January 17, 2016

The Sound of Silence

Jim Carrey's Message

I want to find out who you are without saying a word.

Choose love~ (not the "in love" kind of love, but the universal love for one another that forces us to make a leap of faith and rely on a person)

This is the message I try to communicate with whoever I meet. I am 100% open, but I am afraid it may be misunderstood due to expectations or previous encounters of a person's life. I am curious and expect more, I am never satisfied and always want to know more.  This should be a flattering feeling - someone is taking the time to listen and remember and meet you. Not just for a second, or base their opinion about you upon that brief encounter, but being dependable enough to give you the opportunity to grace them with your presence.  People are impatient and get distracted from what is in front of them easily.  When lacking the ability to discover who a human being is, then a true connection can never be met. Only true connections take time and reliability is the facilitator of this connection.

"I'm afraid of many things, but loneliness is not among them, and it’s actually quite depressing to have to witness the lengths most people are willing to go just to avoid being alone.”

To be open to loneliness is to be open to others. Because it is the mindset where you do not need to chase the social life, or seek attention from it but graciously accept it when it is there and appreciate it when it is not.

"Within each of us, there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe. And when we experience that silence we remember who we are" - Gunilla Norris

When that silence is explored by each individual the level of your relationship with other excels to the next level. The way a conductor leads an orchestra. Without a sound. 
"The conductor does not make a sound, he depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful" - Benjamin Zander
This is what makes a person powerful, influential, memorable, effective in what they do. What leaders need most is an unspoken understanding through trust and respect.

If I need to say it - you are not reading between the lines.
 I can understand how this can cause confusion - but there is a sense that we all have but most ignore.

 Why are these individuals:
David Bowie
Alan Rickman
Robin Williams
and many other artists able to create this universal sadness? They have appreciated that silence and gift that Jim Carrey speaks of in his message and have been able to share and deliver it to the public.

Respect comes from within.

January 16, 2016

Update 2016

It is the beginning of 2016.

In April 2013 I had just returned home from abroad and started working at a local organic farm. I applied to some classes at the community college as prerequisites for the Masters program I recently finished.

Masters of Agribusiness from KSU via their Global Campus. I began the master's program while working part-time at a snack food headquarters in KC. First semester was rough, but met good friends and fun professors and decided to stick it out. Job went full-time, passing my classes and learning about the people I work with and developing these relationships.

Be an asset to your company, and if the company/organization/department is too big, find a way to do so. There is always a way.

Challenge yourself. Always.

Welcome back~

April 7, 2013

Reflections and Home

I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin' the range once more
Totin' my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again...

Many people tell me that it is a good thing I came home. Obviously I agree or I wouldn't have done so. But I believe their reasoning is different and for a media frenzied population I can understand why.  It still amazes me that people do not look beyond their own boundaries to discover that a place not be what you are told it is or how the media says it is.  No worries guys!  I'm okay!...no big deal...but I can say this and yet if Kim Jun Un does blow up something, I would not know what I was talking about even if I had lived in the South and experienced the culture.

If anybody has the time and interest enough to do so, please read Daniel Tudor's book Korea: The Impossible Country.  Because it is impossible to imagine, so you need to educate yourself.  North and South Korea are brothers.  However the alliance the South has with the US hurts its relationship with its brother.

What were North and South Korea but conquered countries dependent upon another superpower?  Did they really have any say in their own history? And not long before these wars, the Japanese were their Imperialists...and they would say the same thing English teachers in the classrooms are saying... "No Korean!"

Also check out what the students think...

Today Seoul is ALIVE, but to restate the high schooler in the previous link, "I  don't wish Korea to be the wealthiest country in the world.  I would rather it be a country where its people's right to be happy is secured" - Love & Peace.  Korea is not happy (anymore) and it shows through the distrust, shallow status flaunts, and customer service.  Just because there are billions of people does not mean they cannot treat each other with respect: Review THIS!

