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Today I made up my mind to keep a diary online. It is actually for my English, but how pitiful I am that I have to study English not for communicating heartfully with people but for getting high scores in the tests such as TOEFL and GRE!
I hope my diary will be a public sphere which connects people and me. I hope my diary will be a special kind of literature which everybody loves to read. In this context, it is not exhibitionism to open personal feelings to the public. It is the foundation of mutual understanding, isn't it?
In recent days, there rises nationwide anti-Americanism in Korea. SGT. Nino and Walker, who serve as USFK members, killed two fourteen-year-old Korean girls during their training. After the US military court declared them not guilty, they left Korea with just a few words of apology. Thousands of Korean people participate in rallies, some with candles, some with Molotov cocktails.
I served at the US military camps. I remember my army days. I remember SGT. Hill, PVT. Sayers, and LT. Basinger. We were good friends, but I don't want to see US soldiers rape, assault or kill my people any more.
It takes me more than two hours to finish a batch of 100 words. I have studied English for sixteen years, but I am still terribly poor at English. While I roughly read John Grisham,
the NY Times
, I hardly catch what Meg Ryan says in the movie "When Harry met Sally" without Korean caption. CNN is much harder than movies. When it comes to writing skill and listening comprehension, I feel like a pre-school child or a disabled person.
I am afraid that a number of English-speaking people will laugh at my diary in broken English.
Just in 27 days, I am thirty. Last night, I shed tears as I was reading
Das 30ste Jahr
by Ingeborg Bachmann. Now I am not that kind of grown-up which I wanted to be. I am still a poor little boy. The "anxiety and solitude" is my very ontological situation. I long for "a perfect body and a perfect soul", but I am nothing. How can I catch up my insatiable desire which is always far ahead of me?
Nevertheless, I'd like to pray for and pursue the meaning of my life on and on. Can it be possible?
Today I have another wedding invitation in my mail box. My freinds are in fever of marraige these days. They seem to be busy preparing and arranging stuffs and look very happy with thier fiancee. That was why my phone kept silent even on weekend.
Nine years ago, we were innocent freshmen. We used to drink almost everyday missing classes, talk about love and politics on the campus. Now each of us but me possesses his own wife, kid, car, house and business card showing off the name of a big company. That may be too much to keep innocent.
His weakest part is math. That will make it impossible for him to get into a top-ranking university. I feel sorry for him whenever he gets perplexed with mathematical problems, even they're basic level. Fortunately or not, it seems he doesn't notice yet that his future mostly depends on the ranking of university which he goes to. This sort of society may be a nightmare to the socially weak, and to him. He's just seventeen years old.
He is lamentably incompetent for making good marks at school. Nevertheless, he has a right to enjoy happiness. The society should help him.
This morning, I completed 2m-deep, 50m-long swiming lane for the first time. There spreads out a beautiful scene underwater. The song "Underwater Love" by Smoke City flashed through on my mind in an instant. The deep blue water reminds me of death, chaos, lust and finally sex.
If the "ground world" is full of injustice and inequality, I'd rather take "underwater world" and stay with underwater people down there. Seclusion or refusal can be a way of resistance in this heartless world. Hey underwater people, let's make love among ourselves. Gimme a big hug, and I'll give you one back.
My father isn't a despot any more. After three times of surgical operations, he is still weak. He's a feeble old man definitely. He was the man who likes to lord it over his family, especially his wife. I labeled him a male-chauvinist in my mind.
He is not what he was. He has to struggle even for the bathroom. He beg my mother to just stay with him. Was it impossible for him to be a gentleman without this sort of "emasculation"? I feel confused, but I'm ready to be a "Cordelia" to him like an exhausted "King Lear".
I was tied up in the terrible traffic jam. It took me more than one hour to cross the only 915m-long bridge. To say nothing of me, my father with a pale complexion seems to be unbearable in the back seat. I bore hatred toward so many drivers around me. I wanted to get out of my car and shoot them blindly. Maybe they did, too.
It's everyday life in Seoul. Seoul is the higgledy-piggledy city that illustrates a failure of thoughtless Modernity. Welcome to Seoul, you can witness the extremely inharmonious coexistence of development and underdevelopment. It's a scene.
My father lost his vigor. Can he take a turn for the better? Most of his daily routine is sleeping. His sickly appearance reminds me of grandmother in her dying hour. She would sleep all day long near her death.
It was his bladder cancer. He had angina pectoris and gastric cancer in his case history. Recently, slight cerebral apoplexy added to that. He regrets to have done such things as smoking, drinking, eating too much meat without vegetables, doing no exercise regularly. It's sad that we can't leave this cancer-causing modern world. How can we live out of it?
