Friday, 27 March 2020

Mmm...

"We human beings are vulnerable to many kinds of affliction and most of us are at some time afflicted by serious ills. How we cope is only in small part up to us. It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing, as we encounter bodily illness and injury, inadequate nutrition, mental defect and disturbance, and human aggression and neglect. This dependence on particular others for protection and sustenance is most obvious in early childhood and in old age. But between these first and last stages our lives are characteristically marked by longer or shorter periods of injury, illness or other disablement, and some among us are disabled for their entire lives." -- Alasdair MacIntyre

Monday, 23 March 2020

Spesieïsme

Ek het sopas 'n erg ontstelde video gekyk van die Wuhan-vleismark waar party reken die oorsprong van die huidige Korona-virus is. Die video wys allerhande diere, van katte en honde tot slange, rotte en vlermuise, asook die bekende "kos" soos varke, in hokke of opgekap op slagtersblokke.

Terwyl 'n mens die makabere beelde aanskou is daar 'n groot versoeking om te dink ons is minder barbaars as dié Sjinese wat honde en rotte eet. Omdat dié "kosse" só volksvreemd is maak dit ons blind vir ons eie barbaarse slagting van bekende "kosse", die miljarde hoenders en beeste, die kalwers en lammers watse braaivleisgeure ons monde laat water. Nee, net omdat jy nie hond eet nie, maak dit jou nie 'n beter mens nie.

Jy eet steeds die vlees van 'n ander lewende wese, en jou verlustiging aan daardie hoenderboudjie of skaap tjoppie, varkribbetjie of T-bone steak is eties dieselfde as dié van 'n kat- en honde-eter. 'n Vark ervaar dieselfde vrees en pyn in die slagpale as wat jou skoothondjie sou ervaar. Laat ons nie diere-rassiste wees en maak of die lewe van een tipe dier meer waarde het as dié van 'n ander tipe dier nie; dat 'n hoender "behoort" geëet te word, maar 'n olifant te edel is, dat 'n skaap is kos, maar 'n hond is familie.

Konfronteer jouself met die waarheid van jou medepligtigheid aan die lyding en moord van lewende wesens. Ons moorddade het te verwyderd geraak, ver weg agter die hoë mure van die slagpale, en mooi verpak agter die blink vensters van slaghuis en supermark. Dit is omdat die bloed van ons prooi nie meer aan ons eie hande sit nie, dat ons vergeet het hoe aandadig ons is, en hoe die skarlaken van alle onskuldige diere aan ons vingers en monde kleef.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Mmm...

"Spirit animates matter; matter expresses spirit. This synergy is the soul." 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Mmm

“To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the devil.” – Jack Gilbert

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Mmm...

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?

The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 (1973) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is

'n Waardeuring van "Christ in the House of His Parents"

Onlangs het ek 'n arikel gelees oor rooikoppe in kuns. In die artikel word verskeie skilderye gewys met rooikoppe -- een daarvan is hierdie sklidery deur John Everett Millais, getiteld "Christ in the House of His Parents" (circa 1850). Met nadere kyk kon ek nie help om daardeur beindruk te wees nie. Die simboliek en intertekstuele verwysings is besonders en die tegniese vaardigheid van die werk is eenvoudig lieflik.

John Everett Millais' "Christ in the House of His Parents"
Die skildery wys 'n jong Jesus in sy pa Josef se houtwerk-werkswinkel. Hy het klaarblyklik sy palm aan 'n spyker gesny en die bloed drup op sy voet. Die bloed aan die palm en voet is duidelik 'n vooruitwysing na sy kruisiging. Sy moeder Maria kom om hom te troos, maar uit die gesigsuitdrukkings is dit eerder Jesus wat haar troos. Let op die besorgde frons van die moeder en die vreedsame uitdrukking van die kind. Jesus is ter verwagte die enigste van die figure wat heeltemal in wit geklee is, wat verwys na sy Kleed van Geregtigheid. Sy handgebaar (duim-teen-wysvinger) is 'n simbool uit Grieks-Romynse retoriek wat "perfek" of "uitmuntend" beteken, en toon natuurlik op Jesus as die Perfekte Mens.

Regs is Jesus se "nefie" Johannes die Doper wat 'n bakwater bring om die wond te was, 'n vooruitwysing op Jesus se doop. Buiten vir die bak water kan ons herken dat dit Johannes is weens die kameelvel rompie wat hy aan het -- 'n bekende simbool in klassieke kuns vir Johannes die Doper. Al is die seuntjie Johannes ouer as Jesus, is sy postuur effens vooroor in eerbied en nederigheid vir sy jonger "nefie".

