Friday, June 26, 2009

Images of the week....

News of Michael Jackson's death hit Korea early in the morning...but I admit, it didn't punch me in the gut as much as the death of John Lennon. Yet, as a the duties of my day unfolded, I really didn't have much time to think about how odd that he would die leaving so much unfinished business. As Mozart died, with his unfinished requiem...as so many artists die with unfinished work...Michael Jackson was one, in a long line of artists that represented one thing to me...one thing alone...and that was joy.

I never felt depressed listening to a Michael Jackson song...however I felt a certain sadness about his life above the masses. We, as a people, tend to deify celebrity...making them into images instead of people. The immortals...are not immortal...they die. There are those of us who remember, as I do, the life of Michael Jackson as a member of the Jackson 5 and watched with morbid fascination what he would do next in his surreal life. His death overshadowed the death of Farah Fawcett, who lost her brave fight with cancer. Oddly, this made her death more private, hounded by the press with their morbid death watch, the world was caught off guard. The blood was in the water...and people hungered for more information... and there will be as Michael Jackson will remain in the news, even now, not being allowed to rest.

So on this Friday...I started my afternoon classes a little differently...I didn't even have to search...I just turned on the radio...and Michael Jackson's music was playing on all of the Korean Radio stations...and I said to them in English..."This is American Music".

South Korea has their own icons now. They learned how to manufacture their own pop stars...and these children were just given an introduction to the "King of Pop", and they loved it. All through the streets of South Korea...I heard English, the music of Michael Jackson. Say what you will about him, but there was no denying the absolute brilliance of his work. My generation, just became older...realizing their own mortality...and if anything good comes of the death of an icon, well let me know...because I don't care much for what I have seen in the wings.
The girl pictured above, whose English name is 'Rachel', has been my teacher for the last 6 months. As June comes to a close, I realize this is a good time to look at mileposts...and Rachel has been one hell of a mile marker for me. I have learned a lot about manipulation, false tears, and pure evil from this one. However, what I have also seen in this little girl is a heart of gold...for now. The ultimate of drama queens, Rachel is one of the brightest 6 year old children I have seen...I am going to miss this girl...and not miss her at the same time.
As I was thinking about Paris...and how my trip is delayed...another student strolled by and had this t-shirt on...the "Be Cool!!" shouted out to me...it killed me this week to restructure my plans. For now, I will have to be satisfied with the Eiffel cam.
In the morning we took out the kids to reap the potato crop we planted in March. It was another mile marker this week. Just six more months remain...the weather will be cold...it may or may not snow, but for now...the sun is high. If you really ever want to learn about a culture...you learn it through the children.
And a find, that I had to share...this bag...with messages that seem to at first make me laugh...and then I looked a little closer. Despite all of the typos, grammar errors...and words that were run together...I could not get over all of the little things I would find on this solitary bag that I found in a boutique. I wasn't even looking for a bag...I was looking for words...and there were words in Italian, French and English...of mock newspaper stories. Something about it...that I had to have...as I saw my new favorite Korean usage "NO PROBLEM: sortoutyourfuture".
And I close with an image that shows a table covered in Korean graffiti with one English word....smile. With all that is going on in the world...to the North of me, in the West...and in the Middle East...the power of a smile is definitely something to consider.

Life is a beautiful thing. It can be...we just have to see how much of this drama we can get rid of, just to realize that not one person is not more important than another.

Smile

2 comments:

Amber Coloured said...

I went potato digging with my children yesterday...now I have to find some interesting things to cook with all potatoes in my fridge! I like what you wrote about MJ, which song went over best with the little ones?

Marilyn said...

It was one of his much older songs...what caught me off guard and it shouldn't have...I literally just turned on the radio...and there he was singing...on cue, singing for the classroom.

You couldn't walk anywhere in Daegu and NOT hear Michael Jackson...from coffee shops to the music piped into the streets.