Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mmm . . .

"Killing things is not so hard; it's hurting that's the hardest part."
-- from Trout Heart Replica by Amanda Palmer

Korean Paradoxes

South Korea is a very paradoxical country. In some ways it is uber conservative, where women are still expected to obey their husbands, following Confucian ideas. Then, there is this decision by a court regarding transgenders:

Seoul Western District Court ruled in favor of accepting requests from five female-to-male transgender individuals to have their family register listing altered to be classified as male. None of the five has undergone operations to surgically alter their sex organs.

Now keeping this ruling in mind, try to wrap your mind about what President Park (South Korea's first female president) did recently when she signed a law making it illegal for women to don clothing that is too revealing. Many believe it to be aimed at the popularity of mini-skirts and "hot pants" often worn by Korean women.

It is baffling to me to think that a country could be liberal enough to accept transgender people, yet so conservative that it frowns upon mini skirts.

If I had the time I would have loved to start a new blog called "Korean Paradoxes".

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Which Francis?

Image Source
The new Bishop of Rome has chosen the name Pope Francis I. Most commentators assumes that he chose this name in honour of St Francis of Assisi, but I am doubtful. The new Pope is a member of the Jesuit Order founded by Ignatius of Loyola. In the early Jesuit Order there were six prominent figures, one of them was Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuit Order, and later to be canonized as Saint Francis Xavier. If the new Pope was going to name himself after a Francis, it is more than likely after his Jesuit ancestor St Francis Xavier, someone from his own order, rather than St Francis of Assisi founder of the Franciscans, another order. The Jesuits are extremely loyal.

Does it matter whether he named himself after St Francis of Assisi or after St Francis Xavier? Well, anyone that knows a bit about the Jesuit Order will tell you that it surely does matter. We live in exciting times.

Then again, I may be wrong . . .

Monday, 18 March 2013

'n (Sjinese) Verjaarsdag, klasdraf, 'n verstandtand en 'n romantiese zombie-fliek

Verlede week was my verjaarsdag. Ek dink volgens een of ander psalm in die Bybel het ek nou die helfde van my lewe geleef. So 'n mylpaal behoort gevier te word. Ongelukkig was daar geen geleentheid vir partytjie hou nie. Op dieselfde dag wat my verjaarsdag was, het ek van bitter vroeg tot goed laat klasgedraf. My doktorsgraadklasse is almal op eendag in geprop (ek kan slegs eendag per week by my werk afkry). Aangesien die universiteit waar ek studeer in 'n ander stad is moet ek reeds vroeg uit die vere en op die pad wees. Ek is juis tans oppad terug huistoe en sit op 'n bus en tik op my skootrekenaar. Die laaste klas het vanaand rondom 21:00 klaar gemaak, wat beteken dat ek so teen 23:00 tuis sal wees. En dit is 'n goeie aand--klasse is drie ure lank en die laaste klas wat om 19:00 begin kan by regte tot 22:00 aanhou, in welkgeval ek eers rondom middernag by die gaan kom.

Omdat ek verlede week my verjaarsdag gemis het, kry ek skielik die blink idee oor die naweek om my verjaarsdag op die Sjinese maankalender te volg eeder as die Gregoriaanse sonkalender. Baie Koreane vier hulle verjaarsdag op die maankalender eerder as die sonkalender. Ek gaan toe op 'n wilde soektog om uit te vind op watter dag is ek gebore volgens die Sjinese kalender en sien toe dat ek op die derde dag van die tweede maand gebore is. Die derde dag van die tweede maand val hierdie jaar op verlede Donderdag. Maw, ek het oor daardie geleentheid om my verjaarsdag te vier gemis.

So wat het ek verlede Donderdag gedoen? Wel, ek het 'n kiestand wat my al 'n rukkie lank pla en besluit toe verlede Donderdag om die tandarts te besoek. Nadat hy 'n X-straal van my kies geneem het kondig hy aan dat dit 'n verstandtand is wat die moeilikheid maak en dat ek dit sal moet verwyder, nou is goed. En toe sommer net daar en dan, sonder enige emosionele voorbereiding verloor ek 'n verstandtand, so op my Sjinese verjaarsdag. Getraumatiseerd besluit ek toe dat ek nie Taekwon-Do gaan oefen nie (nie met 'n seermond nie) en dat ek 'n fliek gaan kyk.

Die fliek was "Warm Bodies" -- 'n romantiese komedie met zombies. Die interesante ding vir my was toe ek so derde deur die fliek besef dat dit sowaar op Willem Bewespies se Romeo & Juliet gebasseur is. Toevallig is een van die klasse wat ek op universiteit aanbied "Shakespeare Films". Ek gaan beslus "Warm Bodies" in my kurrikulum insluit volgende jaar.

Watching Plays and Making Wild Guesses

Recently I went to two Korean plays. The first was one directed by a friend of mine. She always invites me to her plays. She often writes the plays herself and directs them, and tend to focus on some social issue. Her latest play literally translates as “Toilet Bowl” about a Korean man who finds a strange sense of peace of mind in the solitude of a particular public toilet cubicle, where there is no mobile phone reception and his wife and boss cannot get hold of him.

The other play I saw was a Korean adaptation of the novel “Lord of the Flies”. My director friend received complimentary tickets and invited me to go with her. I was impressed with the staging of the play. They used curtains particularly well to signify various natural scenarios such as the sea, a mountain cliff, a burning forest, and so on. While I thought this aspect of the play was well done, in other ways it was a little reminiscent of a school play. It could just be the youthful cast, however.

Having lived in Korea for so long I would have hoped that my Korean was better by now—it is, upper beginner, or lower intermediate level. While my Korean has not improved much, my ability to infer meaning has improved tremendously. I have become very adapt at guessing meaning.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

It is a bit bothersome and you can only receive it from someone else.

A dialogue in Naruto Shippuuden, episode 296 "A Father's Hope; A Mother's Love", between Gaara and his uncle Yashamaru:

Yashamaru: Physical wounds will definitely bleed and may look painful. But over time they heal by themselves. And if you apply medicine, they will heal faster. What's troublesome are wounds of the heart. Nothing is harder to heal. 

Gaara: Wounds of the heart?

Yashamaru: They are a bit different from physical injuries. You can't apply medicine, for one thing. And sometimes they never heal. There is only one cure for a wounded heart. It is a bit bothersome and you can only receive it from someone else.

Gaara: What is it?

Yashamaru: It's love.

Gaara: Love?

Yashamaru: Yes.

Gaara: How do I get it?!

--- No wonder I'm in tears with practically every episode.