Culture, language, respect for your own country takes a lot more effort when you are being bullied into thinking like the bigger guy. However, many Koreans are still proud of the sadness and struggle their country went to to become an economic force in the world today.  But an economic force is about all they have become.  Korea produces many products and provides what is most important -  cheap labor.  Minimum wage is $4/hour. Who in the US would work for that?!  Most 20 year olds there do, and it is a 'part-time' job done while studying or supposedly doing something else. So what is the cost of this economic force?  And why do English teachers, who are the same age with the same degree, get paid $27/hour, part-time as well.

How can people respect you, if you do not respect yourself?  Is respecting your country the same thing as respecting it's citizens? Think about it from a Korean, Asian, social, communal, perspective.  Respecting yourself above your country is selfish. In America the well-being of Americans is what makes the US respectable. That is why when you are obese, lazy, welfare-fed, the respect goes out the window.

The comparison of the two countries is almost ridiculous because of the major differences involving geography, culture, and history.  But the relationship South Korea and the US have together today and in the past is unavoidable. US influences the division between the North and South.  We think democratization is good for everyone.  When in fact people who have been living a life of servitude of the state for most of their history think that democracy/capitalism is different and perhaps selfish, making people themselves selfish.  Countries were created for a reason. Nations were built differently because of the different people who built them.  We are the same as a species, meaning we are born and then we die, but not as a race, and I mean human race.

Are democracies built upon capitalism only? Lions for Lambs is a movie that restates the birth of democracy, or the American dream, when they discuss in a classroom when has a big house with high walls not been the American dream? The answers the presenters gave was "1775, 2001, etc"...so the answer I believe is no.  And can Korea really be a democracy with a different kind of history? Or is the effort through capitalism just creating a bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots?

I believed in democracy to my core in college, and now I am not quite sure it is for everyone.  Asia is on its own standard now. And what comes next might blow democracy out of the water.  Things change, as do people, whether you like it or not. And the big footprint US left in North and South Korea is still there.  Koreans are like elephants, they never forget.  And when you can't forget, it is often impossible to forgive.


Full time job 7 days/week doesn't seem like such  a big deal after meeting a friend's boyfriend who works the fields in western Kansas, or after meeting bankers in Korea who work 8am to 11pm then are expected to go out and drink until they puke afterwards, and do it all over again in the morning. Work can be a life, or a living. Where is the time to consider the questions asked above.  Who cares about anything else besides putting food on your table and a roof over your head?  Who cares?....

The value of your life is dependent upon how you see it, not how others see it.

Investment in relationships, in businesses, in hobbies, in having a social life all comes at various risk levels. But not doing them is the greatest risk of all. There is a difference between hoarding and investing, usually you are always thinking about yourself, but when you invest you are also thinking of your connection with others.  It creates a financial tie (usually most important) that you want to take care of.  So if you do not care, you make just enough for you and nobody else matters.  When in fact everything you do involves someone else whether you like it or not. You cannot go out in the woods and expect to wing it on your own, there is not only the natural world but the obvious encounters with other unpredictable living things that will happen.  Your well-being depends on the well-being of others.  One job requires another job.  Like taking care of the fields..is it more efficient to have a piece of equipment for tilling, planting, spraying and irrigating and YOU do all the work?  When in God's name would you ever get that done?!  Or should one person be assigned to working each piece of equipment separately and follow each other down the line, saving time and money.

If you do not care, you will not hold up your end of the bargain and no one will trust you to work with them.  In Korea, each person has a job, creating more pointless employment for the massive amounts of people living in Seoul.  However pointless each person's job depends on the job done by the next person.  And even though there are many jobs, there are even more people without jobs. The unemployment rate is insane. And besides that they still spend! Like typical  capitalists...you could call it greed, selfishness, but in Korea it is a necessity..socially.  Korea racks up credit debt faster than the 50s 60s and 70s 80s in the US combined. "If thrift is an Asian virtue, then it is one that South Koreans are notably lacking: each adult has almost five credit cards on average, and the household debt burden exceeds that of the United States before the subprime crisis".

