Tuesday, 30 September 2008

English Lesson: Order of Adjectives

In English there is an order when more than one adjective is used. The order is: opinion, size, condition or quality, age, colour, nationality.

He is a little irritating man. [Incorrect]
He is an irritating little man. [Correct]

It's a French fabulous old painting. [Incorrect]
It's a fabulous old French painting. [Correct]

Monday, 29 September 2008

Dongdaemun Pet Shops

Lindiwe cooked her goldfish by accident. (Don't ask!)

So yesterday the two of us tackled the streets of Dongdaemun in search of the pet shop district. A couple of years ago we stumbled upon the pet shop area by accident, and now after the tragic demise of her goldfish we tried to find it again. It required no short walk, but eventually via many a detour we got there.

The pet shops in Dongdaemun are something to experience. The variety of animals for sale is amazing, ranging from the common pets (canaries, fish, cats and dogs), to the more exotic lizards, porcupines, squirrels, cute little turtles, water beatles, African dung beatles, chickens, snakes, golden pheasants, and what not. On my previous visit there I even saw peacocks for sale. I just have to wonder where people living in Seoul, in there little appartments, keep a pair of peacocks! In the living room?!

The pets are not ill-treated, but I'm sure the SPCA will get a minor anxiety attack if they had to inspect these shops.

Lindiwe ended up not buying anything this time, but she did compare prices and plan to go back later to buy a new aquarium, outfitted with all the decorative paraphinalia, and of course a new set of goldfish.

Below are some photos I took.


Sunday, 28 September 2008

Boundary Issues

I crossed a terrible line tonight. I brought work home. I guess it was inevitable.

I had set myself a rule that I will not bring work home. If I needed to do work, I'd rather go to my office and do it there, than "contaminate" my house with work. The house should be a place of refuge where I can escape from the World-of-Work.

May this recent cross-over be the exception to the rule.

Third Post-Apartheid President

So the new, and third post-apartheid, South African president has been inaugurated and he appointed his cabinet already. I’m not going to say too much now. However, it is probably worth mentioning that Mr Motlanthe is one of the more conservative figures in the ANC. Which is, too my mind at least, a little comforting.

However, the ANC president, the infamous Jacob Zuma, has probably scared all ANC members of parliament into compliance. The message sent by the ANC's ousting of the previous president, Thabo Mbeki, was clearly that either you obey or your out. Mr Mbeki, of course, could have kicked against the ANC's request, but instead he resigned quietly. This gentlemanly conduct ensured that the South African economy kept rather stable over what could have been a turbilant event.

Mr Motlanthe might just become enough of a noteworthy presence to give a strong counterbalance to the over-zealous Zuma-faction.

In South Africa the people vote for the parties, which results in seats in parliament and parliament appoints the president. Might it happen that parliament chooses Motlanthe over Zuma after next years elections?

Photo from Telegraph.co.uk.

Wat is dit?

Wat is dit? Wat presies is dit wat maak dat ek ’n pen nodig het? Uit my pad uit gaan ek, ver ente op ’n afdraai grondpad, om ’n pen te kry. Of ’n potlood met ’n sagte kern wat donker kan klad. Die kontras van betekenisvolle woord moet duidelik kan uitstaan op die lewelose papier. Die sketslyn moet die leë blad skroei; dit pynig tot syn.

Is dit my godslasterlike ambisie om ex nihilo iets voor te bring? Of is dit júís die godsvrug, die godsbeeld, die mens ingeasem wat op soortgelyke manier wil terug inblaas en níks tot íéts baar.

Wat maak dat ek myself ontbloot? My siel uit masterbeer vir vriend, vyand, apaat om aan te ruik? Sê: Kyk, hier is ek. Hier is die rand van my hart. Hier lê my broosheid soos borste wat soog. Hier in die skuilte van my lies, hier diskant my roes-chakra, híér borrel my passies – ’n sondige en heilige broeisel in konflik. En kyk hier, hier waar my oog van bruin na groen migreer, dis hier waar my gewete met ’n knop-in-die-keel bepeins. En sien jy daar? En daar! En het jy dít opgelet? En ag foeitog, kyk na my noes skrotum wat onverpoos miljoene potensiële nageslagte fabriseer – verniet. Ek het nie planne om kinders te vader nie.

Wat is dit presies wat maak dat ek ’n sleutelbord nodig het?

Friday, 26 September 2008

What is it about Monica Bellucci?

What is it about Monica Bellucci that makes me want to write exquisite poetry about women? And the older she gets, the greater her appeal and muse-like enchantment. So it is clearly no secret. I am a Monica Bellucci fan.

The photo is from AskMen.Com; copyright DailyCeleb.Com.

Koreaanse vaagheid

In 'n vorige inskrywing het ek gepraat oor die vaagheid ("ambiguity") by die universiteit waar ek werk. Ek besef dat die vaagheid nie beperk is tot my werksomstandigheid nie. Dit is eintlik 'n Oosterse, en in hierdie geval, 'n Koreaanse, fenomeen. Die vaagheid lê baie diep. Dit is deel van die Kultuur, dis gewortel in die taal.

Ek het weereens bewus geraak van hierdie vaagheid tydens 'n onlangese klas waarin ek die Engelse sinstruktuur verduidelik het.

Wat is verkeerd met hierdie sin?: "doing it", vra ek. Vir ons is dit voor die handliggend. Die sin is onvolledig want dit kort 'n subjek. Maar in die Koreaanse taal is hierdie 'n waardige sin. Om die waarheid te sê, bloot "doing" is 'n volledige sin in Koreaans: Hamnida. Om te sê "Ek het 'n kat", sê 'n mens eenvoudig "'n kat is". In Koreaans word die ontbrekende inligting bloot aanvaar. Dit word uit die konteks afgelei. En as die konteks daartoe geen leidraad gee nie, dan word die vaagheid eenvoudig aanvaar. Daar hoef nie meer te wees nie. Sulke taalvaaghede spil oor tot in die res van die kultuur.

As dosent, en as Westerling, staan ek voor 'n tweespalk. Dis nodig om die vaagheid te verstaan; selfs persoonlik te probeer aanvaar. Tog, moet ek ook sekere duidelike verwagtinge skep by my studente, duidelike doelwitte bereik in my werk, duidelike uitkomste vervul.

Self-Portrait: Hand

Disappointed celebration

Yesterday (Thursday) was payday and to celebrate I planned to go see a Hamlet-performance which finishes today. Last night was the only opportunity to go see it as I'm too busy today, and tonight I want to be at home.

