“To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the devil.” – Jack Gilbert
Thursday, 6 June 2019
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
|John Everett Millais' "Christ in the House of His Parents"|
Sunday, 28 April 2019
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Three thought-provoking quotes from Jeff McMahan's article Innocence, Self-Defense and Killing in War:
...it is not obvious why a political leader who orders troops into battle is engaged in causing harm while voters in a democracy who demand that the leader should do so are not; or why drivers who transport arms to the troops count as combatants while the taxpayers who provide the arms by paying for them do not; or why a soldier who is asleep or sitting at a desk well behind the lines can be regarded as threatening or causing harm when a civilian editorialist who stirs support for the war is not...
Persons who join the military are typically aware that this abdication of moral autonomy is a condition of military life; indeed, some join the military in part in order to enjoy the freedom from responsibility. They know, in short, that they are allowing themselves to become instruments of the wills of others. There is, moreover, something else they could know with a little reflection, which is that most wars in which people fight are unjust. This follows from the assumption that a war can be just on at most one side, though it can be unjust on both.
Even if this formal assumption is unwarranted, it does seem true as a contingent fact that very few wars, if any, have been just on both sides, while, as Anscombe puts it, “human pride, malice and cruelty are so usual that. . . wars have mostly been mere wickedness on both sides.” Putting these two points together, we arrive at the conclusion that, in joining the military, one allows oneself to become an instrument for the violent pursuit of purposes that are more than likely to be unjust. How can this possibly be a morally acceptable thing to do? Of course, in many cases, the pressure to join the military may be nearly as strong as the pressure, once one is in the military, to surrender the prerogative of determining for oneself whether or not the war in which one is asked to fight is just. It is only when this is true that there can be a convincing case for regarding an Unjust Combatant as morally innocent. For, otherwise, following one’s superiors into an unjust war is roughly analogous to committing a crime while drunk: one may not be responsible for one’s action given one’s condition at the time, but one’s conduct nevertheless remains culpable because of one’s responsibility for getting oneself into a condition of diminished responsibility.
First, the morality of war, and not the rules of war, is what should govern the conscience of the individual soldier. In particular, if the individual soldier has reason to believe or suspect that his country’s war is unjust, this is equivalent to believing or suspecting that his action as a belligerent in this war is or would be murderous. If he is convinced that the war is unjust, then he must not participate.
Sunday, 15 July 2018
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Thursday, 12 April 2018
Saturday, 17 February 2018
’n Paar dae gelede droom ek dat my ouers is oppad om vir my in my huis te kom kuier. Die huis in my droom was nie hier in Korea nie—ek vermoed dit was in Potchefstroom as ek die omgewing reg herken. Ek kan ook nie veel verder onthou wat in die droom gebeur het nie, behalwe ’n nágevoel wat by my gebly het vir ’n lang ruk, selfs nadat ek met my dag begin het.
Dit het my lank geneem, sowat twee dae, om te besef wat aan die gevoel sulke potensie gee. My konklusie is dat ek wens ek het ouers gehad wat my kon sien groot word, en kon sien hoe ek my manstaan in die “grootmenswêreld.”
In die droom was my ouers oppad om my te besoek in mý huis, waarin ek die geleentheid kon hê om gasheer vir hulle te wees. Hierdie is iets wat ek nooit beleef het nie. Weens omstandighede het my ouers my nooit besoek toe ek skool verlaat het en universiteit was nie. Hulle het nie eenkeer voet gesit in die studentekamers wat ek gehuur het nie. Toe ek my eie eerste woonstel gekry het—’n rondawel in die bosse in Mtunzini, het hulle dit nie gesien nie. En, soos die droom uitwys, het ek nooit die kans gehad om my ouers my plek te wys, vir hulle slaapplek te gee, of kos voor voor te berei nie—nie eens in my drome nie, want met die juiste droom het ek wakker geword nog voordat hulle opgedaag het.