How is capitalism helping this situation? When the rule of law in Korea is anything but respected and the people who will suffer from this debt will be the have-nots.  Trust is impossible in this country when dealing with money.  There are few well-to-do people who are honest, because of the cutthroat environment South Korea has created for itself.  It's dream to succeed in the international world has abandoned its domestic labor force. Forced retirement at 50 and what Daniel Tudor calls the "angry 30-40 year olds". And there is a LOT of middle class, normal people who are not creating this debt but will suffer from it because of the selfish consumerism by the rich.  Wake up South Korea!  You have great people in your country!

Relationships are important and how you treat the ones you work with is a major indicator in how successful you will be in the long run, which, in the end, your relationships with those people are all that matter.

May 8, 2012

The Excess and The Lack of Law

"as teachers we should strive to be the ordinary heros the moral exemplars to the people we mentor"

"Tunnelling is the awarding of contracts to firms owned by family members. Chaebol heads typically own only a small portion of their firms, but are able to maintain control through complex cross-holdings; tunnelling offers a means of exploiting that control to get richer, quicker. In 2007, for instance, the Fair Trade Commission, an official watchdog, fined Hyundai Motor for, among other things, giving 1.3 trillion won ($1.4 billion) of business to Glovis, a firm owned by the son of Hyundai’s chairman—without any tendering."  The conglomerate forces of South Korea have a similar impact on governance as the Chinese conglomerates, also running in the same (non democratic) fashion, but as all governments are business run, including the United States, we should give fair notice to the rising economies of the day and how nothings changed.  

Another similarity between China and South Korea has to do with the leader being a business man himself (Lee Myung Bak) ordering all conglomerates to do something whether it is hire more women or more youth without a degree.  Glutted with Grads 

Once you go up, you must come down.  South Korea is an amazing feat.  Very interesting among economists and IR scholars alike.  Due to its rise a mix of people have been thrown together.  Those who knew life without technology or even electricity are suddenly thrown into the mix with the iPhone.  Generation gap is much bigger, culture, etiquette, and tradition seemed to be melting in the face of technological development for the sake of making a buck.  Well not just any buck, a lot of bucks.  But can South Korea handle the natural flow of an economy's downturn?  When such a spike of success leads to great wealth and overspending, just like the US is there regulation and watchdogs or moderate the natural downward flow? Can Koreans of this generation live without all the accessories if need be.  Asia is pretty good at doing what is needed or the whole, however basic community values, as I have said, have been lost.  Such as humility and selflessness.  I think nowadays that is only found in the country side where less than 1/3 of the country's population lives.  

We are trying so hard to protect ourselves, in the US, that we lose site of what really founded the innovative country we are so proud of.  That the freedom to create something out of nothing.  Nowadays with the numerous regulations everyone needs just to get an entry level job people are being squeezed into this Korean-like education system of higher is better.  Whats wrong with vocational school?  Does nobody want to fix cars anymore?  If no one fixes, improves, sells the cars, where is our automobile industry headed?

"His ideas are of particular importance in the context of this country’s ongoing shortage of students entering the critical STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math. And the irony was certainly not lost on Jobs—a remarkably astute observer of social norms, cultural dynamics, and the behavior of young people—that a country with a ravenous appetite for technology must figure out some way to increase the production of it."

If you want to get back in the game allow Americans to innovate education themselves.  If making it a business is what it takes, we have the legislation to protect workers when people get too greedy.... now just implement it and let those innovators go!

Overall a balance between the rule of law and the slack there of is needed to improve our education system in the US and drive innovators to compete on a level playing field with the Asian conglomerates.  Asia also needs a balance to protect their citizen's investments and avoid fraud and overworked citizens.  

October 8, 2011

An Ode to Individualism

Solitary Man - Neil Diamond

An ode to individualism.