My car needed fixing for the oil leakage. Repair shop A said 100 thousand won while B said 75. I had my car fixed at the shop B. But it's too late when I noticed that I could make it with 60 thousand won at the shop C. I felt ripped off.
It's common to goods and services without a fixed price. In this low trust society, the people who lack information get to be "idiots" infallibly. The evil influences of low trust can be seen not only in economic life but in social life. That makes my life harder.
I hate Hollywood blockbuster fans. I feel lonely among the pop-loving people who think rock is just a loud noise. I am disgusted at the people whose concern is only money, power, and sex. I regard the people with ambitions of only for success as a beast or something.
I was proud of being totally different from those shitty philistines. But it was a inferiority complex. My pride was nothing but self-deception or self-absorption. I perceived the truth when she said to me like this. "What's the damn difference between them and you? You are far behind them, aren't you?"
I'm still just an immature youth. I can't tolerate the difference between her or him and me. I don't know how to treat the different views and tastes of other people and me. All I have to do is hate them and see them never again. I broke off relations with them on the ground that they were not just like me. I labled them as idiots and gave them up in my mind.
Am I gonna leave her again for there is no chemistry between us? How and when can I embrace the differences and get tolerance and maturity?
Most of my students don't concentrate their attention on class. They may well dose over a class. They have rights to have free time and enjoy their weekend, but their parents never let them do that. Parents always say, "University first!" Sadly, university is the absolute good or more to students and parents in Korea. The royal road to top-ranking university is to learn their state books by heart thoroughly. Even debates, questions, presentations are inefficient here.
I'm frustrated to see their drowsy eyes. I just want them not to lose dreams. They're the future and hope of our society.
I translated an article into Korean all day long. It was on Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International Ltd., and his rise and fall. How can it be possible for a person to misappropriate company fund in so-called highly developed business system of United States?
I think Kozlowski is the figure of "Pariakapitalismus". It's not on the personal ethics, but on the structural problem. The capitalism based on excessive desire drives people to languish in uncontrollable greed. Although we live well materially, we never live well spiritually. Should we be converted to Buddhism or something to overcome this vulgar capitalism?
When I came to a conclusion that we lacked understanding seriously between us, I lost my heart. She has wonderful personality, but we disagree in opinion about some subjects. I'm sick and tired of her cynicism. I feel totally helpless when she says that she doesn't have any kind of hope for tomorrow in her life. She irritates me by saying like that, "I don't think so", "That will never be.", "How can?", "What's the difference?", "All men are liars". The saddest thing is that even I'm one of those liars in her view.
Believe me, sweetheart, we're still innocent.
I was sick all day long. I got up late this morning, skipping swimming, asking myself why I should get up early. Today for what? When I feel I'm not on good terms with someone, I'm always sick.
Can I get admission next year? Can I get a doctor's degree? I need Ivy league degree. I am isolated. I am a lumpen. I am not confident in my future. I am sorry for my sick old parents. I find myself unequal to the truth of the world. I want to be beautiful. I want to know how to love her.
It was a fine day. I prepared fresh sea food for my sickly father, and he enjoyed that. I'm happy to see him recovering. I thank God for extending my father's life. She and I squared away some misunderstandings. There is no other way except talking with an open mind.
It is a calm but exciting eve of the presidential election. Who is gonna win? I am waiting for the dawn that will break through long standing, deep-rooted conventionalities. Never for a conservative. There are many irrational fascists in Korean conservative force. I am waiting for a brand new dawn.
Korean people elected Roh as president. Since 1987, the explosion of civil society, "reform" has been the key word in Korean society. We're still hungry for reform.
The encouraging point of this election is that we turn from pessimism into optimism. We are no more swayed by the crazy bark of evil-minded monopolistic journalism and the threat of war bugs. We chastised opportunists politically for the first time. Young generations voted for the reform-oriented candidate actively. The internet was their revolutionary weapon. That made participatory democracy possible. That made citizen politics and life politics possible. We are the champions tonight.
The doctor said that father should be hospitalized again. He has a doubt on relapse of my father's bladder cancer. I feel disheartened to hear that. This wiil be the fourth hospitalization. When can he be really relieved from the fear of cancer?
It was a long day. We waited for our turn, saw doctor, took a few medical checks, waited for a prescription, all day long. Damn traffic jam was much more unbearable than before. My parents finally got carsickness in the back seat. I have a big headache too. We got new president, but we are still unhappy.
