I am writing this at just after 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, though I am feeling drowsy. I've had a full day with an early start, and only had a patchy four-hour sleep anyway.
Colleague-friend D picked me up by car this morning at 7:30. He has the first class at 9:00 before mine at 10:00, so I asked him for a lift. It was helpful especially because I was lugging my hardware for the office.
We had a good chat en route. He wanted to get an extra early start because he is testing the commute. We got there in less than 30 minutes, which was quicker than expected. As it was a successful ride, he offered to pick me up on the Thursday mornings of the next two weeks until he makes a decision as to the best way for him to do the commute.
Arriving two hours before my time as teacher, I spent some time hooking up the computer hardware, making more adjustments to the arrangement of the furniture, and hanging up wall coverings. The scroll with the image of the jumping fish that I bought this winter in Seoul looks quite nice up beside my desk.
After class, I joined a couple of my students at lunchtime. It was my first time at the new canteen. It's a little too small, but perhaps that's because this new staff dining room attracts a larger crowd than the previous one. The food is much better, you see. Today we had a veritable feast for lunch; it was a full traditional meal. The main dish was a beef and greens soup very lightly spiced up, and there were many delicious side dishes as well as rice. Among the side dishes were kimchi radishes, seasoned boiled greens, a large pan-fried sardine, rice vermicelli noodles in soy sauce, lettuce salad with a choice of home-made dressings, and even a little sliced fruit. It is much more food and fresher food than we used to get, yet the price is only 1,000 more. A bargain at a ticket costing around $5.00!
The topic of our class discussion was a movement social change in the US downloaded from the TED.com website: the history of the movement to stop violence against women and children over the past 30 years as told by one Esta Soler. (Not sure if that is a pseudonym.) The lecture provided a well proven success story of the power of civic action. In contrast to the time before 1980 when hardly anyone recognized the problem and spoke up about it, community action, lobbies and popular education have resulted in laws and funding for the protection of women and children and much more awareness. In fact, claims Soler, the incidence of violence against women was reduced by 64% between 1993 and 2010. That is proof positive that lives have been saved and deterrence has been established.
Soler says we need to look at what still needs to be done because domestic violence is still going on and victims are dying and suffering. At the same time, it is worthwhile to acknowledge and be proud of the achievements of the movement so as to stay optimistic and energized because history shows that civil action does get results.