Walking can be one of those meditations that you do to contemplate. Yes it does help after a few laps around the block, people who get their heartbeat up tend to think clearer due to the rush of adrenaline.....
*kick the can
*hauch a loogy
*shoot the shit

Walking or running in Seoul is a huge eye opener. There are many different ways to look at things in this city. The tourist perspective, the cave of an office worker perspective, the athlete perspective, and the stressed out dodger/runner/speed walker perspective. As a tourist you see things for the first time, its foreign you are detached. As a cooped up office worker, you see a room, a computer (maybe) and a few other people who look like you, as you think about what it is like to walk. As the athlete, you take on the Han river and master each mountain view with the rest of Seoul's old man population, through fun runs, climbs, or river walks. And the dodger perspective only sees the butt of the person in front of him/her because you can never get around the unlimited amount of people packed into this city.

This goes back to a couple of other posts about communal living, doing something for one's neighbor, etc. With so many people in one place, how could anybody be alone?!

So why am I ode-ing to individualism? Individualism doesn't necessary make you independent from others or able to take on everything alone. Napoleon's great quote, "If you don't like the way something is done, do it yourself", I don't think was meant to do everything all at once.
Individualism is to distinguish yourself from others in the process of working with them. For me this isn't through better or worse, sicker or poorer, black or white, not even a woman or a man.

When a person's character has been tested, maybe even multiple times, those who are older and wiser see this. Her/His individualism shines, the shinier the more interesting. Experience, bravery/stupidity/insanity, attitude, and connections all add to the shininess.


Connections; who you know, and how you know them will matter for the rest of your life. Connections can be deeper than an acquaintance, a job, a shared interest. Interactions between people help everyone to understand how or why a person behaves in a certain way and this understanding can lead to less unhappiness and more compassion. "Compassion can only come from understanding" DearJason

Attitude; always thinking positively really does help, dreaming and never waking up is probably not a great idea, but always getting back up after that horse threw you could help you do something like idk...- Stronger by Kelly Clarkson (will embed when can) aka smile when your down.

Experience; comes in all different shapes and sizes. For me it isn't about making the perfect resume anymore. Of course I need to keep up with promoting myself to whoever pays me a decent salary.  Money is a limitation. You can only overcome it if you are smart enough. But what will matter for you and everyone else in the long run is what you contributed to society other than money. Seeing what is important to that other person is as important as seeing what is truly important to yourself.

 "Contribute more than you consume" - Ray Bachard KU Volleyball Coach. This is not said in an Asian setting where everyone should work for less and sacrifice their weekends to earn a ton of money. But to volunteer, spend those weekends improving society's environment, schools, people. Seoul is on the brink but there is not nearly enough effort put forth by its own people. American cities are also taking the fast track to money mind set, where they need to think what things can help those have-nots. "Giving the time is just as important as giving the money"  Ex-NBA star returns to inner city, brings hoop dreams. 

Just like most limitations they can be overcome. Here is just one example a media limitation enforced by government, being overcome by a perfectly legitimate media producer and entrepreneur. Yang Lan a media mind attempts to challenge the Chinese censorship of media. As China overwhelms the West, its media needs to be a little more savvy. And of course like any other - brainwashing. 

Another individual initiative that contributed more is Steve Jobs' thinking about schools as market for change, educational innovation, and provided a sustained presence in power politics. Instead of just relying on 22 year olds making babies! OR the "Git R Dun" technique which I don't see, with an education system in the crapper would be such a good idea?

Why does individualism matter?  For the obvious reason that one person can make a bigger change than an angry mob.

August 27, 2011

Opportunities and Rock n Roll

Gotta grab those opportunities when they come up. However Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers that opportunities find the person and not the other way around. You are who you are and you are either born in the right decade of success or not. You either experience smooth sailing or run into a few bumps either preventing or leading to your success.

"In Outliers, he hopes to show that there are a lot more variables involved in an individual's success than society cares to admit, and he wants people to "move away from the notion that everything that happens to a person is up to that person"

Outside forces obviously have an impact. Knowing where you stand (or fall) in a particular generation should help you determine what you are....supposed to be. Or does this sound too pessimistic -

Maybe this will help~

"When asked what message he wanted people to take away after reading Outliers, Gladwell responded, "What we do as a community, as a society, for each other, matters as much as what we do for ourselves. It sounds a little trite, but there's a powerful amount of truth in that, I think."