So at five my friend Young and I set off to Nambu, where the Seoul Arts Centre is. We arrived two hours later and then it struck me... Is this where the National Theatre is? No, says Young. The Korea National Theatre is over at Namsan. Namsan, not Nambu, I reallised. The play started in half an hour, there was no way would could have made it in time to Namsan. I was really disappointed; mostly in myself for net double checking the directions. I just assumed it is at the Seoul Arts Centre, which is one of my favourite places in Seoul.

Another thing I have to do with my paycheck is buy a computer for home. I'm going to take over a desktop from friends of mine (they'll be dropping it of on Sunday), but I still need to go buy a monitor. I'm planning to go do it this afternoon. Let's hope that this plan works out better than the previous one.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Today is payday!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Sunday: Babies, Martial Arts and Work

Yesterday I slept in. I would say it is a good way to start a Sunday. If only the whole day was that peaceful.

I went to my friend John's. The visit was twofold. Firstly it was to meet John (American) and Yoshiko's (Japanese) baby-daugther, Mika. (American + Japanese = Cute.) I've been told that she looked forward to meeting her first South African. I hope I didn't disappoint.

The second reason for my visit was for Taekwon-Do. Both John and I do ITF Taekwon-Do, which is sort of a novelty in South Korea. It is easy to find a WTF school, but ITF schools are rare and difficult to access. For this reason John and I plan to train together, hopefully once a week. We worked out at a nice spot near his house that John likes to call "Stone Henge". It is a type of amphitheatre nestled next to a mountain trail in the middle of Seoul. We'll mostly likely work on our patterns, which is something that can quickly get rusty if not trained often.

After our visit and training I had to rush back to my office. (It takes about an hour or so to get from the centre of Seoul to where I live.) I teach different modules on Mondays, so there is lots of preparation that needs to be done. I had just over an hour to work on my preparation, because at six o'clock I had Taekkyon training and the building where my office is, is locked in the evenings after seven. Which is good on the one hand, as it forces me not to procrastinate too much. But bad on the other hand; especially if I suddenly need to go to my office and everything is locked up!

I've come to the conclusion that Sundays are too busy. I really need to get my preparation for Mondays done before the weekend. I need to plan better. It is time to read Stephen Covey's First Things First again.

The photos in this post are not Creative Commons images.


Saterdagaand het ek en my Xhoza-vriendin, Lindiwe, na 'n jazz-kafee gegaan. Live Jazz Club het elke aand lewendige opvoerders. Dit is gewoonlik jazz, maar soms ook klassieke musiek kwartette en ander verskeidenhede.

Live Jazz Club is in HyeHwa, een van my gunsteling plekke in Seoul. Dit kos $8 om daar te gaan kuier. Die tafels is almal na die verhoog gedraai, sodat jy heeltyd die musikante kan beleef.

Dit was my eerste keer om na hierdie jazz-kafee in Korea te gaan. Ek was al by twee ander. Once in a Blue Moon is nogals 'n lekker plek in Apgujeong, maar dit is vreeslik duur. Jy hoef nie toegangsfooi te betaal nie, maar die verwagting is dat jy iets van die spyskaart af sal bestel en die spyskaart lys belaglike duur items. Die ander jazz-kafee wat ek besoek het is in Itaewon. Dit is waar al die Amerikaanse soldate in die laat nagte uithang. Dit was nie te lekker nie. Daar is nie goeie ventilasie nie, gevolglik brand al wat 'n opening is later van die rook. Soveer is Live Jazz Club my gunsteling jazz-kafee.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Expatic confucian

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react as an expat, upon hearing the news that my president (Yes, my president; I refuse the cop-out used by many white South Africans proclaiming that “hy is nie my president nie!”) in my country far far away (almost like in a fairytale) has been forced to step down before the end of his term. Clearly this causes great political strain on the country, and much stress for the citizens. But what should I feel, a South African citizen far removed from the day-to-day in the tip of Africa? As a responsible citizen of my country (is that what I am?), should I be overly concerned? Or should I thank my stars (not that I believe in them) that I’m geographically exempted from the political unrest those feel that are living there, there where the rubber-meets-the-road. And this in a country where that rubber (tyres) have a horrific significance.

The photo is by the Associated Press, as hosted by Yahoo! News.

Oor die digkuns

Digkuns is anders as prosa. Gedigte verkoop minder. Maar belangriker is dat 'n gedig nie kom soos 'n genooide gas nie. Dit besoek jou op vreemde tye. Dit kom op jou af soos 'n groot kak. En as jy dink, goed, ek sal vannaand as almal in die bed is, kyk wat gesê wou word, dan sit jy met niks meer as klein gekonstipeerde knolletjies nie. Jy kan nie sê dat jy ekle aand, of elke Saterdagoggend of net Sondae 'n gedig gaan skryf nie. As dit kom, moet jy beskikbaar wees. En jou papier moet reg wes en jou potlood die regte HB-soort en jou uitveër nie weg nie en jy moet jou ore kan afsplyt tot in daardie plek, daardie kloppende opening, daardie dun wand waar jy kan hoor hoe roerings van lig en sig en verlies in klank kalibreer, en jy dit wat vertaal word tot taal, kan opvang.
Antjie Krog, uit 'n Ander Tongval

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Goodbye Tsubasa and Kenichi

I’ve finished watching season one of the anime series Tsubasa Chronicles as well as the complete series of Kenichi – The World’s Greatest [Martial Art] Disciple. So with terrible nostalgia I will now remove these two serieses from my “Currently Watching” list, on the right side of this blog.
I look forward to finding the next season of Tsubasa Chronicles, but I know it will be a difficult search finding it with English subtitles.

However it is especially sad to have to part with Kenichi. This awfully funny story of a boy learning martial arts from five gruelling master-instructors was one of the best I’ve seen. Of course I am biased because of my own interest in the martial arts. Still, it is such an uplifting tale of honest fear overcome by determined effort. And as I said already – awfully funny! I’m going to miss Kenichi a lot.

In the Presence of a Survivor

On Friday evening, for vespers I went to listen to the testimony of a North Korean lad now living in South Korea.

He began his story by saying that he is the youngest of four children. Since he is the only son his family was very protective of him. But filial protection is not enough to survive on in North Korea. When he was about 10 years old there was a serious famine in North Korea and the government also stopped giving food rations. (This was around 1994.) Because there was nothing to eat at home he left his house and started to scavenge on the streets for food. He ate tree bark and grass and walked for many kilometers to get some seed potato in far off towns.

At the age of eleven while lying in a straw hut in the middle of winter waiting to die from the cold or starvation a passerby told him to flee to China. “But the soldiers will kill me,” he protested. “You have a choice,” said the person “either stay here and die from the cold or starvation or try your luck fleeing to China.” So he made up his mind and fled to China the next morning.

He was taken in by a Chinese-Korean family. Eventually he was caught by the police and sent back to Korea where he was beaten and tortured and eventually released. Was it not for his age they would killed him. And so began a series of escapes to China and returns to Korea.

His story is a heart wrenching one, about survival against all odds, about loneliness, about abuse and mistreatment from supposed friends and strangers, about injustice, about providential provision by the God he learned about outside of North Korea, about overcoming the brainwashing of the Communist Regime, about starting a new life in a new country. He got asylum in South Korea, but since he left school at a very young age he does not have any education and cannot find a job. Neither can he study – he would like to study theology and help other North Korean defectors. One of the worst things for him is the terrible loneliness he feels. He will probably never be able to see his family again.

He spoke with us for about an hour and a half, so I’ve rendered here a very diluted version of his telling. I have a heavy burden for the North Korean people. I look forward to the day when those people will be freed from the dictatorship they are under. There is such terrible suffering in the world I feel crushed under the thought thereof. When my life, even with all of the pain I had suffered, is foiled against the life of someone like this young man (25), I feel abundantly blessed. It makes me feel ashamed of thinking I had it difficulty.

Friday, 19 September 2008

A Concert in Context

Who should I give the other ticket to?

Just before Chuseok I wrote about all the gifts I’ve received from my employer (i.e. the university I'm working at). I forgot to mention the soy foods hamper (vegetarian meats, soy drinks, etc.) and two tickets to a classical and opera concert.

The concert was last night in the newly remodeled campus auditorium. Now it is not anyone that you can invite to a classical and opera concert. Few people enjoy classical music, and it is not like I have a pantheon of friends here in Korea to choose from.

And then I thought of Mark Ma, the young chap I taught long ago, whom I affectionately refer to as “boy genius”. He finished high school early and went of to study aero-space engineering and other stuff at the most prestigious university in Korea, Seoul National University. I cannot quite recall exactly how we became friends. Mark is a decade my junior and he quickly assumed the “younger brother” role. In Korea, it is expected of the older person in the relationship to provide for the younger one. For instance, the senior would pay for the meal at a restaurant. Mark made me pay for the ice cream we used to eat together, and I didn’t mind. His invitation for me to participate in this cultural custom made me feel part of his world – instead of feeling like the outsider, which one normally feel as a foreigner.

The reason I thought of Mark was because he played second violin in his university’s orchestra and he once invited me to a performance, but unfortunately I was already back in South Africa at the time. Who better to invite to a classical music concert than a classical musician?

So, last week I phoned him. He immediately recognized my voice and this after more than a year, which was a pleasant surprise. And that is how it happened that we enjoyed the concert together.

The concert again affirmed my belief that Koreans are exceptionally talented. The program included La forza del destino (G. Verdi), Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore (G. Puccini), Diciten cello vuie (R. Falvo), Time to say goodbye (F. Sartori), Ebben? n’andró lontana (A. Catalani), Musica Proibata (S. Gastaldon), Brindisi (G. Verdi) and O Sole mio (E. Capua).

There was also a wonderful series of pansori (traditional Korean opera) performances, by singer Jang Sa Ik. [Here are two links to MP3 songs by Jang Sa Ik: 1, 2.] Jang Sa Ik is considered a sori-ggoon. ("Goonn" means an expert in a certain field.) I’ve come to be quite fond of pansori, as it is very emotional and although I cannot understand what is sung, I can still feel the emotions conveyed.

Apparently the lady that was the master of ceremonies is a famous television channel (MBC) anchor. Her name is Seo Hyeon Jin. Inferring from Mark, it sounds as if she is expensive to hire. Mark hinted that the university must have lots of funds. I’m coming to that same conclusion.

Great music. Seeing friends you haven’t seen in a long time. A lovely way to end off a day!

The photo in this post is not a Creative Commons image.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

An Encounter with Oriental Medicine

This morning I went to my Taekkyeon instructor, who is also an Oriental Doctor, for treatment. The tendon of my right hamstring muscle has been bothering me for probably three or four months now. I hurt it one Taekwon-Do session because I thought I can still kick head height without warming up, as I used to do at the age of 18. (Teenagers, beware… the day is coming!) So there I was, at the doctor.

I tried to explain to him what is wrong, but he silenced me. Instead he made me sit and started to take my pulse. First the right wrist. Then the left. Then the right again. He tapped me on the right side to indicate the problem is on the right side of my body. This time he allowed me to show which tendon is causing the fuss.

And then the treatment started. First I lay on my stomach and allowed him to push and pull along my spine, popping stuff and stretching stuff. Initially it felt good; not a relaxing message, but a good working of the muscles. But after half an hour he really started to press all the right places. As if he knew exactly which pressure points would cause me the most excruciating pain; he started to stand on me with his knees, kneed with his elbows, pinch and prod with thumbs and knuckles. It took all my will power not to squirm from under him. And then he started acupuncture with two acupuncture pens. They look similar to normal parker pens, but with special three thronged heads. I felt like screaming, so painful was it. Some of the points stung in long waves along my meridians. Although I’m not fond of getting hurt, I do think that I have a rather high tolerance for pain. But such illusions disappeared under his touch. Apparently I also got some injections near the sore tendon.

What a tender (as in painful, not as in fond) experience. I have to come back often, he said. Once a week.

I have many problems, explained the translator to me. He also referred to my skin problem. I suffer from acne problems – mostly on my back. The doctor said it might be related to my kidneys, liver or a nutritional deficiency. I know for a fact that supplements of zinc and excessive amounts of Vitamin C helps to relieve the inflammation. Hopefully this oriental treatment might fix this long time bane as well.

So, coming Sunday after Taekkyeon training, I will be back for another torture session.

Korean Friendships

My friend Young, of whom I posted before, turned 30 today. Young and I decided, starting last week, that we will have lunch together on Thursdays. Of course with his birthday today it was a special lunch and many of his school friends joined.

It is not uncommon for the friendship-click formed at school to stay with a Korean throughout his life. This group would every so often get together to enjoy each other's company and literally grow up (and old) together. Korea is a group-centered society, therefore the "group" is very important, and such group-friendships are treasured. (It is for this same reason that foreigners seldom become authentically best friends with Koreans, because their closest friendships were already formed at school.)

This is so different from my Western experience. Of my primary school friends I'm in touch with only one person. Of my high school friends probably no more than four. And we never hang out together as a group. I usually visit with one or two of them at a time. Some of them I only see once a year or so. Also, my closest friendships were molded not as a child, but as a young adult.

It was nice to see Young and his groupie, so very comfortable with each other. And it was especially nice to be a part of the group, at least for an hour.

The photo in this post is not a Creative Commons image.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Verjaardigwense aan Eva

Vandag was haar verjaarsdag. My vriendin (durf ek sê meisie?), wie ek Eva noem. Sy is nou sowat sewe jaar lank oorlede en die aantal gedigte wat ek al aan haar geskryf het trek seker al by die tientalle. Vanjaar, met haar verjaarsdag, het ek nie iets geskryf nie. Werk en dinge het my (genadiglik) te besig gehou. Die gedig hieronder is verlede jaar geskryf.


Díe dag,
jou verjaarsdag
het my onverwags betrap

soos die Wederkoms.
Dit was nes in die dae van Noag –
ek het nie gedrink nie,
maar ek het geëet en gedink aan trou.

Soos die Wes-Transvaal se lente –
die takke swel pitswere
skielik (sonder serimonie) bars dit blertse:
semenwit tepelpienk skrotumperse

en dan,
die bloeisels
wat soet parfume poep.

En dan nog skieliker,
met ’n snik en ’n snak,
is dit somer.

Só betrap jou verjaarsdag my
en ek kry toe maar blomme
(nie tulpe nie, ek jou al te veel daarvan gegee):
geel daisies en blou gesiggies en raffialint
en stasioneer dit in ’n fles in my kamer.

En toe bid ek maar vir almal wat vêr is
(maar nie vir jou nie, want gebede aan die dode is kettery).

Werk en sulke aardighede

Sjoe, wat 'n dag! Dis nou half agt in die aand en hier sit ek steeds op kantoor.

Ek het nou net klaar gekry om vir een van my klasse vir more voor te berei. Dis 'n dubbelperiode en handel oor "Presentation". Die spesifieke onderwerp vir more is lyftaal en paralinguistiek. Ek het nog 'n klas waarvoor ek moet voorberei, maar het besluit genoeg is genoeg en sal more daarvoor tyd maak tussen verskillende ander aktiwiteite.

Vanoggend by die vergadering kry ek 'n koevertjie vanaf die direkteur met $250 daarin. Glo is dit om die studente mee te trakteer vir die semester. Aan die einde van die semester handig ek kwitansies in en die oorblywende geld - as daar is. Nog nooit in al my jare van rond hang in die akademie het ek gehoor dat dosente geld kry om hulle studente mee te bederf nie! Of miskien het daai slinkse dosente dit gepocket!

Vanoggend was ek weer na die Taekkyeon klas. Ek het intussen my uniform gekry. Dit is basies 'n spierwit hanbok. 'n Hanbok is die tradisionele drag van Korea. Die ou tannies in my klas moes my help om die ding aan te trek want daar is allerande toutjies en voue en dinge wat my dom gemaak het. Ek gaan more my Taekkyeon afrigter sien weens 'n dyspiersening wat ek maande terug al beseer het en wat steeds nie reg is nie. Miskien kan hy met sy Oosterse muti die ding help genees.

Ongelukkig was ek al weer nie na Hapkido toe vanaand nie. Ek het, soos reeds genoem, te laat gewerk en my Amerikaanse vriend/afrigter het my laatweet dat hy nie vanaand gaan nie, so toe is ek ook nie lus om nog moeite te doen nie. Dis natuurlik nie te laat nie - daar is 'n 21:00 klas...

Ek het skielik die lawwe idee gekry om dalk vir my doktorsnavorsing my huidige idee om skryfkuns vir die moderne eeu te modiveer te ruil vir iets meer... uhm... Koreaans. Ek dink daaraan om bekende gedigte vanaf Koreaans na Afrikaans te vertel en dit dan die spilpunt te maak vir navorsing oor kreatiwe vertaalwerk. Ek weet nie of dit 'n beter idee is vir my doktoraal nie. Tog wonder ek of ek nie my tyd hier in Korea meer direk kan benut nie. Ek moet dalk uitgewers in Suid-Afrika nader wat sal belangstel in so 'n bundel van Koreaanse gedigte in Afrikaans. As 'n uitgewer daarin belangstel kan ek dalk verder daarmee gaan, hetsy vir my doktoraal, al dan nie.

The Sound of Your Voice

To really listen to your voice, cup your right hand around your right ear and gently pull the ear forward. Next, cup your left hand around your mouth and direct the sound straight into your ear. This helps you to really hear your voice as others hear it...and it might be completely different from the voice you thought it was! Now practice moderating your voice. (Borrowed from here.)

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Apgujeong Architecture

While studying History of Art, architecture did not interest me much. But in the last couple of years this has changed dramatically. I suppose it was because I took architecture for granted. Upon my first Korea experience one of the things that seriously irritated me was the blunt and boring architecture. Everywhere one sees these creative-less slabs of rectangular ugliness. It was probably then that I started to appreciate architecture more.

So in the past two or so years I’ve started to take note. Look at lines and curves. Value shadows and reflections. Appreciate diversity and design. Following are some beautiful buildings I came across over the past weekend – all of them from the Apgujeong area.

This last building with its babelian curves is actually still under construction. I look forward to its completion. At the institute where I worked before, I used to look out of my classroom window onto the cranes on the horizon that were busy with the construction of this building. It was a nice surprise to return now and see what a beautiful construction they were busy with all that time.


Apgujeong is een van my gunstelling plekke in Korea. Dit is ’n baie welvarende deel van Seoul waar jy altyd mooi mense in modieuse klere en duur karre kan sien. Byvoorbeeld dié Ferarri. Ek het nooit gedink ek is materialisties nie, maar Apgujeong is verleidelik. Sy flankeer grootskaals en laat my wens ek is ryk en lieflik soos die Hollywoodsterre.

Koreaanse ginseng-hoender

Ek het gister besluit om bietjie vleis te eet.

Toe ek die eerste keer Korea toe kom was ek ’n vegaan. Ek het glad nie vleis geëet nie, en amper nooit diere produkte gebruik nie. Maar met my terug keer na Suid-Afrika het ek my diëet verander vir verskeie redes. Ek het myself ’n ovo-lakto vegetariër gedoop en begin om meer gereeld eiers te gebruik en soms suiwel. (Die rede is bietjie gekompliseerd, maar het te make met swaarmetaal detoksering.)

Ek eet steeds selde vleis en gebruik selde suiwel. Om die waarheid te sê ek maak nooit vleis gaar nie. Het jare laas so iets gedoen. Ek eet wel gereeld eiers – deel van die swaarmetaal detoksering. En soms, wanneer ek vir mense gaan kuier wat vleis eet, sal ek hulle nie verontrief nie. Verder, indien ek voel my liggaam het dit nodig weens ’n karige voorsiening aan ’n veelsydige diëet sal ek dalk ’n hamburger of iets gaan koop. Gewoonlik hoender.