The movie "La Pianiste" was pretty good. Isabelle Huppert showed her splendid performance. She has a unique charismatic character which ordinary actresses hardly can have. She was the picture of a feminine subject who has a complicated mentality. The very reason why I like this movie is she never lost her subjectivity finally.
Elfriede Jelinek, the author of this movie, shouts to the male-centered world that "I hate your aggressive greedy penis. Why are you so egoistic? Don't you know how to communicate?" Looking into my heart, I have many things to be ashamed of. I was a greedy penis.
To love her is to understand her as she is. I should accept the difference between her and me as it stands. I must not give up the possibility of mutual understanding without doing my best. I must not forget how elaborate our love is. To love is to endure.
I believe true love passes over dissatisfaction and misunderstanding. Under the light of love, they melt away. That I feel irritated against her is that my love is still far from perfect. She never shows nervousness to me. I will never hurt her. I will never leave her. Never ever.
Professor Kim is very busy after the presidential election. He contributes analytical articles on the election to some influential newspapers. He's expected to have wider sphere of action in the age of the reformatory and progressive Roh Administration, both academically and politically. Will he join Roh Administration as a cabinet member? Was his final goal the power? I don't want him to change his mind. I want him to remember and strengthen his political identity as a young left. Power in vain, truth forever.
The more active he is, the more miserable I am. When can I be like him?
Christmas eve, but there's no special thing. No card, no gift, no phone call. I just have old parents who watch TV all day long, and myself who sits before PC in my dark room. But I think I'm better in comparison with them who hang around the street and spend money on luxuries under the christmas fever.
Korean traditional holidays are meaningless to me. Those stand on the basis of pre-industrial agricultural culture. Christmas on the western Christian culture. I don't have my own holiday. Rather I'll celebrate the day of my first masturbation instead of this gloomy holiday.
I got up late this morning. Calm and shiny. Parents, sister and I got in my tiny car, prepared cake and wine, drove to newly married brother's home. Sisters, brothers-in-law, their sweet kids are also together. The ordinary holiday event for my family. We enjoyed dinner and scattered in their own home.
I was a flutter of a boy at Christmas, but I lost innocence and Christianity. Christmas is just one of the common days. It just brings to my attention the fact that the end of this year is around the corner. Where is the sweet dreamy Christmas gone?
I enjoy "sexy boy" by Air, "digging a hole" by Suede, "the drugs don't work" by Verve, "how do" by Sneaker Pimps and "another sad song" in Bandits OST these days. They're the portrait of our time. I find myself in those glamourous but sad songs. I get into ecstasies over those songs.
I don't feel lonely when I repeat the fact that frustration, anxiety and solitude of young generation are worldwide. Beat of techno music sounds like uneasy heart beat. Even "fly me to the moon" sounds so sad when it's sung by Astrud Gilberto. Sad songs are mine.
Professor Kim finally decided not to participate in new government. He made his choice on the ground that truth is above power. Despite his own choice, he seems to retain a lingering desire for that. Having a tea time with us for over three hours, he chainsmoked heavily.
"Just give me, give me, give me the power. And I'll make them bleed. Give me, give me, give me the power. Although I'm just the common breed." Why power? Power for what? Doesn't he, an influential civil society theorist, really know that truth among lots of common people is real power?
It's a list of Dolores Haze's classmates. Vladimir Nabokov said it was a perfect poem. It really is. How beautiful!
Daebum, Sangpyung, Chunggyoun and I drank to the parting year together. We, all thirty, are reached a position of responsibility now. Daebum loves his wife, but he thinks his life is somewhat dry. He wants to have a new challenging job, but it's not easy. He feels a heavy sense of responsibility as the head of a new family. Sangpyung is still searching for a job. He is a really smart and energetic guy, but job market is frozen hard. Chunggyoun failed to take up another kind of job. They required him to be a "superman".
Oh, reality really bites!
Today is Eunmo's birthday. Eighteen months have past since he left. We've been friends for more twelve years. I miss him, and I want to see him in Berkeley in 2004.
Where are the other friends whom I can see at his birthday party? After he left, we became estranged. Eunmo was the axis of our relationship. We were at the same high school. We all went on to same university. Now we are strangers who pursue his or her own dream separately. Do they remember that we have good time at Eunmo's room on every 30th day of December?
The closing day of the year 2002. I don't want to be sentimental even on New Year's Eve. I listened to "happy new year" by ABBA all day long. It has somewhat trite messages, but it's a beautiful song. Now's the time for "me" to say...
Happy new year Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don't we might as well lay down and die
You and I
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