Thursday, April 28, 2005

Making Bacon

Dear Reader,

I am going to let you into a great secret. It is San Nakji's plan to make millions of dollars. I am writing it here with a date stamp so that if someone steals this idea and makes a single dollar on it, I will sue for much money. If someone steals this idea and San Nakji gets credit (Read - Money), then all is right in the world. Without further ado then, let us begin.
What is the greatest smell in the world? Without a doubt it is bacon cooking. This is especially an attractive smell for men and they will come from miles around to find the source of the delicious smell! (Unless they are a bloody vego and then they have more problems than not just liking bacon). To harness the power of this smell is the key. I often (well sometimes, well hardly ever, well once) walk past perfume counters in department stores and am surprised by the scents that are being sold. Surely the idea for these scents is that by wearing them, women are attracting men. I don't know about you, but as far as I am concerned, flowery or herby smells are not smells that men could really care about. Now, if a woman were to wear Ou d'cochon (Smell of Pig, yes it sounds better in French!) or bottled bacon scent, that would definitely attract the men! How could this possibly fail, it is fool proof! All I need to further this idea is a few dollars for research and marketing and we will all be rich, rich I tell ya!
Now as warned above, my idea has now been recorded and I will be watching vigilantly should this secret get out....

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Commemorating War - One Squid's Opinion

So it is that time of year when we start to think about battles past and the sacrifice of our men (mostly) in foreign fields. I find myself torn between two lines of thought. The first is obvious. These people died horribly fighting for something they believed in, we should remember them and make sure that this never happens again. My other line of thought is more troubling, but is the way I am leaning.
Every year, this commemoration seems to be a time for political point scoring. The leader of NZ's opposition came out saying that NZ shames it's old soldiers by neglecting military spending, while the PM of Australia chooses to break years of tradition by not attending the NZ service in Turkey. It seems to me that by having these organised commemorations, it is a chance for those who would like to continue war, to show how glorious war is. My own grandfather refuses to join the local returned serviceman's organisation because all they talk about is the glory of war. Now, I have never been to war and would refuse to fight in any war save that which directly threatened my family, but I know enough to know that war sucks. There is no glory in it. The best way to die is in your bed at the age of 100. This is better for your family, your friends and for the politicians, their tax base. Their is no glory in dying, the real glory is in living. I always struggle with this. I want to appreciate what was done, but I think the real message is being lost in the nationalistic bullshit.

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Western Sahara

After writing about Somaliland the other day. I thought it would be good if I wrote about some other lesser known places in the world that have caught my attention.
Western Sahara has fascinated me for quite a while. If you look at a map, you can see it stretching down the West African coast from Morocco all the way down to Mauritania. It is enormous, but the population is only about 200 000 or so. Basically it is a desert and therefore is not the best place to run hydroponics. It was controlled by Spain until after WW2 when most countries decided that imperialism wasn't the way to go. I say most, a couple are still having a go... Morocco and Mauritania stepped in and took over. A group of freedom fighters (or terrorists, whatever) called Polisario got together and decided to fight a guerilla war against the occupying forces. They managed to come to an agreement with Mauritania, but as they left, Morocco moved in. The UN became involved and tried to broker an agreement. Both sides agreed on a vote on the future of the nation, what each side couldn't do was agree who would be eligible. Morocco says anyone living there should be able to vote. This is convenient for them as they have been moving a lot of Moroccans into the territory and so probably would have the vote in their favour. Of course Polisario do not agree with this and so there has been a stand off since the ceasefire agreement in 1991 until now. The UN still have peacekeepers there...
I am always keen on nations asserting their independence. This seems to me to be a case of Morocco trying to get more land and with the hint of oil off the coast, they will not want to give it up. Polisario have complained of human rights' abuses by the Moroccan military, which if true should have the world community coming down hard. I haven't found any independent evidence that this is true however. A major problem for Western Sahara is that they are Muslim. America, Britain and others know they have a friend in Morocco, but would not know where they would stand with a Polisario led government. The dreaded Al Qaida may even get involved. So for the time being status quo suits the movers and shakers of this world. If there is oil, then this big in size, small in population country could really make a go of independence, but if there isn't then they may have to accept that being part of Morocco may be the only way forward... I found an interesting article on the BBC website here.
For those of you who use CNN's website, don't. It just can't compare with BBC. I tried looking up Western Sahara and there was nothing. BBC gives you the most indepth information on everything, not just the flavour of the day.

San Nakji for President!

