An October Day In Seoul, Insadong, And Bukchon

I am not used to taking photos with my phone as most do, if I decide to take photo’s I will take the camera out. But rarely occurs to me to record videos. Of course comparing the file sizes and how my devices can handle it the skew towards taking images is justified.

But on this certain day, I and the magnificent Ahimsa were discussing making our own silly Halloween movie called the Vining. In preparation we decided to record shots of nature and street to maybe create a library and use them later. Two months later the Vining’s production is still pending but I decided to compile a video of the less ominous shots and put it online.

These shots were taken from the junction that connects Insadong to Bukchon Hanok Village, and up the green hill that I think is located north of Bukchon. This is a pretty little hill so if you end up in Bukchon and somehow don’t have much to do maybe you can do a tiny hike.

It seems to me that doing a silly montage of a day around town is actually pretty fun. If I do not face much storage problems I wish to do it once more.

 

To Flee Or Not To Flee

This is an account of how and why I am quitting my masters, and how it can fling my life in different directions.

I am giving up on getting my master’s degree after having finished my coursework and a semester of trying to write a thesis. So far the people’s reaction has been the biggest outcome: my parents are against my choice, most of my friends think I am doing the wrong thing, and maybe worst of all, my advisor does not seem to care. Only my boyfriend and one of my friends understand my situation.

It is not that I do not understand people’s points of view, but for one thing I would be happy if everyone would stop saying it’s a waste of two years of my life. Do they think I have learnt nothing in these two years and only the degree makes my education worthwhile? My degree will be a useless one in the current job market and toxic economic atmosphere anyway. My thesis at its best would be a critical study of media representations of something, and it would probably reflect my disdain for capitalism. What company would like that?

However, everything else aside, the truth is that I do not want to give up. I want to have a master’s degree to flaunt in people’s faces when (if) I’m drunk and in a discussion. But on the other hand, I am a third world citizen studying abroad, in a city as expensive as they come, the immigration laws are ruthless, my scholarship is not extendable, and I cannot make it work with my disinterested advisor. Working on my thesis caused me physical pain and mental torture, and to be honest it was affront at creativity. We are often suggested to follow in the footsteps of others and write like others have already done; the ones who do conform better are rewarded best. “Unless you are a great scholar,” my advisor told us “people will not wish to hear new ideas.”

Graduating, and miraculously finding a job here, would give me a chance at a modestly earned life, with undesirable work conditions, in a field very unrelated to my degree, and a promise of social isolation (All my friends have left or are leaving this country). So even if I managed to somehow push through and graduate the employment chances here are slim.

But quitting my master’s degree will launch me into a life of difficulty, and uncertainty. I might have to go back to my home country and (best case scenario) work at an equally undesirable job, in an atmosphere of censorship and oppression, with (way) more than a dash of gender inequality (on top of  it all I would be separated from my boyfriend because he could never get a visa for my country).

My other choice is to begin travelling to a handful of countries that my poor passport can take me to, without money, and with low hopes of being hired anywhere, and slim chances that we might be able to settle somewhere. Yet this plan is the best we have; with uncertainty comes our only chance in coming across something that will change our life for the better or worse.

The problems go on and on, but I won’t continue. I can’t escape the feeling that we have created a world that is unwilling to give space to people so they can live simple, quiet lives. And within this world my best course of action is to graduate, but sometimes you cannot do things even if you try.

Maybe if you have unlimited funds and time you could achieve anything you set your mind on, but I have neither time nor money on my side. This is true for many of us; struggling with choices like this that define our lives, and many times we do not succeed. It is not because we are simply lazy people who did not use our opportunities. Some like me face obstacles in making the best of our opportunity; some never have the privilege of having the opportunity.

The life path I face is unknown to me; it is unstable and that scares me. But I have my boyfriend by my side, and not having to go through it all alone is a big reassurance. Maybe I can find a way to fund a nomad life, maybe I find a decent job somewhere and we will be fine for a while. Who knows what life has in store. What I really wish to do is to make change; find a way to make the world less hostile to humans. At this point I cannot perceive of ways that do not require much money, but it is a good thing to keep in one’s mind.

Don’t Be Speciesist, Love All Creatures

I was enraged when they killed that giraffe in a European zoo and fed it to the lions. I was sad when that dentist mans killed that lion and like many I get sad when I see the whales who have shored.

I am from Iran. In my country they have trouble limiting the illegal hunting of the wildlife, it has come many times at the price of the wildlife protectors lives. I go on Instagram and anytime there is news of such activity I see in comments the people cursing and swearing at the hunters, saying that they are lesser than animals.

I live in South Korea now where dog meat is consumed. I see on internet and in real life people who protest to dog meat consumption comparing it to eating your friend.

I see people of poor countries scrutinized for eating monkey meat, they say they are endangering all human beings due to possibility of diseases.

I am still shamelessly a carnivore, though I have drastically reduced my meat consumption to less than once a week.  Still I eat eggs and dairy that comes at the cost of animal slavery, I know that.

But it took me a Vegan boyfriend to realize it all. What else I realized was that, the bush-meat hunter might be kinder than I. That the person who want to stop consumption of the dog meat and eats other animals raised in the worst conditions is a hypocrite. So is probably the consumer of meat and dairy. I am probably hurting as much animals than the dentist who hunted Cecil, the problem is the ones I’m hurting are not celebrity animals, they are faceless slave animals raised in masses somewhere peoples rather not look at, where people rather look away from and close their eyes.

I am not an animal lover, and so aren’t anyone else who hasn’t yet gone vegan. We are speciesists who care about the species we are attached to. We are animal slavers. We are the colonizers of the earth.

 

Things That Aren’t Exactly Going On

It turns out I am simply a lazy person. I am not proud of it or anything; I think there is a problem. The problem is that I wish to do so much that I end up doing not much and on top of that I feel discouraged most of the time.

These days I have to work on my master’s thesis. Not only it is a task of extra difficulty for a person as disorganized as me, I also found the joy of life in watercolors.

Yes watercolors! It’s not that I am a trained artist and do a perfect job but painting watercolors is just magnificent. I spend more hours struggling with watercolors than working on my theses. To top that when I am pretending to work on my thesis my mind is somewhat planning on things I want to try and draw.

I am also slowly writing a short-ish fantasy story. I enjoy writing it a lot but it is very lacking and I have not decided what I will do with it in the end. So another cool thing that in my mind has higher priority than my theses but in reality is of less urgency.

So for me who perceive it all from within my brain I am not being super lazy. But the outside observers definitely see that. I wonder if people have different ways of prioritizing and evaluating their plans and duties.

Then again we live in a society where an active person who is good perfect at prioritizing is considered desirable and successful. Does that sound familiar? Reminds me of something about … neoliberalism.

What if I’m using neoliberalism as an excuse to be lazy?

Cthulhu Kaiju

I want to openly promote a book written by a friend of mine. But be assured that the friend doesn’t yet know about this post and also did not request in any form that I write about him. Also since this is a blog yet without visitors I know that I am not doing him any favors. It is simply a post out of my liking of his works an I wish that maybe I can find others who enjoy his works as well.

Ahimsa Kerp is fantasy writer mostly writing what would be categorized as pulp. Originally from Pacific Northwest he is currently living in Seoul. He is a nice and ambiguously (?) nerdy book and RPG lover. He’s repertoire of fantastic elements is quite rich and amusing.

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His recent book is Cthulhu Kaiju, his homage to the monster and Lovecraft about whose writings he is quite an enthusiast. Here is a link to the Amazon page of the book.

But slyly I am going to ask you to check his Empire of the Undead  which is a historical horror, which is about a zombie outbreak in Roman times. Ahimsa knows his history so it is quite a solid book. If I have time during vacations to do a long post I want to write a review of this book.

 

Secondary World Fantasy

While struggling blindly to find things to build up for my master’s thesis I have come across so much negativity towards fantasy set in secondary world. It is not a new thing since even Tolkien and Lewis had to defend against charges of escapism. What strikes me odd is that we are living in times that we are entirely submerged in narratives through our communication devices and the so called “escapist fantasy” does not seem to me to be a big culprit.

I do feel to think and study it more. Maybe I can update if I come across new thoughts by myself or others.

Gilbo

My friend Ahimsa is running a role playing campaign. I am a newbie when it comes to real life role-playing games. My character’s class is an Alice or Alistair or Fool if you will, who is quite like a normal human but can get exasperated and narrative come to their help (?). By the way the link is safe for work other content of that same blog I don’t know.

So anyways I wrote all that to share the first doodle of Gilbo my character in the campaign.  Check out our campaign’s Tumblr page:

http://lamentationsofthekimchiprincess.tumblr.com/

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First Post

I have added and removed a number of blogs in the past after graduating high school I never got passed one or two posts per blog.  It seems that writing a blog post has become more difficult. Before the rein of social networks, as a teenager a number of my posts would resemble statuses on Facebook nowadays.

Blogs however seem to have moved onto a more professional level. Blog contents are viewed by a few interested people, if I get some viewers I feel like they will know more about the probable subjects than I would. Especially for my case, since I do not have much unique experience to offer or skills to share my probable posts would concern talking or analyzing social happenings. It scares me because I wonder how much research would be necessary and etc.

I envy every active blogger I meet and that is why I keep coming back. I hope this blog will last longer than the previous ones.