Friday, 28 January 2011

Some Friends in Joburg

In Johannesburg I got to visit with at least three friends; unfortunately I missed out on some others because we couldn't synchronise our schedules.

I stayed over at Ronel's. What I enjoy about our friendship is the level of 'telepathy' -- for lack of a more explicable description -- we enjoy. Since the very first time we met, we just immediately clicked at a very emphatic level. For instance, the other morning Ronel finished my sentence when I wanted to go to the Apartheid Museum. We didn't speak about anything related to the Apartheid Museum, so for her to correctly guess that I wanted to go there, of all places in Johannesburg, is quite unusual. Of course one could call it coincidance and I would have been the first to suppose it to be nothing more than coincidence, was it not that this sort of thing happens a lot with us. For instance, when she phoned me some years back to tell me that she was getting married, I told her that exactly the moment she said hello -- even though I had no idea that she was in a serious relationship.

I also got to see my old school friend Yvonne. There is something about our relationship that makes us take inventory of our lives. Since the two of us left high school we have met up once a year, maybe missing out only on one or two occassions. Because we know each other for such a long time, and since we only get to see each other for a few hours once a year, we have learned to make the most of those hours. Within the limited time available to us, we review hour past, distill the main points of our presents and give a synopsis of our future ambitions. For me a visit with Yvonne is very much a way to review my life and reassertain my future goals.

Werner and I lived in a commune together while we were university students. All of us that stayed in that house together became very close -- family. This was the first time for me to officially meet Werner's partner.

I was hoping to see many more friends that stay in the Johannesburg area but had I stayed there any longer, I would not be able to get everywhere I need to get to during my stay in South Africa.

Currently, I'm in Tzaneen for a few days. From here I may visit Polokwane, then go to Bela Bela for a Taekwon-Do meeting, after which I hope to stop in Pretoria, before dashing off to KwaZulu Natal.
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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Apartheid Museum

Yesterday a friend and I (we are both educated as graphic designers and she is still in the industry) went to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

I am sad to say that I am quite disappointed. I've heard these stories of tourists that attend it and start to cry terribly. I saw a number of tourists there yesterday, none of them seemed much affected. Now I don't know if the museum had changed over the years, but I wasn't very emotionally impressed by it either. There are two reasons for my apathy.

The first issue is information overload. Instead of giving clear visual impressions and evoking an experience, the museum is filled with walls upon walls of text to read. If I wanted to read that much I would have bought a book on the topic.

The second problem, which is somewhat related to the first, concerns the visual design of the museum's displays, particularly the graphic design. The purpose of good graphic design is to communicate information clearly and quickly. Unfortunately, a large number of the display pannels do not communicate clearly at all. Even some of the text colour was ill chosen as it did not standout clearly enough against the background colour -- a terrible graphic design faux pas.

As a museum that ought to communicate the autrocities of Apartheid, I think the museum is not very successful. They could have used many more emotional appeals and communicated the facts in more sense affecting ways, instead of just mostly text.

I'm not saying it is all bad. There was a video that gave a short overview of the conflicts in South Africa that led up to the Apartheid's regime, which was quite informative, but by and large, the museum did not impress me; which in itself is quite sad really. I truly hope that other museums and entities in South Africa do a better job at educating people on South Africa's past.
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Monday, 24 January 2011

Two School Friends

Over the last few days I was able to meet up with two friends from high school.

The first was Howard and his family whom I've been able to visit on two occasions now. Howard and I befriended each other in the first year of high school and continued on to university where our friendship strengthened. With every visit in South Africa I make it a priority to visit with him and his family. I consider his two daughters as my nieces and like to bring them little gifts from Korea. Howard and I's friendship has undergone very little change during the years we have known each other and Howard's world view has stayed pretty much the same during all the time I've known him. This is not true for all my friends.

The other friend, I saw yesterday. Freddie and I became friends towards the latter part of high school when he entered my school and sat himself next to me in the computer science lab. Our shared passion for computer programming was the catalyst for our friendship, but we soon lost touch after school as he immediately went on to work in the IT-industry and I went on to study. While I was still busy with my first degree Freddie moved to Australia and has lived there ever since. He has been in Australia now for ten years, and it has been twelve years since the last time I saw him. He is in South Africa for a couple of days on account of his kid brother's wedding that occured the past Saturday. Was it not for the car accident I would not have been in this area and would not have had an opportunity to see him.
Freddie and I have changed a lot. At the time we were in school, I was a pantheistic New Ager and the two of us experimented with magic rituals. In the mean time, I've become a theist and Freddie admitted to have "come out of the closet" as a hardened atheist. In a previous recent post I told about my atheist friends and my level of comfort with them. Unfortunately I felt less comfortable with Freddie's revelation. Maybe I hoped that since we started in the same paradigm, that we would somehow grow along the same path and end up in the same new-paradigm. Instead, the two of us are now complete opposites -- him an atheist and I a theist. Yes, we still share many similar ideas, but there is little doubt that we grew apart. I guess I'm just a little sentimental about the world view that we used to share and was hoping that after all this time we would share the same world view again.
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Thursday, 20 January 2011

More Details on the Accident

So people have been asking me what happened. The accident was actually quite simple. We were turning into a side road when a small truck (bakkie) hit us from the back. The bakkie was going much too fast and as we slowed down to turn he couldn't reduce his speed in time and struck us on the right rear.

Our car slid and spun once or twice. Thankfully it did not flip for looking at the the damage caused by the impacts, had the car flipped over surely one of us would have been dead.

In my previous post I mentioned how my back had started aching while waiting for my brother in hospital. It became much more acute as the hours passed and when my other brother arrived at the hospital he told me to also get X-rayed. By that time I was much less 'heroic' and agreed that it's a good idea to get checked over as well. The X-rays luckily showed now fractures; nonetheless, I possibly did hurt some muscles as I've been experiencing discomfort since yesterday and through the night. The pain has not improved much, although I was given some medicine by the doctor.

As for the rest of the other people in the accident. My younger brother looked rather bloodied. He had some cuts over his face and head, but luckily nothing serious. He also hurt his arm a bit, but also no serious injury. He does seem to have suffered a concussion though. While the X-rays do not show any fractures, we suspect that he did bruise his sternum as it is quite tender.

My brother's partner hit her head against her side window, shuttering it. The side of her head, including her ear and one eye is bruised. She refused to be admitted to hospital and checked over. I'm assuming that she also has a concussion.

Her daughter probably suffered the most emotional shock, but seems to be fine otherwise. She had to wear a neck brace for two days, but this morning took it off and refused to put it back on saying that her neck is not sore. (I suspect that as a teenage girl she is too embarressed to walk around with it on.)

The problem at the moment is that my brother does not have a roadworthy automobile at present.

Her daughter
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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Car Accident

My younger brother, my older brother's partner and her daughter and I was in an automobile accident just now. The injuries are not too serious, although the younger two have been admitted to hospital. Both definitely have concussions. The girl, I think, might also have broken a rib or two. My brother has some small cuts over his head and face and possibly a fractured arm. As for myself, I have a scraped heel. My back is starting to hurt a bit, but I'm not going to admit myself to hospital as it will put too much stress on the rest of my family. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be something serious later. I also experienced a little shock some time after the accident occurred with symptoms of nausea and light headedness.

At the moment I'm waiting in hospital for them to inspect my brother. He and I came to a different hospital since he doesn't have medical aid. My older brother's partner's daughter does have medical insurance so she went to a private hospital.
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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Atheists and Christians

On Friday night I visited a friend and his partner. He's an atheist. (She is also, kinda.) I often find it quite peculiar how well I get along with many atheists. Granted, I do not know that many self-professed atheists. There are far more people that don't seem to care either way -- agnostics by default, since they don't have much of an opinion on the matter. But back to atheists . . . I know a number of them, and have a couple of friends who accept the title. The more militant type of atheist (like the more militant Christian) I tend to avoid at all cost. However, the few atheist whom I call friends are truly people I appreciate and whose company I quite enjoy. For one, my atheist friends are quite intelligent. They're persuasion is an intellectual one, not one based one merely inherited by culture and tradition. Secondly, they are respectful of my conviction as I am of theirs. Thirdly, we share some common beliefs. The reason they do not believe in God is exactly the reason I do not associate myself with mainstream Christianity. If the God held up by mainstream Christianity -- the one that would keep people alive eternally so that He could torture them in hell through all ages -- was the only option, I would have chosen to cop-out of believing in God too. Luckily, I believe, there is an alternative. There is a God that does not command worship at the threat of torture. A God to whom freedom of choice is of utmost importance.