Dit is ’n nuwe insig vir my, dat hierdie ’n algemene ritueel in die pad tot volwassenheid is: wanneer die ouers vir hulle kinders kom kuier in die kinders se woning. Moontlik is díe selfs ’n argetipiese ritueel wat meeste mense nie eens besef is deel van hulle ontwikkelingsproses nie; dit is só normaal, maar ook so fundamenteel, as om jou geliefde aan jou ouers vir die eerste keer te gaan voorstel (of om jou geliefde se ouers te gaan ontmoet), of soos daardie eerste salaris wat jy ontvang by jou eerste werk, of jou die eerste keer wat jy seks het. Elkeen van hierdie dinge is ’n tree tot volwassenheid, en wanneer jy op een daarvan uitmis, is jou onderbewuste daarop attend.
Tuesday, 2 January 2018
I flew from Korea to South Africa on December 30, 2016. My planner for January is practically empty, so it is not much of a source for what I did. But photos from my January folder tells a much busier tail. First a quick stop in Hong Kong. I took some really nice street photography.
Then time spent with family at my cousin's place on New Year's Day.
I have a few pics of my brother where he still lived in a commune, so that is where I spent part of my time in January, and meetups with other friends and family in the days to follow. By January 5th I'm in Durban.
There are also pictures from Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg, including a beautiful monastery that I visited with my bestie.
And a visit to the Pinetown Stingers Taekwon-Do Club.
The next set of pictures are of me with my nephews in the Vaal Triangle and other local friends, before pictures of Grey's College in Johannesbug, where I attended a screening of BBC's new Earth documentaries. Followed by pics of my cousin and her husband, and my younger brother and I exploring caves.
My journey led me back to Johannesburg, to help my brother scout for a place to stay.
Lunar New Year was spent, like the previous year, in downtown Joburg, in Chinatown (around Fox Street 1).
By the end of the month, I'm in Grobblersdal at the Taekwon-Do school to teach some classes.
Grobblersdal I journeyed to friends in Potgietersrus, and from there to Polokwane to visit friends further up north, and Tzaneen. Back to Polokwane to quickly see another friend before taking a bus back to Pretoria, in order to attend a family gathering on the 5th. It was a very memorable time for me. Some of the people there I haven't seen in decades.
My journey took me further from Pretoria to Johannesburg and by bus from there to Potchefstroom, which of course included a visit to my dojang there, and visits with several of my friends and some family there.
Other photos are evidence of more time spent with my brother in Johannesburg in his new apartment including some local hang-outs, as well as a Hapkido seminar I hosted. This was the first Hapkido seminar in South Africa to be held by the Korea Hapkido Federation, of which I am the representative.
Lots of photos in my folder about Hong Kong follow -- as I had my layover back to Korea again via Hong Kong. I stayed in Hong Kong for about four days.
My digital planner became useful again in March, with several luncheon and dinner appointments with friends and no less than five dance performances listed. It is also the month of my birth, so I had hosted a big birthday gather with friends again.
There are also photos of Taekwon-Do training and homemade desserts.
In April I must have had backache, because my planner shows four chiropractic appointments. There are more performances attended and a couple of dates with friends. There are also pictures outdoors -- if I remember correctly I had a little private getaway one afternoon to the river. And the photo folder finishes with pictures in Joenju at the International Jeonju Film Festival.
Photos reveal a visit to a Bhuddhist Temple for Buddha's Birthday. I also went to Asan for the Asan Outdoor Arts Festival, and my first big photoshoot for the year was in May. It was for an Macbook / iMac Pro carrybag.
I hung out with some martial arts friends, and also attended the annual Korea Hapkido Federation's international training camp.
May is also the start of MODAFE (Modern Dance Festival), hence I attended many excellent dance performances. I count around six performances scheduled on my planner.
In June I went to some performances, including combined performance of Taekkyeon and Traditional Korean Dance; I also met up with friends from Japan and Germany, and acquired an antique Korean cabinet. The Korean demonstration team from the North came to the South to participate in ceremonies for the World Taekwondo Championships, during which time I attended to particpate in a Taekwon-Do conference, where I presented a paper.
I moved into a little martial arts studio on a roof top. I went to the Seoul Cartoon Museum, the Do-San Museum and took photos of some beautiful buildings in Gangnam. My digital planner doesn't list much for July. I probably spent the first part of it finishing off student grades. There were some art made.
