Archive for April, 2012


Look! There Goes a Foreigner.

After having lived in South Korea for the past three years. There is a phrase that irks me  tremendously; it sits atop of my words-that-disgust-me-list. Most South Koreans go bunkers when they see a non-Korean. And when they do, they belch out in unmistakably precise unison, “외국인 있다.” It doesn’t matter if you are a total stranger minding your damn business while going home or going shopping, kids primarily will let you know that they know, you are a foreigner. Each time they shout at me, they remind me, they are literally saying There goes a foreigner!

Most foreigners in Korea are from English-speaking countries. One would think television would have already paved the way for us. But it seems the many images of people who clearly look different from Koreans continue to evade them on TV. No wonder they can’t help but scream aloud in our faces that they see us because they just can’t contain their excitement. For a nation that is so wired technologically, I wonder to what purpose does it serve? Any rational soul should have deduced  he would look “country” if he is always animated when he sees a non-Korean. Clearly information and knowledge is no longer power even if one has unfettered access to technology.

All I am asking for is one day when my students and kids on the street and elsewhere will not notice me. I have concluded I’d probably pass up the opportunity to be a celebrity–thanks a lot South Korea, there goes my side dream to make it in the big league. Those damn kids traumatized me. And of course, I have heard all the lame attempts at justifying the  kids’ stupidity and their inconceivable astonishment in seeing a non-Korean. Here’s a classic justification, “Korea has had so many invaders, as a result, they had to fight for their land and property. That explains why they struggled to trust outsiders.” Countries that are now invaded and plundered don’t matter. They’ve haven’t seen anything yet. Their conflicts are “Small fries” compared to South Korea’s. South Korea appears to have a monopoly on foreign invasions. It was the country that suffered the greatest number of foreign invasions. And they have patented their misfortunes. So all other nations, take a number and join the queue. Koreans are proud to believe their suffering was greater than other nations’. South Korea’s misfortunes happened in a vacuüm; therefore, their future  worldview and perceptions are justifiable good no matter how nonsensical they are.

I swear to God the next time some sugar laced, semi-developed frontal lobe kids decide to get on my ugly side and utter these two words “외국인 있다,” they better hope I’m in a good mood. Of course not! I wouldn’t hurt the little ones, but I’m sure as hell gonna yell the shit out of them. I’m gonna yell at them so loud and then impart a smile. Yes, I know I sound grumpy. How about you try experiencing kids pointing at you and shouting those stupid words? It is not like they say it and check it off their list of interesting things to see. They take it up a notch and will follow and badger you saying the same words repetitively. One would think they would get tired and avoid the person if they see him again but no, they have to utter those stupid words again like clock work.

Am I saying it is unheard of to see someone or something and be surprised about him or it? No, absolutely not! I have seen a nice car before and have blurted out, “What a sweet ride!” I have seen a celebrity before and have said, “Hey look there goes so and so.” But imagine this, I can’t picture myself chasing down that celebrity or running after the car as if I am crazy. And let me guess, some of you may say, “Well they are kids they don’t know any better.” I say they do and if they don’t, well, they ought to know better. After all, they have parents for this reason, to teach them how to carry themselves in public. But guess what, the parents are worse because they also know very little or nothing about “Foreigners.” So before you jump on the apologist band wagon and defend South Korea. Remember it is a homogenous society and the programs on TV cater to a homogenous society. TV is a  medium that can help to connect South Korea to the world but Korean TV fails to show Koreans what the outside world is like. So while I am here I’ll have to take pleasure in the kids shouting “외국인 있다” incessantly until I take the first plane out of here. Or I could do that which would put a smile on my face, yell at them and call them a bone head in Korean.

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This film was Jim Carrey’s debut on the drama scene. Clearly fans from his In Living Color and Ace Ventura days probably couldn’t stomach him not being the slap-stick comedic genius that he is.

The Truman Show is a must see movie. If you enjoy a good satirical-comedy-drama then this movie is a great rep of that genre. The overall movie setting primarily depicts the American 1950’s life. It does this masterfully while masking a completely different world behind the scenes. You can draw parallel life application from it in this way: you are being watched.

The world as you know it is not what it seems. Your perception is not sacrosanct.   You must trust your instincts, question conventional wisdom, push the envelop and you’ll discover a whole new world waiting out there for you. This movie shows an hapless soul who suspected the world as he knows it is not real.

He embarks on an aimless quest to get to the bottom of it. Of course, what better way to do this than to have love guide you? I don’t want to be all sappy now. Just watch the damn movie and see for yourself. Do you like a proper character development? Then do yourself a favor and watchThe Truman Show.