Yesterday I came to Potchefstroom to spend some time with a community of Christians here that I have come to care for deeply. A number of them share my idea of God. To some of them the Gospel is truly Good News. The message that God is not a vindictive, megalomaniac that doesn't say "love Me or go to hell." An alternative message: One that says that God is really on our side and that God actually do love us, no strings attached. A God that respects our freedom of choice so much that he would not force us into hell or heaven. Those that want to spend eternity with this God will. Those that do not, won't. God won't force you either way.
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Friday, 14 January 2011

South Africa So Far

I arrived in South Africa on Tuesday morning. Not mutch occupied my time on the first day. I went shopping (bought some food to contribute to my host -- my brother) and got some credit for my cellphone card here in South Africa. I planned to go to the Taekwon-Do club in town but it turns out that it is still closed. Classes only resume next week, after the long holiday season.

On Wednesday I also stayed at home -- jet-lag getting the better of me.

Yesterday (Thursday) was much better. I worked a couple of hours on preparing for one of the classes I'm teaching this coming semester and basically finished the syllabus. I still have another module or two to prepare for.

Last night we (two of my brothers and I) went to watch the Afrikaans musical Liefling currently doing the South Africa cinema circuit. "Liefling" is not on my list of favourite films. I'm appreciative of the concept. They used many Afrikaans folk songs and weaved it all into an ellaborate romance. Unfortunately it all felt a bit forced. The characters were also by and large pretty shallow, even for a musical. Bobby van Jaarsveld, the Afrikaans pop-star, is the leading actor. Surprisingly, he was quite efficient, but even his performance could not save the movie. Again, its been decades since the last South African musical film, so things can only get better from here on.

Today was much busier. I went to the bank to get some stuff done, had to buy some clothes for tomorrow (I brought very little clothing with me), quickly visited with a friend, went to a cellphone shop to find out about using my Galaxy Tab in South Africa, was send to a service centre, went to an Internet shop, went back to the cell phone service centre, and am sitting now in a coffee shop waiting for my lift back to my brother's home. There, I will have to try and fix his computer. A virus caused havoc on it, so I was forced to format it last night and install a new Windows platform. The bad thing is that my brother does not have the install discs and drivers for his computer. I'm not quite sure how to remedy the situation.

Tomorrow I'm off to Potchefstroom for the weekend and then back to my brother's for a day or two before I start my journey northward -- final destination Tzaneen.

I'm thankful that I can actually use my phone now to access the Internet which will dramatically improve my stay in South Africa if I don't have to plan frequent visits to Internet cafes. The uncertain thing is how much it will cost. South African cellphone and Internet services are still ridiculously expensive.
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Monday, 10 January 2011

Waiting at the airport

Am sitting at Inchon airport waiting to bord. Have been waiting for three hours already. Another hour to go. The shuttle bus I took arrived much quicker than I expected. There was hardly any traffic. Luckily my new smart phone is still enough of a novelty to keep me sufficiently entertained. I've also had the pleasure to use Skype and chat with a friend online. It has really become difficult to imagine a world without Internet and soon it will be difficult to imagine a world without wireless Internet. I'm contemplating such thoughts even though there are still people in the world whom haven't even touched a computer keyboard yet.

I think I'll go see how much it is to use one of those fancy massage chairs they have in the lounge area.
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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Flippen goeie Koreaanse rock!

Het sopas op hierdie song (bo) van die Koreaanse groep Guckkasten (국카스텐) afgekom. Goeie oorryp piesangs, dis goed! Ek moet vir my hulle album in die hande kry. Miskien as ek tyd het more voor ek die bus neem lughawe toe kan ek in 'n musiek winkel 'n draai maak. Hier (onder) is nog een.