The New Pope

I was going to go off on a little rant about how much the decision on the new Pope annoyed me. However, thinking about it, why should I care? I think I am getting caught up in the media frenzy surrounding this whole thing. I have to come clean and tell you all that I am not Catholic. If I were to turn religious, I would consider Catholicism as I like all the cool outfits and all the gold. I would probably however go for Orthodoxy as their is something very historical and unchanging about the whole Eastern Church thing. But as it so happens, I am not religious and so I will let the Catholics get on with their thing. It would have been good if they could have chosen a younger guy with more progressive views (see previous post), but hey, maybe this Pope is what the Catholic public wants. Knock yourself out Catholics! As long as you don't mess with me or the ones I care about you can have anyone you want...

San Nakji for President

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ivan for Pope

They are inside the Sistine Chapel now voting on a new Pope. Aren't you just dying with curiosity to know what goes on in there? Dan Brown gave us an idea in Angels and Demons (better in San Nakji's humble opinion than the Da Vinci Code), but it is not enough. I am hoping that some enterprising, probably gutter press-like, television station sneaks into the Sistine Chapel and secretly films what's happening.... It would probably be boring TV, but you never know right?
At the moment there seem to be a number of front runners in the race for Pope. I think they need a non-European Pope as outside of Europe is where the big Catholic numbers are. For me, the Americas are too much like Europe and so I would like to see one from either Africa or Asia. The leading candidate is from Nigeria and is Francis Arinze. On the surface having a 'Black' Pope would be good, but this guy is bad news. He is extremely conservative and if he were elected the Church would continue on its' merry way opposing birth control, gays and women's rights. On top of this, as he has lived most of his life in the Vatican, how in touch would he be with Africa?
Better then, to go with Ivan Dias from India. He still lives in India and so knows what is going on in a poor country (hopefully). He sounds more grounded and the fact that he speaks 15 languages (my hero) should show that he has a good worldly view. So that's my vote. I urge all the Cardinals to vote Ivan in the upcoming election... am I too late?
Also, what's up with all these Cardinals having to have European names? The Catholic Church seem to have this idea that all Catholics should sound like they are European... I will write a letter to the new Pope and let him know that I am not happy!

San Nakji for President

In This Corner...

Japan is asking China for an apology for the protests breaking out all over the country. The government refuses. It is a boxing match of epic proportions! In this match, Korea is China's cutman, powerless without her man out there fighting for the honour of Asia.
Right, enough of the boxing analogies, even though they are quite good...
China has NOTHING to apologise for. The atrocities visited on that nation by the Japanese Imperial Army are unspeakable. Try reading the Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang which will lay them out for you. If you tend to believe the Japanese and think that China is writing history as they want and that Iris, being Chinese, is writing as she wants, then please read The Good Man of Nanking by John Rabe. John was a German and a Nazi, the allies of Japan. I think he was fairly inpartial. My post here is not to talk about these atrocities, but more to talk about Japan and where they are with their history.
Wow, I was just looking at reviews of the above books on and some of these people are truly representative of the problems above. A couple of Japanese "reviewers" are denying what has been written. To me this seems like denying the Holocaust. However when it comes to the Holocaust, German have accepted it as truth and by accepting guilt for this have been able to move on. The Japanese on the other hand feel they have nothing to apologise for and have gone as far as to amend history textbooks to de-emphasize their role as agressor in WW2. From my time in Korea, I have learned a lot about the crimes of the Japanese against Koreans. Japan made use of Korean resources, food, mineral as well as labour, for its' own advancement, and embarked on a policy later in their colonisation of Korea (1910-1945) of asimilation, banning Korean language and forcing all Koreans to adopt Japanese names. Koreans were moved to Japan for labour and there are many still there. There is still major problems with discrimination against these people. Korean women were taken by the Imperial Army to be used as sex slaves and Japanese men were forced to fight for the army. Koreans were treated by Japan as second class citizens and this is still something that Koreans feel. While Japan says that they regret what they did, this is not enough. The leader of Japan, the Prime Minister or even better the Emporer (like that is going to happen!) must come out and just say sorry for what they did. They must accept what they have done and most importantly they must tell the younger generation of Japan what was done during the dark times in Japanese history.
The Chinese government may be using these protesters as a way of one-upman-ship on the Japanese government, but this shouldn't divert us from the main cause. Asians still distrust Japan. Until Japan comes clean and accepts its' past, this will never change. By following the German model Japan can gain new respect from its' neighbours. It will gain nothing by a head in the sand education policy and demands for apologies from China.

