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A Year of Living Positively -Day 77

The internet connection is slow right now. We'll see how it goes.

I had a great day. C invited me to join him with his best friend whom he calls "uncle" although he's only a few years older. C didn't know that I had already moved, so he us all to meet up in the vicinity of my old neighborhood. 

They wanted to treat me and let me choose the restaurant. I lead them to my favorite place, a barbecued smoked duck restaurant near the cultural center. We enjoyed a mixed plate of duck and beef with sauces and fermented cabbage and raw unions that we cooked at the table. We mixed our liquor and had a little soju (a clear rice liquor), a little meokgeoli (a milky looking rice wine) and a little beer with the food.

The cultural center being close by, we opted to go see an exhibit of Life Magazine photos, many of them famous shots of what have become iconic images, such as those of painters and actors, political events such as the Yalta Conference, and frames of the Vietnam war. I think it was mainly Life that informed the public in North American what was really going on in the war in Vietnam. I was quite surprised to see quite a crowd there, even though it is a good place to visit on a rainy day, because the exhibit has been running for a couple of months. Anyway, it was quite interesting and worth the trip. I have never seen some of the images they presented, like a some of the Vietnam war, and a couple of Charlie Chaplin dressed as a clown on the set of "Limelight" with his son.

After that, we went over to the Kyungsung University area, my old 'hood, where I knew, coincidentally, that colleague-friend P was showing a photo in an exhibit of foreign residents experiencing Korea. P wasn't around but we phoned him and got caught up.

We settled on a meokgeoli bar and chose a bit of friend mandu (dumplings with a filling) and pajeon (a sort of onion pancake) to eat with it. Koreans typically eat a lot of fatty food while they are drinking in order to absorb the alcohol. They don't usually get hangovers because of that, and because they drink enough water.

"Uncle" is a progressive guy. We talked about the Life Magazine photo show, and moved on to a discussion about how the youth are not taught much history. The education system generally does not give them a chance to read and discuss much, and does not encourage them to develop critical opinions. That is because of the system of rote learning and measurement of quantifiable information, that is mostly meaningless and basically a social control to keep them too busy to think. Public school teachers are controlled too, because they are tightly monitored by means of extremely detailed reportage. For example, all class lesson plans must be completed thoroughly and turned in for approval, and also teachers must stick to the textbook and orient students to the exams. We also talked about there is not much discussion at home. Many parents tend to be either neglectful or overly protective. Parents may throw money and things at their children, and ensure they secure an educational path that could lead to respected careers. Protective parents want to make all the decisions for the kids and thus fail to teach them life skills or let them try things so that kids do not grow much through their teens and into their twenties. In either type of scenario, nobody asks the kids how their feeling and what is happening in their lives, and there is no discussion about the family's life or what is going on in the world.

"Uncle" happens to work for a telecommunications firm. In fact, he is a top level manager in sales. He can therefore assist us colleagues who occupy two whole floors in this apartment building in getting a deal on internet access. That is good news too. 

Both C and he plan on joining me at the "Walk for Women" that I have called for Saturday, March 8. That'll be a good day too, it seems.

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