August started with the 7th Global Taekwondo Leaders Forum.
I had an interesting photoshoot for a pet food commercial at a beach, and a camping trip that included kayaking with a friend (at Damyeong Resort), with a trip to a lotus flower park, hanging out with dancer friends, meeting up with a friend visiting from the States, going to a Bangsky exhibit, and a videoshoot in which I'm acting as some craftsman/engineer. It was pretty cool.
September involved more photoshoots, some performances by friends, and a Radio interview with the K-Pop diva Lena Park. I also notice pictures of at least two art exhibits, and a Taekwondo forum attended.
I went to numerous SIDANCE (Seoul International Dance Festival) performances, catching up with some old dancer friends, and meeting a few new ones. Some art was made. And there was even a little dress-up for Halloween. My planner also lists at least three photoshoots. I also participated in a dance performance in which I recited a poem and did some martial arts movements.
More dance performances, photoshoots, and pictures of fall foliage, and art made.
I made this skull drawing one evening after grading a heap of student assignments and feeling that existential dread that teachers around the world knows all too well, when they realise that there are still mountains of more grading to be done.
For November, my picture folder also shows some martial arts photos, training with my students.
December starts with attending the International Conference of Taekwondo, hosted at the Taekwondowon in Muju. I spent some extra time with my friend Dr. George Vitale, who came from the States to be a keynote speaker at the event. The first weekend is a nice couple of days spent with friends and talking about Taekwondo until odd hours of the night. During December I was part of a series of photoshoots for a commercial for Ssangyong's new ranger. It was hard work, but a great experience.
And then I went to Cambodia. I was to chaperone students from my department who went there as volunteer workers at a little school in a rural area. While they continued with their volunteer work, I worked on my students final grades. At the end, we had three days to travel around Cambodia. Unfortunately, I came down with a super bad flu, that involved fealing dreadful and a terribly high fever. I stayed in bed most of the time. We arrived back in Korea on the 29th. I had a photoshoot on the 31st.
And that is a quick summary of 2018. Of course, what's not much touch on are the every day regular work as a literature professor, the Korean language lessons I took, and other things I forgot to document, such as book read, podcasts listened to, movies watched, and so on.
Sunday, 31 December 2017
In December 2015 my brother came to visit me, and stayed with me in Korea into the new year. On New Year's Eve we went to a little gathering hosted by a friend of mine.
Two weeks later, I met with a German Taekwon-Do friend, and also taught a Taekwon-Do Workshop.
I arrived in South on the 25th, and taught Taekwon-Do at different schools in Pretoria and Grobblersdalk the following week, before spending the weekend with friends in Tzaneen.
My brother and I and some friends went to the Lunar New Year festival in Johannesburg's Chinatown.
The first week of February I travelled to Potchefstroom to meet with friends, old professors, and also my old Taekwon-Do club where I taught some lesson.
I can't really remember the order of the rest of my trip in South Africa, but it involved spending time with my younger brother, spending time with some of my cousins (a group of us had a delightful dinner at an Italian restaurant), and visiting my father.
Upon returning to Korea, I went to my PhD graduation ceremony and had a nice post-graduation lunch with some of my friends here in Korea, and even a dear friend who flew all the way from New York City to attend the event. Later in the month a received an award for best PhD dissertation from my faculty.
I also went on a trip to the Taekwondowon in Muju, Korea.
My dentist started me on interdental brushes... Possibly related, in my photo folder for this month I have some pictures of chocolate brownies.
Of course, this is also the month of my birth, hence a party with friends at an Italian restaurant.
In March I also started doing fashion modeling. In February I was invited by someone who had scouted me on Instagram to come in for a fitting. They put me in suit, took a few photos, and told me that they liked what they saw and that after discussing it with other people in the company, they will contact me in about a month. I didn't think anything would come of it, but sure enough, a month later they contacted me, so on March 21st I had my first photoshoot. And then again the following week. I've been doing modeling relatively regularly ever since.
I also went on a day trip with a friend to North Hangang River.
I hosted more martial art workshops, attended dance performances, a theatrical Taekwon-Do performance called "Kick", and the internationally acclaimed musical, "Dead Dog."
