Monday, February 03, 2003

The stand off between North Korea and US continues. At present South Korea is sending a delegation to US on behalf of President-elect Roh to try and sort out some of the differences that exist between these two parties. Essentially it seems that little progress can be made to establish peace and security on the peninnsula during this period of crisis until South, US and other "allies" agree amongst themselves how to deal with the North. The fragmentation of policy and opinions among those affected by the current crisis is delaying any real progress that could be made now to ease tensions.

In light of this, the gulf between US and South seems aptly highlighted by this new South Korean history text which portrays Kim Il-Sung and his role in the Korean resisitance against the Japanese in a more favourable light than before. While the US demands a strong front the South is revoking decades of censure and criticism against the North through these little yet significant acts. The Sunshine policy continues to go against the crux of the US's argument for mroe stick and less carrot for the North.

The Chinese New Year (설날) fell on February 1st this year. This gave us a Friday to Sunday break - hooray! My plan was to read and rest up and perhaps fit in something cultural. As it turned out I caught a horrible cold ruling out any possibility of me leaving the house for the duration of the holiday. In the end I did much more of the reading and resting part of the plan than anticipated. The upside being that one of the books I read - Catch-22 - was absolutely brilliant! This book shakes your mind and makes you reassess the way you think and perceive but does so in a way that makes you laugh and leaves you feeling that you were better for having read that book. At least that is how it made me feel. I will not part with this book for the duration of my life and hope to re-read it on a semi-regular basis (perhaps a biennial event along with Count of Monte Cristo). Before reading this book I heard rumors that it was not good, not funny and difficult to read. Those people are not people I ever intend to get book reviews from again.

Completely off the track. Do you remember as a kid watching Monkey Magic in Australia, or anywhere else in the world? By chance today a Korean kid tried to explain the story of Monkey Magic to me. In Korea it is called (using Chinese characters, so I guess the name is the same in China) Hsi Yu Chi which in English means Journey to the West. I checked it out at an online bookstore and found a two volume book transliterated in English of the story of Monkey Magic. Cool!

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui