I write to you now at the turn of the tide...

Thu Nov 27, 2003

I like that bit of poetic nonsense, ripped off from the Two Towers in case you didn’t pick it up. I guess that was my clumsy attempt at a reference since these days I’m adverse to any kind of plagiarism. I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. We’ve been preparing for these open classes, where the parents of our kindergarten students come and watch the class. The whole fiasco gets videotaped, archived and forwarded to post-production analysis and critique of course.

Today I had my first session with Green class. The real humdinger is going to be Kitten class open class next Tuesday. So anyway, I marched in there and tried my royal best, trying to act hyper and enthusiastic, trying to watch the timing, trying to suppress uprisings with diplomatic solutions, trying to keep an appropriate level of discipline, and trying to mark off a mental checklist in my head of things I should be doing (courtesy of our ever helpful supervisor). But kids will be kids. And there were the stony-faced parents sitting in the back, the angry mothers, bouncing their angry babies on their angry knees. Angry that their children are being so disrespectful to a foreigner. Later calling and apologizing for their children’s rude behaviour. Not only do kids have no concept of social decorum but they fail to realize that the videotaped evidence of their antics will wind up being viewed by their fathers when they come home from work one night and then they’ll have to face the music. At least Johnny’s dad was smiling the whole time, if only because ever since Sean left, Johnny’s now the top student. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped but it could have been worse I suppose. I suspect, however, that the worst is yet to come.

Now after that waffle allow me to perform the perfunctory update. On Saturday it was my friend Nardus’ birthday so I met up with him in the evening. We went to that shopper’s paradise - Myeongdong, had some food, drank some beer and hit the pool hall. I know I swore off pool a few years back, but ever since my humiliating performance a few weeks back, I’ve been keen on resuscitating the skills I thought I possessed as a youth. This time I didn’t do too badly and was quite encouraged, I had a few fluke shots and won two games. On Sunday I joined my friends Brian and Maike for a South African luncheon at the Hyatt hotel in Seoul, in honour of a departing diplomat. The S.A. embassy had issued the invitation to any South African teachers in Korea. The buffet spread was quite sumptuous and quite luxurious and all paid for by the S.A. government. Hmmmm… such a lavish feast is in stark contrast to the wretched poverty and malnutrition most South Africans have to endure. The demographics of the situation paint a sad picture and I suspect government diplomats residing in foreign countries have been encouraged to curb as many ‘chicken-runs’ as possible by pandering to South Africans abroad and have obviously been given the budget to do so. It’s just a theory though, I apologize to any loyalists reading this (but please feel free to retort).

Afterwards we went to Technomart and I must thank Brian because he went out of his way to help me find a good deal on a digital camera. Thanks Brian! I got a Canon Powershot A70 Check out the link if you’re really interested in the specs, but let me say it’s a relatively high-end 3.2 megapixel camera with an option for manual settings and can take 2048x1536 high-res pics, high-res movies, land small aircraft etc. etc. I’m really excited about it! I also bought a 128 megabyte memory card and a tripod for it. As soon as I have time I’ll start posting pics on my website. So far I’ve just taken pics of the kids.

Well, kind of a stolid entry I know but I really need to chill and get a back massage or sit in a jacuzzi or something. It’s kind of hard to make one’s life even remotely readable, I understand my good brother julz_79Julz’s quandary. Go there to read a bold discussion on Christmas. Is Santa evil? Mmmmm…

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