Also in April, I had a radio interview with KBS World Radio.
And I did some really funky photoshoots in April too.
With warmer weather, I went camping by myself and loved it. Hung out with a friend who visited from America, and hosted a Taekwon-Do workshop. This month I did a very interesting photo shoot at an abandoned amusement park.
For Buddha's Birthday I went to see the Lotus Lantern Festival procession in Seoul -- I climbed on the roof of a building for a bird's eye view, and then on Buddha's Birthday, a friend and I visited a temple and took cool photos.
May is also the start of MODAFE (Modern Dance Festival), so I, of course, attended many dance performances.
There are some things listed on my planner for this month, that I can't really remember, but most the items for this month that are significant are appointments with martial artists -- one a BJJ player from Brazil, and the other a Kali practitioner from NZ.
My photo folder for this month shows more camping pictures with a friend, in Gangneung, inlcuding a trip to the Ojukheon, the birthplace of I Yulgok. There is also pictures of another camping trip. Photos of dance performances attended, martial art workshops hosted, and photos of some art made.
More dance performances, and hanging out with dancer friends.
More meetings with martial art friends, and a student I promoted to black belt formally received his black belt certificate. I, also, received my 4th Dan in Hapkido.
I was interviewed by Geek magazine for their August issue.
And I made some art.
An unforgettable month -- when I visited the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Let met see if I can remember... Landed in Amsterdam. After a few days went to Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe. Great museum! Stayed at a B&B called Horse & Human. Loved it. Visited friends in Utrecht. Back to Amsterdam. Went to Belgium. Stopped in Antwerp, went to Bruges, back to Antwerp, then back to Amsterdam, but stayed over in Rotterdam for a night. In Amsterdam my friend Garnet and his family visited from the UK. Then off to Germany with a nightbus to Hamburg. Love that city. From there to Dresden. From Dresden down to Frunkfurt to visit a friend in Russelheim. Bus to Cologne, and back to Amsterdam for a few days before returning to Korea. I loved it, and kissed several people along the way. One of the best three weeks of my life and took many awesome photos and saw magnificent art.
Back in Seoul I went to see a dance performance by the National Dance Company.
The photo album for this month shows meetings with martial arts friends, visits to the Seoul Cinemateque, some Taekwon-Do photos, visits with friends from Germany, pictures about Bisexual Awareness Week, more dance performances attended, and art made. And a picture of a black board with a time line of the 19th and 20th centuries major American poets and historical events, that was clearly part of my 19th & 20th Century American Poets class.
SIDANCE (Seoul International Dance Festival) and SPAF (Seoul Performing Arts Festival) got lots of money from me in 2016, but the highlight performance for October was not at SIDANCE or SPAF, but the Tiger Lillies performance at the LG Art Center.
In this month I also went on a trip to Yeongju with a friend, had Taekwon-Do visitors from abroad with whom I've been Facebook friends, but finally met in person, and I attended then International Fireworks Festival for the last time with my close colleagues, as they ended their work contract at the end of 2016. We used to go to this event together annually, and would have a picknick in the afternoon and then watch the fireworks in the evening.
Also, some more fishy art.
More dance performances attended, dinners with friends, and photo shoots are listed in my planner.
The photos in the folder for this month are mostly about food, friends, and art made and performances attended.
The December shows many pictures of performances attended, pictures of Taekwon-Do training, the Korea Hapkido Federation Year-End Party, a Christmas party with martial arts friends, and my own pre-Christmas party with friends (loved it!).
My planner says I also had a photo shoot on the 29th, but I remember it got canceled, and I departed for South Africa on the 30th.
It is now officially 2018 . . . Finally got round to listing the highlights of 2016 . . . For me, the most significant event was my trip to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Sunday, 26 November 2017
I really like this quote of Juergen Moltmann:
"What anxiety and hope actually have in common is a sense of what is possible. In anxiety we anticipate possible danger. In hope we anticipate possible deliverance."
Anxiety anticipates a negative future, whereas hope anticipates a positive one. Both are, however, essentially the same thing: an anticipation of possibilities.
Saturday, 18 November 2017
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." — Theodore Roosevelt