ons verwag om hopelose leiding te moet verduur nie. Gun dan ook vir my die keuse om nie 'n las, emosioneel of finansiëel, op my geliefdes te wese nie; ek wil dit nie aan hulle doen nie.

Sou ek van bygestaande selfmoord gebruik maak indien my gesondheid en welstand sodanig versleg en daar slegs 'n tyd van lyding voorlê nie? En daar slegs 'n uitgerekte swaarkry--emosioneel of finansiëel--vir my geliefdes voorlê? Moontlik. Ek sou ten minste die keuse wou hê om die marteling te verkort en my geliefdes van onnodige trauma te spaar.

My groot vrees is nie regtig die fisiese lyding nie. Eerder psigologiese agteruitgang en dimensia. Indien ek Alzheimers moet kry of iets soortgelyks waar die brein stelselmatig psigologies verbrokkel, sou ek graag die opsie wil hê om my lewe op 'n betaamlike wyse te eindig. Met “betaamlik” bedoel ek selfmoord wat nie gru is nie. Ek wil nie hê my geliefdes moet my vind met 'n gat in my kop, of my tong wat uitpeul met 'n tou om my swart gekneusde nek nie. Nes ek nie wil hê my geliefdes my moet onthou as 'n mal ou oom wat sy broek vuil maak, aggresief optree, of sulke dinge wat hulle mooi herinneringe van my besmet nie.

My herinneringe aan my eie moeder is só besmet. So erg was haar agteruitgang beide fisiek en psigies, dat dit omtrent elke mooi herinneringe wat ek van my ma het oorskadu. Ek kan skaars aan haar dink sonder om die gebroke, vernederde, patetiese, veronteerde wesetjie te herroep waarin sy verander het.

My pragtige ma.
Moet my nie verkeerd verstaan nie. Geensins wens ek dat my ma selfmoord gepleeg het nie. Maar aan die ander kant, indien my ma 'n keuse kon hê om met meer waardigheid te kon sterf as die hand wat die lewe haar gedeel het, sou sy moontlik so 'n ander opsie waardeur het. Ek onthou nou nog op een geleentheid nader aan die einde van haar lewe toe sy 'n kortstondige oomblik van helderheid gehad het, hoe sy my met erns en trane in haar oë gevra het: “Hoe het dit gebeur? Hoe het ek so geword?” Hoe het sy van 'n eens dinamiese, onafhanklike, intelligente, pragtige, koninginagtige vrou verander in 'n verkrimpte, totaal afhanklike, siniele, kleuter? Indien dit met my gebeur dat ek met 'n soortgelyke lot getref word wat my moeder so verneder het, sal ek beslis oorweeg om van bygestaande selfmoord gebruik te maak.

'n Opinie omtrent bygestaande selfmoord


Ek nes my lewe in klam rooigrond:


'n pêreltjie—oënskynlyk leweloos—skiet
skielik 'n harige stertjie suidwaarts,
'n kordadige nekkie priem noorde toe;
die gevuisde lentegroen koppie
vou oop soos twee palmpies na gebed
of voor applous en glimlag vlinderlik.


Natuurlik, figuurlikgesproke het ek my lewe
só geplant en met die selfde aanmatigheid
wil ek, wanneer die tyd ryp is,
die pêreltjie weer oes—sagkuns ontwortel,
die lewensare se konneksie met die klam
rooigrond kortknip, die vlinder laat verwelk
en die korreltjie wat aan my geleen is teruggee.


Want, toe ek ontkiem het,
was dit 'n deftige—en toweragtige—affêre
en daarom wil ek ook op 'n betaamlike
manier sterf—sans towerkuns natuurlik—.