So groot was my verbasing toe ek Sondag besluit om ’n hoenderdis op die spyskaart te bestel. Ginseng-hoender, om meer presies te wees. Die foto wys die kokende sop waarin die hoender voor my neer gesit is. Koreane eet graag hulle kos kookpunt warm. Die ander foto wys die ginseng-wortel waarin die kuiken gekook is. Dit lyk nogals na die gillende wortels in een van die Harry Potter-films.

Ek kan eerlik sê dat dit nie vir my lekker was nie. Nie walglik nie, net nie lekker nie. Miskien sou ek meer van gebraaide hoender gehou het, as van die vaalkuikensop. Nietemin, ek is bly dat ek eenkeer hierdie gewilde Koreaanse gereg probeer het. Nou weet ek van beter.


This weekend was Chuseok – Korean Thanks Giving. Apart from Lunar New Year, called Seollal, Chuseok is the biggest Korean holiday. Literally, Chuseok means “Autumn Evening” and is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month, when the moon is full. Chuseok is a type of fertility festival, with ancestor worship rituals to give thanks for the harvest. Chuseok occurs right after summer, at the height of harvest time when produce are at their ripest. It is customary for people to return to their ancestral hometowns for great family gatherings, ancestral rituals, games and dining (and lots of work for the women).

This year Chuseok fell on Sunday, 14th September. The days before and after Chuseok are also holidays, so this was a long weekend.

On Saturday I again attended the international Sabbath-keeping church at Ilsan. It takes about an hour and a half (I’m guessing) to get there by bus and subway. The evening I went to COEX-mall to meet a friend for a movie. Three new teachers also working at the university with me (but in another department) tagged along. I was initially happy to show them around, but soon realised that I wasn’t in a mood for “youthful” chitchat. They are all a couple of years younger than I am. At first I was shocked at the idea that I might have become old, but I have come to understand (to my relief) that that was not the problem, as I have many friends that are much younger than I am. The issue is not the age difference but the type of conversation. Like Sartre (or is it Hegel?), I don’t like superficial chit-chat. Which is one of the reason why I don’t like hanging out in groups either, as groups are seldom conducive to deep discussions.

On Sunday I slept late and went to Dongdaemun Out Door Market in the afternoon, where I bought 10 pairs of socks for 3000 Won (about R 21) and a small backpack for around 4000 Won (about R28). In the early evening us foreign staff came together for a Chuseok potluck dinner. At first I didn’t take anything, since the invite I received said to come and bring something if you want. I didn’t want to, as I was away the whole afternoon and didn’t feel like cooking. But upon my arrival the food looked too little so I rushed back to my apartment, cooked up some spaghetti with garglic stalks, and mixed it all with basil pesto and chopped tomato. Delicious food is in the mouth of the eater and it turned out that my pesto spaghetti was a hit.

Yesterday I decided to look like a scarecrow (hence the photo). I met with a friend in Apgujeong, had lunch, walked far to get Haägen-Dasz Green Tea Ice-Cream, walked far again to get a bus and went to the mall close to Konkuk University. There we found comfortable seats at a Starbucks. Comfortable seats are extremely important to me. It is a crucial consideration when I decide to go to a restaurant. I would rather lose out, than have to sit on hard, straight-backed chairs.

Late last night I eventually arrived at campus and was greeted by volumes of fresh air, rolling like waves of mist from the green blanketed mountains. I breathed deep and smiled.

At my apartment dirty dishes and clothes for ironing greeted me, but I immediately decided to leave it for the next day. Because, after all, praise God there is a next day.

And this morning, I ironed three shirts.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Aanmatige kunstenaarskap

"Ek is 'n kunstenaar," sê ek aan iemand en skielik klink dit vreeslik aanmatig, nes die jong rooikop Amerikaner wat ek met my aankoms in Korea op die lughawe ontmoet het. "I don't like the big cities," sê sy. "I'm an artist." Ek ook en dis hoekom ek naby Seoul wil wees, want dis hier waar die kunswerke van die grootmeesters kom toer. Picasso, Van Gogh, Ver Meer, Rodin - almal het ek al hier in Seoul gaan besoek. Sy rol net haar oë.

Nou so 'n kunstenaar is ek nog nie. Kan nog nie my oogkaste smeer met groot selfverwaande oogballe oor die grootmeesters se werk nie.

Maar wanneer kry 'n mens die reg om jouself kunstenaar te noem? Is dit 'n titel wat gebeur na jou eerste uitstalling? Hoe groot moet so 'n uitstalling wees? Moet dit oorsee gaan toer het? Tel 'n gedeelde uitstalling? Of is dit iets wat jy net is, soos jy 'n mens is, of man is? Is dit deel van jou geslag, of wisselvallig soos seksualiteit?

Wanneer mag ek sê, nou is ek skrywer? Nie 'n skrywer nie, maar bloot skrywer - daardie vreemde wese wat so op die randte sit en observeer, notileer, assimileer en dan verwerk weergee met 'n tipe beteulde egoïsme. Want is dit nie tog wat 'n skrywer is nie? Effens selfvoldaan om te glo dat dit wat hy of sy kwytraak is waardig om gelees te word. Is waardig om die tyd en aandag van 'n ander in beslag te neem, asof dit bydrae maak tot alles wat sin en syn is. Kan jy jouself eers skrywer noem na jy gepubliseer is? Is jy voor dan slegs aspirant? Kamma?

Het ek reg tot daardie titels? Kunstenaar. Skrywer. Digter. En plaas myself dan gelyke met ander werke en stemme - veronderstel Judith Mason, Etienne le Roux, Gert Vlok Nel. Wanneer mag jy saam gesels? Nie daaroor gesels nie, maar saam in gesprek tree.

Of neem jy self nooit die titel aan nie, maar laat die onis op ander om jou te beterm? En dan kan jy terug antwoord met 'n regstelling, soos een vrou antwoord toe sy gevra is of sy 'n profeet is: "I am more than a prophet." Want noem jy my skrywer, is ek dan nie meer skilder nie? Noem jy my kunstenaar, is ek dan nie meer akademikus nie?

Wat is die aanwins, en wat die verlies, aan 'n term?

Friday, 12 September 2008


Hi Sanko, ek mis jou!!!

