Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Go Ja Go Karta

Well, i am writing because tomorrow i am going to Jakarta Indonesia on my own on behalf of DBS, the company I am interning for out here in Singapore. My boss will follow on thursday, but i wanted to let you all know where i was becasue, well, i dunno...

THis week has been CRAzy so far. New friends on motorcycles, boss takes me out for thai food, marketing people actually really really nice and should open own design firm and stop being paid less than they are worth.

more later, promise...right now i have to go make sure i have everything and go to sleep crack of dawn flight tomorow. Up at 5am. ugh.

take care, all of you,

much love,



Thursday, June 23, 2005

in love with a view

my penultimate full day in korea. THis has been for me one of the ultimate holidays, in a way: I get to listen to really great lectures for free and commune with feminists and see really great art (more on that later) and then go and have amazing food and shop. i had planned to do a bit more museum going...there is so much to see here...but by today after three days of 8 hours of lecture sessions (more or less) i just felt like wanderng and shopping today, my day off.

Unfortunately i have an outrageous headache right now...probably from being out wandering in the sun.

I had the ultimate korean experience yesterday and today:

Yesterday I went to the conference as usual...there has been a lot of stuff there about the plight of the korean women taken as "comfort women" i.e. sexual slaves/forced prostitution/rape victims by the japanese army durng the second world war. I am sure that some of you are aware of the level of brutality that these women, now mostly in their 70's and 80's were forced to endure. on monday there was a meeting between Koizumi and the Korean leader (whose name escapes me, ugh) here inSeoul (and actally, i think at my hotel, at least in part...there were tonnes of riot police and what not here on monday...it was scary) and Koizumi categorically refused to acknowledge that these atrocities had occured and refused to rectify new textbooks that glossed over this and other war atrocities (the textbook has China's back up too...incidentally). So there ws a protest, actually the 67th (i think) on this matter yesterday, and i and many participants from the conference were pleased to take part and lend our suport to these brave women.

afterwards i went to some more lectures about gender in china and whatnot, and then to a rountable on women's new media art...i am thinking about putting an online exhibition together for Dudley!! I have another plot/plan which i will write about shortly and which i am really excited about...a feminista-journal-scrapbook-translation project (more on that later)

So i met some wonderful curators and artists and went out to dinner on my own, came back an looked at the films that were being shown through their work, and the work of EMAP (Ewha Media Arts Project). glorious evening...been walking aroun Seoul with my massive Bose headphones on listening to Van Morrison and Fairuz(the ones my parents gave me as hand me downs) looking very old skool. Funny thing...huge headphones attached to an iPod!

Today I started my day with a green tea an Sweet potato Latte at O'Shelloc ( swanky japanese influenced green tea boutique cafe) in Myeongdong (nearby fashionista lively shopping area) and walked to namdaemun Market which is HUGE and piled high with dried fish, fruit and veg, and fake gucci...as well as sundry household items, art supplies (?), costume jewellery wholesalers and dry goods as well as clothes in great heaps for no money (but not anything you would want, for the most part). Had lunch at a market stall in the midst of all of this, a quiet corner in the chaos (there was a demonstration going on on one of the streets at the edge of the market as well...no idea what for...signs all in korean) where i saw somebody eating something that looked tasty and i pointed an said "i'll have what he's having". Ended up with a huge bowl of vermicelli type noodles in an iced soup with kimchi in. it was absolutely delicious. I drank a bottle of iced green tea an ate what i could reading "The Opoponax" and the ladies working the stall were somewhat amused.

went on the Dongdaemun, another market in the shadow of one of the former city gates, except this is a whole series of huge fashion malls something like Xidan in Beijing, plus a big clothing warehouse market...more like Wujin Xing with hats and scarves and stuff. I bought some great stuff...and went off to look for some culture. BEcause even though i didn't feel like musuem hopping all day, i couldn't shop all day either.

wandered around the lovely buildings of the "traditional korean village" at Cheongmuro. big groups of chinese an japanese tourists. after getting dusty looking into the comfy looking wooden floored homes stocked with furniture and bolsters, i had a cup of citron tea (AmaZING.. a sweet marmalade like paste you mix with water to make a kind of tea) in the restaurant that is inside one of the traditional style buildings (xirca 19th C), just as the sun was begining to be a little gentler and a breeze was stirring up

Spent a couple of hours wandering aroun the Lotte Dept. store, one of the sawnkiest i have ever been in...really...rivals japan. sampled all different snacks, and bought some...seaweeds and crackers and encrused tea leaves (i think..it's tasty, so whatever) to bring home..and some of that citron tea.

now, probably due to being out in the sun, i have a raging headache...but it was worth it...i have one more day of conference tomorrow,,,an ihave to pack...get ready to go back to singapore...which is how i got the title of this entry. Because as good a time as i have had here, and as much as i like it...i actually miss singapore. I miss my apartment..i miss the sense of space and the cleanliness of the air in my room, the incense burning, the indian markets and the exciting prospects....most of all, i miss my view.


Monday, June 20, 2005

the feminist and "the visit"

Ok...so it is in fact 11.30pm here in Seoul, yes..I am in Seoul, Korea for the International Interdisciplinary conference on women. And it figures that having stressed all night and then gone to be very late, getting up late too and scrambling into a cream coloured pants suit so that i can look all professional-like (he) when giving my prsentation i got to the opening ceremony late...not that it mattered. the kicker was that as I was standing out in the scorching sun after having been given a huge quantity of reading material and other ephemera in my very own "Women's Worlds" complimentary conference pack, i felt cramps starting and suddenly realised i was getting my period. Right now. I had anticipated this would happen. I am not one of those women who knows the ins and outs of her cycle intimately, and times her life around it. No. Mine is generally something that happens, i vaguely know when it is going to kick in. I missed last month...go figure, and i thought somewhere in the back of my mind...it is bound to come during the conference, it is bound to come during the conference. Because it shows up at the most innoportune times always. When I am moving. When I have exams. whenever there is a high stress situation it just has to come in and be the icing of annoyance on the proverbial cake o' stress. Anyway, i thought it was a rather interesting excercise to try an explain that i needed a tampon or other sanitary item to a helper at a korean women's university during the first 2 hours of a women's conference. Hilarious actually.

My presentation went ok, incidentally. One of the panelists didn't show up, and everybody was still just getting oriented on campus, so we only ha about 6 people, or 7. my paper was too long, but the Q & A session was great fun.

But what the hell. It's over. I did it. It goes on the CV and i have a week of cool lectures to go to, and i had Donkatsu for dinner (very bad for me, i know) while reading Wittig's "THe Oppoponax". And then a pair of drunken Koran guys eating ice cream asked me for cigarettes on my way home to the hotel and the one who had the less minimal grasp of english vocabulary kept asking for my phone number and putting his arm around me. I couldn't take him seriously enough to be worried, he was so silly, with an ice cream cone and a cheezy drunken grin.

I have spent most of my money and have nothing to show for it really, except for a catalogue of good meals. I am going to do more wandering and stuff starting wednesday. TOmorrow...more conferencing and my mom's friend is meeting me for dinner i think.

One more piece of news though. I signed up to read some poetry at the closing ceremony. what am i getting myself into?? I think i might red my new poem though...it is suitably feminist.

let me know what you all think,

missing everybody!!



Thursday, June 16, 2005

new poem: my pleasures are not illicit

My pleasures are not illicit.

They run run run fast and happy
ArminArm ArminArm like paper men down the highway
Past the clumps of trees that dream themselves to ideal forests
And for a path to the sky
The dappled light.

My pleasures shout marco polo

Smoke vines and get off boldly under bridges for shade where…

(A fat man runs with fat children at the yellow feet of the madhouse

That looks like a multi-storey-madman

Walking down the valley v)

…My pleasures do not hide.

Small: they shine and slide underbehindoverthrough doors, keyholes and cracks

Pick locks in broad day light where sun plays search lamp

To find you where you sleep, to hold you and your soul where you dream so deep.

My pleasures are a body whole:

whole in all its carnevale

Whole and hurting, hurtling down roads unknown

That body with silences, openings, moans
orifices, architecture and ordinary elegance, idiocies
(betises) bis.

Body bad that scuffs heel shone, shuns the step a step, shuffles a little, stubs its soft toe.

The hair the sweat the hole boned whole, like a tent made for loving low.
My pleasures are invincible

A superhero stream

Sprinting up your dark mountain screaming all the way
Ambling down your precipice

They may crawl through phone lines and swim the oceans green.


Live unseen in every breath (you breathe you) breath (you breathe)

Take keys brass under tongues, cross lovely hearts

And live the little death.

singapore view:1


this is one of the views from my window. Will write more shortly...gearing up for Korea at the moment so rather short on time. Promise to be more prolific!!! Anyway...Enjoy, peeps!! P.s. My lunch was cooked in a banana leaf. Next time will take pictures of that!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

when in singapore

do as the singaporeans do, which it seem is basically: eat. A lot.

actually it's a bit more complicated than that.

And i know i haven't written in ages in here, and i apologise to all my faithful friends, and even to the unfaithful ones.

It's quarter to two in the morning here. Dark outside. a few cars going by on the network of highways visible from my twentieth storey apartment. The air conditioning is on, and Arab Strap is playing. a series of orange lights in rows and knots, skyscrapers, the lush trees invisible in the dark except for the rich darkness they create. I am sitting in the window sill, about a foot wide, right up against the window so that i feel like there is nothing between me and the space, the drop and the cleanness of it. I have a view of the harbour during the day which makes me happy when i sit here and wach the sun come up with a cigarette. I developed the habit of squishing myself right next to the windows of tall buildings when i was in Hong Kong the first time. I think i was 13 or 14. I was sleeping on a fold out bed in the living room section of a suite in the conrad hotel, probably more than 20 floors up. I became fascinated with the way the towers looked like crystals or spikes, needles emerging from the clouds of mist. I liked to look down into the mist and imagine the city afloat. Which is quite funny because it is as the author Xi Xi imagines the city in some ways. Anyway...

enough with the atmosphere

i got here monday morning at 7am and it was already 82 degrees

i am living in a service apartment here, a cross between a hotel room and a flat. the city is strange, a bunch of modern shopping malls that i have to say are exceptionally boring, except for the ubiquitous and bustling food courts, butted up against areas designated by the ethnicity of their inhabitants, Arab St., Little India, Chinatown. these are much more fun. Arab st. yesterday went by "dry markets" in the shadow of the mosque, selling spices and dried fish, shrimp, cuttlefish and etc. every size of dried shrimp you can imagine, and the little baby whitings, dried into little strings. herbs. bitter and salty under sheets of red plastic awning. textile shops, all manner of silks and ribbons, towered up in the windows, and perfumers, gold bottles and prayer beads. Little India was all jewellery, a lot of it gold, handicrafts, florists, sweets everywhere, and pakoras, roti, dosa. but i am going to be in india soon. It seems like incense is being burned everywhere, but each area burns its own incense. Indian masala incense and arabic style a litle heavier and big sticks of sandalwood scent in chinatown. which is where i was today.

i will write more tomorrow, feeling very tired.

take this as a first report from singapore, and excuse my laziness

love SR65