Do you believe in biblical inerrancy or evolution? Inherit The Wind is an old classic. The movie is about the Scopes Trial. A duel between two great minds: Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan both were played by fictional characters Henry Drummond and Matthew Harrison Brady respectively. This movie sets a precedent in film making. It covered a significant point of reference in history. Avid movie goers should take note, this movie is not only packed with intense dialogues, passionate emotions but it is also very educational. If you cherish the pursuit of knowledge and you love education then this is a must see. It does not matter on which side you reside. If you are religious or a naturalist, this film is timeless. Today there is an ongoing debate happening in America: should intelligent design be taught in schools along with evolution? Some thought the actual trial of 1925 had settled that question but it didn’t. Inherit The Wind portrayal of said trial is fantastic so make yourself comfortable and go back in time and watch a classic.

Do you want to laugh so hard until your own glee drugs you? Then watch this movie. The Farrelly brothers definitely whacked this comedy out of the ball park for a home run. Do you like a little bit of irreverence? A no-holds-bar-approach-to-comedy? Tired of comedies that tread too softly? You won’t be of this one. It is even worth watching again if you already did. Feeling down, well Dr. comedy has a prescription for you; there is this effective laughing drug name There’s Something About Mary it will be good for you.

Word to my mother, this flick is tight. A true depiction of what really goes down in some black communities.  Boyz N The Hood displays a near perfect dichotomy between two brothers one on the road to success and the other a gang member. The movie is simply dope. The Library of Congress labels it as ‘culturally significant’ (Wikipedia). Movies mostly don’t paint life in practical and real pictures but Boyz N The Hood certainly does.

O yes! Pulp Fiction is off the chain. Do you like Quentin Tarantino? This is one of his best flicks to date. It’s filled with crafty but hilarious banter and complex characters.  Do you like some violence? Pulp Fiction came out in 1994 and even though the level of violence was over the top, the violence displayed does not get in the way of the story. This is not a careless movie. It is worth watching especially if you like dark comedies. Please watch it again if you like.

Guys, 300 is non-stop kick ass action movie. Fantasy action or not, 300 is worth watching. There are some must see action sequences and the story line is pretty good too if you are into ancient Greek history.  There are some one-liners worth repeating. The over the top display of abs would probably enthrall ladies. But that aside, watch this movie because it is the first feature of its kind. It paved the way for a new genre of films in which style and visuals sort of trump characterization. This is not a bad thing if the movie promoters are honest about the movie’s contents.

One word–epic.  Some movies shouldn’t even dare to pass the 2 hour mark. Braveheart did and it ended too quickly. The story is awesome. The action is terrific. And the ending? You’d have to watch it to know for yourself.

I am not going to spend a lot of time convincing you about this one. The Last Samurai is the first film I saw that meticulously developed a character. I believed Tom Cruise’s character became a samurai. The action is intense. Sometimes your visual cortex needs stimulating and this movie would surely do it.

Mission Impossible paved the way for top of the line spy action thrillers. Before, we had James Bond. But Ethan Hunt sets a higher bar. The stunts are unbelievable. The plot is thick alright. Three other films came out after this one to form a franchise but where would they be without a firm foundation? Mission Impossible deserves a sit down, some food, your favorite liquid and a chunk of your time.

There are plenty reasons to hate some people. This movie does its fair share of making sure you do just that. The lion share of your hatred will probably target the Confederate side rather than the Union one. Both participants were on opposing sides during the American Civil War. Andersonville is a horrifying story about Union POW soldiers who ended up turning on each other instead of hatching plans to go free or out best their captors. It shows mankind at their lowest. If you want your sanguine juice to run on low then watch this while at the same time, you have to wait patiently for the underdogs to triumph.

As for biopics, this is my favorite. Ray Charles is a legend. Jamie Foxx did a hell of a job portraying him. He won an Oscar too. The casting was perfect. After watching this, you will feel like you know Ray Charles personally.

I don’t particular enjoy being caught off guard in life generally speaking. But I make exceptions for movies because I rarely stumble upon flicks that catch me off guard. I feel safe knowing that it rarely happens. However, there were a few movies to do this: the first was The Sixth Sense and A Beautiful Mind. Then of course, Fight Club came out and joined the lot. Movies that cause you to say “Wow!” They are worth watching. I dig Fight Club and so should you.

Hands down The Bourne Identity is a sophisticated, smart and an adventurous-action packed movie. The soundtrack is awesome. The film maker took extreme care to present a world that is unknown to the average person and he demonstrated it with such craft, it makes the movie goer feel he is Jason Bourne and that the scales have fallen from his eyes. You will watch this movie and think that you can pull of the same things as Jason Bourne. Watch away and be sure to take in the other movies in the series.

One cannot have a list of favorite movies without a great war film in it too. Needless to say, I fell for this one, because I was born on the fourth of July and the title resonated with me. Beyond that, this movie covered the awful story of a soldier who got back from the Vietnam war and it showed how miserable and lost he was. Again Tom Cruise puts out his best and he played his part well. This is worth watching even though the Vietnam war was not one of America’s proudest conflicts.

This movie made science-fiction movies sexy again. Okay maybe the word sexy sounds strange coming from me. How about wicked? That is more like it. I was intrigued with Neo. The character development in The Matrix is top notch. The villain is a bit annoying but his somewhat indestructible nature works well for the story and for a good battle between the forces of good and evil. Before you watch another Sci-Fi movie, please watch this one first if you haven’t already.

In a nutshell, if a movie can make you sit down for over two and half hours and makes you root for the success of an Italian mob family then it is worth watching. The Godfather is a compelling account of a man who came from nothing and started a mob empire through grit and bloodshed. The characters will grow on you. The movie was so good they had to continue the story. Just watch it and re-watch again.

Thanks for reading my blog. Perhaps you have seen all of these movies or just some. They are great movies. You won’t waste your brain cells watching any of them–trust me.

Musings From a Diaspora Yardie.

Recently Prince Harry visited Jamaica bam! People were in a frenzy. The local government pulled out all the stops to make sure he saw the best of JA. I say if the Jamaican government is comfortable wallowing in the ‘mire’ when no dignitaries are around, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable when dignitaries visit the island. It just shows they care more about those that are beyond the island and not those who are within.

So it seems Mr. Bolt is not only mashing up (doing great) the 100 meters and 200 meters. He seems to be mashing up with his new beauty–Belle Lubica, a Slovakian fashion designer. The local women of Jamaica are very critical of Bolt because he was too quick to leave them to run to an Eastern European. Well, ladies that is what happens when one travels, he or she develops new infatuations. Solidarity is a bit over-rated because not everyone is looking forward to ‘settling down.’ When one has to think about a huge commitment such as marriage, solidarity is a key consideration. I imagine Bolt saying, “Bwoy dah nice girl deh a pree me whacha, mi ago mek my move.”

 

Lol. I remember way back when Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) were completely ostracized in Jamaican society. Most SDA were known as the Saturday church goers. The other protestant churches would warn their parishioners not to mingle with SDA people because they belonged to a cult. It is 2012 baby and Jamaica has got a SDA Governor General (A Governor General is a figure-head who represents the British monarchy in countries that are in the British commonwealth). Plus the SDA church is the fastest growing one on the island. There are many SDA in high places and in the police force too. They are not at ease. The constant question is how does one keep the sabbath and go about his day-to-day responsibilities? Most Adventists feel their vertical relationship is more important than their horizontal ones. God reps the vertical and people the horizontal.  So allow me to sum up: That’s too bad chum if I am an Adventist cop and I see someone is robbing you, but I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is your sacred duty to me to make sure you’re in the right place at the right time in order for me to help you. Have a happy Sabbath!

In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica and brought the small island nation to its knees. Our house was lucky because the storm spared it. Our home was a temporary shelter to those who had lost theirs and they stayed with us during the duration of the storm. The winds were strong and scary. By the fifth day, the storm had caused the rivers to swell. Many animals and some people lost their lives.  Amidst all the chaos, some of the people who were staying with us suddenly had a profound religious experience. My family was already religious. But the newly inducted hobos were singing from hymns and praying their hearts out to God. Some of them had ghastly characters but those same guys were renouncing their wrongs. I saw other unsavory characters on their knees begging the Lord to spare their lives. The funny thing is after the storm, these same overnight Christians went back to their former selves as if nothing had happened. Jamaican culture and people are vibrant. The people are very expressive and passionate. They can also be stirred to various radical behaviors. But seriously, can a ghost out deejay and blokes who like blokes cause the earth’s tectonic plates to shift or to produce hurricane wind gust up to 185 mph/295 km? Can wicked, degenerate, immoral people cause natural disasters? Here is some advice for the wicked. The next time you encounter a deadly blizzard; run into a church because their heating system is far better than all others. Who am I kidding? Blizzards aren’t earth shattering like hurricanes and earthquakes; it’s just too damn cold. I’m just saying the church should be able to save from all disasters not just some. If you’re still not convinced, please run into a church and stay there, sit in the pews or kneel down at the pulpit instead of staying inside of a basement the next time you encounter a massive tornado.

O Florence Nightingale where art thou? ‘Bump that,’ the nurses in Jamaica said decisively, they want theirs. Of course no humane person would allow a patient to deteriorate to skulls and bones but hey, a pay check hike would have renewed the nurses’ sense of duty pronto. I get it, if everyone else can strike so should nurses right? I remember when being a nurse was such a revered profession. Now, it can be perceived to be something of a more sexual nature. A sexy woman in a nurse’s outfit at a Halloween party is without fail a boner magnet. But those damn scrubs are such a bonercide. Plus a bunch of dudes now are becoming nurses and just killing the mood. Any nurses demanding better wages and working conditions are not sexy, not cool and it is downright ghastly too. Look at that poor fellow in the bed. Go on and laugh, it does look funny.

 

Being a soccer/football enthusiast and player, I sort of live, eat and breathe soccer. I remember witnessing Jamaica’s debut on the world stage at the 1998 World Cup (WC) in France. I was proud. That was some feat. Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to qualify for said world stage. Crap! I take that back it was Cuba. It would have been nice if it were Jamaica but hey to many; the Cubans’ achievement doesn’t count because hey (I have to whisper) most people are paranoid about Cuba and their communist worldview.  Many commentators and observers tended to overlook their achievements. Here’s something funny. When the Cubans first qualified it was in 1938. The other times they qualified during CONCACAF the Caribbean’s governing soccer body, the host countries and FIFA rejected them. When the US hosted the WC, the Cubans withdrew. Future WC fixtures are to be determined, so good luck Cuba. The picture above is not of Cuba’s soccer team. It’s their neighbor, Jamaica. It is no secret the Jamaican senior soccer team sucks. The Jamaican Football Federation is now banking a lot on the under 17 (U-17) football team because they lost confidence in the senior one. Hey team Jamaica, the Cubans have a perfect excuse, they are communist and the world and FIFA honor the trade embargo against them. You team Jamaica haven’t been able to qualify because you suck and you lack the discipline to rise above.  Maybe the U-17 team is the new hope.  So hire another Brazilian get your football house in order.

Slackness! That was my grandmother’s favorite word. Some people think it is cute when children emulate adult themes or actions. But there should be a line that should never be crossed. A child getting down and booty popping to the latest dancehall songs is not cute. I feel kids these days need to learn very early how to be self-reliant, educated, smart and to remain child-like. It seems every generation finds a more sinister way to cause high blood pressure among the elders. Regardless of that intent, thoughtful care and effort should be used in instructing a child. So kids here’s a message from uncle Brown-Voltaire, instead of listening to Vybz Kartel listen to Kid’s Bop or Sesame Street, you’ll stay innocent for now until you are close to 18 years old or older.

Jamaican athletes have long been the default ambassadors of Jamaica because the politicians are swine-like. But most locals feel that anyone who enters the world stage probably will sell out Jamaica. What does that mean? If Bolt blows up even bigger and makes a ton of cash, is he suppose to bring a big bag of cash and dump off some of his surplus on people’s lap from his hometown? I don’t think anyone would be that shallow and narrow-minded to expect that. But let’s be real, Bolt is fingered in the line up because he is rather chummy with his new European girlfriend. Please follow my use of this euphemism: Jamaican politicians screwed, screws and will continue to screw over the people. The people don’t like to be screwed. And further, they don’t like when their national figures literally screw others. So Bolt watch it! Don’t screw over Jamaica by screwing a non-Jamaican.

Here is a tip: Take my advice. Given our tendency to attribute animal like characteristics to our daily discourse and to define some of our actions, it is very fitting that Tiger Woods was indeed a ‘Tiger’ in bed and like some Jamaican men like to say “Mi ago tek mi wood and….” Get the picture? Mr. Tiger Woods certainly lived up to both of his name.  No wonder he could not decline to offer some invaluable advice to Mr. Bolt. And I agree but I might I add that he should be too quick to chase after too many foreign women. The locals are not feeling it.

Ah…Cricket, not the insect, but rather the second most played sport in the world, yeah that one. The West Indies used to be gods of the cricket arena. Now they are like a bunch of ‘school boys’ attempting to have a knock about. I don’t have much to say except I’ll join in concert and say the West Indies team is indeed worthless. They don’t need to restore the old pride they once had. They should find and maintain a new sense of pride and competitiveness but as long as they’re continuing to perform poorly, I’ll keep saying, “Di West Indies Cricket team wutless enuh star!”

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