So begin my X se e-pos aan my. Weke lank ignoreer ek dit. Hoe dink ek aan haar en nie aan mislukking nie? 'n Mislukte verhouding, 'n kasteel op sand gebou. Hoe dink ek aan haar en ruik nie haar hare nie, wat soos vars gekneusde appelkose in my neusholtes kom nesmaak? Hoe dink ek aan haar en nie aan my tong wat haar verhemelte, 'n ryp oopgeskeurde koejawel, proe nie? Hoe, en nie aan haar borste soos malmokkies onder my palms nie, óf my palms soos groot motvlerke vyeblaar oor haar pubis, óf my vingers soos 'n kat se stert suutjies al langs haar stuitjie af, óf my grom, jags soos donderweer, in haar nek nie? Hoe dink ek aan haar en word nie brusend, bal my vuiste, kners my tande, en erken dat die liefde – selfs tussen passende mense, mense met verbeeldings, gedeelde godskonsepte, selfde sensitiewe vingerpunte, tonge, lippe – moeilik kan oorleef nie?

Ek mis jou, skryf sy. Sy wat skaars weke na ons opbreek terug in 'n verhouding ingespring het, soos in 'n nuwe baaikostuum. Duidelik was ek net nog 'n blek op haar kerfstok. 'n Besonderse een, troos ek myself, maar nietemin, net nog een kraal gereig aan haar halsnoer. Ek paai myself verder, verlustig my daarin, dat die huidige knaap haar nie kan maak gil van hartstog met 'n blote tong op haar naak palm nie. Dis my prerogatief. Ek as (krygs)kunstenaar wat weet van senuwee en passie, van daardie maagdvliesdun skeidslyn tussen pyn en plesier, van aanval en verdedig, van sensoriese komposisie. Ek vir wie sy gesê het: "Jy soen beter as 'n vrou", ek verbeel my dat sy nooit weer gaan vry soos toe ek en sy gevry het nie; want niemand ken die toorspreuke nie. Woorde val herfsblare, sag soos op sand, in die kronkels van haar siel en waar dit tot lê kom, bot madelieffies. Die liefde sit in my mond en my mond is nou 'n kluis waarvan sy nie meer die sleutel het nie. Hierdie towerstaftong maak nie weer muti in haar kalbas nie.

Maar dit kry my onder – daardie e-pos dreig my tot amnesie. Ek kyk bo-oor die boodskap. Sien dit vir weke nie raak nie. Loop draaie daarom soos die antieke mense om melaatses.

Dit verg uiteindelik Antjie Krog (of is dit Dot Serfontein, soos aangehaal deur haar dogter?) om my aan te spreek. Skrywer, sê sy aan my, skryf. Skryf oor jou lewe. Wat is daar tog anders om oor te skryf? Die lief en die leed. Dié leksis gaan altyd hand-aan-hand: lief en leed. Hoe kan ek dan oor die een wil skryf en nie ook oor die ander nie? As ek oor die liefde wil dig, moet ek ewewigtig ook lamentasies bevers.

So nou skryf ek. Ek skryf die lief en die leed in lang stringe. Derms van die abstrakte hart ryg ek uit, gooi dit op my skoot, op my sleutelbord, op die rekenaarskerm, op die Internet. So neem ek wraak. So sus ek myself. So genees ek. So neem ek afskeid met 'n kru klam koeksistertong.

Gifts from my Employer

Since my arrival here at my new job I've been surprised with various gifts. Nothing outlandish, but still useful presents. I've received a diary/planner, which I haven't started to use; and a big umbrella for the frequent rainy days.

And I've also received gifts from work for Chuseok. Chuseok is the Korean version of Thanks Giving. They gave me a box of traditional Korean delicacies called ddeok (rice-cake). I'm not too fond of ddeok, but it is the thought that counts. And they also gave me, a much welcomed, $180 - a Chuseok-bonus. Since I've had little money left for the rest of the month, this particular gift will hopefully carry me to pay day. But I'm probably going to spend a lot of it soon. (I am hoping to buy a new pair of glasses - maybe even this afternoon.)

Apart from the extreme ambiguity at my job, I must say that the university treats the employees really well. (At least that is my opinion so far.)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Brille en pille en tienrandnootjies

Toe ek klein was het Ouma Hannie (my ouma aan moederskant) altyd gepraat van brille, pille en tienrandnootjies. Dit was haar uitdrukking om na die oumenstoestand te verwys. Totaal afhanklik van brille, medikasie en 'n skamele pensioentjie.

Gister, terwyl ek liggies parkour-toertjies oefen, het my bril gebreek. Die neusbrugkussingtjie aan die eenkant van die brul was heeltemal skeefgebuig en toe ek daaraan raak toe breek dit mors af. Die bril sit toe skoon lomp op my gesig en in 'n desperate poging om weer balans te kry, toe breek ek maar sommer self die ander neusbrugkussingtjie af. En nou is dit die lense wat op my neus druk. Ek het lang oogwimpers. Ongelukkig is oogwimpers glad nie brilvriendelik nie. My wimpers raak aan die lense en sorg vir ergelike irritasie. Met die bril wat nou juis so vlak teen my gesig is irriteer die wimpers nog meer en omdat ek 'n olierige vel het vee my wimpers nou sulke kwashale olierigheid oor die lense. Boonop is die balans van die bril steeds uit.

Ek kan nie wag vir my eerste betaling nie. Daar is soveel wat gedoen moet word en 'n oogtoets en nuwe bril is hoog aan die lys. So dis my huidige kondisie. Nes oorle' ouma is ek ook afhanklik van 'n bril. En dan is daar die velmedikasie en vitamienes en minerale wat ek daagliks afsluk. Ouma Hannie, nie lank nie dan praat ek ook van die brille, pille en tienrandnootjies.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


I’m trying to figure out if I’m falling under the Afrikaner-Diaspora phenomenon or not. Obviously my partial Afrikaner-heritage and my expatriate status would suggest so. But there are various factors that add to my confusion. (1) I don’t consider my staying abroad a permanent one. (2) I don’t consider my staying in South Africa a permanent stay (hence my hopping). (3) I don’t consider myself an Afrikaner. (4) Others don’t consider me a non-Afrikaner. (5) I don’t do braaivleis, beer or rugby. (6) I did not leave the country out of fear for crime. (I grew up at Sebokeng, for goodness sake, and lived through the 80s riots.) (7) I did leave because of better career opportunities.

So what do you think... Am I part of the Afrikaner-Diaspora?

Am I part of the South African Diaspora?

Image from http://southafricandiaspora.blogspot.com/

Ill-Health in Far Eastern Politics

Rumor has it that Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean dictator, is seriously ill. It might be a stroke. Of course nobody is certain as North Korea is as secretive as ever. Kim has not been seen for weeks now and it was especially his absence at the national parade for the recent 60th Anniversary of the Communist Regime that got the powers-that-be suspicious.