San Nakji for President!

Friday, April 15, 2005


I was listening to the BBC World this morning and a piece about Somaliland came on. I didn't listen to the whole thing, but the next time it was on, I did.... For those who don't know where Somaliland is, it is part of Somalia, which is as far east in Africa as you can go. On the horn bit on the left side, looking at a map of the world. It is interesting in that they run their own affairs, separately from the rest of Somalia and actually is one of the few democratic African territories. The rest of Somalia is in a real state. Completely overrun by warlords and if there is a government there, they are probably finding it hard to govern their own families, let alone a whole country.
So, here a some forward thinking people who want a stable state where people can live in peace. What could be better than that? Unfortunately, no one in the world is willing to recognise them as an independent nation. This seems to be because by recognition, it may be giving the green light to other regions of Africa to fight for independence. One thing on Somaliland's side is that they were a British protectorate during the colonial era and therefore can compare themselves to Eritrea, which won independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Italy, the former colonial master of the Somalia seem to be against independence also, maybe because they don't want to piss off the government of Somalia? Wow, that would be a mistake.... not!
Now, for the record, I am not a particular fan of Democracy. I am sure most people in this world would rather have food, shelter and safety over freedom. Ask the thousands of dead Iraqis and their families if they are happier after Operation Iraqi Freedom. I think you will find that they are not. If everything is great, then the opportunity to take active part in your own governing should be a right, but only if everything else a human needs is there first. However, in this case, we have a state (or territory if you like) which is actually making things for its' people better, while the rest of the nation continues to go to hell. I reckon they deserve a chance to be recognised by other nations. This can only be good for the 3 million or so residents of this part of the world? Maybe Taiwan could get involved. I hear they are looking for nations to recognise them as the legitimate government of China. Taiwan could recognise Somaliland and provide aid, and in return Somaliland could send a diplomatic mission to Taiwan and lay a wreath at Jiang Jie She's (Chiang Kai Shek) tomb in downtown Taipei. That's a good trade I reckon!

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

If You are Ever Hungry in Seoul

A bit of a strange post today.

I was looking through my wallet, as you do, and found the business card of my all time favourite eating establishment in Korea. It is called 韓國의집 or Korea House in English. This is not to be confused with the Korea House in Chungmuro where a certain live octopus was married. No, this Korea House is actually opposite Baehwa Women's College or if you don't know that place, try opposite Gyeongbuk Palace. If you don't know that place, then I am thinking that you haven't been to Korea....
Anyway, this place serves 죽 Juk, which is rice porridge. It may not sound good, but with the added extras, such as mushrooms and oysters (my favourite), there is nothing better on a cold day, or a hot day, or any day really. The shop is really small, only about three tables, and is run by two 아줌마 Ajummas who are really nice. From what I remember (haven't been there since November), there is no English on the shop front, but it is a little building with a step up and has opaque glass across the front. I think it is almost exactly opposite a 24 hour convenience store and is quite close to an overpass bridge thing. If you get hungry in Seoul, make sure you go there. Just tell them that San Nakji sent you and you will get the Juk for 4000 won. Normal price, 4000 won!

San Nakji for President!

Seven Things to Do

I am reading this book called Fatherhood, The Truth by Marcus Berkmann. In his book he lists seven things you should do in the first 24 hours of your new baby's life. I will list them here so I can remember them in six months time.

1 - Make eye contact
2 - Look at your child and smile
3 - Tickle his or her toes
4 - Test the grasp reflex
5 - Stroke the baby gently
6 - Make ridiculous noises at the baby
7 - Watch for the baby imitating you

That sounds like good sound advice. San Nakji will have to try this. Unlike Jackass... Please DO try this at home!

San Nakji for President!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Where do I come from?

