Friday, 25 November 2016


"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -- Jiddu Krishnamurti 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A Dog of Flanders

Who still remembers the story "A Dog of Flanders", about an artistic orphaned boy Nello and his dog Patrasche? I can't remember what the Afrikaans title was when it aired in South Africa in the 80s. In any case, it turns out that while the story is rather unknown around the world -- even in the native Belgium that is its setting -- it is actually quite popular in Japan and here in Korea where it is considered a great children's literature classic.

Spoiler Alert: In the original book by English author Marie Louise de la Ramée (aka Ouida), Nello and Patrasche freeze to death, but not before succeeding in their journey to see the great paintings of Rubens. (The animated version has a less tragic ending.) I think because I was a rather lonely and artistically inclined child who spend much of my free time drawing, I especially associated with Nello. How different is this story, and others like it such as Heidi and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (Holgerssons) from today's children's animations! I really believe that these tails of realistic loss and suffering endured by children better prepared me for my future life. These stories taught me that good doesn't always win over evil, that the innocent are not free from suffering. Maybe that is why it is also popular in Korea.

Sunday, 15 May 2016


“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion—its message becomes meaningless.” — Rabbi Abraham Heschel, God In Search of Man

Monday, 28 March 2016


Love is the very difficult understanding that something other than yourself is real. -- Iris Mugdock

Sunday, 20 March 2016


"if one can defeat evil only by becoming evil, then it is impossible to defeat evil" -- David Rodin

Friday, 22 January 2016

Some things I did in December 2015

December was mostly occupied with preparation for my PhD defence, while grading exam papers and finalizing student grades. I had two defences. I'm happy to say that I passed the defences without too much problems, although I was quite nervous.

I went to several dance performances, finally saw Miyavi perform live, and also went to see Star Wars on the biggest screen in the world.

And a family member came to visit me. My brother arrived on Christmas day and visited me for three weeks. Within his first couple of nights in Korea we went to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and also to the Light Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm, close by Chuncheon. I also made my brother wait to see Star Wars because I wanted to see Macbeth first, before seeing Star Wars again. Macbeth was great, and seeing Star Wars a second time didn't disappoint.

Sunday, 17 January 2016


“Do not fall in love with people like me. 
I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth.
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.” 
― Caitlyn Siehl

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Some things I did in November 2015

Of course I went to see some dance performances.

Definite highlight for November was finally seeing Miyavi perform live.

Met up with friends that I haven't seen in ages.

Korea has a traditional custom known as "Sa-eun-hoi" 사은회 that roughly translates as "Teacher's Appreciation Banquet". It is a special dinner hosted by students for their teachers to show their appreciation. Annually around this time of the year the students in my department invite the lecturers to attend "Sa-eun-hoi." They treat us to a lovely buffet meal, share messages of appreciation, and sometimes give us some gifts (or gift vouchers).

The dress code theme for this year's "Sa-eun-hoi" was black & white, hence my outfit. (I bought the silk scarf in China at a silk market during my trip there earlier this year.)

A teaching highlight this year was in my one poetry class. After reading the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, the students actually applauded. I got an applause for the reading of another poem earlier this semester as well -- "I Sing the Body Electric" by Walt Whitman. I also got one or two applauds after two lectures. It is a weird thing to be applauded for one's job, but it does make one feel that you are in the right occupation. 

In November I had to submit my PhD dissertation for examination. Getting it ready for submission take up much of my time and energy. I also had to pay a $500 examination fee that I didn't know about. That sucked. It wasn't in my budget. 

Still actively teaching martial arts. Have been working on getting my one student ready for his black belt promotion in the middle of January 2016.

A very sad part of this month was the news of the passing of my long time friend Chris van der Merwe

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Some things I did in October 2015

October. I love October: Seoul International Dance Festival & Seoul Performing Arts Festival. I got to see many great performances.

I finally met a long time Facebook friend in person. We quickly became very good friends. And caught up with some old friends.

I wrote a little verse.

I had me preliminary PhD defence.

And I got final grade for my course work.

I got addicted to a new chocolate snack. But thankful overcame my addiction.

Went to the best dessert place in Seoul. (I go there maybe once or twice a year.)

Continued to enjoy great food throughout the month...

Made some art...

Met with some Taekwondo friends, masters and grandmasters.

And enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather...

The month concluded with a board game night with friends. (I skipped doing the Halloween partying thing.)