Tuesday, 28 June 2011

"and don't have any kids yourself"

People are often surprised when I tell them that I do not want children. There are many reasons. Here is one:

Hoe sê jy "ek lief jou" in Afrikaans?

Ooit gewonder wat's die verskil tussen "Ek het jou lief" en "Ek is lief vir jou"? Ek het bietjie hieroor besin en 'n kort essay op Ingelegde Lywe daaroor geskryf. Hier is my slotsom:

Met “Ek het jou lief” is liefde in ons besit; 'n intense gevoel in die hier-en-nou. Met “Ek is lief vir jou” verander ek in liefde en vind my vervulling in jou.
Lees gerus die kort essay hier.

Punctuation vs Memories of a Deceased Friend

Johnny Knoxville & Ryan Dunn
So I was reading Jackass star Johnny Knoxville’s post on his blog about the loss of his friend and fellow Jackass celebrity Ryan Dunn who died on Sunday in a car accident and all I could think about while reading the post is: “Wow, this guy has excellent grammar and really knows how to use punctuation properly.” I think I’ve reached a level in my career as an English lecturer where I ought to become seriously concerned with my priorities. Surely someone’s use of punctuation is not as important as his memories of his deceased friend. Or is it the fact that I'm so used to seeing terrible grammar and use of punctuation amongst my students that when I see it applied properly it causes an endorphin rush in me? Either way, it's a cause for concern. What's happening to me?!

Knoxville's post is a touching tribute to his friend.

Monday, 27 June 2011

bygestaande selfmoord / "assisted suicide"

'n Opinie omtrent bygestaande selfmoord

Ek nes my lewe in klam rooigrond:

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

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

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

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Some Korean Rock to Soothe the Soul

I finished grading papers and entering the final grades into the online system a short while ago -- just in time of the midnight deadline.

And now some good Korean Rock by KangSan-E to soothe the soul. The song's name is "Iguana". I've been listening to KangSan-E quite a lot since I was introduced to him by my dongsaeng. "Iguana" is one of my favourite songs at present. It makes me wanna sing-along, jump up and dance.

Research Papers and L2

I'm sitting in my office grading a pile of Research Papers. It is 20:17; I need to be finished by midnight. It is a tedious activity, but there are moments that make the process quite interesting. For instance, the paper I am currently busy with considers the causes for Macbeth's tragedy. In one section that discusses Macbeth's reluctance to kill King Duncan, the student wrote the following sentance:

"Lady Macbeth persuades him by stimulating his manhood." 

Working with L2 speakers sure has its perks!

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Vanoggend het ek 'n slegte droom gehad. Ek het gedroom dat ek en my ma 'n rusie het. Ek kan onthou waaroor ons 'n uitval gehad het nie, maar onthou hoedat ek wakker geword het met baie negatiewe emosies. My ma is nou al 10 jaar lank oorlede. Ek kan nie dink hoekom ek juis oor haar sou droom, en veral sou droom dat ons oor iets vassit nie.

Later vandag het ek kortliks 'n ander Suid-Afrikaner ontmoet en so bietjie in Afrikaans gesels. Dit was vir my skokkend om na myself te luister. My Afrikaans het duidelik 'n verengelsde aksent. Boonop kon ek myself op verskeie kere nie behoorlik uitdruk nie en moes ek terugslaan Engels toe. Ek wou byvoorbeeld sê: "God doesn't believe in coercion," maar het nie geweet wat "coerce" in Afrikaans is nie. 'n Vinnig draai by Google Translate, nou net, vertel my dat "coerce" is "dwing": "God glo nie in dwang nie." Hoe is dit dat ek 'n eenvoudige Afrikaanse woord soos dwing/dwang eens meer kan onthou nie?! Aai, ek wil darem nie so agteruitboer in Afrikaans nie. 

Thursday, 23 June 2011


A couple of weeks ago I went paragliding. It was super. Time and money allow, I hope to do a paragliding course in August so that I can do it by myself and not have to do tandem flights. My pilot must have thought my quietness reflects fear, so he continuously asked me if I'm okay. I guess he is used to people shouting.  His concern turned out to be somewhat of a distraction to my enjoyment. What I enjoyed about it was the absolute serenity of being so high above the earth, "Ringed with the azure world", all quiet and peaceful, the trees a green kaleidoscope carpeted hundreds of feet below me. It was awesome and I definitely want to do it again. Some people in the group I went with felt sick, so unless you suffer from motion sickness, I highly recommend paragliding.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Busy, but in a good way

Three weekends ago I went to Mokpo with some colleagues. Last weekend I met up with my writers' crit group and also did paragliding. This weekend I'm going to Jeju Island with the university faculty on the university's expense for three days. In between all of these highlights I've been grading papers. This past week was final exams for the semester. Final grades need to be in next Sunday. In the coming week I'll be partaking in a Taekwon-Do demonstration and also visit my old Hapkido school.