When I was a kid, a really long time ago (*sigh*), my Mum gave me two books. One was called 'What's Happening to Me?' and 'Where Do I Come From?'. Both are about the dreaded SEX. Both good books for kids if you don't want to answer the hard questions, although I think I enjoyed 'Where Do I Come From?' better.
However, this post is about neither of those books. San Nakji is due to bring life into this world later this year, about October 25th or so. This new life is going to be bi-racial. This term seems to be quite an American term as I have never heard it here, but I suppose it will do. San Nakji's better half is Korean while the nicest thing I could say about my own racial stock is that it is many and varied! It is of great importance to me that our child know about Korea, both the language and the culture as, at this present time, we do not live there. I suppose if we did, then I would not worry so much about the Koreaness of the child, but rather the San Nakji-ness of our screaming bundle of joy...
I quite enjoy reading Space Nakji's webblog. She is the product of an international marriage, Korean and American (European) and I am interested into her postings about what it means to be what she is. It interests me that she considers herself Korean. I suppose there is a general view that America is an all encompassing nation that will take whatever coloured person you are and allow them to be American. Why then would Space Nakji consider herself Korean over American? I of course cannot speak for her, nor would I dare to as I cannot know what she is thinking apart from what I have read on her site. However I do have an opinion, which is what this blog is all about!
I met an Egyptian American while I lived in Korea. We discussed how difficult it was for a person of Middle Eastern descent to live in America. (This was before September 11 2001...) He told me that he did not consider himself American because as far as he could tell, being American was akin to being white, which he wasn't. Other people have expressed this same opinion, those people being of Korean heritage. I met a lot of Korean - Americans (재미 교포) in Korea and when they came to Korea it was always a culture shock at first, but then for a lot of them a feeling that they had come to a place where they belonged. I had to appreciate the difficulties they had experienced in their lives and I hope that their Korean experience has helped them understand more about 'Where Do I Come From'.
This however is a little different from a person who is the son or daughter of a Korean and an American or a Korean and a San Nakji...
There is a lot of discussion here about who is a Maori. Some people may only have a Great Grandparent who is Maori, while everyone else in their family is Pakeha, but still call themselves Maori. This brings about a lot of scoffing from whitey saying that even people who don't look Maori can call themselves Maori. But I think this is the point. You are what you feel. If I felt that I were Korean, then who can say that I am not? I were to feel that I were English, again, surely this is my choice. Of course, for me anyway, having some biological connection with the heritage you would like to claim helps your mindset, but I am sure for others that is not always needed. In fact, if you were Korean and lived in Mongolia for 20 years, perhaps you would like to call yourself Mongolian. Well that's fine by me! I have a little Irish in me, so every St Patrick's Day, I like to tell everyone I am of Irish heritage.... well I am!
Anyway, Space Nakji feels she is Korean and that is great. I respect her own feelings for her identity. I only hope that my own child does not forget the Korean side she has and I will do everything I can to promote that...

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Clubbing Baby Seals - The Award

After writing my post the other day about our poor fellow animals. I thought that I should institute my own award, which will hereby be known as the Clubbing Baby Seals Award. This is a bit long winded, so I will call it CBS Award for short. Don't get this confused with that broadcasting corporation in America. Any awards given out by them would not be anywhere near as prestigious as an award given by San Nakji... As I write this, I worry, what if my award gets too big and CBS actually do hear about it. Lawsuit? Ha ha, let them try.....
Anyway, the purpose of this award is to make the readers of this blog aware of people out there in the real world who are gaining power or money while causing misery to others. Just like our friendly Canadian seal clubbers who are making some nice cash by bashing baby brains, there are others out there who need to be exposed!
And so, without further ado.... The first such award, hereby known as CBS Award #1 goes to..... The Japanese Company, JC Royal. These friends of the almighty dollar have decided in their ultimate wisdom to sign a deal with Phnom Penh officials in Cambodia to develop the tourist potential of one of the "Killing Fields".
Everyone should know about this genocide, please click here if you haven't.
Our friends. JC, want to increase prices of entry to the site by 600% and build a visitors centre. In return they will pay $15000 a year.... peanuts really. They will effectively own the site and can pretty much do what they want. I am sure that they are thinking of nothing more than the amount of money they will be making. I am surprised there hasn't been more of an uproar about this as it is really cheapening something that is so important to not just Cambodian history, but to human history. Would this ever happen in Auswitz? Never, and it shouldn't be happening here.
Congratulations JC Royal, you are the first recipient of the CBS Award. Please feel free to collect it from me anytime along with a kick in the teeth which I will happily donate with it....

A couple of articles on the subject are here and here.

San Nakji for President

p.s Just for all my Canadian friends. I only despise seal clubbing Canadians. All the rest of you are alright, eh?