'n Saad ontkiem, en 'n lewe begin.
Image Source
Die verteller in my gedig, veral aan die aanvang van die gedig, is wel aanmatig. Hy praat asof hyself sy lewe begin het. Dit is natuurlik nie die geval nie. Ons het geen sê in ons begin nie. Dit was die keuse van ons ouers en die lewensasem van God wat die impetus van ons lewens was. Nietemin is dit tog 'n geskenk aan ons, en as ek 'n geskenk ontvang, behoort dit dan aan my en het ek seggenskap daaroor. Ja, ek het uit respek teenoor die een wat aan my die geskenk gegee het 'n verantwoordelik rakende die geskenk, maar dit bly allermins mý geskenk. As ek nie kan doen met my geskenk wat ek wil nie, was dit nie werklik 'n geskenk nie. Daar is verskeie maniere om my waardeuring te bewys vir my lewensgeskenk. Aan die eenkant is dit om volheid te lewe. Om die meeste te maak van die lewensgeskenk wat ek ontvang het; om die lewe ten volle te benut; om my menslikheid met menswaardigheid te ontwikkel. Aan die ander kant, kan geargumenteer word, dat my waardeuring vir my lewensgeskenk ook gedemonstreer kan word in hoe ek sterwe: “daarom wil ek ook op 'n betaamlike manier sterf”. Ek mag dalk nie aandeel hê in my begin nie; gun my dan aandeel in die manier wat ek tot 'n einde kom.

As my verjaarsdag dan geassossiëer moet word met sterftes, laat dit dan wees met 'n menswaardige sterfte waartydens die afgestorwene kans gehad het om vrede te maak met sy of haar lot, kans gehad het om totsiens te sê aan sy of haar geliefdes, kans gehad het om met waardigheid en 'n nugter verstand sy of haar lewe tot einde te roep, eerder as 'n uitgemergelde, ontmensde bondel, gestroop van alles wat eens mooi was. Laat my verjaarsdag dan met Dr. Peter Goodwin geassossiëer.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I'm In Love With Colin Clark

The characters "Marylin Monroe" and "Colin Clark" in the
film My Week with Marylin (2011).
A friend was recently rather disturbed when I told him that while watching the film My Week with Marilyn (2011) I was quite taken with the character Colin Clark, played by 30 year old actor Eddie Redmayne. The exact wording I used were more in the lines of “in love with”. I'm often “in love with” characters from both books and films, and to me this is nothing strange—apparently my blasé throwing around of the phrase “in love with” is rather unusual and, it is assumed, says something about my sexuality. I don't think I agree, but more on that a little later.

Possibly the first character I was “in love with” was Heidi the Swiss fictional character. As a very young boy I imagined her being my girlfriend. The first time I really used the term “in love with” to describe my enchantment with a character was for the character Jennifer Burrows, played by Claire Forlani, in the film Boys and Girls (2000). It's not a particularly great film—a romantic comedy about unlikely friends turned lovers, but for some reason that character just tremendously resonated with me. The feeling of being “in love with” Jennifer Burrows was so strong that it felt like I was walking on clouds when I left the cinema. Since then, I've expressed being enamoured with a particular character as being “in love with” the character. I've used the expression in even broader situations too and for different things: towards new friends, towards a beautiful scene, towards kittens.

Monica Bellucci
The problem with “in love with” is that people usually assume that it is a sexual expression, when, in fact, to be in love has little to do with sex. When I see Monica Bellucci—or even just think of her—I feel a flush of warmth through my body. Any further contemplation on this goddess and my heart quickens and blood pulses in anticipation. It is quite obvious what this reaction is: lust. I am not in love with Monica Bellucci. Yes, I think she is one of the most beautiful, most sexy beings alive, yet my reaction towards her is very superficial, very primal. A mere behaviouristic physical response that many men have towards voluptuous women. She embodies sexual desire.

Claire Forlani in
Boys and Girls
(2000)
This response is quite different from the one I have after I watched Claire Forlani in the film Boys and Girls. I also think that Claire Forlani is gorgeous, but my being “in love with” her was not triggered by her beauty, but by the character—Jennifer—that she portrayed. I know this because I saw Claire Forlani two years earlier in another film, Meet Joe Black (1998), where she was cast as the character Susan Parrish. Jennifer Burrows I wanted to marry on the spot, while I had no such silly thoughts towards Susan Parrish.