Shout out to the individual to build his/her society.

What to build in South Korea? Can Rock n Roll do to Korea what it did for America? Maybe a little bit more "freedom" might do it some good, or not.

So far their culture and community are so demanding of the individual which in my perspective can be respected. Or maybe the active role of women in the economic history of the continent has helped it tremendously long term. Experts remark on how women are better with money due to their long term outlook, such as kids, household, and grandchildren. These perspectives prove to provide the whole community with more, because of its long term effects.

Seems to be the wave of the financial world these days with Christine Lagarde at the helm.

However, America has its opinions on how much time working as an impact on the economy...but certain things like working late every night are not considered. Americans may have their nights while Asians have their vacations.....Fareed Zakaria on Americans working

Apprenticeships, opportunities, private businesses give us this start. I do not know it all. "profit on the one hand, and wages on the other" is how capitalism works and that only works if you are giving and taking. Failure is not a bad option but consistently making the same mistake is.

I preferred it when people had the time, ....no, MADE the time to think before they act.

If you think about how your business can help the community as a whole either in the long term or every, month, year, etc. The actual term used when Old Choson was founded by Tangun Wanggum in 2333 BC was Hongik Ingan meaning "to live and work for the benefit of all mankind". This old traditional mindset and culture leads to what superpowers we will see in the near future. Even old stories about famous historical figures such as Yi Yulgok praise this virtue to work for the whole and give away what you have rather than hoard it for yourself. Was there self interest in Yi Yulgok's actions?
American ideals have changed as well. We are not in the economy to compete - ultimately we are here to cooperate and negotiate. So Why should everything be a game of winning? Adam Smith at first write The Theory of Moral Sentiments where he emphasizes the importance of relationships:
In the work, Smith critically examines the moral thinking of his time, and suggests that conscience arises from social relationships.[56] His goal in writing the work was to explain the source of mankind's ability to form moral judgements, in spite of man's natural inclinations towards self-interest. Smith proposes a theory of sympathy, in which the act of observing others makes people aware of themselves and the morality of their own behavior

but in his Wealth of Nations he emphasizes the dangers of the invisible hand contradicting a the sympathy expressed in TOMS, the invisible hand is the gluttony of humanity and how it takes over:

"As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestick industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestiek to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other eases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the publick good. [emphasis added]."

The One Minute Entrepreneur - by Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson gives a great example of how a business can help everyone - their community and their family. "When you give to others, it comes back to you in spades".

When you give you are still thinking of yourself. There is a balance to maintain. Overall personal relationships should be highest priority. BUT I am getting ahead of myself.

Maybe Fareed Zakaria's opinion on an economic platform as a government outline should be considered.

Korean culture demands a lot from its citizens but then again it offers a lot too. Things may be getting more expensive only because we are not in a fixed market, but they tend to come around here in bigger quantities and the people seem to appreciate the award at the end of a long run. Yearly, monthly, etc. Rather than weekly, bi-weekly. Again another example of the West's shortsightedness. BUT weekly paychecks are not bad either - people save in different ways. However take into consideration what has actually happened in reality - about how Americans did not save while Asians, Koreans saved quite a bit in recent years. The interest rate here is astonishing, ....while you may have some limitations - I guess I will find out if the wait is worth it. It limits temptation for sure but also that freedom that comes with the choice of temptation.

Now back to Rock n Roll. I just came from RENT(I know not specifically rock n roll, but influential music nonetheless), and it was in Korean. Overall I think this western influence is needed, through the arts. It does not need to be shut out or slept with just shown a seperate room perhaps~ Does this open mindedness make it better? Does the West hold a higher standard of art than Asia?

ART is the freedom to feel comfortable or sick from what you see or hear, not to restrict it. Do the older paintings do this, yes in a very respectful and subtle way, which can be and is appreciated. But RENT is an outlet for the many emotional limitations that Korea's culture subtly imposes. Do I feel suffocated? No. it is a city where there is a basic difference between running free in a field and being surrounded by people at all times. The difference needs to be embraced as well and understood - maybe not adopted but observed.