Blog Privacy

I was watching the news this morning and there was a piece on a flight attendant who was fired from her airline, Delta I think. She was fired due to some risque photos she had on her Blog taken of her at her workplace, ie the plane. You can see her blog here. The news item went on to show some other people who had been fired for making disparaging comments about their workplaces and / or bosses and had been fired also. I am not sure why these people feel they have been wronged. If they didn't know, perhaps I can enlighten them that the web is not a private place. If you want to write a private diary, then the World Wide Web is not a place for privacy. If you slag off your boss or defame your company or whatever, it is there for everyone to see. No matter how you may try to hide the real names, it seems that people will eventually figure it out. It seems our friend, the flight attendant, wanted everyone to see her posing, but at the same time was shocked when people saw her posing. I remember a number of years ago a female police officer was fired in the US when she posed in Playboy. What is the difference between that and the Flight Attendant? If you make things public, then you leave yourself open for things like this to happen.
There was that other case of the woman sending her boyfriend an email of an explicit nature and him then forwarding to friends and they to friends and so on. It ruined her life. The lesson here is that the internet is not safe. Things that you don't want people to know should really be kept away from this very public medium... Anything that San Nakji writes here is what San Nakji would say if you had a conversation with me. Things of a more personal nature will not be seen here or anywhere on this privacy lacking piece of technology.... Obviously some people haven't figured out how it works by now....

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Clubbing Baby Seals

So haven't we advanced as a species? Why are we still clubbing baby seals? I need to be careful here because I am a bit of a meat lover and I know bacon doesn't grow on trees. Still, I am hoping like hell that the chicken I had for lunch wasn't clubbed to death as it was making its' way around the barnyard.... There seem to be justifications that it gives good money to the communities around the butchered seals and that it is a tradition that outsiders just can't understand. Well to hell with that. Historically speaking, slavery was a good money maker and it has a long tradition, shouldn't we bring that back? What about gladiators? That had a long tradition, and I am sure you could sell the broadcast rights for a lot of money. What a great idea. Anyone who argues tradition or jobs for barbaric practices needs their head read... It seems these clubbings are helped by Europe's demand for fur. What is happening here? I thought society had decided that putting animals in small cages for their fur was wrong. Surely beating little seals to death is not the nicest thing also? The argument put forward by the Canadian government seems to be very similar to one I have heard from the Japanese government on Whaling. Whales like Seals, it seems, eat all the fish that humans need. By culling both species we are making sure that we can eat. I am not sure if anyone has told these people, but overfishing and not allowing fishing stocks to replenish themselves may have something to do with the lack of fish in the world. Call me crazy, I know....
Anyway, as far as I am concerned, Clubbing Baby Seals is a metaphor for things that are wrong on this planet.... stay tuned for more examples...

San Nakji for President!

Monday, April 04, 2005

2005, What I want to achieve

I haven't written for a couple of days. I actually had one saved to draft, about Dokdo, but I got bored with it half way through. If you want to know my opinion, it is this; no rock is worth going to war over... That's it.
If you know me, then you know that I have a million different things I want to do, but an equal amount of unfinished things. I tend to start something and then lose interest or become more interested in something else and do that instead. It is a great accomplishment for me to see something through. That is why I am so proud of my Korean as it is something that I have seen through to the end and actually can speak it!
There are three languages I would really like to do the same with. One is Greek. There is really no reason to learn Greek. I am not Greek, Greece is so far away, I don't know any Greeks, there is no Greek community here... But equally, I enjoy the language and it is fun to learn. That is the only reason I really need. I have actually been learning for over a year, but I never study and so my progress has been slow. This year, I really want to get better and so I am going to go all out and hopefully by the end of the year I will be competent enough to have a fairly decent conversation.
The second is German. I learned it at school, but as the teacher wasn't quite what I wanted I never really excelled. I want to go to the World Cup in Germany next year and so in order to make things easier, I really want to pick up German again. I applied for a course at the local University, but it was cancelled due to lack of numbers. I will try again mid year, but in the mean time I will try to do some by using a teach yourself book. This will be harder than Greek as I won't have a teacher....
The third is Scottish Gaelic. I have been thinking about my heritage and where I come from. I seem to have a split of English, Scottish and a little Irish (albeit Northern) blood in my veins. Given that I speak English, the next step to discover my roots would be to learn Gaelic. Now after a bit of study, it has occurred to me that my ancestors may never have spoken Gaelic at all, and may have instead spoken Scots. However, there is no material to even start learning Scots and so Gaelic will have to do. I read the first chapter of my book this morning and it is not too bad. I just looked at the BBC website and what I thought was the pronounciate is not what it seems to be. This will be the problem with this language! I have a tape which comes with the book and so I will have to listen to that... Stay tuned...

Hallo. 'S mise San Nakji. Ciamar a tha thu? Tha gu math, tapadh leat. Tha mi 'a D'un Eideann.

San Nakji for President!