Monday, December 14, 2009

Obama's Orwellian Journey~

In a late response to Obama's speech when accepting his Nobel Peace Prize... I'm just going to quote US Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Once we are committed to wars instrumentality in pursuit of peace, we begin the Orwellian journey to the semantic netherworld where war is p[e]ace...


Ref.

Miller, S. A. (2009-12-11). "Anti-war forces bristle at Obama's Nobel speech". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2009-12-12.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Prize Inflation

When I first read that Barrack Obama, incumbent president of the USA (for those who have not been living on this earth in the last couple year or so), won the Noble Peace Prize I thought it was a hoax: some news editor couldn't wait until April 1st '10 probably; it seemed like the only plausible explanation.

But no, we are witnessing what can only be described as Nobel Prize inflation. My theory being that the Norwegian Nobel Committee thought they should follow the international trend set by the economy in recent years and reevaluate the meaning of the prize alongside with the devaluation of the fixed prize money (about 10 million Swedish krona, which is a bit more than US$1,2 million) attached to Nobel Prizes.

For a man who has been in office for only 9 months and has yet to full-fill the promises he made during his campaign, to be put on the same level as Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi is not just premature; it's pre-embryotic if you ask me.

To quote:

The Times of London (in some online opinion piece):

"the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace."

Mairead Corrigan (1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate)
"[g]iving this award to the leader of the most militarized country in the world, which has taken the human family against its will to war, will be rightly seen by many people around the world as a reward for his country's aggression and domination."

Of course, it being a political faux pas to do otherwise, no official representative from any government has said anything else but positive. I distinctively remember Obama muttering the word "change", a lot; seems nothing has...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Hangeul Day

헬로 에브리바디! 헤피 한글 데이~

투데이 이스 한글 데이 인 고리아, 이트 셀러브레이트스 더 인벤티언 어브 더 고리언 알파벳 바이 더 고리언 킹 세정 더 그레이트.

^_^;

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recap...

Okay... I realize that this blog I have here is becoming increasingly vague... and I kinda end up restructuring it to the point that the restructured structure is kinda structureless. Not a good thing, I can't seem to make up my mind about what to write here. Some social commentary? life stories? random ramblings (mostly these have been posted here)?

And then I linked my facebook notes to this blog... and twitter to facebook, and now everything is interconnected and in the end it all means not a damn thing.

Mostly cause my facebook became a mesh of at least three languages regularly featuring, which is confusing to most, and I've done that here as well. So I kinda need to decide... which language, which subject, and why a frikkin' Uni of Broken Glass...

because in the end that's what it is: broken glass, there is always broken glass...

Friday, April 3, 2009

O D. Brown, D. Brown! wherefore art thou such and idiot?

Well, here I will explain just why. And I must say I do it with a nearly physical sensation of pleasure at the mere thought of this. I'd describe myself as tingly (can't help the little Whedon ref. ^_^)

While of course not being the perfectionist when it comes to the use of the English language, or any language for that matter, at least I get my linguistic facts straight (about the only thing about me that is, you know, quote-unquote straight)

But let's start with the issue in question, Digital Fortress by Dan Brown (Published in 1998 by St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-26312-0), pages 11-12:

For two hours, Becker interpreted an endless stream of Mandarin symbols. But each time he gave them a translation, the cryptographers shook their heads in despair. Apparently the code was not making sense. Eager to help, Becker pointed out that all the characters they'd shown him had a common trait-they were also part of the Kanji language. Instantly the bustle in the room fell silent. The man in charge, a lanky chain-smoker named Morante, turned to Becker in disbelief.

"You mean these symbols have multiple meanings?"

Becker nodded. He explained that Kanji was a Japanese language [apparently this was revised to read "writing system" in later editions; "Kanji language", above, remained - ed.] based on modified Chinese characters. He'd been giving Mandarin translations because that's what they'd asked for.

"Jesus Christ." Morante coughed. "Let's try the Kanji."

Like magic, everything fell into place.

The cryptographers were duly impressed, but nonetheless, they still made Becker work on the characters out of sequence. "It's for your own safety" Morante said. "This way, you won't know what you're translating."

Becker laughed. Then he noticed nobody else was laughing.


Not only Becker laughed of course... but so did I and every person with even a grain of sense of Chinese characters in them. Naturally both hanzismatter and linguaphiles on livejournal have utterly ridiculed this already. Since the book has been out for more than 10 years, well I'm sure others have as well. Nonetheless, please just continue ridiculing it for no other reason than that Mr. D. Brown deserves it.

Now you would expect someone with an interest in Cryptography to know for a fact that there is no such thing as a Kanji language, doesn't exist. It's like diet friendly chocolate... idiotic to say the least. Of course there is no such thing as Mandarin symbols either, doesn't exist. Like the easter bunny humping snowwhite, it is... well you get the picture.

Just for those not understanding: Kanji are Chinese characters in use in Japan, they are simplified in some cases (not in all), and are one of the three writing systems used to write Japanese. Mandarin is a spoken oral dialect in China (a full fledged language in my opinion) and does not refer to the characters used to write it, those are called Hanzi (aka Chinese characters).

Now appart from that these characters cannot be read alone out of sequence. Neither is it possible to translate them character-by-character out of context, because Chinese, Japanese and Korean (the major languages that use them) have many characters that have multiple meanings or are used in compounds.

Apart from that D. Brown is just a bad writer. Not necessarily referring here to his stories alone, I find his writing style just... "poor" is the best word that comes in mind.

So questionable writing style, less than correct cryptography (read: idiotic), and stories that well... I know that fiction means fiction, but still.

Well maybe Mary Magdalene was really married to Jesus of Nazareth. Maybe they had a hundred fat children, who knows. Or maybe not, maybe Mary was actually Sharon, the assistant of the all-round family entertainer: Amazing Jesus (unfortunately he doesn't do children's parties) on his tour Changing Water Into Wine... At least, some do seem to think ^_^

Monday, March 16, 2009

South-Korea's AIDS nonsense

Apparently in Jecheon in North Chungcheong Province, South-Korea, an AIDS-fear epidemic has broken out. Granted, South-Korea - like most parts of this world - has been all AIDS-fearish for the last couple of decades, still I do - as always - claim the right to rant about... call it an activist's prerogative if you will.

Okay short version to this latest episode: A cabdriver - who has tested positive for HIV - was arrested, and I quote, on suspicion of acting as a mediator in spreading HIV this Friday, ironically Friday the 13th. The guy went to sex workers, but also had sex with others... specifically, and I quote, ordinary housewives and others.

Now he did admitted on having unprotected sex. Bad? Yes, very. However he told this to the police after he actually was arrested and thus after the warrant was issued... Conclusion he still was arrested because of having sex with someone else, not for having unprotected sex.

Punchline: he got arrested cause he is HIV-positive and apparently in South-Korea you are not allowed to have any sex life then or you will be arrested as a mediator in spreading HIV, whatever that means...

Okay, a bad case of criminalization of HIV-positive people - duhh! no need to spell it out, says you... some of you at least... I hope and pray.

Oh and yeah, in this specific article they go on to quote an expert:

...the likelihood of catching HIV from unprotected sexual activity with someone who is HIV-positive is a mere 0.5 percent. "Since Jeon had been taking drugs to control the virus, the odds could be even lower,"

Ah! great incentive to start having safe sex this! and if you're quoting this, what's all this oh-dear-god-in-heaven-and-all-his-wacky-nephews we need to start prosecuting any HIV-positive people who have any sex fear??!!

And besides... in order to have consensual sex, you kinda need... well, eh... consent! You're in it together and you take responsibility together - ergo: use a frikkin' condom - and not shove it off on the other when the consequences start knocking down your door... or the fear of the consequences. Also, some education... s-e-x-u-a-l education might help with this, just a thought (please not the sarcasm here... please...)

The bottom line is: in a country with a legislation that states that all foreigners caught with HIV will be deported, without any reasonable sexual education, and where one third off all people who test positive for HIV commits suicide... well, I guess this comes off as something to be expected...

Nonetheless it makes me puke... and I really truly profoundly hate puking


Ref.

AIDS Fear Spreads in Jecheon County The Korea Times, March 15 2009.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8 Mar: International Women's Day

In the line-up of "International Days", I'm sure there are more "Days" than there are days in the year nowadays, the 8th of March I guess is one of the better known: International Women's Day. First observed in 1909 on the 28th of February it now gained attention worldwide and recognition by the United Nations. In western society International Women's Day was observed through the 10s and the 20s but dwindled after that. Until it was revived by second wave feminists in the 60s.

Small side note of interest to some of you maybe: demonstrations marking the International Women's Day in Russia was the first stage leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Thus so far the history lesson, now let's get personal...

For me women's day would have been getting slammed into the pavement by a girl half my size (almost) and half my weight for a women's self-defense demonstration near City Hall in Seoul. You'd be surprised how far the prospect of a free lunch goes in convincing you to participate in such masochistic an event. In any case the event was called off due to people who were organizing it not really organizing anything... all I could think of was "damn, no free lunch!"

Though somehow the idea of being thrown down by a girl is enticing... Okay, I digress I digress...

But on this auspicious of days I do would like to give some critical comments to this women's movement. As a transgender woman, and a former sex worker, I guess I could say that this movement has it's issues, big issues, still... Especially here in South-Korea it seems that feminism too often equals anti-sex work, anti-let's-enjoy-having-sex (cause obviously all men who want sex are evil...), all about transgender-is-okay-but-you-aren't-women-and-you-don't-understand... Naturally I've gotten a bit of an aversion towards these radical second wave feminists that seem to dominate whatever movement here in Korea.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

In Memoriam: Susanne Brink

" I would myself have preferred to stay in Korea instead of being adopted and doomed to a lifelong status as an outsider, becoming a lifelong object of racism and discrimination..." - Susanne Brink


On March 6th 2009 Susanne Brink was buried in her Swedish hometown Norrköping, after she died on January 23th 2009 at the age of 45 after a fight with cancer. Susanne Brink, a Swedish Korean adoptee, brought the issue of international adoption to attention in South-Korea in 1991 after a film on her life's story was released.

Poster of the film: Susanne Brink's ArirangThe film Susanne Brink's Arirang shocked South-Korea. It showed the story of a child sent abroad to face a childhood of abuse, discrimination and racism. With it's release the issue of international adoption from Korea gained attention for the first time in the country where international adoption itself was born.

Adoption from South-Korea started after the Korean War, when the Holt family went to Korea in 1955 and adopted eight war orphans. Since then estimates of Korean children that have been sent abroad range from 150,000, babies according to the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, and over 200,000 by other sources. Still Korea sends around 2,000 babies abroad yearly for adoption, despite being one of the top economies in the world and one of the most developed countries. A 1988 estimate shows the hard currency adoption brings to Korea: 15 to 20 million dollars a child...

Susanne Brink dedicated a lot of time to shedding light on the serious problems that international adoption entails, and on almost all accounts I agree with her... There is no need to send children abroad from a developed country such as South-Korea. The countries possesses all the resources to take care of it's own.

But the sad truth is that South-Korea, while considered a developed nation, is in many ways still struggling with obsolete traditions - and wrong traditions. Single mothers are still facing stigmatization, family planning and safer sex education are lacking extremely, centuries of Confucanism are still taking it's toll.

And international adoption cannot escape it's inherent racialized issues... children of color, exotic babies, welcomed in the arms of well meaning white parents and families in the rich and developed - civilized- West... For a price that is.


t'Was early in mornings past
I looked to the sky, to the east

Heared a soft drop of rain,
maybe it lost its way trying to find
its cloud again

I heared a soft drop of rain, falling
maybe you heared it as well


- He-Jin Kim
Seoul, March 7th 2009
Dedicated to all those who try to make sense of "home"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

rndm: "Brunch" mathematically contested

Just to vent a random thought that occurred to me today.

Earlier today I was making an appointment over the phone with a friend when something (not-physical) hit me. The premises was to meet food related during a part of the day which is non-food related (breakfast, lunch or dinner). Then there is a word for brunch, namely brunch (obvious), but what if you want to have a brunch-like meal in the afternoon? As the other Seitz mentioned when I raised this vocabularic issue: there should be... (that is: if vocabularic ever becomes a word of course)

In any case our aim was to meet at around 5-6pm, which isn't dinnertime (unless you live in the Netherlands... but then again, inhabitants of that country are not qualified to have a say in this). In Korea I guess you can say that dinner is between 7pm and 9pm, anything after 9pm is considered side dishes for the alcohol(called anju in Korean) it doesn't matter if the side dishes are equal in size and nutrition as the hypothetical dinner here: before 9pm that food is called dinner with drinks, after 9pm it's called drinks with side dishes. Lunch is more or less general everywhere, set around 12 to 1pm (I can never figure out if noon is 12 am or pm, no matter how often I wikipedia it - wikipedia is now officially a verb: to wikipedia).

Thus 5-6pm does not constitute dinner, and is several hours behind lunch, which is clearly illustrated by the following:

Lunch + circa. 6h = 7pm or 8 pm or 7pm or 8 pm - circa. 6h = lunch

So if we take into account that lunch = 12 or 1 pm + food... then we can surmise that 12 or 1 pm = lunch - food !!! (this is still completely logical and as far as I know mathematically correct!)

Okay, moving on...

If 7pm or 8pm - circa. 6h = lunch and lunch = 12 or 1 pm + food

...then 7pm or 8pm - circa. 6h = 12 or 1pm + food leading to 7pm or 8pm = 12 or 1pm + food + circa. 6h end then to 7pm or 8pm - 12 or 1pm - food = circa. 6h (again! completely accurate!!!)

But! 7pm or 8pm - 12 or 1pm is clearly 6h or 7h

Thus 6h or 7h = circa. 6h!!!

Okay so what about the food... eh...

Conclusion: I spend too much time reading xkcd and now have lost the majority of my readers. Notheless the issue remains:

...