However with so many people it IS harder to meet others on the level in which I would prefer to meet them. It seems I know my neighbors who live a mile away from me back home better than those who live 2 feet from me here, it would be the same in New York or Los Angelos (I hear). Going back to Freshman year, I feel this is a natural way of city life from what was talked about in "freshman studies" and those art history classes I thought I was going to major in - help me pull the painting Paris Street, Rainy Day - by Gustave Caillebotte out of memory:

This may be Paris but it still reflects that loneliness of even an Asian city life. Coming from the country, I feel I need to insert something into this painting. For one it bores me, makes me feel like crap, and there is no focus point - typical for city life. There needs to be a Scream, or a smile :-)
So do I become unfocused while in the city? No. I try and work harder to carve those smile or scream niches of my own for myself.

Turn inward.

Below: This picture I feel represents what I want the city to be like for me, probably not as familiar here in Korea as it was meant to be in the picture but I should become THIS comfortable with Korea, not the other way around~Richard Feynman demonstrates this when he writes about his frequent trips to Japan and how he wanted the Japanese style stay rather than the customary western style - made to make westerners feel more comfortable. This is ridiculous but totally respectful in the sense that "hey the Japanese are thinking about our comfort"

this could be within that niche:

I think this shows maybe a little loneliness, but it only appears that way and you can fill it with observation, of the couple or the open windows, or conversation with the bartender. In Korea I was prone to people watching just because I do it back home, and tend to be more aware of people since they were not always around me.
But when I talked to locals here, "people watching, what's this?" A lot of Koreans seem to not notice the person as much as the people (great big moving bodies walking around). I am distracted and curious about the PERSON rather than the people.
"Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks (1942) expresses the comfortable, familiar feeling of being in “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” in the midst of a dark and lonely city. " The clean well lighted place might as well be a friend as it is a place.

The root of a complaint usually comes from observing a person as people instead of seeing, or trying to see something else like the light in an unfamiliar place. Of course not all Koreans, and definitely not all Foreigners, do see the light but it becomes habit when people watching begins to hurt your eyes, because you are trying to look at everything instead of focusing on one thing.

April 25, 2011

When You're Young, You Get Distracted

Ryan Adams had some thoughts with a couple of his first albums which I prefer. But youth has to be analyzed, why after its gone why not take your time right now....

Four blond haired fizzy drink loving brits from the 80s will never allow you to go wrong on the ridiculous side of things. When you are young silly dance moves like skirt ripping and a Capella voices seem to fit and have a lightness to it that adds relief to everyday distractions. What do I mean by everyday distractions is probably exactly what Bucks Fizz provides - note: youtube adventures deem plausible cause for such procrastination - but then again is procrastination our distraction or is it the return to self-observation?

"CHAIRMAN: ...Which brings us once again to the urgent realisation of just how much there is still left to own. Item six on the agenda: the meaning of life. Now, uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

HARRY: That's right. Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and, uh, what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: people are not wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia." - Monty Python, The Meaning of Life

Do distractions make us lighter or heavier? Is it the thought of a distraction BEING a distraction that gives it its weight and therefore adds onto the trivial things, or is it actually what is distracting us that gives us more to think about therefore distracting us EVEN more from that thing called self-observation?

Unbearable lightness usually comes with the territory of being young and curious about the other sex, and about the whole idea of relationships. The book is okay, it explains the opposite sex at least to those who overreact when they are young and caught up in the emotion. The book explains human mistakes to those who think that being perfect makes you pure and therefore the foundation of a relationship must be completely rid of all mistakes or masked with unwanted desires. The book also explores the individual within a relationship. A lot of young people (I myself i guess) did not or do not realize that the individual in the relationship needs to be developed before any sort of true relationship can be attained.

Relationships or the opposite sex are the ULTIMATE distraction from self-observation.

Go do what you wanna do:
1. Build a dream house
2. Trek the South Pole
3. Get Distracted

bucks fizz - when we were young