C. S. Lewis supports my distinction between “in love with” and lust. In his explication on this topic in his book The Four Loves, he differentiates between Eros and Venus. He argues that sexuality (Venus) may operate without Eros (“being in love”) or as part of Eros. While the state of Venus is purely sexual (which I merely refer to as “lust”), Eros is “simply a delightful pre-occupation with the Beloved”. He continues to explain that:

“A man in this state really hasn't the leisure to think of sex. He is too busy thinking of a person. The fact that she is a woman is far less important than the fact that she is herself. He is full of desire, but the desire may not be sexually toned.”

Concerning Venus, Lewis argues that the focus is on “it, the thing [sex] in itself” while “Eros wants the Beloved.”

So I agree; there is a difference between being in love and lusting. The former is not by default sexual; while the latter does not necessarily mean that there is anything more to it than just sex. Hearts are too often broken because to the one their relation meant something profound and beautiful, while to the other the companion was merely a vehicle for “the thing in itself”.

And so when I am “in love with” women or sometimes men, with fictional characters on pages in books or as projections on screens, with new friends, with kittens, even with sexy cars, it is seldom—if ever—sexual. “A man in this state really hasn't the leisure to think of sex,” for one is too delightfully pre-occupied with the object in her or his or its totality.

It has been weeks since I watched My Week with Marylin and Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark; and as is the case with both “in love with” and lust, they both pass.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Year in Which I Was Supposed to Get Married

When I was young I always imagined an ideal age for getting married. This year, in a short time, that age will have arrived. Any earlier than this age, I had always thought, is too early; one is too immature. At this particular age I am supposed to be sufficiently mature to take on the responsibilities of husband and father, or so I thought. But having reached it, I realize that it is not a fear of responsibility that prevents me from getting hitched. It has more to do with having waited too long. As time went by I've become more and more independent. I especially realized it with my X—when she in one conversation said to me that I do not need her. While I did not admit it to her out loud, I knew she was correct. Had she pushed me on the topic I would have had to admit: “Yes, I do not need you. I do not need another person to be a complete and fulfilled human being.”

I've always felt that a healthy relationship is not one where two people “complete” each other. Rather, it is two whole people that come together, find each other compatible, and in their respective wholeness create synergy together. However, for such people to come together and create such synergy, they have to at least have a longing—a need—for such companionship. But here is the thing, I do not feel particularly lonely and if I'm truly honest with myself then my occasional longing is more based on lust, than on an urge for companionship.

Yes, there are moments, infrequent moments, when I travel in some exotic place and have some novel experience or enjoy some exquisite scene; in such moments I do feel a need to share these pleasures with a loved one. But a friend could be an equally suitable substitute, maybe even more so than a lover. In any case, such moments are a handful a year. Hardly a big enough issue to make me even search for a travel companion. When I've set my mind on something, be it traveling to another country or watching a movie at the local cinema, I'm not going to wait around for someone else before I do it.

Where does this leave me? Over the last two or three years I've started to consider life as a perpetual bachelor. I'm at an age in my life where I feel a need to think about my eventual old age, about retirement, and so on. I have began looking into retirement options, particularly countries to retire in. One has to start early on such things, you cannot wait until old age have caught you off guard. If you are going to retire somewhere, it's better to settle into the place sometime before your actual date of retirement. In searching for such places, some points of concern have come up. There are particular questions that I ask myself: Is this country, this city, this neighborhood old-person friendly? Are there good medical services? Are they easily accessible for a weak old person that lives alone? Can an old person easily get by on the public transportation system? How far will my retirement savings stretch here? These are the questions of a single person; of someone that has come to terms with the possibility of staying unmarried.