Agter teen die muur is die houtwerkdriehoek, 'n simbool vir die Drie-eenheid en ook teen die muur is 'n leer. Die leer is 'n dubbele verwysing: eerstens na Jakob se leer in die Ou Testament, en twedens na die vele skildery wat Jesus toon wanneer hy van die kruis afgehaal word. Op die leer rus 'n duif, 'n simbool vir die Heilige Gees.

Links buite sien ons 'n pastorale toneel -- skape was 'n gewilde beeld in Jesus se gelykenisse. Die skape kyk in na die toneel van Jesus. Hulle hunker na Hom as die Herder. Aan die regterkant is 'n lampie in die venster. Die lamp (en lig) is 'n ander belangrike simbool in Jesus se spreuke.

Die houttafel verteenwoordig die offertafel (tabernakel / altaar). Aan die linkerkant staan 'n jong man met 'n veelkleurige kleed om sy heupe, waarskynlik 'n verwysing na Josef uit die Ou Testament. Dus is daar twee Josefs in die komposisie om die Ou Testament aan die een kant en die Nuwe Testament aan die anderkant van die "Offer" te verteenwoordig. Jesus is die tabernakel, die altaar wat deur spykers gewond word.

Die vrou-figuur agter is dalk Maria se moeder wat volgens oorlewering Anna is, maar ek verkies om te dink dit is eerder Elizabet, die moeder van Johannes die Doper. Nes Maria het sy ook 'n wit kopdoek aan om haar begunstiging voor God te toon. (Elizabet was kindloos tot op 'n bejaarde ouderdom totdat die Engel Gabriel aan haar man Zacharia verskyn het om aan te kondig dat Elizabet swanger gaan word. Dit was ook Gabriel wat aan Maria verskyn het om haar swangerskap aan te kondig.)

Hoe langer ek na die skildery kyk, hoe dieper en mooier raak dit vir my. Ek is steeds nuuskierig oor moontlike ander simboliek, byvoorbeeld die rooi turksevy blom, die rietmandjie voor-links (dalk 'n verwysing na Moses), en die houtskaafsels op die grond.

Daar is min kontemporere skilderkuns van so veelvlakkige diepte en betekenis het. Dit is jammer.

Die bekyk en besin oor hierdie skildery het my maak terug verlang na die tyd toe ek nog Kunsgeskiedenis gestudeer het. Ek het oorweeg om my meestersgraad in Kunsgeskiedenis te doen, maar ek kon dit nie bekostig nie en daar was nie 'n beurs vir Kunsgeskiedenis nie; daar was wel 'n beurs in die Skool vir Tale en gevolglik het ek my meestersgraad in Skryfkuns gedoen. Ek is nie spyt nie omdat dit vir my ook ander deure oopgemaak het, insluitende my huide pos as letterkunde dosent hier in Korea, maar my liefde vir die visuele kunste het nooit verminder nie.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Mmm...

"The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Gulag Archipelagox

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Mmm...

Three thought-provoking quotes from Jeff McMahan's article Innocence, Self-Defense and Killing in War:

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

Postmodernisme vs Post-postmodernisme

Ek dink die hedendaagse kritiek teen die postmodernisme is misplaas. Nie dat die postmodernisme nie sonder haar foute is nie, maar die kritiek wat tans deur prominente figure soos Jordan Peterson aan die postmodernisme toegerig is, konkretiseer vir my twee dinge: eerstens, die kritici verstaan nie regtig die postmodernisme nie, en dus misgis hulle dit wat hulle kritiseer, naamlik 'n nuwe tydsgees, vir die postmodernisme; tweedens, die nuwe tydsgees (wat nog sonder 'n gevestigde naam is en wat ons maar vir nou post-postmodernisme kan noem) is nog nie genoegsaam gekristalliseer in die akademie en openbare psige nie.
Om my punt te maak, mense verwys na die alternatiewe-regses ("Alt-Right"), Antifa en Neo-Marxistiese bewegings in Amerika en noem die groepe "Postmodern"; soortgelyk kan daar na groepe in Suid-Afrika, soos EFF of BLF, vingergewys word en afgejak word as 'n manifestering van postmodernistiese pogings om magstrukture omver te werp. Maar, hierdie radikale groepe is juis on-postmodernisties, omdat ware postmodernisme te gefragmenteer en individualisties is, en rondweg te blasé is, om tribalisties geradikaliseer te word.
Die postmoderne identiteit (maw, 'n postmoderne mens) is deel van verskeie identiteite en neem deel aan verskeie groepe of gemeenskappe. Dink aan die kontemporêre Christen wat ook joga doen, die Dalai Lama se boeke lees, en weekliks haar sterreteken in die Huisgenoot opsoek. Hierdie tipe persoon is nie fanaties oor enige van haar spirituele-identiteite nie, wat nes klere aan en uit getrek kan word soos die situasie daarna uitsien. Sy is 'n postmoderne identiteit -- individualisties, gefragmenteerd, en tot 'n mate sinies teenoor alle pogings tot waarheidsaansprake; gevolglik haar inklusiewe agting vanuit verskeie bronne.
Daarinteen staan die post-postmoderne identiteit: in plaas van individualisties, is die persoon eksklusief. In plaas van deel wees van verskeie gemeenskappe, is die persoon tribalisties. Identiteite word nie aangepas soos kledingstukke nie, maar 'n spesifieke identiteit word tot 'n stam ("tribe") verhef. Dit is nie bloot toeval dat lede van EFF almal dieselfde kledingstukke dra nie. Sulke geradikaliseerde groepe (Amerika se Alt-Regses tot Antifa, tot ISIS) is teenstrydig met postmoderne identiteitskenmerke, en weerspieël eerder die nuwe post-postmoderne identiteitskenmerke.
Daar is natuurlik veel meer wat ek oor die onderwerp kan sê, maar ek vind dit vreemd dat so baie diep denkers, en veral daardie prominente stemme in die huidige openbare diskoers soos Jordan Peterson, nie raaksien dat ons besig is om in 'n nuwe tydsgees in te beweeg nie; dat dit wat hulle as postmodernisme kritiseer, juis nie postmodernisties is nie. Hoe kan mense nie sien dat die Europeuse-unie se vervaagde grense 'n postmodernistiese poging was nie, terwyl Brexit 'n post-postmodernistiese ommekeer is nie? Dat pogings om mense se taal te beheer (soos die kontroversiële transfobie wetgewing in Kanada) staan in direkte kontras met die postmodernisme se inherente wantroue in taal soos uitgewys deur die Post-Strukturaliste, onder meer Dekonstruksie?
DIt is seker moontlik dat hierdie gesprek tog êrens plaas vind en dat ek net nie daarvan bewus is nie, maar die idee wat ek van die openbare diskoers kry, is dat feitlik almal die postmodernisme met die post-postmodernisme misgis.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Mmm...

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Mmm

"The real violence, the violence I realized was unforgivable, is the violence that we do to ourselves, when we're too afraid to be who we really are." -- Sense8, S1E9.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Mmm...

"Every problem in the world is the result of broken relationships." — Dean Schurmann

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Mmm...

"No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point." — Jean-Paul Sartre

Saturday, 17 February 2018

'n Droom oor grootmens word

Opsoek na iets anders, kom ek op hierdie af wat ek op 26 September 2018 geskryf het. Ek het gedink om die oorspronklike dokument uit te vee, en toe dink ek om die droom maar hier te kom plak, omdat ek soms in die verlede ook sulke drome hier gedeel het. Deesdae is ek nie meer seker regtig wat die funksie van die blog is nie... 'n Bêre plek, blyk dit vir my, vir ou herinneringe. 

’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.

Gister, 25 September, sou my pa se verjaardag gewees het. Alhoewel hy tot ’n rype ouderdom van 80+ jaar geleef het, het ek hom as vaderfiguur lankal reeds verloor. Dit is nog ’n insig wat ek en my jonger broer onlangs gehad het. Baie mense wat weet dat ons pa verlede jaar gesterf het, besef nie dat ons byna twee dekades vroeër reeds ’n vaderfiguur verloor het nie. Ja, hy was ons pa—maar hy was lankal nie meer die vaderfiguurlike simbool wat ’n vader moes wees nie. Hy het nie voorsien, onderhou, of beskerm nie. Hy kon ons nie leer wat dit beteken om ’n man te wees nie. Hy kon nie ons suksesse erken, trotsheid toon of lof deel nie. Dit is ook ’n verlies wat ek meer van bewus raak nou dat ek self my eie middeljare nader. Volgende jaar sal ek veertig wees.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Some things I did in 2017

January 2017

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.



February 2017

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.

March 2018

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.

April 2018


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.

May 2018

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.

June 2018

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.



July 2016

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 2016

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 2017

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.



October 2017

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.


November 207

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 2017

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.