What about linner? or lunner?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mar 3: International Sex Workers' Rights Day

The 3rd of March is observed as the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day by various sex workers' rights organizations around the world, but especially in South Asia where it originated. Together with the 17th of December - The International Day to end Violence Against Sex Workers - which originated in the USA in 2003 as a memorial for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle, it is one of two "days" that resonate within an international sex workers' rights movement.

The day originated in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India at a sex worker festival organized by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (Meaning "Unstoppable Women's Synthesis Committee"), a Kolkata based sex worker group whose membership numbers upward of 60,000 sex workers and members from their communities.

Links

Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee

Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers

Network of Sex Worker Projects

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb 21: International Mother Language Day

On the 17th of November, 1999, UNESCO decided to internationally acknowledge the Language Movement Day in Bangladesh as the International Mother Language Day... A day which I want to commemorate by writing a blog-post in every language I can speak reasonably fluent and maybe one that I pretend not to speak reasonably-ish.

So... in order of appearance (and fluency): Nederlands (Flemish is not a language! West-Flemish is by some standards, not so by others), english (He-Jinefied ^_^), Français (unlike what you would expect the standard version, not the the Belgian one), Esperanto and 한국말 (Korean - the South-Korean variety, garnished with lots of mistakes and served on a platter of simplified grammar).

Disclaimer: My Français is ancient, as in I have used it too long ago and my grammar sucks, especially all the femine, masculine... comes with being transgender I think - gender, even grammatical gender, just doesn't follow any pre-established patterns. So read it and deal, or don't! either way if you can't handle it, just shove it, kay.


Dus begin ik met Nederlands, gezien vandaag de Internationale Moedertaaldag is, is het vanzelfsprekend dat Nederlands effe gedag komt zeggen. Moet ik wel toegeven dat ik me soms afvraag wat er bedoeld wordt met native language of mother tongue - moedertaal... Nederlands is noch de taal van de moeder die ik niet heb, of native? inheems? whatever... het klinkt in ieder geval niet juist gezien Koreaans die quote eer unquote heeft, terwijl mijn Koreaans eerder een poging tot Koreaans is. Mijn Nederlands aan de andere kant komt niet zo natuurlijk meer, wanneer men een taal niet spreekt... echter toch wel wat schaamte, engels de massa moordenaar der talen poogt ook hier een slachtoffer op te eisen (effe de schuld op de engelse taal afschuiven.)

But then again I don't mourn that much about the little loss I've had in the Dutch department, I can still fluently converse and write in it, fully understand it, make fun of the fact that the Flemish speak better Dutch than the Dutch, etc. And I must admit, Dutch isn't the most beautiful language around, that honor goes to obscure tongues such as Gaeilge and Cymraeg, Euskara, Diné bizaad, etc. Then again my over-use of english isn't all that good and well - and definitely not beautiful, english's value lies in the fact that it is the Jack the Ripper among languages, just so much material is published in english, so many speak it either as first language or second - to the extent that those native english speakers in this world bathe in linguistic arrogance and monoglottism... in fact, let me go back and edit all the capital letters from english, just to annoy those native english speaking monoglots among you.

Mais tres belle est la Français, vraiement. C'est comme le Merovingian a dit, est-ce que vous vous rapellez le film Matrix Reloaded?

I have sampled every language, French is my favourite - fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculé de ta mère. It's like wiping your ass with silk, I love it.

Vraiement c'est juste, nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculé de ta mère! Mais je pense que je jamais utiliserai de la soie comme papier cul. Une langue tres belle pour injurier, fulminer, mais aussi faire l'amour, même le mot pour fuck est plaisant: baiser...

Sed la problemo kun la franca lingvo estas, kun aliaj belaj lingvoj mi pensas, ke tiu estas malfacila. Do mi prenis multajn tempojn por lerni ĝin... La plej facila lingvo por lerni estis Esperanto laŭ mi, mi lernis la gramatikon dum nur kelkaj semajnoj. Por paroli ĝin flue me bezonis unu jaron, sed post du monatoj mi jam povis interparoli kun alia geesperantistoj per la interreto. Ankaŭ mi amas la junulara movado de esperanto, sed mi ne scias se la ideo de Fin Venko estas bona por diverseco de lingvon... Ekde mi timas ke esperanto fariĝi kiel angla se ĝi uzantos tutmonde. Tamen, nun mi studantas esperanton ĉar mi amas ĉi tiun lingvon flekseblan.

그렇지만 한국말은 아주 어려워요, 아마 너무 어려워요. 저는 진짜 진짜 이말 잘 할 수 있고 싶어요. 그러나 4년간 한국말을 공부했지만 아직 잘 못해요. 여즈음에는 한국에서 살고 있는데 한국말로 정말 조금만 말하니까 영어를 가르쳐요. 그리고 한국에 에스페란토를 할 수 있는 사람을 많이 있어서 에스페란토도 더 해요.