Wednesday, 14 November 2012

(Day 117) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 22 D-134

sit-ups push-ups chair-lifts
50 x 4 50 x 2 40 x 2
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = November 7

When I was at Hwaseong, I read a book called The Secret of the ‘secret’. It talked about the secret of success, which was basically positive thinking, which is really no secret. Anyway, it talks about the history of self-help books all preaching the secret of success. One of these books was the Master Key System, which I now possess. So far, the first four chapters of 24 read like a Dummies Guide to Meditation. I suppose, when this book was written 100 years ago, it was a big deal to the Western school of thought, but it is really just Buddhist teachings in dumbed down English. I'm not trying to be all high and mighty about living, or studying these practices already for years, because I haven't. What I have done is read a lot of books about different religions, self-help and the like, and all the hype and mystery surrounding the Master Key System is just that-- hype. Anybody comfortable in their own skin, moves to the beat of their own drummer, or whatever metaphor you want to use, already know this stuff. It's no secret. I guess if you are weak-willed it would be helpful. I have no problem with ego. Mine's pretty healthy.

There was a World Cup friendly on TV today between Korea (naturally) and Australia. Even though I'm not Australian, I felt it was my duty as the only foreigner in this prison to cheer for the Aussie team.

Watching Korean sports always sucks. When Korea scored, we were subjected to an instant replay from every possible angle over and over again throughout the game. When it went to commercial, when it came back from commercial, we got the instant replay each time again, but when Australia scored close to half-time, we got one instant replay and that was it. No multiple angles or replay after returning from commercials. I realize the audience is Korean and of course, they are proud of their accomplishment, but they take nationalism to a whole new level. I bet that goal will be shown on every single domestic Channel at least three times tomorrow, and if they win the game, the whole thing will be broadcast in its entirety at least a couple more times this week on some other channels. Now, I'm just being bitter and cynical. Good for Korea. 11th largest economy, risen from the ashes of war, has four distinct seasons, kimchi is good for you, Dokdo is theirs... blah, blah, blah. Australia won. There seems to be other Aussie fans here because I heard cheering from other cells when they scored.

I've also noticed that nationalism goes the other way. I know a couple of ethnic Koreans born and raised in Western countries who can’t stand Korean culture. They even have a skit about it on a popular comedy sketch show called Gag Concert. I’ve talked to them about being the children of two cultures and they've told me that even with the racism in the West, they still feel more accepted in New York then they do in Seoul. Inevitably, I'll get comments about how much more racist the West is by some Koreans in Korea, claiming Koreans aren't racist. That one comment will do more to prove my point than anything I could possibly write. Just look at how many Koreans were killed in the Korean War by other Koreans, just based on different political ideologies. “Han” isn't a feeling of past repression Koreans have suffered; it’s an excuse for self-hate and denial.