Two weeks back I had a hair cut. A serious hair cut. I mean like a REAL hair cut. It short. Stubble short. I'll upload a photo soon.

Last night I stayed up so that I could Skype with my brother, a close friend, and my grandparents. Went to bed at 2:30.

I'm pretty busy. But in a good way. Still, I'm looking forward to my vacation to start. In the meantime, a little song by Lenka.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

'n Klaaglied in C-mineur vir cello en klavier

Een van my gunstelling musiekstukke ooit.

Ons Blêrkas van Afrikaanse volksmusiek

Mangosotho Buthelezi sing "Hoe ry die boere."

So ruk terug het ek gewonder oor die lirieke van "Hoe ry die boere?" en toe die woorde vir die ou volksliedjie wat ek op laerskool gesing het op die Internet gaan opsoek. Ek kom toe op hierdie wonderlike webtuiste af genaamd "Ons Blêrkas" met 'n groot korpus ou Afrikaanse volksmusiek.  En wat 'n skatkis is dit nie! Soveel van daardie ou volksliedjies wat al byna vergete is, is hier opgeneem met midi-klankleërs met die wysies van die liedjies.Ek is bekend, tot my verbasing, met 'n klomp van die liedjies, maar daar is ook 'n groot gros liedjies waarmee ek nie vertroud is nie. Dis vertroostend om te weet dat so 'n webtuiste bestaan om die nalatenskap van Afrikaanse volksmusiek bewaar.

Alhoewel ek baie uitgesproke is oor die swak Afrikaanse musiek wat so gewild is, is ek nietemin bly dat Afrikaans tog steeds floreer as taal en vernaam in die musiekbedryf. Weens my geografiese geïsolleerdheid mbt Afrikaanse kunste is ek bietjie uitvoeling met wat tans in Afrikaans gebeur. Ek probeer maar elke jaar wat ek Suid-Afrika besoek uitvis omtrent die nuwe Afrikaanse treffers en Afrikaanse musieksterre. Ek is ook bly om te hoor oor Chris Chameleon se nuwe stel toonsettinge van Ingrid Jonker se verse. Ingrid Jonker was sedert jare gelede een van my drie gunsteling Afrikaanse digters. (Die ander twee is T T Cloette en Antjie Krog.) Ek het nog nie Chris Chameleon se nuwe album gehoor nie, maar sal dit waarskynlik binnekort vir my aankoop. So elke af-en-toe koop ek vir myself 'n Afrikaanse album aanlyn.

Intussen lees ek maar deur die lirieke van Afrikaanse volkliedere op Ons Blêrkas. 'n Eienaardige interesantheid omtrend die webtuiste is dat dit 'n onderlaai van die elektries- en elektroniese ingenieurswese departement van Stellenbosch Universiteit is. Hoekom word die webblad nie onder die universiteit se Afrikaanse departement of musiekdepartement se webtuiste gestoor nie? Dis snaaks om te dink dat êrens in 'n ingenieurswese departement sit 'n elektriese ingenieur en volkswysies versamel.

How do you use commas in a list?

Do you omit the final comma before "and," for example: "I am hungry, tired and grumpy" or do you include the final comma, as in: "I am hungry, tired, and grumpy"?

Read my opinion over at Intermedial Notes.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Kang-San Eh 강산에 / At Rivers and Mountains

After telling my dongsaeng earlier this week about how I enjoyed Broken Valentine's "The sea in my worn drawer", he suggested I look into Kang-San Eh. (Literally translated 강산에 means River-Mountain-At.) And indeed, I enjoyed Kang-San Eh's sound. It has that groovy rocky, jazzy, bluesy, funky feel that puts you in a good mood. I still need to listen to more of his music, but here is a small selection of songs I like so far. The one thing you quickly learn about Kang-San Eh is the wonderful diversity in his music.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Classes for Next Semester

I've received the list of classes I will be teaching next semester:

  • Presentation & Public Speaking
  • Listening & Conversation (Intermediate)
  • English Composition (Essay Writing)
  • Practical English Writing
  • 19th & 20th Century American Poetry
Of these classes, I have not taught Practical English Writing before. I'm planning to structure the syllabus around different types of writing, such as different types of letters (invitations, business letters, promotional letters, etc.); informal writing such as emails and blog entries; contextual writing, like film reviews, restaurant reviews, travel journals; and also attempt some creative writing, possibly focussing on simple poetry or very short short-stories.

19th & 20th Century American Poetry got cancelled last year. I will try and sell the class better this year and will not freak out the students with talks of many essays, thinking for themselves, heated group discussions, and all the other things I told them last year. Instead, I will surprise them with these after the date for dropping classes has passed.

I also enjoy the Presentation class a lot. I've taught it enough times for it not to require tremendous preparation and since the students have to give presentations frequently, it doesn't involve to much (paper) grading, which is a blessing considering that I'll have two writing classes.

I look forward to next semester. Now, I just need to get through the final exams next week and the heaps of grading that awaits me in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A lil' K-pop fo' ya

Curious about how Korean pop music sounds these days? The following is typical of the genre at present: "Break Down" by Kim Hyun Joong, featuring Double K.

True, these K-pop guys can dance, but personally I prefer Korea's (alternative) rock scene better. Here's Broken Valentine with "내 낡은 서랍속의 바다" ("The sea in my worn drawer"). The song was originally performed by Panic.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

How to Fall in Love with the Heavens

View full screen.

'n Demokrasie is 'n hoogskosbare fragiel affêre

In 'n Demokrasie regeer die mense -- hulle word nie regeer nie. Dit is die plig van die goewerment om die wil van die mense uit te voer. Met ander woorde, die mense is baas en die goewerment is klaas. Indien die mense ontevrede is met hoe die goewerment sy plig nakom, dan kan ons hulle via 'n verkiesing vervang met verteenwoordigers wat ons wil meer getrou sal uitvoer. Die mense is dis in beheer en om hulle taak ordentelik te doen moet hulle vrye toegang hê tot staatsinligting. Sonder sulke vrye toegang is dit nie 'n demokrasie nie, maar 'n diktatorskap waar die goewerment baas is en die mense klaas is.

Die "Wet om Beskerming van Inligting" wat deur Suid-Afrika se goewerment voorgestel is, is drakonies van aard. Dit is daarop uit om inligting van die mense te weerhou. Sonder vrye inligting kan die mense nie ordentelike landsbesluite neem nie en is dan nie instaat om in beheer te wees nie. Eenvoudig gestel, hierdie wet verander die land vanaf 'n demokrasie in een-of-ander vorm van diktatorskap. Dit mag dalk nou nie onmiddelik Noord-Korea word nie, maar dit lê die fondasie waarop 'n Noord-Korea of 'n Zimbabwe of 'n Ivoorkus maklik gebou kan word. Intussen raak dit 'n piesangrepubliek.

Daarom is ek teen die voorgestelde "Wet om Beskerming van Inligting." Hoe meer geheime 'n staat het, hoe minder ware vryheid bestaan daar en hoe skraler is die kans om 'n werkende demokratiese stelsel. Soos Thomas Jefferson tereg gesê het: "Information is the currency of democracy." Sonder toegang tot inligting kan 'n demokrasie nie bestaan nie.

Raak betrokke in hierdie stryd. Dit handel oor groter dinge as bloot joernaliste en fluitjieblasers. Dit raak die kern van hoe ons land regeer word -- is die mense baas of is die goewerment baas? 'n Demokrasie of 'n diktatorskap? In watter tipe land wil jy bly?

Een manier om betrokke te raak is deur die "Right to Know Campaign"-petisie te teken. Neem deel aan protesoptogte. (Elke persoon behoort ten minste een keer in sy of haar lewe aan 'n protesoptog deel te neem.) Skryf briewe en vertel mense. 'n Demokrasie is 'n hoogskosbare fragiel affêre. 'n Mens moet dit daarvoor veg en dit pamperlang.

Monday, 6 June 2011


Soveel mense weet nog nie watse briljante kunstenaar Nataniël is nie. Met die ou legendes soos Tolla van der Merwe en Jan Spies reeds lankal ondergronds, is Nataniël seker ons land se mees humoristiese storieverteller. Maar om Nataniël met Van der Merwe en Spies te vergelyk is soos om trifle en chocolate mousse met mekaar te vergelyk. Albei is heerlike poedings, maar jy sit nie albei op dieselfde nageregtafel nie. 'n Trifle is geskik, sommer vir enige partytjie. Jy kan trifle eet by die kerkbazaar, 'n kinderverjaarsdagpartytjie, na die Bulls gewen (of verloor) het, by die skoolkermis, op 'n Sondagmiddag. Chocolate mousse is bietjie anders, is dit nie? Daar is iets aan 'n goeie chocolate mousse wat nie heeltemal pas in skoolsale, langs die braaier, of by 'n (geheiligde) vlooimark nie. 'n Ordentelike chocolate mousse is nie 'n alledaagse nagereg nie. Dis nie vir kinders met snotneusies en vuilbekkies en -kloutjies nie. Dis 'n grootmenspoeding. Jy moet bietjie lewenservaring hê vir chocolate mousse en jou tong moet kan onderskei tussen goedkooplekker en kwaliteitlekker. Nataniël is soos chocolate mousse. As jy nog nooit 'n Nataniël storie gehoor het nie, luister na een van sy vertellinge hier.

Maar hy is nie net 'n storieverteller nie. Dalk vertel ek meer oor sy ander talente op 'n ander geleentheid. Intussen, hier is sy webbladsy: www.nataniel.co.za

Friday, 3 June 2011

1001 Posts!

I just reallised that my previous post in which I embedded a music video of Peggy Sue was the 1000th post since I started this blog in September 2008.

Here are some statistics about this blog some of you might find interesting. I don't have an exact figure for the total page views received, but since Google started tracking page views in June 2009, the blog has had over 90, 000 views. The highest month was March 2011, with just over 11, 000 views for that month alone. A possible reason for this is the earthquake and consequent tsunami that hit Japan. May 2011 received just over 10, 000 page views. I can't really say what the reason for that is -- maybe my comments on Osama Bin Laden's Death or my quasi-exposition of Lady Gaga's "Judas." (We know it is a strange world we live in when the alleged death of a terrorist and the controversial song op 'n pop star can both vie for most newsworthy / interesting information.)

The original Kakashi Hatake post in which I announced his death is still the most popular, with currently nearly 23, 000 views alone. It seems to be one of Google's preferred pages for searches on images of Kakashi. The post on physical differences between Koreans and Caucasians (approximately 4, 800 views) has surpassed other frequently visited pages like the Andy Lau and Giraffe Sex posts. Another often visited page is the gallery of body painting pictures. Admittedly, the most popular posts say very little about me -- it merely illustrates my random ponderings.

The blog is extremely varied in topics, but there are clearly some themes I revisit frequently. According to my list of tags, the three most frequent topics I blog about are Korea, Music and South Africa, in that order.

As for visitors, most visitors are from America. The second most frequent visitor region is South Africa. I think that the American visitors are more accidental (Google just happens to refer them), while the South African visitors are more likely to be family and friends in South Africa. That is nice to know, for ultimately that was one of the major reasons why I started the blog, to keep my family and friends abreast with my life in Korea. None the less, I'm appreciative of all visitors, especially the oft returning visitors. About 10% of all visitors are returning visitors. While most visitors that arrive here leave immediately, about 3-4% stay for about 180 to 600 seconds. That is more than enough time to read one or two posts. I'm assuming these 3-4% are my loyal readers -- friends I know, and some "friends" I'm not familiar with, but whom find something of value to return and stay here for a while.

Thank you for visiting and sharing over a 1000 posts so far.

"Lover's Gone" -- Peggy Sue

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Die Geselskap Dames van die Vaaldriehoek -- Die begin van 'n storie

As Hannes geweet het dat hy homself later die dag in net sy onderbroek en kouse sou bevind, vasgemaak met cable ties aan 'n lendelam stoel, sou hy 'n beter onderbroek vir die geleentheid gekies het en seker gemaak het sy kouse pas. Sy huidige onderbroek is effe uitgerek en hang papperig om sy heupe; dit was oorspronklik donker blou, maar het intussen tot 'n ongesonde grys uitgewas. Sy kouse is albei swart, maar is van verskillende pare. Die een kous is duidelik hoër teen sy kuit op as die ander.

Die dame met die hoë-hoëhakskoene kom die slegbeligte vertrek binne. Ondanks sy oë brand let hy tog op hoedan haar lang bene in 'n sy-onderbroekie wat met delikate kant afgeëts is, verdwyn. Hannes se hart klop vinniger. Hy is nie seker of sy hartsversnelling die gevolg is van haar kontoere of die wete dat die martelsessie nou weer gaan voortgaan nie. Miskien albei.

Sy kom staan voor hom. Hy kan nie haar gesig uitmaak nie. Daar is slegs een lig in die vertrek, 'n lamp wat direk op hom skyn sodat hy heeltyd sy oë op skrefies moet trek om die pynlike intensiteit daarvan te demp.

“Gaan jy praat?” vra sy in 'n stem wat jazz kan sing sou sy wou, maar Hannes weet dt sy nie sulke volksvreemde ambisies sal hê nie. Jazz-musiek is so ontuis in die Vaaldriehoek soos pap en wors in New Orleans. Hy bly nou al lank genoeg in die Vaaldriehoek om 'n oorsigtelike gevoel te hê vir tipiese musieksmaakvoorkeure. Ongelukkig nog nie lankgenoeg om te weet dat dit gevaarlik is om rond te snuffel by die “Geselskap Dames van die Vaaldriehoek” nie.