death

Letter from Korea, April 2014

Suwon, South Korea 28/4/2014 Dear Ireland I haven’t written in several months, I know. Perhaps Thailand got in the way of my regular correspondence, although there was little to stop me from writing a Letter from Thailand, other than the sunshine and other things I was writing. So here is my first letter of 2014, and […]

I Just Want to Scream

 

I just want to scream, but I know it won’t do any good.

I heard that a ferry to Jeju that was sinking. News implied all would get out alive. I thought it was Costa Concordia like, if only it was comparable now.


Peter Clarke

By Ray Hyland

The first adults you meet in life will forever leave an impression. Family notwithstanding you rely on your teachers and headmasters to guide you along the early roads.


A Catch Up

For the past two weeks I’ve been stuck in a mini-post rut. I dilemma if you will.

A couple of weeks ago my grandfather passed away back in Ireland, which meant a return home at short notice. I brought Herself and +1 along too, because Herself really liked my grandfather and we’ve a lot to be grateful to him for. We could hardly have left +1 at home now could we?

The dilemma has been how to write about it, because initially I wanted to say something about it. I’ve already started a 1,500 word post on this experience, but it is just a stream of and-then-this-happened-and-then-this-happened-and-then-this-happened. Maybe you or someone else would have liked to read this, but I just couldn’t finish writing it and had to stop. It’s not because it made me sad, it was something else.


The Lower Depths

Last night two of my younger students took me out for doke-boke-ee—this sort of sweet-and-spicy rice cake concoction which is probably every single young Korean’s favorite snack food (aside from yang-shik, or western cuisine). From a distance it resembles piles of red slop, and it’s so popular that you can’t walk down a crowded street for five minutes without seeing a stall selling a huge platter of this steaming, bloody, intestine-like delicacy, where people are sometimes standing around outside, spearing tubes of mashed-up rice in a very chemical sort of sauce.


Trying to look back at the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Twenty years ago this week the war in Yugoslavia began its most horrific stage, the destruction, slaughter, and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia Herzegovina. Can you remember where you were at this time in 1992? I was still in primary school. Many of the students I teach now in the university where I work were no more than a year or two old. Irish people were more concerned that they wouldn’t be getting Yugoslavia’s berth in the European Championships, than the fact that the country they would hopefully replace was about to experience the worst atrocities in Europe since the Nazis.


Boke-Gote, Sakura, Cherry Blossoms

One of my acquaintances told me a while back that he had gone all the way to Jinae, a rather out-of-the-way place, to take part in that city’s Cherry Blossom Festival. I had heard about this festival several times and wondered if, unlike most of the savagely mediocre events in Korea, it was worth attending. “No!“, he replied, the cherry blossoms in Jinae were just as interesting as anywhere else.


NEW!!! The expense of failure

As the sun comes up on the horizon, its bright warming fingers reach out over Korea. Across the nation, the sound of cars, lorries and buses that restricted the natural silence and stillness of the previous night prevails into morning. The punters from the evening line the streets, piling into taxis to ferry them home or straight to work. Other droopy-eyed proletarians wipe sleep from their eyes as they drag themselves into their workplace. The elderly, alert and active, converge and power-walk together in circles. It’s the birth of a new day and the death of another.

Koreans take great pride in their country, their history, their ‘pure’ Korean blood, their culture, the patriarchal society, and – what is most admired by westerners – their industrial and economic growth.


Korean Urban Legends 2: The Foot and Mouth Scare (구제역 괴담)

DING DONG THE SHEIK IS DEAD (go ahead and celebrate, it's okay)

I got the news the way I get almost any important, shocking news these days:  via text message, while teaching a class.  I glanced at the screen and these three words were seared into my eyes: BIN LADEN DEAD!!!

I stopped my class and quickly relayed the message to my adult students, who were as gobsmacked as me.  When I ran to the teachers' room and saw that the internet indeed confirmed the news, a feeling of joy swelled in my gut, enveloping my whole body in warmth and electricity.  I strolled back into the classroom and stood before the handful of older students seated in front of me, grinning so hard that I could almost hear my skin strain.

"It looks like it's true..."

Osama Bin Laden was dead and guess what?  I was fucking happy.  I was more than happy - I was elated - and I felt like celebrating.  And I wasn't the only one.


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