It is not sure how exactly Kim's possible death will influence South Korea, but it is clearly a concern. South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, convened an emergency staff meeting. Hopefully Kim's illness will loosen the iron grip of the dictatorial regime. The atrocities against the North Korean people are awful. But it is also possible for the North to react even stronger in a desperate attempt to retain control. There is no doubt that sudden changes in South Korea's militant neighbor will have seriously effects on the whole of the peninsula.

But it is not only North Korea's government with ill-health. The Japanese prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, has announced his resignation on Monday, hardly a year into his tenure. The previous prime minister, Shinzo Abe, prematurely resigned last year as well.

And I've got a sore throat.

Book Review: A Grief Observed

It is no secret that I am a C. S. Lewis fan. I like his fiction, yes, but even more so his non-fiction. Lewis’s Mere Christianity was pivotal in me taking theism seriously. (I used to be a pantheist.) Recently I read Lewis’s autobiographical memoir A Grief Observed, about his journey through his mourning for his wife. A Grief Observed is a rather short book (only four chapters) and as with all Lewis’s books, it reads really easy. The title makes it clear that it is about “a grief” and not grief in general, so the book may resonate with some more than others.

A Grief Observed is a very honest telling of Lewis’s questions, lamentations and doubts during this time. Most importantly is his frank questioning of God in his own anguish, but also in the suffering of his wife.

I think that A Grief Observed is an important read for all C. S. Lewis fans. It follows on an earlier book of his, The Problem of Pain. While the latter is a more academic grappling with pain, A Grief Observed is a personal grappling with it.

Book Review: The Story is True

I recently read the book The Story is True: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories by Bruce Jackson. I read it because I thought it might be a good creative writing resource for my PhD. It turned out not to be a good resource for creative writing in general. It is however valuable if you are curious as to why people tell stories or the truthfulness of stories. The following line from The Story is True is a good summary of the book:
“Stories are the way we domesticate the world’s disorder. Facts are incidental.”

Vriende op die hart

Vanoggend word ek vroeër as gewoonlik wakker – seker so net na vyf. En die eerste ding waaraan ek dink is (weereens) my vriend Ruan. Sedert ek Korea toe gekom het is Ruan gedurig in my gedagtes. ’n Aanhoudende gevoel van onjuistheid. ’n Dringendheid oor sy welstand. Ek kan nie verklaar wat daar agtersteek nie – ’n tipe broederlike besorgdheid, ’n intuïtiewe voorgevoel, ’n telepatiese skakel met iets wat hom pla?

En toe begin ek maar, soos ’n paar keer van te vore, vir hom bid. Gly uit my bed uit tot op my knieë en dink aan my vriend aan die anderkant van die wêreld. Aanvanklik wou ek weer terug klim in die bed, maar besluit om hom sommer gou te bel. Dit was seker so elfuur in die aand aan sy kant, terwyl die dag net begin breek het aan myne. Dit was lekker om met hom te gesels. Hy vertel my ook toe van ’n berg akademiese opdragte wat onlangs moes klaar en ander dinge wat stres veroorsaak het. Dit blyk dat ek tog op ’n vreemde manier in voeling is met sy gemoedstoestand.

Ruan en ek het ontmoet deur ons gemeenskaplike stokperdjie Parkour. Ons het ook vinnig agterkom dat ons ander dinge deel, soos ’n inherente rebelsheid teen “die sisteem” en ’n belangstelling in filosofie. Ek en Ruan het die oggend van die dag voor my vertrek na Korea vinnig gekuier oor Mozart-roomys. Ek het soos gewoonlik my aan die Super Caramel-geur verlustig. Dis ook waar die foto geneem is.

The photo in this post is not a Creative Commons image.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Pastel sketch: Korean peppers

Pastel sketch: Bamboo

Self-Portrait: Red Tie

Jet lag

Is it possible for me to still suffer from jet lag?

Last night when I was online two of my friends were online at the same time. So I chatted until an hour or so past my new bedtime. I thought it would be okay since I didn't have to get up early this morning. And indeed, this morning I slept in a little.

Man, am I tired now! It's effort just to keep my eyes open. I still have some work to do before I can go home, but it feels almost impossible to concentrate.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Aanlyn: Vloek of seën?

Uiteindelik! Ek het Internet nou ook by my woonstel gekry. Maar nou die groot dilemma... is dit regtig so seën as wat ek gehoop het? Toe ek slegs Internet by my kantoor gehad het kon ek huistoe kom en fokus op ander dinge. Sonder Byvoorbeeld, sonder Internet om my aandag af te lei kan ek meer lees. En sonder Internet is die grense van my werk ook meer duidelik. Internet is tog so 'n groot tydvreter.

Aan die anderkant, met Internet tuis is dit makliker om met mense te kommunikeer. Aangesien veral my Suid-Afrikaanse vriende aanlyn is wanneer ek lankal nie meer op kantoor is nie, beteken dit dat ek moontlik meer gereeld met hulle sal kan "chat". Binnekort wil ek ook 'n mikrofoon en kammeratjie aanskaf sodat ek kan Skype.

Self-Portrait: Typographic White

The Quickening of Old Friends

Mondays are my worst days. I teach five different modules on a Monday. So Mondays tend to be long and even somewhat stressful.

But today turned out to be a good Monday. I saw my friend Young today. We worked together when I taught at a language institute, during my previous time in Korea. And now Young is a graduate student (theology) at the university where I'm currently working at. So I look forward to seeing him often.

Although I made a number of Korean friends in the past, I got especially close to Young as a friend, most likely because we did not struggle to communicate. Young lived in Australia for a couple of years and is therefore fluent in English. But apart from an ease in communication, we also hit it off quickly, with a similar sense of humour and similar ideas on spirituality.

I skipped Hapkido training tonight and instead went to dinner with Young, his girlfriend and his brother. Even though it was a terribly long day, I feel invigorated. It's amazing how friends can quicken the spirit!

The photo in this post is not a Creative Commons image.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Gelukkige verjaarsdag, Ma

’n Paar dae gelede (2 September) was my moeder se verjaarsdag. Sy is nou al nege jaar oorlede. Om eerlik te wees, ek dink selde aan haar. Sy was ’n dinamiese vrou, maar die laaste paar jaar van haar lewe het siekte haar so erg afgetakel dat daar omtrent niks van haar eentydse glorie oorgebly het nie. En ek dink dit is hoekom ek so min aan haar dink. Want om aan haar te dink is om aan haar verval te dink. Tog gebeur dit dat ek soms van haar droom. Dit gebeur min, maar gebeur wel en gewoonlik in my drome is sy nie die gebroke mensie wat sy geword het nie.

