Thursday, 30 August 2012

(Day 41) Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center-day 28

Finally got ahold of P. Guinness has adjust to his new home easily and is his usual happy dog self. P will also get L's phone number for me and mail me some more books. If I have to spend a lot of time here at least I'll be well-read and in great shape. I'll also have enough written material I could write a book and enough drawings to have a gallery show. Maybe even publish something using a combination of the writing and drawing.

Not much is going on. The two Mongolians went home yesterday and were replaced by another Chinese ( a friend of the guy who must pay a $35,000 fine) and a Filipino. Another Filipino went home this morning, as did one of the Chinese, so the current cell population is 10. By tomorrow, more will leave and more will arrive to replace them.

Still no sign of my package from JU or any visits from JA or JO. Though, I can hardly blame them. Packages are the fault to the post office and the typhoon. Visits are the fault of my remote location. I'm not sure I would visit either if I was faced with the same situation.

I started reading The Discourses by Niccolo Machiavelli. I'm still on book one and its interesting from historical point of view because it was written during the reign of Henry the VIII, before he became a tyrant, before Shakespeare and the Golden Age of England, before the French and American revolutions, which gave birth to two of the most famous modern republics, before the Industrial Revolution and economic expansion replaced territorial expansion, as discussed in the book. I wonder what Machiavelli would think of the modern world with its technological wonders akin to magic and political entities that never existed then, such as communism, socialism and fascism? Machiavelli talks about only three types of governments principality, aristocracy and democracy and those three evolve into tyranny, oligarchy and anarchy respectively. I wonder what categories he would say communism, socialism and fascism fall into? Dictatorships could easily be the obvious answer for all three. Definitely, a man ahead of his time. It's a good thing he lived in Italy, he would have been beheaded in England if he had lived there. A lot of his ideas seem to have merit 500 years later, from what little I know of political theory... And I like how he talks about the reign of Moses, David and Solomon as historical events and deletes the aspects of God from the discussion. It's a nice change of pace from the religious overload of the Old Testament.

The food today was an absolute disgrace. As usual, it was rice, kimchi and soup, but the soup at lunch was exactly the same soup at dinner. The only difference was there was chicken in the soup at dinner and at lunch, fried chicken with served as a side dish. They're not even trying to hide the fact that they're just serving the Korean equivalent of bread and water. It's like being served pizza three times a day. Sure, it may be pepperoni pizza lunch and a combo pizza at dinner, but its still fucking pizza. I could use plain hamburgers or cheeseburgers for my metaphor, but I think you get the point.

Some of the detainees spend their time playing a game similar to checkers, but on a bigger board and the rules are slightly different. The Nigerian almost always wins and I either don't understand the rules very well or he makes them up as he goes. The basic rules are the same as checkers, except when it comes to capturing your opponent's pieces. You have to take the opportunity or you forfeit your piece. To capture, you can go forward or backward, whereas in checkers you can only go forward until you're crowned. In this game, once you're crowned, you can go in any direction, like checkers, but you can go as far as you want. You're not limited to one square per move. These rules I understand, but I've seen some other questioning moves that the Nigerian plays with other people and when faced with similar situations they aren't allowed to make the same moves. If other players didn't occasionally win, I might even go as far as to accuse him of cheating, but like I said I don't really understand the rules so well, so it would be unfair accusation.

Another game the detainees like to play a lot is gin-rummy. This game I understand, but it's been so long, I forgot the rules. Truth be told, I'm just not a big game player. My friends always invite me to come play card games, but I'm just not very good at them. I'm not a big fan of gambling. I hate losing money and I've never won enough of it to get that thrill or justify the lost. Friends have told me about their great night at the casino, but when I actually do the math as they talk (I'm actually pretty good with numbers even with my artistic bent), they barely break even. All the talk sounds like they just won a couple hundred dollars, but they gloss over the couple hundred dollar loss before they won it all back. About the only thing they actually got was some free drinks (that they arguably paid for with their losses) and maybe some excitement similar to the massive mood swings of a manic depressive person, which I tend to experience naturally. I don't need to gamble for it

When you're stuck in a cell with a bunch of Chinese fishermen guess which type of TV show is the most popular? It's like watching golf, or watching paint dry, or waiting for water to boil or watching a man tug and pull on a giant skinny rod while he moans and groans how hard it is and then when he catches something he oohs and aahs about how big it is... I guess you could accuse me of the same thing when I watch Bob Ross. Some people would consider that boring, whereas I find it fascinating. Painting happy little clouds looks so easy when he does it.