Yet, it is not that I am in principle against marriage. I think marriage can be a wonderfully beautiful thing. If I were to meet a person that is compatible to my idiosyncrasies, someone who shares a similar world view, similar values, someone with whom I also feel a sexual connection, then I could imagine myself in such a unity. The problem is just that because I do not feel incomplete as I am at present, I do not feel a particular drive to go out and search for someone that may or may not be “the one.”

Someone told me the other day that because I have so many good friends their combined force fulfill all my relationship needs. I may be a little bit sexually frustrated (friends and sex have never mixed very well for me), but that is not enough reason for me to get married. Taking on a serious relationship just for the sex is a very superficial and selfish reason—dare I say, even an immoral reason—to engage in a serious relationship. I have good friends, it is true. I feel very blessed for it, and do not take them for granted. She could be right. Since I do have many good friends, I feel enough love from my loved ones, that I do not feel a need to for such love from a single source.

It would have been easy if I could blame someone or something: my parents or my circumstances that forced me into early independence, causing me to think of dependency on others as a weakness. One of the big expectations I have of myself is that I should not be a burden on someone. In one sense it is a ridiculous expectation as I do not hold other people to this standard. If one cares for someone, such burdens, though difficult, is something you carry with gladly. A mother that nurtures a terminally ill child sees her duties not as an unbearable burden, but as an act of love. While difficult, love makes it unthinkable not to carry the burden. In similar manner I also try to carry the “burden” of those I love when circumstances call for it. Why do I not want to allow another to carry the same burden for me?

Is this then part of the problem? Don't I think myself worthy to be a burden—worthy of love? Worthy of devotion? It irritates me, to be honest. While I enjoy flattery just as much as the next guy, devotion—overt, ardor of the romantic kind—irks me. I've even said it to a lady once while I was sick and she attempted to take care of me: “Stop mothering me!” Am I just suffering from a form of manly pride that sees the acceptance of such care as weakness. In other words, am I too proud to accept the complete care of a spouse? Of this one has to be careful! There is a reason the Christian thinkers through the ages concur that pride is the worst of sins.

Yet, is the mere existence of this essay not a testament to the fact that at least one part of me wonders about the possibility of a romantic, synergy evoking companionship? Clearly it is issue enough for me to take the time to contemplate it and put electronic ink to digital paper.


I'm going on a date next week. I have few expectations. I'm just going for the fun of it. Now that I've moved my Tuesday night Taekwon-Do training to Monday nights, I have the night free to enjoy other things. Going on a date sounds like a good way to enjoy a Tuesday night. It will be a couple of days after my birthday—in the year in which I was supposed to get married.

Catcha Cold

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I've got a cold. A serious one. Usually I'll just ride it out and treat myself with ginger, garlic, lemons, and eucalyptus oil, but with each consecutive day I'm feeling worse, so now I'm going to get drugs. It is the beginning of the semester, I cannot afford to be sick and in any case, who wants to feel terrible on their birthday? (It's my birthday in a couple of days.)

The bit below is a section from an email of a friend:

By the way, there's a bad cold going round, which it sounds like you caught. I went all the way through that thing, except I'm still coughing a bit. Humidifier, is my advice: a good humidifier and lots to drink. If only Koreans would cover their mouths when they cough, not everyone would catch this shit within 48 hours. (I'm sure I got it on the train, where this stupid asshole kept sneezing and coughing all over everyone, not once covering his mouth or even trying to do so. If that's the best they can do with their mystical 4300 years of culture, I'll take a shorter history where people have consideration and manners, thanks...)

Although I am quite interested in Korea's ancient culture,  on this I have to agree with my friend. Basic hygiene can go a long way. Korea's habit of people spitting in the streets (in part encouraged by the buildup of phlegm due to the air pollution) is definitely not health promoting.

I think I mentioned once how great that ridiculous H1N1 flu scare was for Korea. Koreans suddenly started to actually wash their hands more often, particularly after a visit to the loo. The availability of hand sanitizer also increased. The first time I came to Korea it was terribly difficult to get hand sanitizer. Now most pharmacies keep it.

In any case, I feel sick and ever so slightly grumpy.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012