Partykeer het ek ’n ernstige behoefte om vir haar iets te vertel. Om iets met haar te deel wat ’n seun graag met sy ma wil deel. En die leemte is goor. Ek verstaan hoekom mense graag wil glo hulle geliefdes lewe voort na die dood. Dit sou lekker gewees het om te kon glo dat my ma sal hoor as ek met haar gesels. Maar dis wensdenkery.

Gelukkig het ek verskeie ander “ma’s” wat my deur die jare aangeneem het en voor wie ek dankbaar is.

Book Review: The Shack

I’ve just finished my first subway book. Whenever I go on the subway I take a book with me to read. And I’ve hardly been back in Korea now for three weeks, and in the little time I spent since my return I got to finish this book which I bought shortly after my arrival.

The Shack, by William P. Young, is sure to become one of those Christian Classics. It has already been compared to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. I’m not fond of reading so-called Christian novels, but after hearing from reliable sources that this book resembles much of my own theology I decided to read it. And I am really glad I did. The Shack is a fantastical book (not as in “fantastic”, but as in “fantasy”), although it seems to claim to be biographical. I read it as an allegory.

The Shack recounts the experience of a man that spends a weekend with God – a big African-American women (among other manifestations) – in a shack. The interactions are often humorous. Which is a good thing as the age old religious dilemma – If God is good, why does bad things happen – is not an easy topic.

Let me start with the negatives. Personally I think The Shack is not really good literature. It might just be my background as a literature major that had exposed me to so much great literature that The Shack seems amateurish. And from my vantage point as a creative writing major, I could see that the author tried too hard. The metaphors seem forced at times. My creative writing professor always said after you’ve drawn a picture of a donkey, don’t write underneath it: “A donkey”. And this is exactly what Young does too often. If there is sarcasm in the dialogue he would add: Said he sarcastically. This might just be a personal peeve, but I found it distracting.

On the other hand, the picture Young portrays of God is beautiful. It is indeed the view I’ve come to except of God through personal wrestling with the topic. It is the view of God that gets me excited when I talk about God and I’m glad that many more people will get an opportunity to see God in this way. The book downplays (even scorns) the role of religion and asserts the importance of relationship instead. (It is therefore quite in tune with postmodern sensibilities.) The importance of freedom of choice to insure the existence of love (because love can only exist where there is freedom to choose to love or not) is emphasized.

I have two personal theological concerns with the book. The first regards the idea of the dead being “alive” somewhere (presumably heaven). A thorough study of the Bible does not support the notion that the souls/spirits of people usually go to heaven (or hell) after death, but rather that they “sleep” until the resurrection.

Secondly, the book seems to hold strongly to the penal justification/substitution atonement theory. Which is of course a Biblical view and the one upheld by most protestants traditions. But penal substitution (the idea that Jesus paid the penalty of our sins on the Cross on our behalf) is one of many atonement theories, and which I think should not be overemphasized in place of the other Biblical atonement theories. What God (in Christ) did for humanity is a mystery that will keep the universe in contemplation for eternity. All these atonement theories are merely metaphors that give us a glimpse into different aspects of Christ’s ministry. Overemphasising one atonement theory is bound to give a skewed image of God.

I would still suggest people to read this book. After all, the book is a novel and do not pretend to be a dogmatic exegesis. There are probably a number or erroneous "theology" in the book, however, The Shack can quickly convey an image of God that took me years to discover.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Taekkyeon - another attempt at understanding TKD

In my attempt to better understand my chief martial art, namely ITF Taekwon-Do, I've cross-trained in many other martial arts. My thinking is that if I really want to see Taekwon-Do clearly, I need to look at it from different vantage points.

Seeing, for instance, many circular techniques in Taekwon-Do, I decided to take up Hapkido. And indeed, my training in Hapkido helped me to understand better one of ITF Taekwon-Do's main principles - the sinewave motion.

I've also started wonder about the relaxedness of Taekwon-Do. A strong influence on Taekwon-Do's early development was (Shotokan) Karate, which definitely do not have the "relaxedness" I'm referring to. My conclusion was that I would find this relaxedness in the other main influence in Taekwon-Do's development - Taekkyeon.

So I've recently taken up Taekkyeon. And from the first moment I knew my suspicion was spot on. Taekkyeon is a so called soft-style and therefore very relaxed. Lots of emphasis is placed on breathing techniques, almost like Tai Chi Ch'uan.

My first class was exceptionally interesting. Most of the techniques are done while singing traditional folk songs. (Taekkyeon is closely linked to Korea's traditional folk dances.) Since the instructor is a Christian, we even did one stretching-and-breathing routine to the melody of "What a Friend I have in Jesus"! As I understand so far, Taekkyeon is completely based on relaxed motions.

My instructor is also an Oriental doctor, and does acupressure messaging and acupuncture therapy. He also teach Oriental Medicine at the university where I work.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Self-Portrait: Hand-Foot Coordination

Milliseconds of freedom

Laat vir klas

Vanoggend was ek laat vir my eerste klas. Dis eintlik ironies aangesien ek 'n uur vroeg by die gebou was om voor te berei (fotostate maak ensovoorts). Vanaf 8:30 het ons 'n vergadering gehad en 9:00 was die eerste periode.

Toe ek by die klas aankom waar ek dog ek moes klas gee, toe is dit nie my studente nie. By die sekretaresse kry ek toe die nommer vir 'n ander klaskamer, maar toe ek by die tweede klaskamer aankom toe is dit leeg. Uiteindelik, met die derde probeerslag, kry ek my klaskamer.

Dis glad nie 'n lekker manier om my dag te begin nie, en ook nie 'n goeie voorbeeld wat ek stel nie. Aai.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Colour scheme suggestions

Staring at bright computer screens, especially white pages, is like staring into a light bulb. Really not good for the eyes. I always lower the brightness setting of my screen.

I like the white page layout of my new blog, but was thinking that it might be a good idea to alter the colour scheme. Some people find it difficult to read black text on a white background, while others find it difficult to read white text on a black background.

Apart from this blog being a personal place to log my life, and vent my eccentricities, this blog is also for you, my friends, with whom I like to share my life. Therefore, I would like your input into the colour scheme. Any suggestions?


Die skrywer P G du Plessis is van mening dat skrywersblok nonsens is. Sy raad is dat ’n mens bloot in oefening moet bly. Skryf elke dag minstens 1000 woorde. Dit maak nie saak wat jy skryf nie, solank jy net skryf. En sodoende sal jy nooit ’n slagoffer van skrywersblok word nie. Jy mag dalk kreatiewe droogte ervaar – maar nie skrywersblok nie. En wat kreatiewe stimulasie betref, daar is baie truuks wat daarvoor help.