Friday, 7 January 2011

'n Vreemde aand by Taekwon-Do

Gisteraand het ek 'n vreemde aand by Taekwon-Do gehad. Gedurende die klas het ek probeer om met die kwangjangnim (hoofinstrukteer) te gesels oor bloed pH vlakke en die effek van kaas en alkahol op jou liggaam se pH. My gebrekkige Koreaans en sy gebrekkige Engels het nie ver gekom nie. Maar dit was nie die vreemde ding nie. Direk na die klas moes ek vinnig my Taekwon-do dobok uittrek en my Hapkido dobok aanttrek vir fotos. Een van die klas se studente is besig om 'n artikel te skryf oor verskillende krygskunste vir 'n tydskrif en het iemand nodig gehad om Hapkido dinge te illustreer. Ek moes 'n klomp keer die vooroor rol doen sodat hy verskillende fases van dieselfde tegniek bo-oor mekaar kan blootstel om sodoende 'n interesante dinamiese eindfoto te bekom. Dit was ook nie die vreemde ding van die aand nie. Na Taekwon-Do en ook na die grondwerkklas het ons volwassenes na 'n kroeg toe gegaan. Ek het soos gewoonlik niks gedrink nie, terwyl die ander soju (Koreaanse aartappelwyn) en makgeolli (melk-ryswys) geniet het. Ook niks vreemd hier nie. Die enigste vrou in die groep het so dronk geraak dat sy nie regop kon bly nie en ons moes haar vergesel na haar huis toe. Op 'n stadium het sy besluit dat ons nou ver genoeg saam met haar geloop het, en is ons aangesê om terug te draai, sy sal self verder gaan. Ons het toe maak so gemaak. Halfpad oppad na die moltrein toe, bel sy en vra dat ons haar asseblief moet kom help, sy kan nie haar woonstel kry nie. Okay, so hierdie deel was bietjie vreemd, maar steeds nie die vreemdste deel nie. Die vreemdste deel het gebeur in die moltrein oppad huis toe. My afrigter neem my nuwe slimfoon by my hoor en soek na iets op YouTube. Uiteindelik kry hy dit en speel dit vir my. Dis een van sy gunsteling liedjies.

'n Baie vreemde ervaring.

Monday, 3 January 2011

I Miss Hong Kong

I've been to Hong Kong only once, and only for a small number of days. Three? Four? Five? I cannot remember. Recently, I've been overcome with a sudden feeling of longing for Hong Kong. I'm not sure what brought it on – probably the time of the year. Around this time last year I was in Hong Kong. It was my hope to go travel somewhere again, but because of a friend's wedding this coming weekend and an otherwise tighter budget, I decided not to go anywhere, apart, of course, from my annual South Africa visit coming up. Still, I really miss Hong Kong. I would never have thought that I'd miss a place that I've been to for only a couple of days. Then again, why not? If I can love people within hours upon meeting them, growing affectionate towards a place within a couple of days is not that far fetched.

So what is it about Hong Kong that I like? Firstly, I would say, it is the rustic charm mixed with modern development. Hong Kong has a steam punk quality to it. Also, Hong Kong reminded me of parts of South Africa, particularly Durban, KwaZulu Natal. It is a multicultural blend of Oriental, Occidental and African; China, England and Nigeria. The weather as well, reminded me of KwaZulu Natal.

My previous visit to Hong Kong was far too short. I definitely need to return there soon, although I don't know when I will have the opportunity again. My probable schedule for this year is quite busy already. In the meantime I'm trying to quench my Hong Kong thirst with some Hong Kong films. Last night I watched Jackie Chan's New Police Story and tonight, Internal Affairs. I'm suspecting that it is just making my longing for Hong Kong greater.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Movies in 2010

I'm sure this is not a complete list of all the films I've seen in 2010, but these are all I can think of at the moment. Some of the films date from 2009 (indicated in parenthesis), but I only got to see them in Korea during 2010. The sad thing about this list, which is in no particular order, is that most of these films are nothing to write home about.  The films that really stand out to me as noteworthy films are printed in bold.

The Bounty Hunter
Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard (2009)
District 13: Ultimatum
Crazy Heart (2009)
Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief
The Crazies
Solomon Kane (2009)
Alice in Wonderland
Green Zone
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
How to Train Your Dragon
Clash of the Titans
Raging Phoenix (2009)
Kick Ass
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Iron Man 2
Robin Hood
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The Karate Kid
Toy Story 3
Julie & Julia (2009)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Last Airbender
The Soloist (2009)
Step Up 3D
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Eat Pray Love
Resident Evil 4: Afterlife
Legends of the Guardians
Warrior's Way
Let the Right One In
The Social Network
Ip Man 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Tron Legacy
The Man from Nowhere (아저씨) 
Planet 51
The Ghost Writer
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
The Road (2009)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Expendables
Bodyguards and Assassins (2009)

LOLSnaps en 2011

Ek het sopas vir 'n uur lank na LOLSnaps.Com prentjies gekyk. Dan praat ek nie eens van die tyd wat ek gisteraand op daardie webbladsy deur gebring het nie. Ek hoop nie dat dit reflekteer op die res van 2011 vir my nie. So waaroor gaan Lolsnaps? Hier is 'n proefmonstertjie: